As those who know me are quite aware, I tend to be rather free in voicing my opinion.  I don’t really feel there is anything wrong in that as I also tend to listen to the reactions.  I was in a large group the other day where the subject of “Collars of consideration” and “Training Collars” came up.  I have strong opinions on the validity of these concepts and was, ahem, free to voice them.

First, I should say that there is a difference between the two, though the terms are often used interchangeably.  But you should understand that these are my opinions, and so should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.  All the terms we use in this lifestyle should be understood and negotiated between the people within the relationship (good advice for anyone in any relationship).   “Training Collars” can be thought of as a public display or indication that there is a relationship, negotiated to some extent, for the purpose of conveying knowledge from a Dominant to a submissive.  But it excludes, in my mind, any form of behavioral restriction any more than your British Lit professor would be one to say what kind of hobbies you can have on the weekend.

“Collars of Consideration”, in my experience, are more amorphous and ill-defined.  I would think that it would be public display or indication that there is relationship where each person is considering their compatibility with the other with the intent of “considering” a deeper relationship.  However, how I have seen them used, unfortunately, is by somewhat insecure Dominants to restrict access to a submissive, to constrict their ability to communicate to other Dominants and to isolate them while at the same time,  refraining from making any significant commitment to the submissive themselves.  You may see, for example, a Dominant handing out one or two (I have seen as many as seven) “Collars of Consideration” to, typically very new submissives, and immediately stating that they are not allowed to communicate with any other Dominant, while obviously continuing to communicate or “collar” as many other submissives as possible.  In the worst cases, this “collaring” includes sexual demands and poorly negotiated play, for typically, these submissives know very little about the lifestyle.  This, in my humble opinion, is unacceptable to the point of being abusive.

Well, in the above mentioned discussion, I did express myself.  Yes, that I did.  I was then approached, suprisingly politely by a gentleman who asked if I would be receptive to his submissive communicating to me her experience with his “Training Collar.”  Surprised and pleased, I immediately accepted the offer.  With their permission, I quote the letter below.

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Good Evening Arach,

I shall share with you this girl’s journey with a Training Collar.

W/we met, and clicked right away: it was kismet, and this girl threw herself at his feet, figuratively ;). He did not rush to commitment initially, but wanted to see U/us grow organically. When things continued to go well, this girl began dropping hints about desiring a tangible daily reminder of His affection and presence. She was thrilled to be gifted with a simple chain collar, secured with a lock, and a key around her Sir’s neck.

She accepted His training collar with Glee, with compliment, and Hope. Knowing that there was to be a considerable amount of training involved.

In my honest opinion: Any submissive whom accepts a Training Collar as a gift of “being someone’s owned property” is foolish and setting themselves up for a difficult relationship.

Being collared, in training, held me in a very aware state of mind. To learn Him, to learn what it was like to Be His. Not Under His control, but to be beside Him as a prized possession.

i was under His consideration. Training to know Him, because I chose Him. And desired to learn Him. To be his partner, and to please Him. I wore His training collar everyday as a physical reminder of my devotion. it pleased me to know i was wanted and worthy of being owned by Him. Although nothing was guaranteed, the training collar held an intent. If this girl was worthy, and He continued to see growth, potential, and affection for her, the relationship would deepen. And it did.

UNTIL He allowed this girl to wear His training collar, He was not able to see this girl’s full potential.

It was not always easy. Sir’s expectations were sometimes challenging, but this girl was eager to see Sir’s approval. With time, this girl saw the benefit of my [Sir’s] direction, with many positive changes to her life. Under His Hand, she saw her work, family, personal relationships, and daily life improve. Complicated dynamics grew much simpler, as He stood by me during challenges.

The placing of the original collar was a milestone in O/our relationship. One of commitment, training, discipline, and (for this girl, submission). The training collar held U/us to a more open and mutually gratifying connection. More responsible, real, and life joining. The training allowed U/us to both see the future of O/our dynamic and how W/we could make it be successful.

Either of U/us could have decided not to proceed at any time. Training is not just for the one wearing the collar… it is also for the One collaring. But that sentiment has been shared soo many times, this girl is reluctant to write a ‘cliche’.

i have been given (and accepted) a Permanent collar. The training of this girl is not over and complete. However, He has chosen me, trained me to be His, and this girl has chosen Him in every way. The training collar was an important step O/our D/s with a great deal of meaning. This girl hopes to have written her feelings about it in a way you can understand.

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There are a lot of things I want to point out.  First, it seems obvious that the collar was not given quickly and that there was mutual discussion involved.  Second, the submissive is the one who requested it.  There was also a fair bit of understanding on the part of the submissive as to what is required in this kind of relationship and the mutual responsibility involved and each ones ability to say, independently, whether or not this relationship was their continued choice.  The relationship deepened because, ” He continued to see growth, potential, and affection for her” but also because she saw it in him.  This is, after all, a Mutual relationship.

I am very pleased to see this example of how a training collar can be used for mutual growth and benefit.  I would say, however, that this path and the use of a training collar is in no way required or necessary.  Relationships grow.  People meet, hopefully honestly discuss their needs and wishes for that relationship, and then explore whether or not those needs and wishes can be fulfilled.  For me, this stage is a bit early for collars or engagement rings.  But in the example given to me, it was a valid, valued stage in their development.

While I still feel strongly that the use of “Collars of Consideration” I stated above is a shameful example of the mistakes that are made within the lifestyle, I was very glad to see an example of early Collars used in an affirming and empathetic relationship.

The Eroticist