You Need Help: Real Talk About Your First Strap-On

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.


 

Help! I just got a strap-on and it turns out I’m not so skilled at using it (yet). How do I learn? Straight porn? Practice? (Don’t worry, we’re planning on practicing.) I’m also really in my head for strap-on sex; it’s all new. Any advice?

Congrats on the strap-on! I would say there’s nothing in the world I like better than strap-on sex, but I say that about every sex act I enjoy. It’s really really fun, though. And practicing with the new dick is fun.

It’s sometimes hard though, and not in the punny way. You’ve now got this appendage that you’ve never used before. It’s attached to your hips, which is unlike any other appendage you have, and it requires a specific muscle set to be able to control it the way you really want. This is a muscle set you really won’t have unless you’ve been fucking with something like a strap-on. You also can’t feel what you’re doing with it the same way you can feel with your other appendages. And, when you first strap-on, the act of it can feel a little silly because, as you mention, you get in your head. I had all these same issues with strap-ons when I first started using them – here’s how I counteracted all those thoughts and expectations I weighed myself down with.

Start by getting acquainted with your brand new dick by yourself, without anyone else (partner included) present. There’s a certain amount of comfort that just comes from having it on and knowing what that weight feels like, knowing how your movements affect where it goes. Wear it while cleaning the kitchen, for instance. If you have a waterproof harness, shower with it on. And most importantly, masturbate while wearing it. There’s an element to this that isn’t just comfort, but mental connection. When one is mentally connected with one’s dick, one may experience a certain amount of feeling with it. Not the same way you can feel with your fingers or your mouth. It’s more of a brain feeling. And masturbating with it helps facilitate that mental connection. Grab some lube and see how you like it touched. See what about it turns you on. And it could be that you discover that you need a little extra stimulation – some harnesses have a place for a bullet vibrator right in the front. Check to see if you have one of those harnesses. If you do, see how that feels for you as well. Really the big thing about getting acquainted with your new friend is that you want to get as comfortable as possible while wearing it. Get down with your bad self.

Yes, porn helps in the inspiration department, but not as much as one would think in the practicality department. It’s nice to see what kind of sex acts or positions other people enjoy taking part in, but because everyone’s body is vastly different, you may not get the kind of how to you’re looking for. You also may not necessarily need to watch straight porn – I find that I don’t care for most mainstream straight porn. And for getting inspired with my strap-on, I’d rather see people who are actually using a strap-on. Try Crashpad. There are a few scenes that explicitly deal with strap-on sex – this one between Jake and Wilder, for instance.

Then, of course, there are the how-to’s and step-by-steps. Babeland has a ton of events in their Manhattan, Seattle and Brooklyn locations. Keep checking there for a strap-on-related workshop. Smitten Kitten paired up with Queer Porn TV (that’s Courtney Trouble, folks! Sexy!) to bring you two how-to videos. Sinclair Sexsmith has an entire tag on their site entitled “Butch Cock,” which is full of sexy stories and sex advice alike. These how-to’s can serve to make you more comfortable, but nothing is a substitute for good ole fashioned practice.

Please be super communicative when doing anything in bed, especially if you’re new at it and it’s your first time or first few times. One of the major things that jumped out at me was that you said you don’t seem to be skilled at it yet. How do you know? You could be rocking their world. When you’re using a strap-on with someone else, both parties have to be unabashed about what they like, how they like it, how fast, how hard, how deep, etc. While you may experience some sensation, you’re not going to be able to feel reactions the same way you would with your fingers and mouth. The best way to learn how to fuck your partner with a strap-on is from your partner. So let them know that it’s okay to say exactly what they want – it won’t hurt your feelings, it’ll just help you learn. Also know that you’ll probably be really sore after your first few times doing this: there are muscles you don’t have yet that you’ll be using to control where this dick goes. So even if you start out really, really slowly (recommended! Please start out really, really slowly) it still requires muscles you didn’t know you had.

Did I mention to start out really slowly? Please, insert slowly. Fuck slowly. Slow and steady wins the race.

A few more thoughts:

YOU NEED MORE LUBE THAN YOU THINK YOU DO.

Actually, so does everyone for almost every sex act ever. Use a water-based, glycerin-free lube. If you haven’t been using lube, go out and get some. I like Babelube, Maximus and Liquid Silk. Sometimes people think they aren’t good at something or that they can’t do some sex act when all they really need is moar lube.

