Monday, March 28, 2011

The latest column in The Stranger, about the way one should measure one's success as a top.

And an answer to a question about collars and the subtleties of BDSM relationships.

Under My Protection and Collars of Consideration

I saw some questions about this on a kink community board I’m on, so I’m using them as a blog-prompt for myself.

Q: When someone says, “So-and-so is under my protection”, what does that mean?

That phrase may or may not mean that two people involved are playing together. The general translation of that sentiment, in my mind, is: “I’m fond of this person, and either because of his/her newness to kink, or just general emotional issues, I perceive her/him as being vulnerable to predatory personalities. So go ahead and chat them up, it’s all good, but just be aware: you fuck with them, you’re fucking with me. And you don’t want to fuck with me.”

Your mileage may vary, of course. But that’s more or less what it means when I say it.

Q: What is a Collar of Consideration?

A tiresome bit of pretentiousness? Collars of Consideration, indeed. What am I, a kinky seminary or something?

Oh, all right, I don’t really mean that. I mean: I don’t do that sort of thing myself. I don’t generally use collars very much at all. (Although they are pretty to look at, and sometimes useful, too.) Some other people place a lot of meaning in them, and that’s fine. And whatever you want to call them is also fine with me - as long as you don’t pretend that there is some sort of universally agreed-upon BDSM system of ranking the person wearing them according to the title of the collar, or its color, or its material, or anything like that, because there is not.

I suppose you could say a “Collar of Consideration” might be the kink version of a Promise Ring – the people involved are engaged to be engaged, if you will, in a committed D/s relationship. That would be my take on that.

As always in BDSM, when in doubt, politely say to the person you're talking to, "I don't want to be rude, but I'm not sure I understand the etiquette here - can you tell me what that means, exactly?" That'll pretty much cover you no matter what.

(Originally published April 2010)