You sure weren't taught this in sex ed.

By Gabrielle Kassel
December 04, 2020
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Camryn Leather Harness and Playtime Strap-On Set, noxshop.com
| Credit: Jesada Wongsa/EyeEm/Getty

Whether your interest in strap-on sex comes from your boo's suggestion, after watching Below Her Mouth, or at the recommendation of your friendly neighborhood Instagram sex educator, there's no question: Strap-on sex can be really freaking pleasurable.

Still, because it's not a sex act taught in sex-ed curriculums, it rarely makes an appearance in TV and movies, and isn't discussed in most social circles, you probably have some questions. For example: What supplies do you need for strap-on sex? How do you have good strap-on sex?

To answer all your Qs, here's a strap-on sex guide, with the help of two sex educators.

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Any sex that includes a harness and dildo can qualify as strap-on sex, including pegging, strap-on penetrative sex (vaginal or anal), dildo oral sex, dildo hand sex, and strap-on solo sex, to name just a few. So, simply deciding to try strap-on sex with your sweetie isn't adequate — you need to discuss what strap-on sex acts you're specifically interested in trying. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Pegging)

There are other details you need to discuss, too. For example: Who is going to be strapped on during said sex acts? What is the vibe of that sex going to be? Strap-on sex, like all other kinds of sex, can be kinky and rough, sweet and intimate, or almost any other adjective. That's why you need to talk through how you each envision the acts and aura of the encounter, says Sarah Sloane, a sex educator who's been coaching classes about strap-on sex at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001. (Here's more on how to introduce sex toys into your relationship.)

2. Pick out the harness.

Before you go shopping, a lingo lesson: Lingo lesson: "Strap-on" is the term used for a harness and dildo set, explains queer sex educator Andy Duran, the education director for Good Vibrations. Harness and dildo are the words used for the individual parts that make-up a strap-on, he says. While you could get a kit or set that includes both together, it's best for the wearer to pick out the harness and the receiver — if you have one in mind — to pick out the dildo, says Sloane.

Most harnesses fall into one of two categories: underwear style and strap-style.

Underwear-style harnesses are available in a wide variety of panty-styles (boxers, briefs, thongs), and look just like regular underwear that just-so-happens to feature a little cut-out where the dildo can go. "Underwear-style harnesses are a great option for people who want more surface area covered," says Duran. The Sportsheets Active Harness Wear (Buy It, $90, lovehoney.com), Rodeo Brief Harness (Buy It, $50, rodeoh.com), and Spareparts Tomboi (Buy It, $90, babeland.com) are all good picks.

Sportsheets Active Harness
$90
SHOP IT
LoveHoney

Other harnesses secure to the body with straps and are ultra-adjustable. "Strap-style harnesses are a great option if you want to leave your buttocks or genitals easily accessible," says Duran. Strap-style harnesses are available in a wider-variety of materials, including leather, vegan leather, nylon, spandex, and more. "When picking out a strap-style harness, you want one that is both aesthetically pleasing to you and capable of being adjusted to fit your body," he says. If you like the look of leather, try the Camryn Leather Harness (Buy It, $185, noxshop.com).

If you're planning to share the harness with your honey, Sloane recommends opting for a strap-style harness that can accommodate a wide range of body sizes, such as the Spareparts Joque Harness (Buy It, $125, babeland.com), which comes in two sizes: A, which fits waists 30 to 53 inches or B, which fits waists 36 to 65 inches. (Learn more about the SpareParts Joque in this review.)

It's worth mentioning there are also harnesses designed to be worn on hands, boots, and thighs such as the Hand Strap On (But It, $52, etsy.com), Thigh or Boot Leather Harness (Buy it, $37, kinkstore.com), and Thigh Strap-On (Buy It, $26, sportsheets.com), respectively. "[These] can be great alternatives for someone who doesn't have a lot of lower-body mobility, or who feels too exposed strapping on over their genitals," says Sloane.

