Do you know how many questions we get about sex? Formspring, emails – hell, I've even been facebooked! More than once! But at least the last time I answered a question via facebook, I figured that the answer could spark a potentially meaningful conversation about sex. Talking about sex is something that we don't do enough, as a society. So we're going to start answering a few more questions about what we do in bed. Welcome to You Need Help: Sex EDition. Disclaimer: not everyone answering questions will be a medical professional. These are our opinions. These articles about sex are to promote conversation, so if you agree or disagree with what we say, please feel free to leave it in the comments. Discussion, much like sex, is a healthy part of life. And as always, You Do You. Or someone else.
We got this question a little bit differently than the way we get most of our questions (formspring or email). This question actually came in the form of a comment on You Need Help: Real Talk About Your First Strap-On. I thought the question was so interesting – I didn't know the answer and I got curious. So I contacted the commenter and asked permission to research the question. And she said yes! So what was the question that had me from hello?
As a trans* chick with not much going on “downstairs” I’m intrigued with using strapons instead of my actual bits, just not sure how best approach it. Can anyone recommend harnesses with a little extra room in the crotch that won’t break the bank?
I'm happy to report that I've got a few recommendations for you, and just in time for underwear week! I emailed Dr. Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations (one of our favorite toy retailers). Dr. Queen has answered questions for us before: you may remember her from the Vibrator Storage round-up. She got me in contact with Coyote, one of the Good Vibrations buyers (she purchases all the toys/harnesses/lube/fun sexy stuff that Good Vibrations can then comfortably recommend to all their customers). Together they took me through three (s)excellent options.
Because who can say no to a harness that sounds like a v. fancy Burlesque dancer and has a built-in garter belt? No one. No one can say no to that harness. The Sasha has two fabric panels for optional padding between skin and dildo. Because of it's fabric ties, it also can convert from booty-shorts to high-cut panty. It's stretchy, durable and (praise Lesbian Jesus) machine washable. Coyote says that this harness would be good if you're interested in tucking. It also falls into the category of ULTRA-FEMME. So femme that I had to use all capital letters for that. It employs an O-ring that fits toys from 1.25 inches to 2.25 inches in diameter and comes in a wide variety of sizes, from XS to 3XL (I've included the sizing video here, because it has very good advice about how to think about the fit for this harness).
Coyote specifically recommended this harness for those who still want access to their bits during sex. But before you click on the link, I want to warn you that Spareparts markets this harness to men. We know that we're not recommending this harness to men. I was actually kinda shocked that people in the sex toy industry had made that marketing choice, as everyone I have ever talked to in the biz is pretty well aware of the difference between gender and the bits between our legs. But marketing choice aside, this harness is made for some bits no matter how you identify and will certainly not pinch you in a way you don't like. If you're having trouble picturing what the use of this harness might look like, here's a handy video. Again, if you're bothered by the gendered marketing here, I'd urge you to skip to the next harness. This video is also NSFW unless you are also writing about sex for work. If that describes you, feel free to watch this video at work.
Though I've never used this particular harness, I will say that I live or die by my (very similar) Spareparts harness. It's the best control I've ever had with a harness and (thank Lesbian Jesus for the second time) it's also machine washable. It's also more on the gender neutral side of things for those of us who are not comfy in the ULTRA FEMME category. The Deuce can be yours for $136.00.
Dr. Queen sums up her recommendation of this one perfectly in one sentence: "In an era when even girly-girls may wear boy-cut shorts, this one might also be a contender." This straight up looks like briefs and is ultra comfy – no weird pinchy straps, all lovely undies fabric. I can (and have) fallen asleep in brief-style harnesses after fucking, that's how comfy we're talking. The trick though (and this also applies to the Sasha Couture) is that fabric harnesses do stretch during sex. In this case, that's kinda what we're looking for, but research your sizing with this one because you don't want it to be so stretchy and comfortable that you don't have a hell of a lot of control. And surprise! There's a video for that! It's very similar sizing to the Sasha.
The Tomboi Brief is the least expensive of these three at $76.00.
Please note that you can't return any of these harnesses if you have a sizing issue. If there's any question about the proper size for you, Good Vibrations provides live chats with personal shoppers.
Why Are All These Harnesses So Expensive?
Don't think I ignored the last part of your question – the part about the harness not breaking the bank. But I looked high and low for you and this is just generally what harnesses cost. And believe me, sex toys, much like surgery, is a place where you don't really want to bargain hunt. Not that you don't want to get an inexpensive toy (example: one of my favorite vibrators only costs $25) but rather you don't want to rule out the pricier options point blank. Sometimes cheaper toys and harnesses sacrifice quality or safety of materials for price, which is a thing you do not want when you're dealing with genitalia. Hell, it's a thing you do not want when you're dealing with potentially ruining an intimate moment.
Let me tell you a story about my first harness.
I got it for free. It was supposed to be high quality leather and I was like, cool, I will take it. It came recommended as a good starter harness. After flirting a little with the attendent, the harness magically had no price when they rung it up. I am not one to look a gift queer in the mouth.
After a few months of use (and tender loving care), I was fucking with it and all of a sudden I had no control with it – it was just BAM, now the harness is too loose. It seemed like the laces no longer held together. And what was worse was the giant scratch on my back. One of the metal pieces in the rear of the harness, just at the small of my back, had popped free of the leather and gouged my skin. Moment = ruined. Bandaid hunt required. And I managed to break that harness whilst fucking despite it's quality. Imagine how easy it will be to break one that's cheaply made. You'll just have to buy another one anyway, which is a massive waste of money and will do a lot more bank-breaking than shelling out only once. Better to buy one that's comfortable, durable, easy to care for and that you'll have for a long, long time. Invest the money now, save face (and money) later.
Have a fave harness? Please let us know in the comments. This is by no means an exhaustive catalogue of harnesses for trans* women, simply a place to start. Happy harnessing! Everyone masturbate all the time! (What, you thought I was kidding when I said I would close every You Need Help with masturbation?)