Fetish collars have long been symbolic of D/s relationships and rituals. The concept probably relates to the practice of putting a collar on another creature to demonstrate your ownership, but also your responsibility for its well being. However, what it means to you is open to interpretation. As no two relationships are the same, D/s or not, it follows that the significance of giving or receiving a collar will differ too. In stable relationships within a power dynamic, piercings, brandings and tattoos are also used as symbols of ownership. Body modification can take many forms, and people in the community often find them arousing per se, so tattoos and intimate piercings can be a powerful way of communicating your desire to please a master. Of course, if things break down you can’t simply give a tattoo back, so modifications should be those you can either live with or remove relatively easily.
It’s argued that the 1970’s leather community had a hierarchical system of S&M collars, and as a sub progressed through the ranks, this was reflected in the quality of their collar. However, this is rejected by others who say the different types of collar referred to the kinds of activity a slave enjoyed. Just like the hanky code of the 1970’s, the construction of a collar signposted a wearer's specific fetishes. Without a consensus, it’s hard to be sure of the BDSM collar's true history, and even today it’s impossible to attribute one single meaning to the practice of giving or wearing one. Nevertheless, whether it is obtrusively or subtly worn, the collar is now an integral part of our lifestyle and culture, with a particular set of protocols. Whether you’re involved in a BDSM community with formal ceremonies, or you meet up in a more relaxed way, you’ll be aware of the rules for interaction with a collared sub and their master. As an outsider, common sense dictates that you should ask permission of the master before interacting with the sub. Sometimes a sub is denied any interaction with others, that’s just how they both like it, and you can be sure they've agreed on those conditions in advance, so don’t feel offended by silence. Below are some of the collars you can choose...
Collars are often given specific titles to imbue them with meaning. The giving and receiving of a Formal Collar is akin to marriage; they are the ultimate declaration of mutuality in the community. Fetish lovers often go for a full-on public celebration to mark such a massive event. They may repeat a set of vows in front of their friends from the community, just like a wedding, but with each stage devised by the couple.
Subs can also wear fetish collars to move around the sadomasochistic community in a way which makes them feel secure and protected, yet able to explore their kink. At the start of a new romantic or play relationship a master could give a Consideration Collar—both parties are sizing each other up and deciding whether to get more serious. Consideration Collars might also signal that a couple is now monogamous.
At a party, many subs like to wear Play Collars as a way of encouraging a hot dom they like the look of, and announcing that a sadomasochistic scene has started. After an intense session, the collar can be removed to let other people know they’re out of the subzone.
If you’re in a happy and loving bondage relationship, one way of demonstrating it is by wearing a Situation Collar. This collar is usually put on at events where a sub wants to make their slave status public, the connotations are clear for other people, and you both have an erotic symbol of your kinky relationship to show off.
Although the BDSM community has identifiable rules, because we’re all individuals rigidly defined roles can suck the joy out of a situation. If you’re considering a new neckpiece, take your time. A fetish collar can cement a long-term relationship or be a sexy toy to chain up your beast. What it means to you, or you as a couple, must be negotiated—so talk dirty. By discussing the terms with your playmate, no one is being taken to the next level before they’re ready and you can agree on exactly what this physical reminder of your commitment means.
Images by grendelkhan and Elmo Love with CC BY 2.0 Lizenz
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