Have you considered strapping on some fun? Rest assured, you’re not alone — lots of people from all backgrounds and walks of life are interested in harness play for a wide variety of reasons!
For some couples who desire penetration, using a harness and a compatible toy can create an experience that allows for more physical closeness, frees up your hands to hold or touch your partner/s, and opens new possibilities for positions and sensations.
After all, there is an incredibly diverse range of toys that can be put in a harness — from anatomical toys meant to resemble realistic anatomy, to more neutral choices, to entirely fantastical and whimsical options that look nothing at all like human bodies! There are dual-ended options so that both partners can achieve penetration at once, cushions to add texture, and add-ons that can add vibration for one or both participants. When it comes to harnesses, the possibilities are (almost) limitless, as long as you’ve got an open mind!
For those stepping into that wide wide world of pleasure possibilities, it can be hard to know where to begin. But don’t worry. We’ve been in this business awhile, and we have some tried and true tips so you can have the most successful strap-on experience possible!
Establish Your Desires
When discussing desires, it can help to first start with our experiences. If the receiving partner has not been penetrated before, we highly recommend starting by exploring penetration with your fingers to establish whether or not more stimulation in that ares is even desired before investing in a harness and toy. Once some exploration has been done, if you’re still interested, then consider the goals you want your equipment to achieve.
What size toy is ideal for the receiver? Do you want to specifically target the prostate or the g-spot? Is vibration a necessity? Does the giving partner want to receive additional stimulation of some kind?
Remember, never use a toy without a flared base in a harness, especially if you’re participating in pegging (which is the layman’s term for using a harness for anal penetration).
And of course, don't forget lube! This always bears repeating. You will have a smoother experience (literally) if you thoroughly lubricate all bodies and toys involved. Just make sure to check that your preferred lube is compatible with your toys! You can find our lube guide here, if you’re not sure.
Some bodies may need to make considerations of size or ability when purchasing. Not all harnesses will fit all bodies. Some people with larger bellies may find that a shorter toy may be hard to position. Some people may struggle to make the “thrusting” motion with their hips that traditional harnesses use, and might want to consider a thigh harness instead of a traditional harness. All bodies are different, so make sure you set yours up for success!
Shop Toy First
As long as you're shopping harness compatible toys, which one you choose is entirely up to you! Some people like a small and subtle dil, while others prefer something with a little more oomph. For many partners, the ideal toy may be different depending on position. For example, a longer toy may be helpful when being penetrated from behind, but painful when riding on top.
Bear in mind that for many people, width is a more important factor than length. Use your past experiences — whether partnered or solo — to guide you to the one that's just right. Only you can choose the right toy for your body — but when in doubt, start a little bit smaller than you think you need.
If you're hoping to hit the g-spot or p-spot, a dildo with a distinct curve may serve you best. These pleasure points are located on the front walls of our bodies, so we often need an angle in order to reach them. Keep this in mind while shopping if stimulating these points is a goal for your strap-on experience.
Pick The Right Strap
There are so many harnesses that it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. But when approaching harnesses, there are two main style options: strap, and underwear.
Strap-style harnesses are the most common, and tend to be the most popular for beginners thanks to their adjustability. Strap harnesses have three main loops, the largest of which tightens around the hips and the smaller two tighten around the thighs just underneath the booty. Most strap harnesses have extremely adjustable measurements thanks to this design, and can adapt to fit a wide range of bodies. For partners of different sizes who might want to share the same harness, or people on a budget whose size might fluctuate, this can be very appealing.
Strap harnesses also leave more skin exposed, allowing more skin-on-skin contact. It also allows the option for the giving partner to receive anal stimulation, if desired. However, some people find the straps uncomfortable, depending on the shape of their body.
On the other hand, underwear style harnesses are exactly what they sound like — strap-on harnesses that are designed to look more like underwear. For many who are new to harness play, this style can be more comfortable, as it feels similar to what many people wear already. They’re available in boxer-brief designs, standard brief designs, and there are even super cute couture lingerie options! This style also frequently comes with many additional hidden pockets, which makes it easy to conveniently stash bullet vibrators, condoms, lube, and more.
The downside to underwear style harnesses is that, like underwear, they are sized, and not adjustable. So if you purchase the wrong size, your body size fluctuates, there's no way to adjust them to fit. Or you want to share the harness with a partner who happens to be a different size, underwear harnesses are not the ideal choice. They also cover more skin, which can mean the penetrating partner is less open to receiving touch & stimulation in some areas.
These harnesses can sometimes tend to lose elasticity in the ring over time. You can preserve the lifespan of your harness by using a thin plastic produce bag when inserting your dildos to limit friction and protect the fabric around the ring (just pull the bag through to remove it before play, of course).
The one harness that has a unique design that combines the two styles, and therefore fulfills many of the common wants for harness play, is Joque! Designed by Spareparts, Joque combines all the adjustability and versatility of a traditional strap harness, while offering just enough fabric coverage to cushion the body’s unique curves more comfortably than traditional straps. While Joque's three loop design features all the adjustability of a strap harness, it also has reinforced straps and convenient hidden pockets like underwear harnesses! Therefore, if you can't decide between the two styles, but you definitely want to engage in harness play, we cannot recommend Joque highly enough!
Consider Possible Additions
Even if you choose a strap-harness that doesn't have secret little vibrator pockets, you can add vibration by putting a vibrating c-ring on your dildo. They also make a few different textured cushions to stick to the base of your dil to give the harness-wearing partner something nice to grind on. Some people even like to wear an internal wearable toy, like the Jive by We-Vibe, an App-Controlled internal vibe, underneath their harness.
For partners who both want to receive penetration at the same time, there are double-ended dildos! Although many of these are marketed as “strapless,” we firmly think that they are best when used with a harness to lend extra stimulation and stability — at least until you get the hang of them!
No partner? No problem! You can put your favorite harness-compatible toy into a thigh-harness, wrap it around a pillow, and enjoy solo strap-play.
Some people may want to experiment with double penetration — and you can bet there’s a harness for that. The Deuce by Spareparts is a unique strap-on with a two-opening design. Created to be comfortably worn by people with penises, the Deuce can be use for simultaneous anal and vaginal penetration with the aid of one or two toys. This can also be the ideal option for those with fluctuating erectile function, so that penetration may occur with or without an erection. For more information on pleasure regardless of erectile functionality, check out our Demystifying Erectile Dysfunction blog!
Experiment and Communicate
Experiment to find the best position for your body! For those who need just a little extra support, or that extra inch of leverage, there are a myriad of amazing Position Aids that can make harness play so much more comfortable and accessible for all bodies.
And because we haven't come up with the technology (yet!) that allows you to actually feel the toy you're using, it's important to check in with your partner frequently throughout playtime. Stay attuned to your partner’s reactions and body language. We always recommend having a safe word in place during play, just in case. Many people find the stop-light system helpful to categorize their mood — with green being keep going, yellow being slow down and check in to change positions or activity, and red being stop the scene immediately.
As with any kind of new play, take your time, trust your instincts, and listen to your body! If you bear these tips in mind, strapping on can unlock new kinds of pleasure for all involved!