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THE COLLAR
One of the most enduring traditions in the world of D/s and BDSM is that of the "formal -- or slave -- collar." Originally codified by the old guard or leather community many years ago, this "slave collar" is similar in both spirit and commitment to a vanilla marriage. And although it lacks the enforcement of law, couples who are "collared couples" are looked upon by those in the lifestyle in much the same way as the vanilla world looks upon married couples. Although there are no hard and fast rules, often times the slave collaring was performed in a ceremony witnessed by friends and members of the community.

Up until recently - before the advent of the Internet - collars were given only in real time. This formal collar - what is commonly referred to as being a collared sub or slave - was actually the third collar given to the submissive in sequence as the relationship progresses. This sequence is has an analogue in vanilla relationships, which usually progress from dating to engagement to marriage.

The first collar in this series is called the 'Collar of Consideration' which is given at the start of a potential relationship. The actual Collar of Consideration may be anything from a bracelet to an actual leather collar. (Leather collars are very popular with those who follow in the tradition of what is called the "old guard" - the leather societies who pioneered in the codification of the BDSM lifestyle). Whatever the style, the collar of consideration is basically a statement that this couple is actively pursuing a D/s relationship. It puts everyone on notice that the submissive is off-limits for the duration of this initial exploration period, which is typically a few months.

If, at any time during this period, the relationship is unsatisfactory to either side, the collar is returned to the Dominant with no further obligations on either part.(Note: the collar should always be purchased by the Dominant and always remains His/Her‘s property. It is returned to the Dominant at the end of the relationship - no matter when the relationship ends.)

 

If the Collar of Consideration is the first stage in the classic collaring sequence, then the Training Collar is the second stage. Again, this collar will be one that the Dominant chooses. It represents a "graduation" of sorts; with the presentation of the Training Collar, the Dominant will move into areas of training and discipline which are much more demanding, severe and strict. This is where the rubber meets the road.

Formal BDSM training sessions-which can include bondage, flogging, caning, paddling, discipline and any and all BDSM techniques the Dominant employs -- will become an integral part of their life from this point on. The Dominant will start his "molding"of the submissive as he trains the submissive to please him in the exact manner that he requires. This can range from the sexual, to manners, to posture, to cooking to commands to just about anything that turns on the Dominant. It is here where the exploration of BDSM and D/s gets deeper. Limits are explored. The Dominant shows what he expects from his submissive. Here the bonds either grow deeper or they start to fray. Many times the submissive will live with the Dominant - or at the very least spend a lot of time together.

Most couples enter deeper emotional stages at this point and, if the relationship progresses, they start to express feelings of devotion, love, honor and trust. This is where the relationship is truly tested physically, mentally and emotionally. It is the bridge to the next phase, the ultimate phase in the BDSM world - the formal or slave collar.

The Formal or Slave Collar is the actual collar - it is this stage that is generally assumed when someone says they are "collared." This represents true commitment between the Dominant and his submissive. In the tradition of the old guard, this collar is to be treated with the same respect that marriage is treated in the vanilla world. Indeed, it is rather common to have simultaneous collaring and wedding ceremonies.

Of the three collars, typically the slave collar is made of gold or silver and can be quite beautiful. The design can be unique to satisfy the Dominant’s taste; most times - as it may be worn 247 -- it is designed with the idea of "passing" in the vanilla world. (No collars with a huge padlock and the word SLAVE on it!)

As it is the analogue of the vanilla marriage, this collaring is often times done at a party/celebration, in front of invited guests, with vows exchanged or a slave contract signed. Depending on the nature of the relationship, there can be permanent markings done -- such as tattoo's, piercings, brandings, cuttings etc. The markings can be done in a scene - and if the couple happens to enjoy public scening, this is an awesome sight to behold. Other traditions can come into play here - the presentation of a gift made by the submissive (typically a flogger) to the Dominant is one European ritual that comes to mind.

Make no mistake about it, this old guard, traditional collaring ceremony is intended - unless otherwise negotiated - to signify a lifelong partnership. If you are invited to one, think of it as you would a wedding. Arrive with an attitude of wanting to have fun but keep a proper respect and decorum.

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