Collar me, own me

Collars carry a lot of meaning within the BDSM community, and are extremely popular kinky items! So why is that? 

Why are so many people into the idea of being collared and ‘owned?’ 

Why are so many others into the idea of ‘owning’ someone else? Particularly if that person is a beloved partner? 

For some, the prospect of collaring and “owning” someone can feel very uncomfortable, and that’s understandable! If history has taught us anything, it is that owning another human being is wrong and immoral. 

However, as with most things in this complex and fascinating world, things are rarely what they seem on the surface. 

In order to investigate these questions properly, I recently asked the community on Fetlife to describe what collars mean to them. The responses were insightful and varied, and in most cases deeply personal. 

#1 A fashion accessory 

The simplest reason people gave for wearing collars was as a fashion accessory – and there is nothing wrong with that! Not everything has to be deep and meaningful, and sometimes it’s fun to wear a collar simply because you like the way it looks. However, everyone who gave this answer said there were other times where wearing a collar felt more meaningful (listed below).

#2 Submissive headspace

For many submissives, the act and feeling of wearing a collar (particularly if being collared by someone else) helped to transition them into their submissive headspace. One person described it as being like “stepping into my submissive alter ego.” Being a sub is very much a state of mind, and a collar can be a powerful tool in making that psychological transition. 

#3 Escapism 

Building on the previous point, this submissive headspace can be a form of escapism. For example, sometimes a collar can help a submissive feel safe and protected by their owner, similar to how a pet may feel when being looked after by their Master. Alternatively, wearing a collar might make a submissive feel enslaved, as if they have no choice but to obey their Master. While obviously very different, both of these headspaces allow the submissive to relinquish control and responsibility. For some, especially those who carry a lot of responsibility in their vanilla life, this can feel incredibly freeing. 

#4 Symbol of the D/s relationship

D/s (Dominant / submissive) relationships are often built on a powerful bond between two or more people. There is enormous trust involved in giving up your power to another person, and allowing that person a level of psychological ownership over you. For this reason, D/s relationships can be extremely intimate, or even sacred to those involved. A collar can be a symbol of that bond. One Fetlifer compared the symbolism of a collar to that of a wedding ring. 

#5 Self expression

While collars often represent the relationship between two or more people, they certainly don’t have to. Many people enjoy collaring themselves as a way of expressing their submissive side. For example, an unpartnered person may want others to know they are a submissive, and may choose to wear a collar at kinky events. Other people choose to express their submissive nature for themselves only, through wearing a discrete choker or special necklace in their vanilla life.  


This list is by no means comprehensive, and there are likely many more reasons why people enjoy wearing or collaring others than those listed here. 

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding around collaring, particularly in mainstream media. It is easy to show an image of a person being walked on a leash, with zero context, and call this derogatory and immortal. However, if we dig a little deeper, we will find something a lot more interesting than what appears on the surface. 

If you or your partner are curious about wearing a collar, then I encourage you to follow your curiosity and give it a try! Collaring is a relatively safe and accessible form of kinky play that can greatly enhance feelings of dominance and submission. 

Harley xx

For a detailed discussion about Free Use, listen to episode #26 of my podcast Turns Out I’m Into It – available everywhere you listen to podcasts. 

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