3. Decide on a dildo.

To narrow down what type of dildo you want, ask yourself the following questions. No matter what kind of dildo you get, make sure it's body-safe. (Here's what body-safe means, plus other safe sex toy shopping tips to know.)

What acts am I hoping to use it for? If you're planning to use it anally it needs to have a flared base, such as the Fun Factory Limba Flex (Buy It, $70, goodvibes.com). While you may want a dildo with a hollow core if you want to use it for oral sex such as The BJ Dildo (Buy It, $90, babeland.com). If you're unsure about what size you (or a partner) will prefer, you can buy a set with multiple sizes, like in this Playtime Stap-On Set (Buy It, $109, noxshop.com).

Do I want something realistic? "Some receivers are turned on by the idea of being penetrated by something that looks like a biological penis," says Sloane. "And some givers like the idea of wearing something that looks like it's attached to their body — and experience gender-euphoria while doing so." Hands-down, New York Sex Toy Collective and Emisil Prosthetics make the most realistic dildos on the market. But for a more budget-friendly option, Sloane recommends the Vixskin line.

Other people have negative reactions to things that look like biological penises, says Sloane, "due to things including sexual trauma or their understanding of their own sexuality." In these cases, consider how unrealistic you want to go. Do you want a geode or tentacle shaped dildo such as the Geode Dildo (Buy It, $84, babeland.com) or Fantasticocks Clithulu The Sea Beast Dildo (Buy It, $86, etsy.com)? Or, are you OK with something that is phallic-shaped, but multi-colored such as the Gala Confetti Dildo (Buy It, $70, babeland.com) or Fun Factory Boss Silicone Dildo (Buy It, $65, goodvibes.com)?

Gala Confetti Dildo
$70
SHOP IT
Babeland

Do I want to be able to pack with this dildo, too? "Some dildos have a pose-able core or are small enough that you can pack with them," says Sloane. ICYDK, packing means creating a bulge in the front of your pants to give the illusion of a biological penis. Stiffer, bendable dildos like the Fun Factory Limba Flex (Buy It, $70, goodvibes.com) and New York Sex Toy Collective Carter (Buy It, $185, babeland.com) can be used for both packing and penetrative sex. But softer packing dildos (sometimes just called "packers")  like the New York Sex Toy Collective Pierre (Buy it, $45, newyorktoycollective.com) can be worn as a part of gender expression or hand and mouth sex, but aren’t usually used for penetrative play.

4. Get lube — and other sexcessories.

All penetrative play is made better with lube — period. So if the dildo is going to be entering a vagina or anus, you'll want lube, says Sloane. (Yes, even if the hole naturally produces some lubrication).

Most dildos are made out of silicone, which means they can't be used with a silicone-based lubricant, so use a water-based lubricant such as Sliquid Sassy (Buy It, $17, lovehoney.com) or Sutil Lubricant (Buy It, $24, babeland.com).

Beyond lube, there are some additional accessories you might consider. If your harness has a pocket for a little vibrator, for instance, you might consider a bullet vibrator such as the Le Wand Bullet (Buy It, $95, babeland.com) or the Gaia Eco Bullet Vibrator (Buy It, $18, babeland.com).

Le Wand Bullet Vibrator
$95
SHOP IT
Babeland

You may also choose to incorporate a product that can increase stimulation for the wearer, including the Bumpher Dildo Base Cushion (Buy It, $35, noxshop.com) or We-Vibe Chorus (Buy It, $200, babeland.com). (Related: Attention Couples of Any Gender Combo: You Need The We-Vibe Chorus)

"If you typically enjoy wearing a butt plug, you may also choose to wear that while wearing a strap on," says Duran. The internal fullness of the butt plug combined with the genital stimulation of wearing a strap-on is sure to result in some serious pleasure (read: a blended orgasm), he says.

5. Wear the strap-on around the house.

Surprisingly, the first time you wear a harness with a dildo should not be during partnered sex, says Sloane.

