How To Buy A Strap-On Harness for Lesbian Sex

In dark times, sex shops had a single strap-on harness and it was leather and bulky and the exact same one all your exes had and that was pretty much it, unless you cut a hole in the front of your underwear and shoved a dildo through and fucked until everything came apart at the seams. Today, there are so many different types of strap-on harnesses — so how do you know which one is right for you?

When you’re buying a harness, think about:

Who’s wearing it? Just one person? Multiple people? What shapes are the wearers’ bodies? Strap-based harnesses can be more flexible for different bodies, and you can often pair them with extenders to make them even more flexible for different sized wearers, or adjust the straps so the base of a dildo sits lower or higher (to some degree) according to where the wearers’ genitals are or what they look like.

Who are you using it with? Just one person? Multiple people, spaced out over time? Multiple people in any given week? Nylon, spandex, and cotton harnesses are often machine washable and ready to go as soon as they air dry; leather harnesses need to sit for a day post-cleaning.

What toys do you want it to fit? Do you want to be able to swap out the o-ring that holds the dildo in place so you can use dildos of all sizes, or will an o-ring that’s just a little flexible be enough? Is your dildo of choice huge and heavy (straps are better), or smaller (compatible with any harness)?

Do you want to be able to pack with your strap-on (i.e., wear it with a dildo under your clothes)? Do you want to be able to wear it under your clothes without a dildo? Underwear harnesses are often sleeker while strap harnesses are often bulkier — but if you’re packing under a fuller dress or roomier pants, you might not care.

How durable does it need to be? Is this a harness for the next year or two, or a harness for the rest of your life? If it’s fabric, the fabric might stretch and wear out faster; but if you’re not excited to spend the time taking care of a leather harness, then it doesn’t matter how long it would theoretically last if you did.

How naked do you want to feel? And do straps with more exposed skin, or cloth with more sensitivity all over, feel more or less naked to you?

Plus, let’s not forget about aesthetic! What look makes you feel sexy? What makes you feel like you? The harnesses below are sorted for style, with lingerie and boxer/brief underwear-style harnesses, single and double strap harnesses, and harnesses for strap-on sex with body parts that aren’t your hips. (If you’re a trans woman, also check out Autostraddle’s guide to strap-on harnesses for trans women.) Let’s clamdive in.

Underwear Harnesses

Underwear-style harnesses — whatever their style — are comfortable, versatile, and wearable. Want to pack under tight jeans? Underwear harness! Not sure whether you’re going to fuck later and want to be prepared but not presumptuous? Underwear harness! Laundry day? Underwear harness! Underwear harnesses are less finicky than strap harnesses, can make you feel physically closer because there’s only thin material between your bodies, and are often machine washable. The flip is that they’re not adjustable, have more give (meaning: a dildo don’t necessarily stay where you put it), and expose less skin than their strappy counterparts. Generally, they lean more in a lingerie direction or more in a brief or boxer-brief direction.

Lingerie Harnesses

Some underwear-style strap-on harnesses evoke lingerie, whether because of the fabrics and cuts or details like garter snaps, ties, and cut-outs. The SpareParts Sasha Harness comes in red or black, has ties at each hip that can give it a bootie short or panty cut, and is my personal fave. The SpareParts Bella Harness has a cutout over the back. Both are nylon and spandex, and have removable garter straps and two small pockets for bullet vibes. And the RodeoH Crotchless Black Panty Harness is cotton and spandex, with an open gusset and center back cutout and one bullet vibe pocket.

Boxer and Brief Harnesses

Some underwear-style strap-on harnesses are cut like boxers or briefs, with cuts that offer more coverage and gender-neutral or masculine-leaning colors. The RodeoH Brief Harness, an updated version of the first underwear-style strap-on harness to take off, is cotton and spandex and works with double-ended dildos. For a boxer-style harness, the RodeoH Boxer Harness is similar, in cotton and spandex but with a boxer-brief cut. The brief-style Spareparts Tomboi Harness is smooth nylon and spandex, comes in red or black, and has an adjustable o-ring.

