Haberdashery on BDSM, Slave Collars, and Me



Ahh I’m really growing to love the Kink of the Week topics because it forces me to reexamine my own views and practices on BDSM, Kink and how I choose to play (and on occasion why).   So Jade has picked a potential lightning rod again with the choice of collars.  To me the topic seems as split and polarizing for many as religion and politics.  Time will tell if I’m right.
As usual I’m going to meander a bit mixing answer’s to Jade’s well thought out discussion starters with a bit of personal history and philosophy (which is neither more right or wrong than anyone else’s) so please bear with me.  Secondly I mean no offense to anyone else’s views or lifestyle choices this is merely my opinion and what works for me and the people in my life.  
And so I’ll begin.  
-Mal
 
Woman wearing a BDSM Collar“In our house not even the dog wears a collar” is a line I’ve been using for about 6 years or so and was also true.  It came up when someone was looking to out me “as not a real player” once asked if I had collared the Blonde.  It was followed by “no I did something far more sadistic; I married her”.  The answer however cavalierly I originally stated it stuck.  It is a reflection both of my own (comfortable) outsider status with some in the more “traditional” BDSM community and by the fact that while a dominant I consider the Blonde my equal as a partner in life.  Yes I know that makes me a casual player or an outright fake to a lot of the “true” tops.   To which I say OK, you live your way and I’ll live mine. And I don’t really want to hang with your vibe anymore than you want to hang with my poser ass.   Now on to the Q&A for a bit
Have you ever seen a woman or a man in the grocery store with a beautiful, choker-style necklace, and wondered, “Is he/she kinky?”  Absolutely, but I also look beyond a collar or necklace quite often and find myself wondering if someone is kinky by how they are dressed, things that are said, or even how they carry themselves.   On occasion I have also judged (perhaps unfairly) people in public situations as playing with imagery such as a collar or other BDSM symbolism and not understanding the meaning it conveys to people like myself.  Then again maybe they do, since I rarely speak up and ask opting to mind my own business.      
What is it that makes this such a recognizable and enduring symbol of the BDSM lifestyle? 
Myth, mystery and ritual aside I think collars primarily serve as a marker and a symbol of a relationship within BDSM community or fetish world.  Looking throughout history people mark their territory in a variety of ways and there is nothing wrong with it.  A collar is really not much different than a wearing a boyfriends’ class ring, varsity jacket, fraternity pin or an engagement ring, wedding ring or in my case playfully swatting the Blonde on the ass whenever I feel like it.   Almost all of us mark our turf in one way or another.
Collars are what you and the other person involved make of them, nothing less nothing more.
Do you have or have you ever worn a collar as a symbol, or had a partner you had “collared” or to whom you were “collared”?
Simply not my style. I have bought countless necklaces for people (if jewelry buying were a fetish I’d qualify but am doing well in recovery) but they’ve never had a meaning beyond the obvious commonplace gesture or symbolism.   Several years back when I first got serious about my rope work I started weaving things that I simply thought were pretty into to bracelets or necklaces.  It seemed like an out cropping of knitting more than anything dark or kinky; an activity for idle hands when my mind was racing.  One day while sitting at my desk it dawned on me they might be construed as a collar.  The items were placed in a box and I went back to tying up my chair while on con calls. No mistaking my intention there.
What does the symbolism mean to you (if anything)?
My first experience with people wearing collars and chokers was not in terms of BDSM anything but in music (granted it is a very fine line looking back at some of the lyrics).   Growing up I wore leathers and spikes. Punk and Metal friends wore collars not because they were owned by or submissive to anyone but in part as a fashion statement and for shock value.
Looking at the others who write here the collars (play and everyday) that Alice wears are sacred to her and Lord Raven.   I treat it as such; in general I do my best to respect the intention of the person wearing it and their partner (if applicable) no matter who it is. For another partner of mine it’s simply a piece of fetish wear that makes her feel sexy and submissive.  She bought it for herself and occasionally wears it to play.  She is neither my property, nor my slave, or anything of the sort.  While I do adore her it’s just play clothes to me and nothing deeper in that case. I will not however help her fasten or unfasten it because of my perception of that meaning something more to many others.  (Ha and I thought I was a complete renegade until this point. OK not really)
 
