This is one of the topics that I, unfortunately, know nothing about. Because of that, I reached out to fellow sex bloggers for the information. I was super grateful to @kelvinsparks_ for helping me out on this one!
So, put simply, a strap-on is a combination of a toy used for penetration (usually a dildo), and a harness to keep it attached to one person’s body. Strap-ons have existed for thousands of years- there’s evidence of them existing in Ancient Greece, and even as far back as the Upper Paleolithic. While they’ve historically had a reputation for being a toy exclusively for cisgender lesbians, strap-ons can be used by people of all genders, bodies, and sexual orientations for any number of reasons.
Anyone can wear a strap-on, and you can use a strap-on to penetrate a partner of any gender with any kind of body. You can use a strap-on for vaginal penetration, anal penetration, oral penetration, or even for manual sex. Plenty of cis straight men enjoy being anally penetrated by a cis female partner wearing a strap-on, transmasculine people of all orientations may enjoy using a strap-on for gender euphoria reasons, cisgender men may enjoy wearing one to offset difficulties with erectile dysfunction or to have double-penetrative sex, and transfeminine people may enjoy wearing one as a way to have penetrative sex without interacting directly with their genitals, or to offset the difficulties with erectile dysfunction that oestrogen hormone replacement therapy can cause.
A strap-on consists of two parts- the harness and the dildo- and while you can get “kits” that include both, it’s useful to discuss each separately. The dildo has a flared based, and the harness typically has an O shaped ring that the dildo can be threaded through.
Harness come in three general styles- three strap/jockstrap, two strap/thong, and underwear style harnesses. The three strap/jockstrap has loops around the waist and each leg, which allows for a lot of customisation of fit, leaves the wearer exposed for additional stimulation, and provides a lot of control. A two strap/thong style harness has one loop around the waist and one between the legs. While it doesn’t leave the wearer exposed some people enjoy the stimulation from the middle strap, and two strap harnesses still provide a reasonable amount of control. Finally, underwear style harnesses are designed to fit like a pair of normal underwear, and available in boxer brief styles or more feminine styles. They are easier to put on, as they’re strap free, but offer less support, so are less suited to larger or heavier dildos.
There are of course other styles of harness, such as boot harnesses, thigh harnesses, hand harnesses, or even harness masks. To make sure a harness fits properly, check both the size of your waist and hips, and the minimum and maximum diameter that the harness’ O-ring can accommodate. Some harnesses do have swappable O-rings, but either way you want the toy to fit in snugly without moving around.
When getting a dildo for your first strap-on, the best measurement to look at is girth, not length. The partner being penetrated doesn’t have to take the whole length of the dildo, but they will have to take the girth. You’ll lose a bit of the length from just wearing it in a harness, and having some excess length to play with will make positioning and thrusting easier to figure out. Fingers are a good way to figure out sizing- can the partner being penetrated comfortable take one, two, or three fingers? A whole fist? The diameter of however many they can comfortably take is a good indicator of the diameter of the right dildo for you. Make sure that the dildo diameter and base fit into your harness O-ring, and make sure that your dildo is made from a body safe material like silicone.
I have said this so many times, especially when it comes to sex and kink, there is no such thing as normal. Normal is whatever you want it to be. If you’re married with 3 kids, ‘normal’ might be once a month. If you’re newly dating someone you find insanely attractive, ‘normal’ might be once per day. That isn’t including SO many other factors that come into play. The most important thing is any relationship is communication. Only you can know what you need and what works for you.
Because this is such a common question, I really wanted to get other peoples opinions and advice on it. I reached out to Korppi King and Kaja Echo to help me put into words what a ‘normal’ sex life might look like. Read what these awesome humans have to say about it below!
This is not an easy question to answer, because there really isn’t a right answer. How much sex is normal to someone depends entirely upon the person, their partners, and even elements of their environment and upbringing. Despite the repetition of sexual standards in magazines, movies, and sitcoms, sex isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Sure, books and magazines will tell you that a married couple should be having sex at least three times a week, and you’ll hear people say that you should have at least three orgasms a day, but, in reality, it’s difficult to say how much is too little, just enough or too much without taking individuality into account. Sex and how often you have it is a question of complex, personal, and dynamic rhythms and desires that you can’t really quantify with an easy answer.