 

SOMETIMES IT’S NOT YOU. IT’S THE HARNESS.

If you feel like you don’t have a tremendous amount of control even after a lot of practice, know that not all harnesses are created equal and that different people prefer different harnesses for their bodies. For instance, I love my RodeOH, but I get tons more control with my Spareparts. That could be different for you. And I’ve tried to use a broken harness at least once in my life and let me tell you, that shit does not work – check to make sure everything is connected as it should be. It could also be that your harness isn’t fitting you correctly – harnesses usually need to be tighter than one might think on their first go, and some harnesses do stretch a little during sex, so try tightening up and see how that feels.

 

BASIC POSITIONS ARE BEST FOR BEGINNERS

When you’re starting out, I wouldn’t go straight for the rockstar positions. Some that I find easier to work a dick with are:

- one partner on all fours, the dick-wearer on their knees behind them

- traditional missionary position

- both partners standing, one bent over the bed/desk/chair/dresser/other person, the dick-wearer fucking from behind

- any blow job position at all. Strap-on blow jobs are super hot.

- In any or all of these positions, try circling your hips instead of only pumping them straight in and out – try other motions, too. Mix it up.


Have a question about sex? Email me at ali [at] autostraddle.com
For 100% anonymity, contact me through Formspring.

Please keep your questions to around, at most, 100 words. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.


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Freelance writer and fiction author, Geekery Editor for Autostraddle.com and Fiction Editor for qu.ee/r Magazine. Keep up with her at her website.

Ali has written 268 articles for us.

44 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    hmm, this is intriguing and informative talk, as a trans* chick with not much going on “downstairs” I’m intrigued with using strapons instead 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?

  2. Thumb up 20

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    One thing that can help those starting out: Have the person on the receiving end do the work until you both become more comfortable with it. Blowjobs are super hot for getting things going, both physically and mentally…it may seem a little counter-intuitive, but try it – the visual aspect of it and the subtle flirtation with power-play can be a real turn-on. Also try having the receiver ride the person wearing the strap-on…they’re in control and can vary the rhythm, position, depth of penetration, and speed to their liking, which can take a lot of pressure off of someone new to strapping it on.

    Work on your core strength outside of the bedroom – core strength is key to keeping it going for as long as they may want you to keep it going. It can be a little disappointing if they start to lose steam after a few pumps…however, you can always fall back on riding the wearer, or switching positions if that happens.

    If you’re tempted to jump right in with a double-ended dildo, I would recommend waiting until you have more experience with the harness and action of penetrating someone with a strap-on and know what you like and they like. Double dildos can be difficult to position, uncomfortable, bruising, or downright painful for the wearer. They don’t fit everyone the same way or often as expected or advertised. Personally, I find them more distracting than pleasurable.

    Also, HYGIENE disclaimer! Silicone (while more expensive) really is best for the dildo – it’s non-porous, and can easily be cleaned and sanitized by boiling or even in the dishwasher. Jelly, plastic, and rubber dildos can break down, harbor bacteria, and contain harmful cancer-causing and bad for the environment chemicals. Also wash thoroughly with hot water & anti-bacterial soap between uses, and fully sanitize between partners if you plan to use it on more than one partner. Water-based lubes only on silicone toys, silicone lubes can break down the material. Also, consider using condoms if you plan to use it with multiple partners. The same goes for the harness…the leather look is sexy (sorry vegans!) and can offer more support and control, but is harder to clean. Ali’s recommendation of the Spareparts harness is a good compromise between stability and being easy to clean.

    And, finally, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourselves…it can be kind of ridiculous and hilarious the first time you see yourself or your partner in a strap-on. Penises and penis-shaped objects are inherently funny, it’s ok to laugh! And this is meant to be fun! You’ll know when the time is right to move on from the laughing to the serious business at hand.

  3. Thumb up 3

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    I got my first strap from a particularity straight sex store. It was purple and it vibrated and I remember popping my girlfriend’s cherry in the back seat of her car while it was raining. Great times, however innocent and naive.

    Joquestrap is my go to strap. Seriously, it is worth every single penny and you can put all sizes of dildos in. I like the fact that it is in a form of a jock strap because the underwear like ones would probably be uncomfortable for me.

