Before I tell you how to find the best strap-on harness for you, let’s get one thing straight: In this household, we do not say “pegging.”
“Pegging” is the common term for when cis women fuck cis men in the ass with a strap-on. Now, I don’t care what hole you put your dick, cock, dildo, or member in, but around these parts we don’t limit the endless pleasures of penetrative sex to a particular type of body, nor do we use euphemisms to protect certain sexual practices from being associated with queerness. “Pegging” is a linguistic attempt to separate heterosexual men from receptive anal sex or “buttfucking,” which for some people feels just a little too fruity. Those people are cowards. Don’t be like those people.
If you enjoy “hands-free penetrative sex” though—or would like to enjoy it—I’m here to help! Just on the condition that we talk about it like grownups. If you want to use a strap-on to fuck or get fucked in one of the many delightful holes human beings have to offer, you’ll do it without reifying cisheteronormativity, thank you very much.
While strap-on harnesses are most often associated with “pegging” or sex between queer cis women, the strap is available for trans, nonbinary, and cis people of all body types and sexualities. As someone who exclusively tops these days—top is gay for doer, penetrator, and/or person running the fuck—I use mine for vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse with my partners, but that’s not the only way to bone. I used to date someone who liked me to strap on while they topped me, because we both enjoyed playing with my purely decorative dildo.
When it comes to the best way to lay pipe strap-on style, the trick is to find the harness that best fits you and your desires.
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of strap-on equipment: Those that have “straps,” or harnesses, and those that don’t.
Harnesses come in a variety of styles: the “3-strap or “jock,” the 2-strap or “g-string,” and the corset. They also come in different materials, including cotton, leather, lace, latex, and nylon. The advantages of harnesses are that you can adjust them to suit your waist and thighs, meaning you have greater customization of fit. Depending on the quality of the harness, the material it’s made from, and how well you care for it, harnesses can last a long time, so it’s smart to think of yours as an investment for the horny years to come. Some advise experimenting with a cheaper harness to make sure it’s something you enjoy before committing to a more souped-up version, because with strap-on accoutrement, as with just about anything else, you get what you pay for.
Strap-ons that come in brief or underwear style have their own advantages. While easier to clean and less expensive than harnesses, as well as super comfortable—you can even wear them as underwear—they don’t offer the support that harnesses provide, which means that they’re not ideal for bigger, heavier dildos. Fabric can also stretch out during sex or after a lot of wear, so yours may not fit as well over time. You might consider buying yours a size smaller than you might need; a friend of mine does this to give herself more control while she’s getting it on.
There are also harnesses that anchor from other parts of the body, like the thigh, foot, or face, as well as the strapless strap-on (a toy that is definitely not for me, but might be for you!), which isn’t even technically a harness. These are fun alternatives to fucking the old-fashioned way, and also useful for people who are unable to thrust from their hips.
Unfortunately, strolling on over to your local sex shop isn’t an option for everyone even under the best of circumstances. With COVID-19, it’s a taller order than ever. Regardless, shopping for your first strap-on harness in person is your best bet. sex shop staffers can answer your questions about different brands, pricing, and sizing; you can also usually try it on before buying in-store. If shopping in person isn’t an option, your next best bet for shopping online is doing your research, reaching out to online customer support when possible, and double-checking return policies before you order is finalized.
A more expensive option is having your strap-on harness custom made, although some leather workers, like the world-famous Mr. S Leather, have paused custom orders or significantly slowed down production due to COVID-19. Some queer-owned leather workers are still taking custom orders or are slated to open soon, like Switch Leather Company, BoundAries Leather, Wildwolf Leatherwork, and Magnolia Leather Co.
Regardless of where you’re purchasing your strap, think carefully about what it is you’re looking for before you commit. Will you be the only one wearing it? Your answer will affect your sizing needs. How often will you be using it? Your answer will affect how often it will need to be cleaned, which may determine what material you choose. What size toys do you want to use? Make sure that the o-ring, which holds your dildo in place, is the right size.
Like every other industry, the world of sex toys skews fatphobic, transphobic, and ableist. Thankfully, there are strap-on harnesses either designed or better-suited for fat people, trans women and transfeminine people, people with disabilities, and people with erectile dysfunction or who are unable to use their genitals in normative ways.
You may already own dildos, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to fit into the harness you choose. This is one of the times where size matters: Harness-compatible dildos need to fit the o-ring and have a base that allows it to rest against your body.
Even appropriately-sized dildos don’t always slide in easily. Having trouble cramming one of your big boys in there? Try covering your dildo with a plastic garbage bag, as the slippery surface will help it fit more easily through the o-ring.
Some harnesses are built to accommodate more than one dildo, which is rad (just remember, with great power comes great responsibility). Many harnesses also come with pockets for bullet vibrators, which can feel sensational for both giver and receiver, regardless of their junk.
Finally, the fun part! While exploring your new harness with your partner(s) is definitely one way to get comfortable with your new toy, practice—and pleasure—isn’t limited to sex with other people. Wearing it around the house or incorporating it into your private masturbation time are both ways to get used to it as a temporary extension of your body. Swapping with a partner, if that’s what you’re into, and experiencing your harness from the business end is another way to familiarize yourself with your new rig. That said, there’s no better way to get comfortable than getting down to business.