Strap Harnesses

Strap-style harnesses, the original strap-ons, have to be literally strapped to your body. The upside is they’re more secure, even with larger or heavier dildos; often have swappable o-rings to work with any size toy you want; are often compatible with double-ended dildos; are supple and soften over time if they’re leather; and adjustable for a wide range of bodies. The down side is that they’re bulkier, especially under clothes; that they’re more finicky to put on, especially if you’re not used to yours yet; and they often require more intense care than their machine-washable counterparts. There are two types of strap-style harnesses: double and single.

Double-Strap Harnesses

Double-strap harnesses have a strap that goes around the wearer’s hips and two straps that (usually) go over the wearer’s butt and meet in the crotch. Because they’re fully adjustable, they’re the most secure type of harness and great for truly athletic fucking, while also leaving the wearer’s genitals and ass very available. They’re also more comfortable than single-strap harnesses for women with penises. Aslan’s Jaguar Leather Harness is super secure black leather with d-rings and buckles, can be used with different-sized o-rings and double-ended dildos, and has a lower dildo placement for more pressure against the wearer’s genitals. (The Jaguar Steampunk Leather Harness is the same cut, in brown leather with brass hardware.) For a vegan, machine-washable option, SpareParts’s Joque Harness is nylon and spandex; comes in red, black, or purple; and works with dildos, including double-ended dildos, up to 2” wide.

Single-Strap Harnesses

Single-strap harnesses fit thong-style, with one strap around the hips and one strap that runs between the wearer’s legs. They have the most minimal imprint, and the crotch strap can stimulate the wearer’s genitals or ass, but they can also feel a little less secure and a little less comfortable, unless you’re really into thongs. The Jaguar Leather G Harness is soft black leather, lets you swap o-rings and has easy-to-adjust buckles. The Spareparts Theo Harness is machine-washable nylon and spandex, with a flexible o-ring and thicker straps. And the Bare as You Dare Harness has the thinnest straps, made of nylon, with nickel-free hardware.

Harnesses for Other Body Parts

Whether for mobility, mixing up sex positions or both, not all strap-on harnesses are for hips. The Buckling Thigh Harness is leather, has adjustable buckles, has a 5” base, and works with o-rings of all sizes. Sportsheets Thigh Harness is a cheaper neoprene alternative that fastens with velcro and works with flared dildos. The Lickety Split is a leather chin harness, for combining oral with penetration, that buckles behind the wearer’s head.

Strap-On Accessories

If your harness doesn’t feel quite right, there are lots of ways to make adjustments. A Leather Harness Extender Strap can add bigger sizes to a D-ring-based strap-style leather or pleather harness. Strap harnesses can accommodate a wider range of dildos than underwear-style harnesses, and different-sized O rings like the Tantus Silicone O Rings help make sure there’s a snug fit. For strap- or underwear-style harnesses, a SpareParts Stabilizer Ring can also help keep a dildo in place. If the flat back of a dildo against you bruises your pubic bone or just doesn’t feel great, the Sili Saddle is a squishy silicone bumper that fits against the wearer’s vulva and makes sensations gentler. The Aslan Harness Driver Pad, which attaches to strap-style harnesses, can also create a cushion between the dildo and your body. Pair it all with a water-based lube like Sliquid Sea to keep everything smooth.


Lesbian Sex 101 is Autostraddle’s series on how to have lesbian sex for queer women and anyone who finds this information applicable to their bodies or sexual activities. Employment of the term “lesbian sex” in this post uses “lesbian” as an adjective to describe sex between two women or people who identify with that experience, regardless of the sexual orientation of the two people involved.

Sex ed almost never includes queer women or our experiences, so we’re exploring pleasure, safety, relationships and more to make that information more accessible. A lot of the language in these posts is intended to make them easy to find on search engines.

Some of the body parts we talk about will be yours or your partners’ and some won’t. Some of the pronouns will be yours or your partners’ and some won’t. Some of the sexualities will be yours or your partners’ and some won’t. Some of the language will be yours or your partners’ and some won’t. Take what you want and what applies to you or what you can make apply to you and your partners and your experiences, and leave the rest!

Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Consultant, and was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor, for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 894 articles for us.

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