Mention strap-on harnesses fitted with dildos and most people think of girl-on-girl scenes in porn videos where the actress wearing the harness plays at being a man, revels in having a pretend penis and uses it enthusiastically to have intercourse with the other actress.
But strap-ons are definitely not just for “lesbian” porn — nor is it just about women playing at being men. Many heterosexuals enjoy strap-on play, as do some gay male couples. Strap-on sex can be fun for everyone. With just a little erotic imagination, strap-ons can add novelty, excitement, playfulness and even deeper intimacy to any couple’s sexual repertoire.
What Is a Strap-On?
A strap-on is a sex-toy combo that includes a dildo attached to a harness that is worn around the waist or hips. The harness has a triangular or rectangular front piece that sits over a woman’s vulva or the base of a man’s penis, and the front piece has a special opening or O-ring through which you can slip a special dildo with a flared, flat-bottom base. This gives women an artificial penis right where one should hang, or, in the case of men, provides an extra penis right below his own.
Some strap-ons can be worn by either men or women — for example, the Bad Kitty Vibrating Strap On. Others, such as the Bad Kitty Double Strap On, are designed with women in mind and incorporate a removable vaginal plug — as well as an anal plug for either sex — on the inside of the harness.
Why Strap-Ons Are a Turn-On
Why fuss with a harness? Most dildo users just use a regular dildo and guide it by hand. But strap-on sex offers a different experience, one that produces a unique erotic connection for the couple.
- Strap-ons free the hands, allowing them to be used to touch in all sorts of other sensual ways.
- Strap-ons allow you to use your hips and therefore have greater leverage, providing for a more intense experience.
- Strap-ons invite gender-bending. Women can play at being men, thrusting their hips during intercourse the way men do.
- Strap-ons allow men to play at having two erections simultaneously. Some men enjoy using strap-on dildos that are noticeably larger or smaller than their own erections. In addition, having two penises opens the possibility of double penetration, both vaginal and anal at the same time.
- Strap-ons can help compensate for erection problems. If a man has erectile dysfunction, a strap-on can provide a mutually satisfying way for the couple to experience penile-vaginal intercourse.
- For those who enjoy lingerie or “dressing up,” strap-on harnesses provide a unique visual treat that many lovers find exciting.
- The feel of wearing a harness can provide unique erotic sensations even without the dildo. Some women enjoy wearing harnesses alone under their clothing to raise the erotic temperature.
- Finally, strap-ons can deepen couple intimacy. Many couples don’t talk much about their sex lives; they just do it. Because strap-on sex encourages sexual experimentation, couples need to discuss how they want to enjoy these new possibilities. This encourages partners to communicate more openly about sex, which can enhance intimacy and be highly arousing.
Beyond the Myths: Who Uses Strap-Ons?
Strap-ons are not just for lesbians. Unfortunately, some curious couples feel reluctant to experiment because of the myths that persist regarding harness-and-dildo play:
Myth: A man who enjoys being anally penetrated is gay.
Truth: Not at all. Some gay men enjoy recipient anal intercourse; others don’t. Gay men also enjoy holding hands, kissing, massage, genital fondling and oral sex, and heterosexual men don’t shrink from these erotic activities. Sexual orientation — straight, gay or bisexual — has nothing to do with the kinds of sex acts you enjoy. Many men who are 100% heterosexual enjoy having their anus massaged, fingered and penetrated — including penetration with strap-ons. Heterosexual men who enjoy recipient strap-on play are not secretly gay; they are heterosexual men who enjoy adventurous sex.
Myth: A man who enjoys being anally penetrated by a woman wearing a strap-on is abnormally submissive.
Truth: Being on the receiving end of strap-on sex is not fundamentally different from being the recipient of any other erotic activity. Strap-on play is not something the harness-wearer imposes on the recipient. A hallmark of good sex — including strap-on sex — is mutual consent. Couples may play at domination and submission, but that’s all it is: play. Quite frequently, the recipient is the one in charge, directing the strap-on wearer to provide the erotic contact he or she craves. In other words, the strap-on wearer is not necessarily dominant, nor the recipient necessarily submissive. That’s possible, of course, but it’s only one of several possibilities. Couples interested in strap-on sex should discuss how they want to go about it and then play in ways they find mutually satisfying.
Myth: Women who penetrate men anally with strap-ons secretly want to be men.
Truth: Nonsense. Wearing and using strap-ons carries no deep psychological implications for women or men. For most women using strap-ons also carries no gender implications. Many women experience wearing a harness as a type of lingerie, something that makes them look and feel sexy — with the added bonus that the harness also opens up other erotic possibilities.
