For some, a collar might just be the finishing touch to a fetish outfit or something worn only during play, but for others, there's a deeper meaning. They are a frequent sight at many fetish nights and have been part of the fetish scene for decades.
Let's unlock the significance of collars and collaring.
A bit of background on collars
Collars vary widely in terms of design and what they're made of. Some of the most common include simple leather, PVC or rubber neckbands and metal chains with or without padlocks. The varying size of commercial dog collars make them accessible enough for human wear or if you simply want to try it on for size.
Generally speaking, collars are worn by subs to convey their identity within a BDSM context and many collars have an O or D-ring attachment so that they can be connected to a leash or a fixed object, or tied to another part of the body for restriction or harnessing; whilst some collars may denote ownership of the sub.
Collars are also heavily representative for subs within the pup scene, forming a key part of getting into the pup persona and the bond with the pack, Handler or Dom. Whilst other collars such as the posture collar, would usually be made of leather and cover the whole neck from the jaw to the shoulders, designed to hold the head still and restrict the wearer's view and sense of control.
What is collaring?
For some subs and Doms collars are a symbol of the power play relationship between them and 'collaring' is a physical act of a Dom declaring ownership over their sub, often choosing the collar for the sub to wear, as this is a visual representation of the surrendering of control.
Within the scene there's a process to collaring, although like many aspects of fetish, these can be up for interpretation. Many Doms start by picking out lighter training or consideration collars for their subs in the early stages of a relationship. As the bond between them grows and the sub becomes willing to give up more and more autonomy, the Dom can introduce increasingly substantial collars to reflect this.
Eventually, if the Dom and sub become completely committed to each other, the Dom may present the sub with a permanent collar and might include bands that are worn around the wrist or ankle, making it easier to wear them all the time. The locking of a collar holds special significance along with the ownership of the keys; usually bestowing a greater sense of trust and ownership over the sub.
Although it's traditional for Doms to collar subs, some subs might don an unlocked collar, or hold the keys to their own lock whilst cruising to signify that they're looking for a new Dom or Trainer.
Collars can be incredibly meaningful, so it's important to take this into account. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a casual wearer and an owned sub when out and about, so it's best not to make any assumptions. Whatever you do, never touch anyone's collar without consent – it's a no-no and you could cause real offence.
Ultimately, a collar is a pretty personal item of gear. Keeping an open mind, and asking fellow Recon members for their take, can help you decide what a collar could mean to you.
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