Does being collared have the same level of commitment as being married?
This is a tough one. Yes and No.  There is no universal truth to what it means, everyone is different.  For Raven and Alice it’s a deeper commitment than simply being married. For others and perhaps too many being collared is viewed as nonchalantly as people marring and divorcing. For some people marriage means only one partner forever, for others there are many partners both casual and long term.  For many my marriage represents an abomination or perversion of the institution.  For us it works (most of the time)
I do have a rule that has only one exception – If you are wearing a collar I will not ever approach you to play, I will not flirt, or cavort with you.  I will talk, be polite, and charming on occasion but it will go no further.  If approached by you to scene I will ask about your collar and decide accordingly.
The exception is Alice – She wears Raven’s collar and I will cavort, flirt, and ask her to play.   I was a pre-negotiated part of her arrangement.  At first it was flattering but awkward but since LR and I have become good friends it actually seems perfectly normal.  (LR & AK please correct me if I’ve mis-represented this)  The truth is the two of us tend to scheme and team up on her if and when we get the chance so it works well and is a lot of fun for me.
To further complicate matters I love fucking with women in engagement rings and occasionally a wedding band if the vibe is right.   Ironically I’d never do that to a person in a collar so I suppose that says something about my flawed character and view of what is sacred if nothing else.
 
What about different “levels” of collars (training, play, consideration, ownership, etc.)?
If that’s your thing sure, have at it. I’m just happy when my shirt collars have brass stays in them and don’t curl up.
 
Or maybe you or your partner(s) only use them as part of a scene, as another toy in your kinky toy box?
Ok I admit it I put a collar on the dog when we went to the park and the vet. Beyond that there are no collars in my toy box or elsewhere, If someone I play with wants one that’s what Fetish boutiques, vendor fairs at kink events, and Amazon is for. 
Perhaps it isn’t about symbolism, but the feel of leather or steel under your hand or around your throat that excites you and sets a scene.
I like leather, and I like steel in fashion, art and kink so no objections but given the choice of a woman in a collar or a corset or great heels I’d pick options 3 & 2 far before the collar.
What about collars in public? Have you or do you wear a collar in public, or have a partner that does, as a symbol or as part of a scene?
If you want to self identify in public, go for it!  Whether it’s a seemingly demure necklace, a leather spiked dog collar, or something steel that is locked if it’s part of your look and you’re not flaunting it inappropriately (explaining it to everyone who walks by) there is no harm.
I’m going to go off topic here a bit. As a Top I do things, however subtle that symbolize to me and on occasion a few others what my interests are and my role. For submissive in many cases it’s a collar, or a style of dress, an outfit.  For me it begins with my boots.  They are an obvious outward sign of my kink.  The rest of the world sees a guy in jeans and black boots in a T shirt.  I see a sadist in everyday clothes who just got done or is planning to do something really mean to a willing partner who somewhere down the road but at the moment just happened to be out of strawberries, cake, or coffee.  Now I’m going to make some bold assumptions here that other tops self identify in public life too, just in different ways as their submissive such as head to toe black, etc.  No one may ever know, they may never even think of it in those terms but odds are a lot of folks do it. 
 

Final Thoughts

Damn I’m long winded on this one.   Looking back over the piece I made some rather sexist assumptions in my examples.  I considered editing them but looking at it as a male top who plays with female bottoms it is simply my view.  Couples of different orientations would have their views and examples (varsity jacket etc) that would be fitting to them.  I didn’t point out the occasional conflicts caused by those who view collars as only fit for relationships vs. people who like to simply wear them for play and the divisions or verbal jousting it can cause.

18 Replies to “Haberdashery on BDSM, Slave Collars, and Me”

  1. I don’t think you’ve been offensive at all – you’ve explained your viewpoint and been respectful of others’. For S and me, when my collar is on, we’re playing, but that’s as far as it goes and again, that may be offensive to some, but to us it’s a signal, a ritual or way for me to get into that submissive headspace. We like what we like and we do what we do, much like it sounds you do!

    1. Anna,
      Usually I write the disclaimers/ intro after having written the piece. This time I just let it flow from start to finish.. Rarely do i intend to be offensive (occasionally i do it to get a rise but typically not out of the kink set it’s more when I jack with Nillas who can’ mind their own business) but figured better safe than sorry on this topic since I’ve seen such strong reactions from some folks in the past.
      Mal

    1. Well thank you. I’ve been called a lot of things but I don’t thing eloquent has ever been one of them.

  2. You are correct in your write about this Malflic. I consider you a great friend and brother and you are always welcome in our circle. I love this write and know we all do not see collars the same way. You are correct, to the two of us it is something much deeper than a wedding band would ever mean.
    Not all players need to be into collars, iis after all a personal choice and if the dog doesn’t wear one then I don’t see why anyone else should. Plus your right, a true sadistic person marries them and makes them really suffer…lol
    Great write brother

