What is a BDSM collar, and how to choose one?

BDSM culture is something that a large segment of the population has no clue about. Like with any subculture, there are tons of traditions to which people in this subsection of society ascribe. To some people, these could be considered simple jewellery items or play items. However, to people in the BDSM community, a collar has a very special meaning and should be taken seriously.

A BDSM collar is used as a symbol of commitment within a dominant/submissive relationship. The collar is worn by the submissive partner in the relationship and signifies their role within this relationship dynamic. The choice of collar depends on the level of commitment between the dominant and submissive.

To understand the BDSM collar, it is important to understand the nature of a Dominant/submissive relationship, as well as a little bit about the BDSM culture on the whole. While to some, the collar may be used only as a toy in a playful sexual setting, to others the collar is a precious item that signifies a serious commitment.

A collar can be the ultimate symbol of ownership and power in a BDSM relationship, which is accepted and agreed upon by both people in the relationship.

Many factors enter into choosing a collar, whether about physical aspects such as materials, shapes and fit or how different collars relate to varying levels of the Dominant/submissive relationship.

What Does Your Collar Represent For You?

There are two extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to BDSM collars. Understanding this difference is key to understanding what is best for you in terms of collar choice. 

On the one end of the spectrum is the couple who dabble in BDSM play and use collars purely for fun during sex. Regardless of who plays the dominant or submissive role, the collar comes off when the sex is over and the roles assumed during playtime disappear. Both people resume their usual roles in the relationship.

On the other end of the spectrum is the couple involved in a full time dominant/submissive relationship. In this case, the collar signifies a commitment to each other and won’t be removed unless the relationship ends.

The collar is a solemn symbol of their dominant/submissive relationship, and they assume the above roles in every aspect of their daily lives. In this case, the dominant/submissive dynamic applies to each person on a 24/7 basis.

There are various levels to this commitment, each becoming more serious, and with these levels come different types of collars with varying symbolism attached to each. The highest level of collaring is equivalent to marriage in a dominant/submissive relationship. So it becomes tough at this stage to break off the relationship.

Couples set out strict rules for collar use specific to their unique relationship. Adhering to these rules is often seen as sacred, with consequences for breaking the rules within the relationship.

What To Consider When Choosing a BDSM Collar

Type of use

When choosing a BDSM collar, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you must consider how you will use the collar. Is it for play purposes only in an experimental sexual setting, or will it be used in a serious dominant/submissive relationship? 

If your collar is purely for fun, then the type of collar you’ll use will be significantly different to a collar used in a committed dominant/submissive relationship. For example, inexperienced players in BDSM could injure themselves if they use collars with complex fastening mechanisms.

In this case, play collars with Velcro fastenings are the preferable option in terms of safety for beginners and allow for easy removal of the collar if things become a little bit too hectic for either person. 

Experienced players in BDSM would make use of more advanced collars with more difficult-to-loosen mechanisms of closure. These people have the experience necessary to remove the collar in an emergency.

Fit and comfort

The next thing to consider when choosing a collar is the fit and comfort. A collar should be comfortable for the submissive to wear and should not cause any pain or discomfort. This is especially important if the collar is going to be worn for more extended periods.

How tight a collar should depend on the wearer. The person wearing the collar must be comfortable with the degree of tightness. A too-tight collar may restrict movement or air intake more than desired, while a too-loose collar may not achieve the desired effect of restriction.

Materials and style

The materials from which the collar is made is another vital thing to consider, as the wearer should enjoy wearing the collar and feel physically comfortable while wearing it.

Certain materials are more comfortable for some people to wear, and each person will have their personal preferences for the type of material they’d enjoy for their collar. It would be best if you also considered any allergies to materials used in your BDSM collar. 

The style of collar is another consideration, and this is a highly personal choice. There are many different collar styles available. Each person will have their specific preferences for style, whether from a purely aesthetic point of view or one of comfort associated with each different type.

Types of BDSM Collars

There are several types of collars on the market, each with its unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

The materials used most of the time for collars include leather, PVC, stainless steel and even rubber. Leather is the most popular option in most cases. However, it’s always dependent on personal preference.

Other materials such as cotton, nylon and neoprene are also used. However, these materials are usually used in collars worn purely for fashion purposes.

In addition to their initial material construction, collars can be decorated with spikes, nails, studs, buckles, straps, hooks, and padlocks.

There are many types of BDSM collars, including day collars, posture collars, halter collars, turian collars, and wolf collars. At the same time, shock collars and pet play collars are only designed for specific circumstances.

Day collars are usually simple collars made elegantly, making it easier to wear them in public undetected. These can be necklaces which are a secret symbol between you and your partner.

Turian collars are usually simple metal collars that allow for the added use of a padlock. 

Posture collars, on the other hand, are almost like a corset for your neck. A posture collar, usually made of leather, assists in maintaining correct posture for the wearer, ensuring they keep their chin up and their neck extended at all times while wearing it.

