A collar in BDSM symbolizes a commitment that has often been compared to a wedding ring. This type of commitment comes in other forms, such as a brand, a tattoo, a piercing.... Each symbolizing the pledge of the Dominant to their submissive to protect, love and cherish them. When the submissive accepts the collar, the submissive surrenders to the Dominant and makes a promise to be devoted and loyal. Some collars are made with no clasp to signify the never ending love of the relationship. Other collars have a ring to attach a leash and a place for an engraved tag or pendant to show ownership. The collar is to be worn in the presence of the Dominant at all times. When apart, all the submissive needs to do is touch it to be reminded of the bond they share. Each collaring is a unique symbol of love, respect and a bond between two people who care greatly for each other. In these pages the members of #submission would like to share their unique collaring with you....

 ...From a submissive

I was asked to write an article on collars/collaring. I told KttN no one would be interested in what I had to say about the subject. I've only been collared once in almost 4 years of being involved in D/s and have not worn a collar in almost a year and a half. This does not exactly make me an authority on the subject, though it does make me an anomoly in the online D/s community where there are those who change collars more often then most people change their socks.

bdsm and collarsA collar means different things to different people. Each unique relationship defines it in their own way. It truly doesn't matter if anyone else understands their particular significance as long as the two involved mutualy agree and understand it. That being true, no one can give a definitive explaination of what a collar is or what it is supposed to signify. Only within our own hearts and within each relationship can we do that. What follows are my thoughts, feelings and perceptions. No one else's.

Some liken a collar to wedding ring which is an easy and convenient analogy. A collar around the neck is an outward symbol of ownership and commitment just like a wedding ring signifies to all that the person wearing it is "taken".

But I believe the similarities end there. A wedding ring binds two people in a court of law, but doesn't necessarily mean anything more. Not every marriage is merely a formality by any stretch of the imagination, but we've all seen loveless marriages of convenience or marriages filled with neglect and abuse to illustrate the point.

I humbly believe a collar binds two hearts, two souls together at a much deeper level then a mere wedding ring ever can. Where a wedding ring is but placed upon a finger and a piece of paper is signed, legally obligating the two parties to one another, a collar isn't merely placed around a neck. It is secured around one's heart.

A collar symbolizes not only ownership, commitment, love and devotion, but embodies the qualities of honor, respect and trust. As a submissive, when I accept a collar, I pledge to focus my entire being on Master, making His pleasure my joy. It symbolizes Him becoming the center of my universe, my island where I can retreat to, to find peace, pleasure, comfort and strength before heading back out into the world. It represents my promise to honor Him with my every word and action, to take Him into my heart and soul and carry Him with me all the days of my life. A collar is a tangible reminder of "home", the only place I truly Master's feet...the one place I can truly be me, free to explore and express my heart and desires without fear.

The advent of the internet and IRC has lead to many changes within the D/s community, primarily in making information accessible and providing a place for exploration. Computers are a safe place to explore. One can "try on" new feelings and explore different scenarios in the comfort of their living rooms without really having to experience the sting of a whip and each person has the ability to turn off their computer and walk away if uncomfortable. This has brought into the D/s community scores of people who are merely curious or who view an evening on IRC in a bdsm channel as an entertaining diversion from their mundane lives.

The popularity and ease of the internet has sometimes obscured the real significance of a collar, even though, most surely, most are seeking those deeper joys. The result is that all too often on IRC, collars are trivialized. There is no honor, no commitment as many participate in what is often refered to as the "Collar of the Month Club." I know my even mentioning this fact will anger many, but I speak the truth and everyone has seen it themselves whether they can be honest enough to admit it or not.

collar picHow often do we see bored housewives, clearly unfailthful (at least in thought if not in deed) to their husbands, parading their {collar} on a channel while sanctimoniously declaring their abiding love and fidelity to a man they've never laid eyes on and never intend to meet? How often do we see men hitting on anything female (pulse is optional to some) and collaring the first woman to say yes just to get off on some cybersex? Where is the honor, respect, beauty and symbolism in the collar, let alone in the relationship, in these situations?

Not all relationships or collarings on IRC are as I've described. For many IRC is also a springboard to real life encounters and has it's place as a mode of communication in long distance relationships. There are many who, for whatever reason, can not explore D/s in their real life and IRC is their only outlet for expression.

Their heart is sincere, their feelings very real. In such cases the bond forged over time leading to a collaring online can produce just as deep and just as intense an emotional/ spiritual relationship as can be obtained in real life. (Though I venture to say, in online only relationships, something is always missing due to the lack of actual physical touch or something so simple, yet so v ital, as being able to look into someone's eyes.)

Before one can even begin to consider collaring or be collared, I believe a few things are necessary such as honesty with self and excellent communications skills. Honesty with self means being able to look deep inside, acknowledging who and what you are, accepting that, being that to the best of your abilities and then to communicate that sense of self to your partner. There is no dishonor in being honest. If you are Dominant or submissive, admit it and embrace it. Some aren't Dominant or submissive, but are just people who enjoy kinky or rough sex. Others truly are but can not take it to real life. Some are just bored and view D/s as entertainment. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and with your partner before offering or accepting that collar. If one can not do that, then the result is strangers coming together briefly, both quickly growing disillusioned or worse yet, being hurt, then left wondering what went wrong..."this time".

collared whitneyBe honest with yourself, not only about who and what you are, but about what your needs are. Are you looking for a casual, no strings attached play partner? Are you looking for online only or to move to real time? Are you looking for parttime D/s or a 24/7 relationship? How much time and attention do you sincerely need in order to feel secure in a relationship? Are your basic needs primarily sexual in nature, more emotional/spiritual or a combination? These questions need to be answered and then one needs to communicate the answers to their partner *before* collaring.

Know yourself first and then take the time to get to know your partner. Anyone who tries to rush you into a collaring, must have their motives suspect. All good things take time and there is never a reason to rush into any relationship, especially one as serious as a collar. If someone tries to force or press the issue and you aren't ready, take a step back and assess the situation.

This is a huge red flag. What is it this person really wants? Do they just want a little cybersex, a little excitement, to get off? Are they just so desperate not to be alone? Do they feel the need to fit in, peer pressure, so want to collar or be collared to be part of the "in crowd"? Is this a game for them, a conquest? Are they on the rebound? A sincere D/s relationship takes time.

A collar is not a play thing. It is not equivilent to "going steady" nor is it a status symbol. A collaring is a serious contract, if you will, between two parties pledging their love and devotion to one another. It should never be entered into lightly, but only after great forethought and taking the time to get to know one another extremely well. In accepting a collar, a submissive pledges to give her entire heart, mind, body and soul to another, to surrender completely to Him. In offering a collar a Master agrees to cherish, protect, nurture and care for the submissive in all ways, to appreciate and never abuse the gift He has been given.

A collar embodies the heart and soul of both the Master and the submissive. For me, I will accept no collar until that Master not only owns my heart, but has become my soul. cinnamon^

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