Hitching Up: Everything You Need to Know About Harnesses
There are two basic styles: thongs and jocks. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
In thong-style harnesses, one strap circles the waist or hips and the other strap connects to the base of the front piece then runs between the wearer’s legs, up through the butt cheeks (like a thong), attaching to the waist/hip strap in back.
In jock-style harnesses, one strap encircles the waist or hips and attaches to the front piece. Two other straps attach to the base or sides of the front piece and circle each of the wearer’s thighs, attaching to the waist/hip strap in back.
Here are some things to consider when choosing which style you prefer:
- When it comes to appearance, it’s simply a matter of taste. Some people think thong-style is sexier, while others prefer the jock-style.
- Thong harnesses have fewer straps than jock-style harnesses, which means fewer strap adjustments. But the extra strap of the jock-style harness provides extra support for the dildo.
- On thongs, the strap that runs between the wearer’s legs provides genital and anal stimulation. In fact, some women enjoy wearing thong-style harnesses under their clothing without the dildo because of the discreet clitoral stimulation these harnesses can provide.
- The strap that runs between the legs on the thong-style makes the anus, clitoris, vulva and vagina somewhat less accessible. With the jock-style, the wearer’s anus and genitals are left exposed.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is the material of the harness straps. Each has a different feel. Possibilities include nylon, leather and even soft PVC. Nylon can be popped into a washing machine, as long as you remove any non-nylon parts, such as the front pad, while PVC can be wiped off with a damp cloth. And although leather requires more care, some people prefer its look and feel.
Wearing Your Harness
No matter which style you prefer, harnesses come in “one size fits most.” Some have elastic straps that need no adjustments, while others have straps that are adjustable with either buckles or backpack-style D-rings.
To put on a harness, simply slip the dildo into the O-ring, step into the harness and adjust the straps for a comfortable but snug fit. If, after adjusting, there’s a lot of excess strap, you can always trim it down. With nylon straps, singe the ends carefully with a lighted match to prevent fraying.
Fitting Your Harness with the Right Dildo(s)
Harnesses are typically marketed in kits that include dildos designed to fit their front piece opening or O-ring. However, you might also like to add one or more extra dildos. Some considerations:
- A strap-on dildo should have a flared base that’s flat on the bottom. The flared base helps hold the dildo snugly in the front piece so it won’t slip out, while the flat bottom provides support as the harness-wearer thrusts with the hips.
- Some strap-on dildos stick straight out. Others curve. Curved models provide more variety. Depending how they are positioned in the front piece, they can curve up, down or to the side. Each position provides different erotic stimulation.
- Dildo firmness varies somewhat. Some people prefer very flexible dildos, while others prefer firmer models. Jelly dildos are the most flexible.
Tips for Strap-On Enjoyment
- Strap-ons are more elaborate than your average sex toys, and stepping into one may feel odd. Take your time. The dildo needs to be fitted into the front piece and straps may need to be adjusted. Be patient with these toys, with yourself and with your sex partner. At first you may feel awkward.
- Always use plenty of lubricant with strap-ons. Your dildo — as well as any body part you’re planning to use it on — should be generously lubricated before insertion. Experiment to see which one best complements your strap-on play.
- At first, the wearer should refrain from thrusting, allowing the recipient to slowly engulf the strap-on dildo instead of being penetrated. The rear-entry (doggie style) position is a good one to use.
- Strap-on harnesses allow the wearer’s hands to remain free during erotic coupling. Use your hands in other places.
- Some couples like to explore simulated fellatio in which the recipient sucks on the dildo. If the dildo has been inserted anally, it should be thoroughly washed with soap and water and/or a sex toy cleaner before it enters the recipient’s mouth.
- If a man wears the harness, he might alternate inserting his erection and the strap-on dildo into his partner.
- If a man wears the harness and the woman is open to double penetration, the man can insert his penis and strap-on dildo simultaneously into her vagina and anus.
- When women wear the harness, the front piece typically covers the clitoris. Some women enjoy the clitoral stimulation that results when the base of the dildo presses the front piece against it. Others miss direct clitoral stimulation. If so, reach under the front piece to fondle her clitoris. Or loosen the straps and lift the front piece or move it aside to allow access to her clitoris.
If you’ve read this far, you certainly might want to give strap-ons a try, as they can add a whole new dimension to your regular sexual routine. And remember: strap-on sex doesn’t mean exclusively strap-on sex. Most couples who own strap-ons don’t use them every time they have sex, but rather from time to time when they’re in the mood. However you decide to use them, just be sure to keep an open mind, use plenty of lube — and enjoy!