I didn’t always wear a collar and it didn’t happen to me like it did in the books. In the fiction I read it was part of the formality of their agreement and it came after a time of being together as play partners I guess. Alternatively the experienced Dom would find the sub within the woman and the collar would be presented to the her, often in a special box, with others from his community cheering on. This was a sign that their relationship has moved beyond just the play and that there was now a level of emotional responsibility and attachment I suppose. A collar seemed to mean that the sub was under the Dom’s protection and he would make decisions for her. If the collar was taken from her, or returned to him, everything was off.
My first collar came from the pet shop and it was black with studs and much too big – I am thinking more of a bulldog than a kitten! HisLordship produced it one day early on in our D/s and it wasn’t so much about the fact the relationship has moved to a different level but more about the fact he thought it was a bit kinky and it would be nice to see me wearing it on a visual level. It did feel quite sexy to have him fix it around my neck and he took it down to the garage to make some extra holes so that it fitted around my neck more snugly. There was still a long bit of leather which would flap around though so it was never something I thought about wanting to wear more often. More of a kinky novelty really.
For the first two years we were D/s it was in the bedroom only and it felt very different to the way that things are now. It was a bit off and on really and we found it hard to sustain the sort of mindsets that we needed to make it work well. Although we played with Domination and submission during that time, and sometimes that thrill spilt over into the rest of our lives in a hot and secretive splash, I don’t count us as being D/s until 5 years ago when we adopted it as a lifestyle. We both made a formal commitment to each other that to extend the dynamic beyond the bedroom and into other parts of our lives was what we wanted and that is what made the real difference to the way that we work together.
When that happened it felt significant and wearing a collar felt like part of that. It was at this point that we first discussed something that I could wear all the time. While it would have been nice to wear a traditional collar, I knew that my world was not ready for that and so we chose a silver necklace which was more subtle than many of the collars we were first drawn to. Having said that, I did feel it had to be something that was clearly a collar to those who knew, so we chose a shackled heart which we felt said what we wanted it to. Clearly this was the case as my daughter announced one day that she “knew what it meant” as she had read ‘The Story of O’, but that is a different story.
Last year HL bought me a new day collar. It is a molten silver circle and less obviously BDSM than the previous one. It fits more with the style of jewellery that I wear and so overall feels more ‘me’. When we chose the first one I felt like it had to be recognisable as a collar somehow to those who knew, but further down the line, that is no longer a concern. It has meaning to us and that is all that matters. It is less about others in the know being able to read our secret code, as we no longer feel that we need that. Again, I think that was a throwback to the fiction. And yes, there must be other married couples like us quietly living the dynamic within their suburban lifestyle, but wearing an obvious collar has not brought about an invitation into an underworld of friends like us. If they are here, they are not recognisable to us so it makes little difference whether I am identifiable or not.
The longer I have worn my collar, the more it has become part of me. Wearing a collar is something that is now an integral part of who I am. It is as important for me as wearing my wedding band and without it I feel naked. It has symbolic value in the same way as my ring, but it means more to me. It is a second level of commitment. It is about giving all of what I am and more. It is about the intimacy of the relationship between myself and HisLordship. It is about those things which are unspoken in public but exist there just the same. It says that I am his. It says that I submit to him. It says that I belong to him. While my ring can some of the same things, my collar takes each to its ultimate point.
It isn’t that the collar makes the commitment but it is one of the symbols that we use and so it is a significant part for us. It is about the emotional, the spiritual and the mental parts of our D/s and it has become less about the sexual part than I had thought it would. Some of this is to do with practicalities. It would not be possible to incorporate this collar into play in the way we had with the original pet shop one. In actual fact the pet shop collar was quite soon replaced with a more substantial play collar – black leather with red fur and a set of matching cuffs. I have to say that I do get hot under the collar when wearing one for play. It adds another layer in the same sort of way as my day collar. It says firmly that I am his, with the emphasis on his ownership of my body.
When we went to our first kink event, HL bought me black and white leather collar and cuffs and that is the one that I have worn out in public most often. We have also used it with a lead attached and it does put me firmly into a certain headspace. When he gets out this collar I know that the play will be of a certain nature and usually it will form part of a longer scene. It is sturdy and the fixings mean that it can be used for predicament bondage so there is always a heady association of memories attached to it when it is attached to me. It is quite thick so wearing it out meant that I am aware of it at all times. This is something I love and it helps me to remain in a submissive headspace even though we are out with others.
We also have a metal slave collar which we use for play. The wearing of this marks a change in protocol to a type of play where I am much more directed. The use of Collar Time is something that we introduced a few years ago when we wanted to explore things a bit more deeply. While we wanted to retain the easy fun elements of our relationship, we also wanted to be able to be more formal at times so the use of this collar marks a higher level of protocol than we would usually have. This can last for the duration of a scene, but could also be for a weekend or a longer period if that is what HL decides.
I can’t imagine being without a collar, or collars, as the symbolic value that they hold within our dynamic is pretty huge. They say things to us and they mean things to us and they have become a big part of who and what we are. Saying that, they are after all only material things and the real meaning comes from what lies under the collar. While we use them as part of what we do, they really just illuminate and represent the Dominance and submission. They are symbolic in that we have come to see them as part of our circle of respect, communication, honesty and trust.