Our necks are vulnerable, delicate places. Not only are they so close to our bodies and our personal space, but knowing that a well-placed strike can make it impossible to breathe makes this area feel even more sensitive. How many times have you seen a sensual movie scene that includes someone fastening a necklace around a woman's neck? Consider collars the BDSM equivalent of this. A strip of fabric or other material placed around the neck can convey ownership and vulnerability. It's an idea that lots of kinksters like to play with.

If you're into the idea of "lifestyle BDSM" or in a long-term power exchange relationship, you and your partner may exchange a permanent collar. This is a collar that is designed to be worn nearly 24/7 and shows that the partner is "owned" by another. (Consider it similar to the idea behind a wedding ring). Some of these collars are even literally crafted right onto the person's body - making them impossible to get off without bolt cutters! While those collars can be a symbolic and important way for some people to express themselves, this article is focused on the idea of temporary BDSM play collars - collars that you put on for a play session to increase sensation and the mindset during playtime.

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9 Tips to Help You Choose a Play Collar

Now that you're excited for your upcoming play session, it's time that you find a good play collar. If you're playing with only one specific partner, you'll want to take their opinion into account as well. When shopping for a collar, consider some of these variables to narrow down your choices:

Decide On Height

Collars have variable heights. Extremely tall collars (collars that cover a lot of the surface of the neck) are usually called "posture collars." These collars are designed to keep the wearer looking straight-forward with good posture. Slimmer widths and collar thicknesses are generally more comfortable for long-term wear. If you want your partner to wear the collar for hours at a play party, you may want to consider a light and thin collar that will be comfortable for them.

Know Your Bondage Points

If you want to use your collar as a bondage point, think about what your collar will provide. A single O-ring or D-ring can work great if all you want to do is attach a leash to the collar. If you'd like to use chains to run between the collar and other points on the body (such as cuffs), multiple bondage points might offer advantages. Collars can vary in how many D-rings or O-rings they provide. Consider what will work best for you.

Learn About Different Fasteners

Collars can fasten in different ways. The most standard fastener looks similar to a belt buckle that allows the metal to slip through one of the open holes to fasten it. Other locking mechanisms include Velcro or bows. Some even include two D-rings that fasten the collar by holding the collar taut. When thinking about fasteners, consider what will be comfortable for you, both physically and psychologically.

Muse Over Locking Buckles

A locking buckle will allow you to lock the collar (usually using a small lock that's not included) onto your partner. If the idea of locking a collar onto your partner appeals to you, consider a collar like this. For safety reasons, make sure you don't leave your partner alone while they're locked in the collar.

Know Your Neck Size

While most collars are designed as "one size fits all," you might want to take a fabric tape measure to the wearer's neck to know exactly how large of a collar you need. Many retailers provide the total length of the collar, so if your neck is above or below average in width, you'll want to ensure your collar can fit comfortably and snugly.

Think About Colors

BDSM collars come in a wide variety of colors. While most collars happen to be black, some collars include contrasting colors for a different look. Some collars are even available in bright colors like pink, blue, red and more. If you have a preference for a certain color, check to see if someone makes a collar in that color.

Choose Your Materials

Collars are made out of a huge variety of materials. You'll need to know what you have in mind for your collar in order to choose a good material. Leather is a fan-favorite, but it can be hard to clean from lots of sweating, and it doesn't work well for vegans. Neoprene is waterproof and fun for aquatic use, but it doesn't have the hardcore "look" that lots of players are looking for. Faux fur, faux leather, suede, and felt are all other popular material options as well. (Read: Why Leather Belongs in the Fetish Hall of Fame.)

Contemplate Cleaning

If you plan on putting your collar through the ringer (especially with multiple partners), you'll want an easy way to clean it. Leather can be a difficult material to thoroughly sterilize for multiple partners. So, if you're getting bodily fluids on collars, you may want to consider a different material. You'll want to clean under all of the O-rings and smaller surfaces as well. If you don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning, make sure you consider a basic collar design.

Consider a Kit

If you're still new to kink, you might want to consider an entire kit to go with your collar purchase. You may want to purchase matching cuffs that are still sold separately, or you may choose to purchase an all-in-one kit that already has the collars and cuffs you want. Be aware that many all-in-one kits may be of lower quality than if you purchase the collar by itself, but if you're new to kink and need to add these items to your toy box anyway, it can be a good value.

As with every piece of bondage gear that you can buy, ultimately, the choice of a collar will be between the two of you (or just you!). These tips can be a good jumping board, but take the time to see where your fantasies take you. Part of the fun of BDSM is getting to pick out all of the toys that you play with!