Sexual appetite varies from person to person, as does our need for sex within a relationship (if, in fact, that’s how you’re choosing to have sex). Some people need sex. Some people don’t. Some people don’t like sex physically, but may feel attraction to other people. Some people don’t feel sexual attraction or desire, but may or may not enjoy the physical sensations associated with sex. And taking our masturbation habits and our nuanced definitions of the word “sex” into consideration only muddies the situation further. Do we count masturbation in our measurement of our appetite for sex? Or do we count only the acts we perform with other people? In that case, where do we draw the line—mutual masturbation, hand jobs, cunnilingus, or just penetrative sex? No matter how we define and measure sex, the answer will still be different for everyone. Just look at the sexual appetites in my own house, for example. I usually want or need to have sex every other day if not once a day. Sometimes more often. Of my two partners, one needs to have sex about five times a week and the other (typically) wants or needs it much less often. None of us is right or wrong. There’s not really a baseline from which any of us deviates. We’re all just different from each other in how much sex we want.
Environmental, emotional, physical and mental changes can also impact our sex lives. Whether it’s a change in our diet or daily routine or a psychological event or change, our sexual appetites respond to fluctuations in and around us. Some people, for example, respond to depression and anxiety by shutting down their sexual systems. Some people have the completely opposite reaction. Even if we don’t realize it, our health, self image, energy level and mindset plays a big part in how aroused and arousing we feel. And so do changes in around relationships or in our routines with each other. I can’t tell you how much my libido spiked when one of my partners and I took ballroom dance classed together—nor can I try to explain how little sexual energy I felt when the same partner and I went to a tantric sex workshop just a month later. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense—and maybe it’s a change we don’t even notice—but it impacts our sex life and temporarily changes our definition of normal.
Simply put, there is no normal. Not for everyone. Instead of asking yourself how much sex is normal, try asking “How much sex is healthy and comfortable for me?” Ask yourself first if your needs are met and if you are comfortable and satisfied without the amount of sex you’re having. If the answer to those questions is yes, ask yourself if the amount of sex you have is hurting you, hurting someone else, or hampering your ability to function in the rest of your life at or above your functionality baseline. If the answer is no, it could be worth taking some time to reevaluate your sex attitudes and routines.
Most of us have deeply ingrained, socially reinforced ideas about how much and what kind of sex we should be having. Media of all kinds is constantly showing us imagery of happy couples boning for hours every single day of the week. We’re also told that if you want sex *too* much, there must be something wrong with you. It’s hard to navigate these images without the feeling that you’re coming up short in some way.
So what’s the “right” amount of sex to have? What is normal? If you do a Google search using the question posed, you’ll find millions of results and article after article about sexual desire and communication. Everyone has a different opinion and many of these opinions change from year to year.
The level of sexual desire one has will always vary! There is no “normal.” Strike that word from your vocabulary now. Whatever you enjoy safely and consensually is a-okay!
If you feel that you’re not having enough sex, take an inventory of how you’re feeling overall. Have you been sick recently or do you have a chronic illness or disability that makes having sex less than optimal for you at times? Are you stressed about things going on at work or at home? Maybe you’re just plain tired and not getting enough sleep. If you have a partner(s), how’s your relationship going? Are you feeling disconnected in any way? It might be a good time to do an emotional check-in with your partner about how you’re both feeling if you haven’t been getting it on recently. They might also be experiencing a low sex drive or their own stresses or aches. Communicate your needs and see if that helps you get back on track.
If you feel that you’re having *too* much sex, well… you probably aren’t unless it’s distressing to you, you’re finding it difficult to accomplish other, non-sexual things, or it’s physically hurting you and/or your partner(s). If everything’s cool on those fronts, I say keep on having fun and don’t worry that you’re abnormal. You’re not. You just like a lot of sex!
I recommend some time and energy devoted to determining what amount of sex feels right to you. Do some journaling; make some notes about your own desire. How much sex feels healthy? Are there times when your drive is overwhelming? Are you worried about your lack of libido? What might stand in the way?