    1. LR,
      Someday I’ll send you my first pass where I took on the topic in a tongue and cheek manner discussing the different type of shirt collars in my closet at a painful length. It was completely of topic but did lead me to realize I should have gone in to fashion based on my useless knowledge of that subject.
      Mal

  3. You really brought up some interesting points and your post really offered a lot to think about. For example, I never have considered that the topic of collars could be polarizing in the sense of a discussion on politics or religion but of course you are absolutely right about that. In fact that brings to mind something else you also alluded to when you mentioned past experiences with people attempting to “out” you as not being an authentic practitioner simply because you do not happen to view collars as something necessary in your approach to the lifestyle. That is an issue that I really find troubling, the lack of tolerance for different views within the BDSM community. We above all people should be open and tolerant to the views of others yet far too often you can meet people who think their way is the only way. The fact is there is no way that I know of to do BDSM incorrectly. It is a matter of what a person finds works for him and his partner(s). Your views of course are just as correct and valid as those of someone who does see a collar as an integral part of power exchange relationships. Thanks for a very insightful read.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that is was thought provoking. In fairness a most people I come across accept others lifestyle differences with little issue but to your point sadly there always seems to be a subset who see things in only one light. Perhaps the term conformist BDSMers could be used. If nothing else it would be a fun term to toss out to them.

  4. I got my start with collars by wearing them out in public not as part of any dom or sub type scenario but just as an aesthetic I like. I don’t think it makes you any more of a poser to not want to collar anyone. This was a refreshing post with a nicely divergent point of view from the usual kinksters. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Well thank you. I enjoyed your take on the topic and had never considered furries as using collars and the meaning of a lead within that world was very insightful.

  5. Hey you. 🙂 Enjoyed this post (as I have all of your additions to the KOTW!) As usual, thought-provoking with a dash of humor. 😉
    Actually, on a personal level, you have helped me to understand W’s viewpoint on collars a bit better. He has much the same inclination about them (as well as where he “fits” in the BDSM “conformist” world – ie he doesn’t, and doesn’t want to.) Like you, he likes to do what he likes to do, and if that doesn’t make him a “twue dom” well… ~shrug~ He doesn’t give a fig. As it should be, since it works for us – and, it seems, for you and yours.
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. The flip answer is I’ve never been one of the cool kids so I’ve always done things my own way and created my own world.
      Like W I’ve always known I don’t fit in with much of the mainstream BDSM world and honestly never really tried. I used to feel conflicted about from time to time but it was a passing conversation with Mr. Ogre that put my mind at ease. He was shooting Diva’s senior pictures and he and I were just waiting for her to come out in her next outfit and he asked “so you and the Blonde play?” and when i added “…but she won’t play in public” he looked at me and said “So what”. It was like a light went on.
      Though I will admit that I look at some of the local outings monthly (Flog, Taboo, etc) and contemplate going.

  6. Like so much of kink it is open to individual interruption and definition which is actually why the whole subject of BDSM and kink lends itself to blogging and writing I think. We all share such strong similarities and yet we are all widely different at the same time. I love that.
    This line sums it up for me though “Collars are what you and the other person involved make of them, nothing less nothing more.” I couldn’t agree more. Despite my collars I would say that we are not a couple for high protocol and are certainly not into the ‘dress code’ that a lot of the scene seems to be but to us and between us the collar is a powerful thing and something that turns us both on.
    Mollyxxx

    1. So I snuck off to read your post on the topic prior to responding as to have a reference point for the role of collars in your relationship. Ironically your mention of Philadelphia sent me skipping down memory lane and has left me sitting in the sun smiling and remembering my good old days.

  7. This is a lovely post that really provokes people into thinking about their own situations. Like Molly, we are not high on protocol, but do things our way. Collars are present in our D/s relationship and I would not want to be without them. It’s important to us and I don’t care whether we use it according to protocol or not. We are doing what we want.
    Thanks for yet again a great post 🙂
    Rebel xox

    1. Thank you for the compliments. I’ve found everyone else take on the topic so insightful.

  8. It’s interesting to see someone so unenthused about the idea of collars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, and it is a perfectly valid view to have. Just because everyone else does one thing, does not mean it has to be the standard or the definition. There are people in the BDSM community who don’t like bondage, for example, and that is seen as alright, so why not this? Collars certainly aren’t in the acronym 😉

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