Halter collars, also known as drop collars, are collars that drop down on the front, allowing for more movement and freedom for the wearer. This also allows for more comfort over a more extended period. Halter collars can also have a decorative pendant hanging on the lowest part of the dropped section.

Wolf collars, as the name suggests, were used in the past to protect dogs from wolves. These are usually leather collars with metal spikes or studs. In a BDSM setting, the wolf collar aesthetic is usually more decorative than functional.

Consideration Stage of Collaring

When it comes to serious BDSM relationships, the consideration stage of collaring is the first stage. As the name implies, the collar signifies that the relationship is under consideration by both parties.

The collar symbolises the beginning of a new relationship and is not offered or accepted lightly by either party involved. It is usually provided by the dominant after a few months of meetings, discussions, play parties and fetish events where the two have been able to get to know each other.

The collar signifies the beginning of a potential new relationship, and either party can decide at any point to end the relationship. 

The period of consideration is essentially a specifically agreed-upon period during which the submissive can establish the needs and lifestyle of the dominant, establish whether this is suitable for them, and decide if the submissive lifestyle is something that they would like to continue.

During the period of consideration, the consideration collar signifies to other dominants at parties or play events that this submissive is essentially “off-limits” and should not be approached.

It should be noted that while this stage of collaring is not a lifetime commitment, it should be respected by outsiders.

After the consideration period has run its course, usually after six months, the dominant and submissive will discuss renewing the consideration period for a longer time, moving to the next level, or going their separate ways. 

Both parties’ needs, wants, and expectations are discussed and clearly established, and adjustments are made as necessary before moving forward. 

If both the dominant and submissive decide that this is the type of relationship they want, they can take it to the next level, the training stage. 

Training Stage of Collaring

The training stage of collaring is the second stage, which is considered a more serious relationship between a dominant and submissive. The training can be purely from a skills point of view, where the submissive is being trained and taught all the ins and outs of the dominant/submissive dynamic.

The alternative – and most likely – option is establishing interpersonal compatibility between both people during the training period. They decide if they are suited for one another in the long term.

At this point, extensive discussions have been had where likes and dislikes are established, as well as needs and desires. The two people have been able to establish other aspects of their compatibility, including sexual and physical, as well as goals in life and relationship.

The central premise of the training stage is that there is good potential for the relationship to develop further and become more serious as time passes. A training collar is considered equivalent to an engagement ring in this context. 

When compared to something like an engagement in non-BDSM society, the training collar period is similar in the level of commitment and in terms of emotions and responsibilities, with a potential to commit for life.

Before moving into this phase of the relationship, it is essential to establish rules and boundaries and carefully consider if both parties desire this phase. There may be high levels of internal conflict within both dominant and submissive regarding this level of commitment.

When committed at this level, it may mean that the dominant can no longer play with or explore possible connections with other submissives. This level of commitment might be intimidating for either person as it can limit their freedom. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that clear rules and boundaries are established for which freedoms are permitted within the relationship. 

Slave Stage of Collaring

The slave stage of collaring, also referred to as the permanent collar, is the ultimate step in a dominant/submissive relationship. This signifies an unbreakable bond between dominant and submissive.

The collar is presented to the submissive in a special ceremony. Once the collar has been placed on the submissive, it signifies the beginning of a lifelong commitment. This is the ultimate sign of ownership and control between the two people involved.

Once at this level of BDSM collaring, it is almost impossible for the relationship to end. In rare cases, the dominant can create an end to the relationship, but this is exceptionally uncommon, causing extreme heartbreak in most cases, equivalent in some ways to divorce.

BDSM collar buying guide

As you’ve learned, BDSM collars come in many different forms with different occasions, aesthetics and materials. in this section we are maintaining a buying guide of our favourite collars in each category. Check back often.

Best affordable leather slave collar

1 Ring Bondage Leather Slave Collar with Locking Buckles

Luxurious Bliss – $24.99

This leather slave collar available from Luxurious Bliss is perfect for beginners and people more experienced with BDSM.

We praise it for its sturdy construction, comfortable soft leather and attractive appearance. The great thing about this collar is you won’t need to break the leather in, you will be able to start play as soon as you get it.

Best day collar

Celtic knot discreet day collar

Celtic knot day collar

Captive Collars – $78.99

We love this discreet and elegant day collar from Captive Collars. It’s stylish and well made. Perfect for 24/7 wear.

It has a variety of locking mechanisms available including a permanent lock.

Best slave collar for men

Mister B Leather Slave Collar 4 D-Rings Black

Leather slave collar with four D-rings

Mister B – €49.00

If you’re a submissive man you definitely want to consider this leather slave collar from Mister B. With four D-rings it’s suitable for a wide variety of bondage play.

The leather is high quality and it comes in six different colours.

Conclusion

BDSM collars can be seen either as simple equipment used for fun or as a symbol with a far deeper meaning. Between these two ends of the spectrum, there are endless variations. It all comes down to the personal preferences of the two people involved in the relationship.

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