Having a dominant means I have someone I can fully let go and be submissive to. I obey orders but thats not to say I am 100% obedient at all times, but I do not intentionally disappoint the dominant. Having a dominant doesn’t mean he has control over my life or of anyone I play with. It just means I have met my match in a D/s way. It is someone I can turn to when I need to let go and feel safe.
Being collared is another more formal step in my kink world. I see collaring as something that means it is a public statement. It generally means I am not to play with other people without them getting permission from my dominant and myself. The dominant that has collared me has a certain amount of control over me in my everyday life (aka these things he has control over have been pre-negotiated). He has more power to push me to grow and make me better myself.
Being owned means I have very little say in the matter of who I play with and this will bleed into quite a few other areas. This is where consensual non-consent will have the most room. I don’t give consensual non-consent power to many but this is a place where it is given freely because the relationship has evolved to a place where I can give it. Most of my play decisions (and other things) wont be made by me. I turn over my power almost completely to the man who owns me. This isn’t to say I will be meek or be a welcome mat to be walked on. I still have a voice, opinions (when asked or not) and the ability to voice my dislike for things, however, I will always do my best to do what is asked of me even if it is something I am not fond of because I know his goal is never to harm me but to make me take more for him and better myself in his service. I stick with the motto “a broken toy is not a fun toy” when it comes to this situation.
Thats not to say that is how it is for everyone, by any means, but that has been my personal experience to this point so this is a definition of what these things mean to me. All im saying is even if the meanings change of those three things (having a dom, being collared and being owned), they are all different to me and increase in commitment and connection with each step. I kind of see those three progressing like dating, being engaged and getting married…except the kinky version and its not ending up as a legal marriage.