A Dominant’s collar is often a goal of any submissive in a D/s relationship. Defining what a collar is and how you prepare to accept it can be daunting. For many, the weight of the decision is like accepting a marriage proposal and should take a lot of thought and preparation. So today, let’s tackle the important points and if you are prepared for what a collar may mean for you and your relationship.

First, let’s clarify what a collar is in a D/s relationship. A collar is a physical sign of commitment the submissive wears to indicate they are in a power exchange relationship with their Dominant. But that's not the only thing a collar can mean! For some, it is a signal for sexy playtime. A collar can also be a fashion symbol, a comfort tool for single submissives, or a designation of your role in BDSM. Since BDSM is such an individual experience, there is no one correct way to define a collar.

Some dynamics use tiered collaring systems such that you start in a novice collar or another consideration collar and progress through several training collars as you grow in the relationship. I don't have any personal experience with the tiered collar system, so reading the links I’ve provided will give you a better understanding of it. Still, it’s an option to consider and might be more practical for types of D/s dynamics that are high protocol or more formal.

An easy and convenient analogy is to compare a BDSM collar to an engagement or wedding ring. A collar is the outward symbol of a D/s relationship, just as a wedding ring signals the person wearing it is ‘taken.’ Like a ring, a collar often means a commitment is in place. This commitment can be for a scene, a weekend, a contractual period of time, the duration of a relationship, or a lifetime.

Traditionally, the collar belongs to the Dominant and remains in their possession even though the chosen submissive wears it. If the relationship ends, the collar should return to the Dominant.

Remember, a collar signifies a committed D/s relationship, but it’s not required. It’s like deciding whether to get married or wear a wedding band. A committed relationship does not have to use symbols to express them outwardly. So you should never feel pressured to accept a collar if the idea of one does not suit you.

Here are a few more posts on collars you might find interesting:

What does a collar mean to you?

When first learning about collars, you should decide what they mean to you and your current or future relationships. It's an important decision that I recommend you make while still single. Here are some questions to help you decide (these are all assuming you want to be collared):

  1. Do you like symbols of commitment such as jewelry, contracts, or ceremonies?
  2. What is your gut feeling about collars?
  3. How far into a relationship would you feel comfortable considering a collar?
  4. What level of commitment do you require to accept one?
  5. Do you want to have different tiers of collars to signify different stages of the relationship?
  6. What must you know about your partner before you feel comfortable with a commitment?
  7. Do you have any limitations on the type of collar you would accept?

Read More: What it Means to be Collared by LadySneak

Read about collars from various sources. Understand their importance for you - if there is one at all. Discuss them with other Dominants and submissives on FetLife or our Discord server. This way, you'll be one step ahead when entering a relationship.

Once in a relationship, asking your partner what a collar means to them during the negotiation phase is a good idea. You need to agree on its meaning before you accept one so that the value and weight of it are the same. It would be confusing if your Dominant considered it a play tool and you considered it a lifetime commitment symbol. So get that straight up front.

Preparing for a Collar

Once in a relationship and through the negotiation phase, the relationship work can begin. Don’t go looking for or accept a collar too soon! I personally don't think a Dominant should give a collar at the start of a relationship. Learn and grow with each other, enjoy dating, and prioritize your relationship. A more profound commitment will happen in time, and it will feel like a natural next step to consider a collar.

Again, comparing being in a committed relationship and marriage is the next logical step. How do you know when it's a good time? Knowing the person intimately, loving them, feeling connected to them, and being invested in their life is a good start. It may be an excellent time to discuss a collar if you feel comfortable sharing your whole life with them and trusting them with your struggles and fantasies without fear of judgment.

A strong relationship brings out the best in people, and you begin to dream about a long-term future with them. But as a submissive, you must be equally aware of yourself before entering into a collar.

First, know your limits. Before accepting a collar, it's important to communicate clearly and openly with your partner about your boundaries and limits. Discuss what you are uncomfortable with and ensure your partner respects them.

Learn about your limits in this series on Submissive Guide.

Then, know your responsibilities. As a submissive, you may take on specific responsibilities within the relationship. It's important to understand these responsibilities and make sure you are comfortable with them before accepting a collar. Take note of what rules your partner wishes you to follow, the behaviors and attitudes they expect, and anything else you are responsible. Your role and responsibilities in the relationship should be clear and work well for your desired relationship style.

Also, know your partner. The more you know about your partner, the stronger the relationship foundation will be. A BDSM relationship requires a high level of trust and communication, and you should only enter into such a relationship with someone you trust and feel safe with.

Knowing that your partner has your back and will be there through thick and thin is a good sign you are ready for a collar. A collar is a huge step, a milestone in your relationship, and treating it as such can help you decide when is the best time to add it.

So, How Do You Know You’re Ready?

Once you know what a collar means to you and you’ve got answers to the questions about whether you’re committed to your relationship and your partner is, too, you can nail down if you’re ready for the weight of a collar. I’m not asking if your Dominant is ready or if the collar is at that point; I’m asking you, right now, if YOU are prepared for what a collar entails.

As submissives, our core drive is to submit or surrender. In a relationship, we build that submission into service to the Dominant in ways that benefit you. In a collar, you may be asked just how far you are willing to go. If you do not feel completely compelled to do as they say or feel yourself questioning or challenging them, you may not be ready for a collar with this person. You’ll be committing, with some permanence, to the Dominant you currently submit to.

I encourage all submissives, when they reach this point in their relationship, to really give it some thought, to spend some time looking inward and see if wearing a collar is in the hope of fixing something (it won’t) or making you feel more secure in the relationship (it shouldn’t). You can’t fix a broken relationship with a collar, and you should already feel secure before you accept one.

Asking for a Collar

In some situations, it is appropriate for the submissive to ask the Dominant for a collar. When you know each other well enough and are on the same page regarding what a collar means, you may learn that the Dominant wants the submissive to ask or beg to be collared by them. In this situation, the submissive is exhibiting a driving need to be under this person's care and guidance, and they wish to live in their service.

Like in the vanilla world, where it's rarer for women to propose to men, submissives asking for a collar is not the norm. If you are familiar with John Norman’s Gor Series of 27(?) books, there are moments where a woman begs for a collar. You could try to mimic one of those descriptions. This is where I think the whole idea of begging for a collar comes from, as well as the idea of collaring ceremonies and even fancy submissive positions.

If you are expected to ask for your collar, find the words from your heart. Make it a pure and genuine request. If you wish, set it up like a marriage proposal. Declare your devotion, share a story of the unique connection the two of you share, and then ask them for the collar.

Still, the easiest way is just to come out and ask.

Receiving a Collar

Receiving your collar is a special occasion for many submissives and slaves. For some, this time means celebrating your relationship and the commitment that is about to happen.

There is no right or wrong way to receive a collar. KnyghtMare preferred to have me kneel in private and put the collar on. We gazed into each other's eyes momentarily and felt immense emotions. If you want a ceremony, it can be formal or informal. They can be private or in front of your friends and “family.”

A collaring ceremony is an option for those who wish to plan a more formal celebration. I recommend you use a wedding as an example ceremony. After all, you are committing yourself to someone extraordinarily and often permanently. Why not use an existing ceremony and customize it for your needs? You can use any parts of it that you would like, add ritualistic moments, and make the event as personal as you wish.

Read More: How to Plan a Formal Collaring Ceremony

Remember, the most important thing is to prioritize your well-being and to only enter into a BDSM relationship if you feel comfortable, safe, and respected. A collar can be an important step in your D/s relationship, and hopefully, I've helped you learn what you might expect from your own dynamic!