Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strap-ons: Squeak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

This article was originally posted in Sass Magazine but will soon be replaced by a new column about gushing, so I thought I'd archive it here for people who haven't had a chance to check out Sass yet (and everyone should), where I can include some links and visuals not supported by the magazine format. Enjoy!



I’m going to break the first rule of sex advice and give advice that wasn’t necessarily asked for. Second column and I’m already breaking rules laid out in the first one? Get used to it, ladies; I am woman and thus reserve the right to be inconstant. The topic to cover, one I wasn’t explicitly asked about, deals with strap-ons. I don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe a little), but I know a ton about these. The background for the question…recent discussions in a multi-racial, multi-generational LGBTA group led me to believe there is more misinformation than information in the lesbian community and so I thought I’d be Miss Information and let everyone in on my extensive knowledge.

The squeak reference in the title alludes to the squeaking sound so many of the harnesses make until they get broken in, and, odds are, you will break them in. A little background on the question (that I wasn’t asked, but should have been) is probably in order. There are some generational divides in the lesbian community in America (and probably everywhere else) that relate very closely to the second wave feminism movement of the 1960s and 70s. I’m going to skip all the ways lesbians, women in general really, of my generation disagree with Gloria Steinem save the one about sex toys. For a lot of lesbians, especially those of Ms Steinem’s generation, penetrative sex is still taboo with the exception of fingers, of course, and I still can’t understand why. With the emergence of the modern butches and drag kings, who view worn-toys as not just practical but part of their sexual identity, I’ve found a lot of new allies for my pro strap-on agenda despite being a femme in an all-femme relationship.

In mixed circles, which I travel in on occasion, the issue of sex toys comes up all the time. The prevailing “wisdom” is that if men use dildos they must be gay and if women use them they must not be. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Wanting to be penetrated has never had anything to do with a person’s sexuality and everything to do with penetration being pretty fucking great. One of the ground rules for just about anyone into penetration, and I’m not alone in thinking this, is that craving penetration does NOT mean craving cock. You can call a strap-on a cock, write cock on it with a Sharpie, register it in the sex toy hall of fame as Mr. Cock and it will never ever be a cock. Cocks deliver sperm and are attached to men—strap-ons don’t do either of these no matter how much you spend.

With that out of the way, we have to deal with what goes in the harness. I’ve discussed this with everyone I could get my hands on to gather as many opinions as humanly possible and I’ve come to two major conclusions:

#1 – If you don’t want it going inside you, it’s not going to do you much good; aesthetics are important. I’m like most people—I like shiny things (you have no idea how long it took me to figure that one out) be it cars, jewelry, clothing, hair, or, in this case, toys. There’s just something about shiny toys that I find visually appealing; maybe I was a crow or raccoon in a former life. I don’t like realistic looking toys in the slightest: veins, faux-pubic hair, flesh color…it just grosses me out. So, when it’s my turn to be on the penetrated side, we go with the pearly, pink, torpedo looking dildos. The point is: figure out what you find visually appealing. You should want that thing inside you and that starts with liking what it looks like.

Also, figure out beforehand what you want to call it. Nothing can derail fun like hearing one of those pet-peeve words uttered by your partner mid-coitus. My girlfriend hates the word ‘moist’…no idea why, but I know not to say it during sex. Most gay girls have similar issues with any number of the expansive library of names for penis; get the labeling ironed out beforehand.

In one of the discussions I had about strap-ons in one of those mixed groups I mentioned, a bi-guy friend stated, in a fairly cock-centric way, that evolution perfected cocks for pleasing pussies. I pointed out that evolution perfected cocks to deliver sperm, which turkey basters do a better job of, and sperm delivery doesn’t matter for strap-ons. Besides, don’t we live our lives telling evolution it didn’t do a very good job? If evolution got everything exactly right, we wouldn’t need shoes, eyeglasses, or toothbrushes. Don’t assume nature got it right; find what’s right for you.

#2 – One size does not fit all. Pussies come in all shapes and sizes; thankfully, so do sex toys. Harnesses, even the adjustable ones, are not necessarily going to be universal enough to fit both you and your girlfriend, unless you’re lucky enough to be about the same size, and even then, there’s a lot of preferences on where those straps sit. You may be able to get away with one harness, or you might have to buy two; they’re expensive, but getting the right one is worth the money and typically they last longer than your memory of the money you spent. Whether you go with leather and buckles or vinyl and Velcro, thong back or around the legs, you have to make sure it fits snugly, holds the desired dildo, and is comfortable enough to wear for awhile. Getting worn raw by an ill-fitting harness can really cut future rides short, cowgirls. In addition to the advice of spending money to achieve good quality, I do have to add that our womanly curves (or lack thereof in my case) can be a hindrance to fit. Leather harnesses with buckles offer the most customization in this area, and the rule of thumb should be: if you have trouble finding clothes to fit your body type, odds are you’ll need something with buckles for your strap-on. For petite women, like myself, this is especially important as I can punch new holes to fit the harness even smaller if need be.

A huge mistake I see a lot of newly strapped ladies is the wearer picking the toy, which is, pardon the pun, ass-backward. When you’re wearing the harness, she picks the dildo. Don’t assume the size and shape you enjoy are going to work for her; you can end up with an uncomfortably sore partner or a massively unsatisfied one with that kind of thinking. Trust me, even if you don’t particularly like the look of the toy she picks out, you’ll start to like it when you see how well it works.


Something that goes overlooked is how stylish these things can be.

We were built with g-spots for penetrative sex, toys are often necessary to stimulate the g-spot, and g-spot stimulation is pretty damn nifty; no social construct or hang-up about toys looking like penises should deny you or your partner a g-spot tickle—besides, a lot of toys look like popsicles with pink bunnies riding them, which sounds pretty damn feminine to me. If you haven’t tried a strap-on yet, what are you waiting for? If you have one and enjoy it, tell me what’s working for you and I might mention it in next month’s article, especially if I missed something. The point is, when you’re eating French fries, it’s fine to use your fingers, but when you’re eating spaghetti, you need a fork. So, get a strap-on and fork your girlfriend!

If you enjoyed the first installment, check out tips and tricks of strap-on uses from Erotic Answers!

2 comments:

Anastassia said...

I have a play partner, who is of course female, and she and I have really been thinking about getting into strap-on use. We have already picked up one and when I stumbled upon this blog and one other past you had about strap-on's, I was so relieved. These two posts have been so helpful to me, seeing as I've never tried this sort of thing before. I just hope everything goes well and I'm able to please her. ^.^; Thank you so much for posting this!

Cassandra Duffy said...

You're very welcome. I hope you and your play partner have a good time! Communication and creativity are the best tools to make any toy work, in my opinion.