In a leather/BDSM context, a collar is a device of any material worn by a person around the neck to indicate their submissive or slave status in a relationship. A person wearing a collar to symbolize their relationship with another is said to be collared. Some people conduct formal “collaring ceremonies,” which are regarded as effectively solemnizing their relationship in a similar way as a marriage ceremony and the collar having similar significance as a wedding ring. If you want to plan a collaring ceremony properly the best extensive checklist and suggestions are on www.submissiveguide.com. Collaring in the fetish puppy world has a whole different set of rules and will be covered in Part 2 in AT shortly.
The most common material for a collar is leather, and many people use actual dog collars with a buckle. Other materials include rubber, PVC, and metal (typically stainless steel; however, a few sources offer precious metal versions as these could be lifetime items like a wedding ring). Many collars are constructed with several different materials, and may also be decorated in various ways. Collars often feature buckles, straps and hooks, padlocks and other attachments. Collars can be made from lighter materials such as cotton, or heavier materials such as leather. Steel collars are also worn by some and lockable (metal) necklaces are also regarded as a form of collar. A very few even choose to wear permanently locking collars (these click into place and have no unlocking key), that cannot be removed except by cutting the steel.
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There was a time when a collar was more important than a wedding ring. The meaning of the collar has, as many definitions nowadays as there are kinksters. Each person has his or her own definition. For the master or dominant it essentially means that you have someone you own and for the sub or slave it means you are owned property by full agreement. It doesn’t matter what form of BDSM you practice or what fetish you are into, the collar is a universally recognized symbol of being in a committed relationship.
THERE ARE SIX DIFFERENT TYPES GENERALLY – 3 description collars and then the 3 stages of a master/slave relationship collars:
1 A PROTECTIVE Collar is to show that someone (usually a sub/slave/bottom) is being protected by a Dominant. It acts like a safety net when the collared feels uncomfortable in social situations.
2 A MENTOR’S Collar is to show that you are being taught a particular fetish skill. It is similar to a Training Collar for dogs.
3 PLAY Collars are used during BDSM activity and not necessarily to display as being committed to someone else. It only lasts as long as the sex session does then should be removed.
4 CONSIDERATION COLLAR. The first collar offered to a sub. This identification comes from the Old Guard Leather community, the same source of the Safe, Sane and Consensual code. This Collar is traditionally given at the very beginning of a potential relationship. Sometime in the late 80’s it became customary for some, for this collar to be blue of some sort; ribbon, leather, a gem, a token, etc. which is the colour of a fresh start.
5 TRAINING COLLAR. This is to show that a person is rather new to either the BDSM lifestyle or a particular aspect of the lifestyle. There is an agreement between Trainer and trainee to teach and learn.
6 FORMAL OR SLAVE COLLAR. This one is the goal that both a master and sub are aiming to achieve. It is the lifetime collar often given at a public event or formal gathering of friends and invitees.
7 There is a new collar coming into the fetish world called the CYBER COLLAR or VELCRO COLLAR (You can probably guess from the names what is happening here) as it is given over the internet probably between 2 guys that have never met and is largely looked down upon by the gay fetish community as demeaning the long tradition of formal collaring the gay fetish world has held dear for the large part of a century.
8 HOUSE COLLARS are also used in clubs, homes and in organizations that provide social spaces to protect a submissive. House collars show that the submissive is under the guidance of the house and is not to be approached. This is often used with an inexperienced submissive who are not ready to make their own choices yet and need time to learn
Collars have varying degrees of significance for people in the leather community. A person wearing a collar may wish by doing so to make it known that they are submissive. Wearing a collar may similarly be a signal to others that the submissive is “owned” by or is in a relationship with a dominant, and that the wearer has been formally collared and is probably out of bounds to other guys. It may also be a potently tangible symbol of the relationship itself or of the ownership the submissive is held in. A lockable collar may further symbolize a transfer of power from the submissive to the dominant holding the key….if play is sought then the master keyholders permission should be sought and it often will not be given. Some sub missives do not wear their collars all the time and to confuse the issue they are also becoming more common as a fashion accessory.
The practice of using three stages of collaring as mentioned above in the various types of collars available is informally followed by some in the BDSM community. The three collars come from the traditions of the three rings of a formal relationship; the Promise ring, the Betrothal ring, and the Wedding ring.
.In fetish circles and the kinkster community, one is expected to follow certain rules regarding a collared person. A person should ask if he or she wants to be collared. The collar itself is often owned and affixed by the dominant and treated as a symbol of the highest respect.
Collaring is a very important part of the leather communities’ traditions particularly amongst the Old Guard and it has been adopted by all other fetish tribes and its rules and status should be known and acknowledged. Do not fear though if you see a fit fukka wearing a collar as in practice our community is so friendly it is unlikely that you will cause offence so feel free to chat with any dom or sub about their collars and what it means to them which will probably be fascinating and very often ‘anonymous horny sleazy’ play will be forthcoming. After all, in the gay world sex and love are Two very different things and guys often have personal rules about the edges of monogamy. Those of you wishing to be collared? well, there are thousands of masters out there that would love to train you up so get on the hunt for your special place in fetish tradition and maybe find your one special master.
Amongst other sources we would like to thank the leatherpedia for help with this feature www.leatherpedia.org