"Strap-on sex is like driving a car, in that it can take a while to get used to operating the device," she says. Wear the strap-on while answering emails, folding laundry, and watching The L Word, to help you get comfortable with the feeling. "The more you can pre-game with the strap-on, the better control you'll have over the dildo during partnered sex," she says. "After a while though, driving the dildo will feel natural and feel good."

Also consider wearing the strap-on during a solo sex sesh (or 10) while you get used to it. This will give you a chance to experiment where on your body to position the dildo. If, for instance, positioning the dildo lower results in the greatest clitoral stimulation, but positioning the dildo higher up your pubic mound results in great control, masturbating will give you the perfect time to find the happy medium.

6. Watch strap-on porn.

Porn is not sex education, so watching these videos won't teach out how to have strap-on sex. But watching these videos can help normalize the sex act and give you an idea of what to do and expect. (Related: Is it Normal That My Partner Watches Porn Before Sex?)

CrashPadSeries, if you haven't heard of it, is a queer-owned, -run, and -operated queer porn platform — and it's a great place to start. It has more than 500 videos featuring a w-i-d-e variety of performers and sex acts, including strap-on sex scenes. Plus, CrashPadSeries features such a wide variety of performers — including both amateurs and professionals — engaging in consensual, unscripted, realistic play.

7. Don't forget condoms.

"Whenever you're using a toy with a partner, that toy can function as a vector that can spread an STI from one person to another," says Duran. "So, before you have strap-on sex with someone you need to talk about your current STI status, how you're going to prevent transmission if that's a risk, and what you're cleaning protocols of the toy are going to be." (See More: Here's How to Have the Safest Sex Every Time You Get It On)

If one or more of you do have an STI, Sloane recommends popping a condom onto the dildo ahead of play. "That way you simply swap condoms before the dildo goes into a new person."

She also recommends using condoms if you're planning to go back and forth between the vagina and anus. "Even if you showered first, the rectum contains bacteria that, if transmitted to the vagina, can cause things like UTI or bacterial vaginosis."

8. Check in throughout.

Communication can't stop once play begins. "People have a fantasy that strap-on sex is going to go perfectly the first time," says Sloane. But it's going to require a little (or even a lot) of trial and error, she says. "The first few times, experimentation should be the name of the game. Play around with positions, strokes, angles, depths, and more."

During play, she recommends that the giver asks questions such as, "Do you prefer this speed and depth" or "do you want me to thrust slower or more quickly?" And that the receiver asks questions such as, "are your arms getting tired from holding yourself up," do you want me to climb on top," and "how are you feeling right now?" (See: How to Tell Your Partner What You Want In Bed)

9. Consider exploring beyond vaginal and anal penetration.

With the ability to stimulate hot-spots including the G-spot, A-spot, and P-spot, there's a reason strap-ons are so often used during vaginal and anal penetration. But even if you decide penetrative strap-on play isn't for you, don't snooze on all the other fun things you can do with a strap-on — i.e. oral sex!

"Receiving a blowjob when you're wearing a strap-on can feel really good because, with every lick and suck, the base of the strap-on can press against your clit," says Sloane. There are even dildos that are designed specifically for oral sex. The BJ Dildo (Buy It, $90, babeland.com), for example, has a hollow core and a small opening at the tip. The base creates a full seal against the wearer's body so when the giver sucks on the tip, the air creates a suction that can be felt on the wearer's clit.

Comments (2)

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December 4, 2020
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Anonymous
December 4, 2020
Am sharing this testimony to partners suffering in their relationships because there is an enduring solution. My husband left me and our 4 kids for another woman for 1 year. I tried to be strong just for my kids but I could not control the pains that torment my heart. I was hurt and confused. I needed a help, so i did a research on the internet and came across a site where I saw that Dr. Godday a spell caster,who can help get lot lovers back within few hours I contacted him and he did a special prayer and spells for me. To my surprises, after few days, my husband came back home. That was how we reunited again and there was a lot of love, joy and peace in the family. You can as well contact Dr. Godday, a powerful spell-caster for solutions on his contact Email: goddayspiritualhome@gmail.com Whats app only +1{919}4956404