So you know for a fact that you enjoy the submissive lifestyle. I don’t blame you! There’s an undeniable thrill we get when we’re told what to do and how to do it. And if it’s anything for you like it is for me, you love that you don’t have to stress about whether or not you’re pleasing your partner. You find comfort in knowing you will be taken care of so long as you obey.
But let’s assume that you’re new to the lifestyle. You’ve done the research and know enough about what kind of dynamic you want. You’ve talked to your partner(s) about this and established your boundaries — what you will and will not do. You have a safe word. The basics are taken care of.
Yet, you feel something is missing. You want to have something material from your partner — your dominant — as proof that you belong to them.
Where do you go from here?
First, A Preamble
It’s likely that you’ve already come across the concept of being collared if you’ve been doing your research. If not, you might have at the very least visualized a “stock” BDSM image of a submissive being bound and gagged, their neck adorned by a thick, leather collar with a glittering “O” ring for the dominant to attach a leash to.
Before I press on, I’d just like to say: if you’re looking to take your submissiveness to a new level because that’s what does it for you — if you know you want to get the harnesses and the leashes and the gags —there’s no shame in that at all. Different people require varying levels of stimuli in order to enter their happy #subspace.
I think it’s important to know, however, that you absolutely don’t have to reach this level in order to be a “real” submissive. And I say that because it’s something I wish I’d known as a baby sub myself. As somebody who’s spent a good chunk of her life on websites like AOL Chat, Tumblr, and F-list, I’ve been exposed to these extreme versions of kink to the point that my idea of BDSM was warped. If I wasn’t into being gagged, slapped around, and called degrading names, then clearly I must be vanilla!
As I got older, gained experience, and, you know, developed enough of a frontal cortex to think (more) critically, I understood that sexuality, like pretty much everything else in life, exists on a spectrum. There is no designated “cut off” separating vanilla and BDSM — sometimes I might only be in the mood for some tender, missionary-style lovemaking, and sometimes, I might be in the mood to be handcuffed to the headboard.
All this is to say, you can want to be collared WITHOUT wanting the “other” things that come with it. If you’ve been holding off or avoiding the concept of collaring altogether because you too had this assumption, then I hope you see this blog post as a way of giving you permission to “let your freak flag fly.”
Collaring: The Basics
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk collaring. While it’s easy to conjure up the above image as a “staple,” collaring has had a long history. In 16th century England, ruffs were all the rage. In the 17th and 18th century Americas, slaves were “owned” with heavy metal collars, sometimes affixed with bells so owners knew when they ran away (things like the cat ‘o nine tails were also “”inspired”” by this time period, but this is a topic that deserves its own blog post). Post-WWII, rocking a collar began to signify rebellion from mainstream values. When you’re choosing your first collar, it’s important to keep in mind that, in your ability to choose who owns you and in what fashion they’d like to own you, it wasn’t always this easy. We’ve come a long way from those who never got a say in the first place.
Collaring in this day and age is quite flexible. You may decide that you only want to wear a collar during a “scene” and be free of it otherwise. Or, you may want to always wear it as proof of being owned. You can pick a collar that can be taken on and off at will, or one that’s lock and key. If you want to be more formal about it, you may decide that you want to go through the “stages” and be trained into it — sort of like the stages of a committed relationship and working your way up to a wedding ring. And, if you are so devoted to the idea of collaring that you do want it to be “for life,” you can even opt into holding a ceremony for it.
If you haven’t yet, decide first what collar will best fit your situation and your needs before you go and buy one of these bad boys.
For those who are starting out: pick a collar that is easy to take on/off, is a material that won’t irritate your skin, and that reflects your own aesthetic tastes. If you are also testing out a D/s relationship with somebody and want to see if this will work in the long haul, this type of collaring is formally known as a Collar of Consideration. It’s a good way to get a feel for what it’s like to be collared without all the commitment that comes with it. After all, if it ends up not working for you, no harm, no foul! You can discard it, or, it can double as a cute accessory you add to your day-to-day life without it meaning more than that.
For those who are further along in the collaring process: you and your dom may already know that you want a “real” collar (also called a Training Collar) to symbolize your relationship to each other, but aren’t sure “what kind.” There are collars reflective of how you engage in the D/s relationship together — here is a comprehensive guide to sorting out what type of collar you might like to wear.
While this guide does go into the more advanced details about what your collar might signal to other people in the scene, don’t let the specifics overwhelm you. Pick what is most meaningful to you and your dom first! Make sure both of you are on the same page about things like: how often you are expected to wear it, if you want it to be discreet or not, the location of the collar (most often the neck, but things like bracelets and anklets are an option), etc. Like with all things kink, the most important thing you can both do is communicate.
Places to Buy
Listed below are a few websites where you can browse for your first collar. I’ve selected places that I myself have either bought from or browsed — all of my recommendations are based on what I felt would work best for other baby subs like myself, and I earn no commission from them.
A list of websites where I gathered my information. Many go into additional detail about things the history and the meaning of a collar, especially for those who are considering the D/s lifestyle 24/7.
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