Bottoms Up: I Dream Of Collars

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being collared. I’m not really sure why, because I’m emphatically single right now; I guess when you’re at one extreme, it’s natural to daydream about what it’d be like at the other.

As a fantasy, being a collared submissive seems so hot. I imagine it as a physical manifestation of my and my dominant’s commitment as I move through the world, a symbol around kinky folks and a public secret around vanilla ones. I have an exhibitionist streak, and I love to do little sexy things in public that won’t make other people uncomfortable or involve them in my sex life; I get a thrill from knowing what I’m doing is a little bit dirty and illicit. Wearing a collar would mean getting a little bit of that thrill every day; what can be just a quotidian piece of jewelry can also be erotically charged, and Audre Lorde is always telling us that we could use a little more of the erotic in our everyday lives.

In kinky circles, wearing a collar is also a way to be marked as taken. At BDSM events, navigating who to talk to and how can be tricky — especially, I’ve found, in someplace like Texas at events primarily filled with straight people — and, while I’m all about networking and making new friends and building community, sometimes I need a breather and don’t want anyone to talk to me. It’s common protocol in circles I’m in that you talk to a collared person’s dom before you talk to them; if I wore a collar, it would feel like a safety net that would allow me to be more observational, decide whether I want to participate in conversations without being rude and still initiate play if and when I want.

The physical presence of a collar would also be a physical reminder of my partner, which more than anything is just super sweet. Especially because my dom would be the only person who could put it on or take it off, every time I felt it against my skin or brushed it with my fingertips, it would remind me of them. I’m a busy busy person, regardless of whether I’m in a relationship. Sometimes life gets in the way of being able to see a partner and be around them as much as I’d like, but a collar would be a tangible reminder of their calming, erotic, loving presence, and a way to feel connected when we’re apart.

Part of what makes being collared such an attractive fantasy for me as well is what it would say about me. In a way, being collared would signify all the work I’ve done as a submissive. It would not be a decision that I took lightly, and it would show —  to myself and to other kinky people — my dedication to my role as a submissive. It would mean that someone chose me; that they thought of me as desirable and saw my worth. I don’t need these things, obviously, but it would be nice to be reminded of them every day in such a prominent way.

But as exciting as a collar seems to me right now, I have to remind myself that it is just a fantasy. Fantasies seem great when you detach them from real life, but real life always intrudes. Collars aren’t just kinky symbols of being in any old D/s relationship, they’re a sign of permanency (hopefully), and the dedication and work that goes into a permanent relationship.

There’s also the fact that often, collars are seen as an indication of a submissive being owned — something with which I’m super uncomfortable. I struggle with the semantics because there’s something attractive to me about being a “kept” boi — knowing that I’ve got someone to whom I (consensually) belong and who is as devoted to me as I am to them — but I don’t want others to read that as ownership. Even in the strictest relationship, I am always free.

I guess that’s also why it’s fun just to fantasize. There are still a ton of things that I need to work out before I find someone who I think would even be worthy enough to ask me if I wanted to be collared by them. And I’m not sure that I would say yes. But it’s sexy, and it seems exciting, and right now, when no one’s asking me about it in my real life, I say why not?

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. One thing to bear in mind about a collar as reality rather than fantasy is if you like having your neck played with (for me, my neck is incredibly erogenous, having it bitten, scratched and so on, and even held, although we don’t get into breath play) even quite a small collar can get in the way.

    So although I am collared, it sometimes comes off for play and almost always comes off for bed.

    That might not be an issue for you but really threw us, we didn’t think it would get in the way that much. It’s great for some other things, I’m quite often leashed to things at home by it for example, even if we’re not doing anything else, so I have to ask permission to move around, which really heightens the power imbalance. Being led around by it is trickier than it looks, unless you get a long leash though.

  2. This right here…

    “The physical presence of a collar would also be a physical reminder of my partner, which more than anything is just super sweet. Especially because my dom would be the only person who could put it on or take it off, every time I felt it against my skin or brushed it with my fingertips, it would remind me of them.”

    So much Yes!!!

  3. I guess was expecting an inclusion of a critical discussion of collars (and other such restraints) and their connection to chattel slavery. I’d be curious about your allusions to ownership (obviously a very colonial concept), but the link didn’t work. Very critical of white folks who dominate in this way (and domination/ power imbalances in general tbh)

    • Hey! I fixed the link, and in that post I do have a more critical discussion not neccessarily about collars, but about the concept of being owned and its connections to chattel slavery for me personally. Hope it’s interesting to you!

    • but also, if you feel critical about people in power imbalanced relationships in general, we might end up having really different critical understandings of things. But that’s cool!!

      • Thanks! And for sure, my life is filled with power imbalances. I don’t need more of them at home or during sex, as much as society/ even my own community tells me otherwise.

        • Does your community tell you otherwise?

          I generally tend to find kinky people pretty live and let live…

          • Yes, they really, really do. It’s inescapable and people get snide or even downright hostile when you repeatedly fail to express interest or validation to BDSM. I’ve been shut out of organizations and lost friends because I was too vanilla and therefore not ~sex-positive enough for them. I don’t know why they cared, since it’s not like I was going to sleep with any of them anyway, but whatever.

  4. “I imagine it as a physical manifestation of my and my dominant’s commitment as I move through the world, a symbol around kinky folks and a public secret around vanilla ones.”

    Oh, come on. Vanilla people know what your collar is and what it means. We’re uninterested, not oblivious.

  5. I’ve been collared for half a year so far, and there is this ever-present feeling of being dominated, even when my Master isn’t present (long distance relation). My collar evokes a sense of submission in me but also a sense of stability and even pride. The ever-present acknowledgment that yes, I am owned, gives me this dose of indescribable strength.

    I wear my collar almost all the time, don’t sleep in it anymore, and when I am at home with my (vanilla) parents I don’t wear it. Some vanilla friends are aware of it’s significance, and for those who are genuinely curious, I do explain the basics of it.

    On the idea of collars equaling ownership, I don’t think ownership *has* to equate to lack of freedom (I’m a firm believer in discovering the freedom in restriction). I am an owned slave, yet my Master grants me the freedom to be my own person, encouraging me to explore and find myself. He let’s me fly like a free bird, all while holding on tightly to the chain that connects me to him. Actually, I feel more free being an owned slave than before I entered the BDSM world. Quite a paradox.

  6. My last mistress (sadly a badly ended relationship of 2 years) had a custom collar made for me. It wound up being a bit too snug for my neck but made a great bracelet when wrapped twice around my wrist.

    Even though it wasn’t on my neck I had the same feelings you describe of her physical presence and dominance when she wasn’t with me. When she gave it to me and first locked it on (I did also have a key – medical emergencies may require something to be removed without a Domme’s presence) my heart nearly burst.

    When I removed it and returned it to her after she ended things it took a long time to get over the empty naked feeling of that wrist. I started wearing a watch, which helped ease the transition.

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