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Strap-On Sex -A Complete Guide for Beginners

As someone who writes about sex for a living, I get a lot of questions about strap-on sex. Many people, it seems, are curious about strapping it on. But how does strap-on sex work and how do you get started? 

Read on to find out everything you ever needed to know about this incredibly hot – and versatile – form of sex. 

First, what is strap-on sex?

A strap-on is a combination of a harness and a dildo. One partner wears the strap-on around their hips, and it allows them to penetrate their partner without using a bio penis. Strap-on sex can include vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, or some combination of all three. 

What sorts of people have strap-on sex?

People of all genders and sexualities can, and do, enjoy strap-on sex. This type of sex is most commonly associated with lesbian couples and other pairings where both partners have a vulva. It is also often associated with “pegging” – a (usually cisgender) woman penetrating a (usually cisgender) man using a strap-on. 

But there are so many other use cases (if you will) for strap-on sex. Here are just a few common ones: 

  • Cis men who are dealing with erectile struggles or want to keep having sex after they’ve ejaculated 
  • Folks who can’t have penetrative sex using their penis for disability or other health reasons 
  • Transgender women who experience gender dysphoria if they have sex involving their penis but still want to penetrate their partners 
  • Transgender men and other transmasculine people who find gender euphoria in using a strap-on 
  • People who are into group sex might use strap-ons to allow for double or triple penetration

There’s no “standard” form of strap-on sex and no typical participant. If you’re curious about this type of sex and want to give it a try, then it’s for you! 

There’s a misconception that being into strap-on sex says something about your sexual orientation. In particular, some people wonder if lesbians who are into strap-on play are secretly lusting after men, or if cis men who are into pegging are secretly gay. These myths are absolutely false. Sexual orientation is about who you want to have sex with, not the specific acts you do. Strap-on sex has no gender or orientation. 

How can I bring up strap-on sex with my partner?

Communicating about sex can be hard. Asking for something you want in the bedroom is a vulnerable thing to do, and it can feel like a rejection of you if your partner says no or reacts badly. With that said, we are not mind readers – no matter how well we know our partners! So the only way to get what you want is to ask. 

I always recommend broaching conversations about sexual activities you want to try when you’re not actually having sex or about to have sex. Raise it when you’re both in a calm and relaxed state and feeling connected to each other. Tell your partner what you’re interested in trying, ask them how they feel about it, and listen to the response. 

Another option, if you have the kind of relationship where this would be well received, is to tell your partner about a fantasy you had, some porn you watched, or an erotic story you read. This can be a great way into the conversation and can help you talk about what you’d like to do and what it is about strap-on sex that appeals to you. 

It’s important to remember that you might hear a no, and you need to accept that gracefully if you do. Your partner might need time to process the idea, think about it, or do their own research. If your partner is interested, then you can talk in more detail about the specifics. Watching porn or reading erotica together can be a great way to learn more about the kinds of things you might want to try… not to mention super hot! 

What kind of dildo should you use?

There are thousands of different types of dildos out there, and many of them can be used for strap-on sex. There are several things you’ll need to take into account when you’re choosing the best dildo for strap-on sex. 

  • Material. I always recommend silicone for strap-on dildos because it is body-safe, easy to clean, and soft and flexible enough for comfortable penetration. 
  • Design. Do you want a realistic dildo that looks like a factory-installed penis, or something a little more abstract? A colour that matches your skin tone, or something bright and outrageous? 
  • Size. I recommend starting with smaller and slimmer dildos for pegging or anal play. Otherwise, think about what size feels most pleasurable to the recipient. Do they prefer larger or smaller? Length or girth? 
  • Shape. Strap-on dildos are broadly phallic in shape, but there are lots of variations within that. Textured or smooth? Curved or straight? And so on. 
  • Base. To fit in a harness securely, strap-on compatible toys need to have a suitable base. Anything with a suction cup or flared base will work. Many realistic style toys with balls will also work, depending on your harness. 

Ultimately, you must choose the toy that feels the most right to you and your partner. Spend some time browsing together and see what types of toys grab your attention. To quote Kat Edison, a character from my favourite TV show The Bold Type, “maybe the strap-on chooses you!” 

Pro tip: thanks to its relatively slimline shaft, curved design, and flared base, the Godemiche Ambit is my absolute favourite dildo for strap-on sex! 

A quick guide to harnesses

When you think of strap-on sex, you probably have a particular image of what a harness looks like. But there are more variations of harnesses than you might think. 

Broadly speaking, strap-on harnesses fall into two basic categories. Strappy harnesses can be made of leather or faux leather, or from materials like nylon or polypropylene. They are usually adjustable in several places to fit different body sizes. Harness briefs are pants or boxers with an O-ring for a strap-on at the front. 

Within these two categories, you can get harnesses in a wide range of colours, materials, and styles. Many harnesses allow you to swap out the O-ring for different sizes to accommodate different dildos. Some also include extras, such as a hidden pocket for a bullet vibrator, which can increase pleasure for the wearer. 

There are also strapless strap-ons, which are all-in-one toys that don’t require a harness. These toys are designed for people with vulvas and are worn inside the vagina, using the pelvic muscles to hold the toy in place. They can be fun, but they are also more challenging to use than they look! I recommend starting out with a traditional strap-on harness and trying out a strapless toy later, once you’ve got the hang of the basics. 

Less commonly, you can also get harnesses that are worn on different parts of the body. Thigh harnesses and mouth harnesses are two types that you might see. 

Don’t forget the lube!

No matter what type of sex you’re having, lube can make things better. Always use plenty of good quality, water-based lube when you’re having strap-on sex. 

Lube is particularly important if you’re doing anal play. The butt is not self-lubricating and you can damage the delicate anal tissue if you don’t lubricate sufficiently. You should always use more lube than you think you need, and top it up regularly. 

Positions

You can have strap-on sex in almost any position you can think of. The trick is to experiment and find what works for you and your partner. 

I recommend starting out with something simple such as missionary or doggy style. Many people also find that the wearer standing while the receptive partner lies on their back works well, if your bed (or other surface) is the right height. Try things out, communicate as you go, and adjust if something isn’t quite right. 

If the receptive partner is nervous or new to penetrative play, it can be useful for them to start out on top. This allows them to control the speed, angle, and depth of penetration to ensure things are comfortable. 

Quick tips for amazing strap-on sex

No matter what type of strap-on sex you’re having, there are a few tips that can help you get the most out of it. Here are my top hints to ensure you both have the best possible experience. 

  • Remember that consent comes first. Consent should be informed, enthusiastic, and unambiguous, and it needs to be sought each time you do something. 
  • Communicate as much as possible before, during, and after play. 
  • Take things slowly and don’t rush. 
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues such as body language, sounds, and facial expressions. 
  • Be prepared to laugh. Sex can be pretty silly, especially when you’re trying new things. 
  • If something hurts, stop and adjust.
  • Try not to have any expectations before you start. Keep an open mind, stay curious, and explore. 

Most importantly, have fun. Like any kind of sex, strap-on play is ultimately about the connection between two (or more) people. 

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