A BDSM collar is a piece of jewelry with a secret meaning. A collar for submissives is one of the most fundamental symbols of their relationship and one that is usually guarded and protected with their heart. There is a lot of information online about collars already but I thought I'd jump in with my own take on what everyone says and believes about collars. Traditionally it’s worn around the neck, although other types of jewelry are also possible.


The meaning of a collar is a hotly debated topic. For some couples, it is simply a sign of the BDSM relationship. Typically the submissive is the one who wears a collar. It’s called being “owned”. The collar is the most outward symbol that a submissive can wear that was given to them by their Dominant. This type of collar is often only worn at BDSM events to signify to other people that the submissive is not available for whatever without the Dominant’s permission.

The BDSM collar can also be like an engagement ring or wedding ring. It is usually the most important piece of jewelry worn on a daily basis. The commitment that they feel in the relationship makes it that important. Sometimes there is a collaring ceremony where the Dominant presents the collar to the submissive.

For others, it is a signal of sexy play time. The collar can be part of a kinky lingerie set. This type of collar is worn at home right before the fun begins.

Then, probably the most controversial meaning of a collar is it’s just a personal statement that you’re in the BDSM lifestyle and have no relationship connection at all.

There is no one correct way to feel about your collar.

What might one look like?

A collar comes in as many physical forms as it does symbolisms.

A BDSM collar can be a basic leather band with a D-ring and worn during play or even BDSM events in the community. If you’re wearing the collar for more hours a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a specially made steel locking collar is more common.

Other styles of collar that are more permanent in nature are tattoos, brands, cuttings and piercings. There really is no rule for what one should look like as long as the people involved in the relationship agree with what it means to them.

Read: Where To Buy a Collar Online

Play Collar

No matter what type of relationship you have now, at one point you might have had a leather collar with a D-ring or two that you wore during BDSM play. It's quite common for anyone into BDSM to get one for all of the dark desires that get played out. Lifestyle submissives may have a collar worn during play also in addition to their permanent collar. I still wear mine during scenes as a signal in my brain that what goes on in scene stops when the collar comes off.

Day Collar

A day collar is a discreet collar that can be worn to work and other vanilla engagements without anyone asking awkward questions. A necklace or special ring are popular choices. Some people even have multiple styles to go with their wardrobe choices.

Protection Collar

Most people in BDSM relationships consider a collar to mean that the person wearing it is off limits. Sometimes a submissive feels a desire to have the protection of not being contacted or approached by Dominants and so they seek someone that will afford them with protection of a collar. They still represent the Dominant while wearing it, but there’s no expectation of training or a long term commitment.

Online Collar

An online collar may not be something you feel should be covered in the same post as 'real' collars, but no matter the method you earn or wear your collar, the symbolism of the collar means the same thing.

An online collar is usually denoted with brackets and your Dom's initials next to your nickname. I've seen curly braces {Dom} for online-only and square braces for real-time collars. Heck, I've even seen one of each to signify that there is real time play, but the relationship is mostly online. Creatively speaking, it is interesting to see the number of collars online and to ask what it means to them to wear it. When I'm online I tend to wear one out of habit from my online days.

The issue most people have with online collars is their velcro-like quality. It is not uncommon to see a submissive with a different collar every time they are online. I don't get offended by it, really, but many others feel it cheapens the value of their own collars. Although they are allowed to express their feelings and they are valid I don't believe another person has any bearing on your own collar. In the case of velcro collars, I like to think of them as play collars. You only wear it during play and if you are a casual player you could very well have one for each Dom you play with. It's along the same premise.

Read More: The Impact of Velcro Collars on the Symbolism and Value of Collars in D/s Relationships

Collars are a beautiful symbol on what is a complex and powerful relationship. No matter what you choose to symbolize your commitment, a collar can broadcast it to the world, or be a discreet nod between just the two of you.