    I keep my goods in a christmas stocking because, hey, why the hell now?

    Happy humping, ya’ll!

  4. Thumb up 11

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    I loved this.
    However, I don’t view a strapon as a “cock.” I’m not pretending like I have a penis, I don’t want a penis. I am perfectly okay with my vagina, and if I choose to use a strapon, it’s not to replace my vagina. To make them interchangeable is offensive to me, and plays into the common comment I hear from straight people, that I must secretly want penis in my life because, you know, lesbians use strapons. Same difference, right? Wrong.
    It’s just sort of patriarchal to me, holding the penis as something that is necessary, when it’s not.

    • Thumb up 14

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      It is totally cool for you view strap-on sex from that perspective, and not want to refer to the dildos as cocks……. BUT – some of us queers really love calling them cocks! Some of us really purposefully love the gender-fuckery that is fucking with a cock although you have a vagina, and some people feel much more empowered and comfortable with their bodies & sexuality when they fuck with a cock, and can embody it more intently when using that vocabulary. In fact, some people are offended, majorly turned off, & insulted if you refer to their non-biological cock as a dildo/strap-on.

      As always here on Autostraddle, You Do You, but just wanted to try & illuminate a different perspective.

  5. Thumb up 2

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    This is one of my favorite topics- my partner and I developed this product a couple months ago…for years I wanted to feel like I could have a blow job and then go into penetrative sex – everything that we found had crummy reviews so we took matters into our own hands. It also helps that my partner has a science background and is an engineer … our toys are made of silicone and in 4 skin tone colors- we sell them at queer events in nyc and online. You can see how well they pack and stay in place here:

  6. Thumb up 0

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    This is such a great article. You talked about things I needed but didn’t even know I needed. I gave up on using a strap on with my last relationship because I thought I was just bad.

  7. Thumb up 3

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    You know what uses pretty much the same muscles as strap-on sex? Derby. See your local derby girl for a practical demonstration.

    If you don’t have much core/leg strength, a good position can be having the receiver lie so their hips are flush with the edge of the bed (table, couch, etc) and the wearer stand in front of them. Less movement is required to get the same sensation (in fact I usually have to be careful not to go too deep) which makes it easier on your muscles. Also it’s hot as fuck.

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    I wholeheartedly agree that using the right hardware is essential to having a successful and pleasurable strap-on experience. DO NOT CHEAP OUT ON DILDOS AND HARNESSES. Invest in quality products! Cheap harnesses will either break after a few uses or feel really uncomfortable, and cheap dildos contain all sorts of nasty toxic chemicals. You and your lover deserve a better experience than that. You deserve to be safe.

    Here are some brands that I highly recommend and trust:

    Harnesses: Aslan Leather, SpareParts, Tantus, Stormy Leather.

    Dildos: Tantus, VixSkin/Vixen Creations.

    I get a bit more specific with product recommendations on my website, but in general, you can’t go wrong with these brands. They offer safe materials, variety, and quality construction. Your money will be well-spent.

  9. Thumb up 0

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    So please don’t hate me…..
    I’m just an honest guy in a loving relationship with the woman of my dreams. We are both dedicated to each other and have decided to incorporate a strap on into our sexual mix.

    I am deeply concerned about which harness/’s are the most comfortable for the female build.
    I am ridiculously lucky because she is in immaculate physique. Strike that… I am spoiled.
    She deserves only the best.

    I understaned that every person is different, but it would mean the world to me (and her) if we could get this right on the first try.

    The comments from all the wonderful Women before are greatly appreciated

    I would like to ask this vibrant and strong community one question.

    If one had to pick a non-vegan strap, that was (most importantly comfortable/durable for the wearer), and was most interchangeable with the penetrating device, what strap would be at the top of the list????

    PLEASE DONT KILL MY COMMENT!!!!
    I Just want the best for my lady and I only want to have the best for us. I feel that this forum has the best know how to facilitate our request…

  10. Thumb up 1

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    So… Yesterday my wife let me (um is the eff word appropriate here?) “do” her with the strap on. She’s the experienced lesbian and after our 7 years together this is the first time we reversed roles like that. Also the first time she ever let someone do that. I now understand how sexy it is when a woman is on top and to not feel insecure about my body when it’s me. In summation, there is no point except I I ally got to use a strap on and that’s not something you can really share with your regular social circle. Yay

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