It’s also really important to ask these questions of yourself before communicating with your partner(s) about what you need and want. But I do highly recommend discussing these issues with your partner and checking in about what works for them.
All in all, dear reader, I hope you know that ideas of what’s “normal” shift over time and are based on social mores of whatever time we’re living in. The frequency with which most adults have sex now would probably be unheard of a hundred years ago. And a hundred years from now, it will be different again. As long as you’re staying safe and healthy and consensual, have as much or as little sex as you’d like. It’s ALL good!
*Unfortunately, after finishing this piece I found out that Korppi King is no longer on social media. If she ever decides to recreate her social media profiles, I will update this post with her new information!
Question: How can I introduce toys into the bedroom?
Introducing toys in the bedroom can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Sex toys are fun, sexy, and the perfect way to try new things. Communication and honesty are key when trying anything new with a partner. There is no reason to fear a sex toy. Just make sure both parties are comfortable (and the toys in question are body safe!!).
Read what other sexperts have to say below!!
Toys can be such a fun way to enhance your sexual experience, solo or with a partner. If your partner is a little hesitant to try them, I recommend starting with a little bit of research – online and offline!
One way to gauge your partner’s interest in a particular toy is to periodically show them photos of toys that interest you. You can say, “This looks cool! Would you ever try something like this?” Or you can tell them specifically what you like about a toy: “I love the shape of this dildo” or “The silicone looks like it would feel so nice!” Sometimes I bookmark articles about toys I’d like to try and when our online conversation gets a little naughty, I’ll send him a link to a toy review and let him know how I’d like to use it on him or myself. Putting it in context allows your partner’s imagination to run wild.
A fun, flirty, and dirty date can be a shopping trip to find a toy to use together! I’ve found that trips to my local shop are educational in two ways. Browsing together inspires conversation and provides you with a safe, sex-positive space to explore. Many shops have a playful vibe and laughter can often inspire connection and help you drop your guard. You can also get help from the shop’s salesperson and learn about how to use a harness or perhaps what impact toys are best for beginning use. Have the salesperson show you how a vibrator works or which lubes they like. It’s all inspiration for when you get home…
Introducing something new into the bedroom can be a bit scary for some of us. Asking for what we desire makes us vulnerable. But as long as you and your partner are willing to communicate and negotiate, introducing toys into the bedroom can be a light-hearted, hot as fuck way to connect.
I get this question A LOT in my DMs. Everyone has their own backgrounds and experiences that shape their perspectives on sexuality and sexual expression. Some people are comfortable with the idea of exploring sex toys, and others are not. (It’s totally fine either way!) That said, if you are someone who is wanting to use sex toys with a partner, there are a few tips I have that can assist you in those conversations.
The #1 thing that I am going to recommend is just talking to your partner. This seems like an obvious one, but sometimes when people get nervous they forget the basics. Tell your partner about your fantasies involving toys. It isn’t always super easy discussing your desires and sexual wants, but it is important. Your needs matter. Your feelings matter. Your pleasure matters. Letting your partner know that you care about their feelings, but also letting them know where your head is at is super healthy and wonderful.
One of the next things I typically recommend for incorporating toys (after discussing it with your partner) is mutual masturbation. We’ve all heard of doing a sexy striptease, but have you heard of mutual masturbation? Think of it as your own private cam show. Often times, sex is rushed and the goal is to get to an orgasm suuuper fast. We don’t allow ourselves to connect in with our partners and see what their body is doing while they orgasm. Masturbating together gives you that opportunity. I can’t think of a single person who after seeing their partner getting themselves off thinks “wow. I feel like I am going to be replaced by their hands..” No. The thought is “Woah. That was hot. How can I recreate that? How can I give my partner that kind of pleasure?!”. (The answer is sex toys.)
From both professional and personal experience, I feel that often times the discomfort with the idea of sex toys comes from a place of fear. There is a common misconception that sex toys will “replace” a partner. For anyone who may be feeling this way, I have good news for you: In all the years I have been selling sex toys, I have never heard of anyone being replaced by a toy. In my personal opinion, if a relationship were to be ended by someone using a sex toy, the couple probably had some other deeper issues going on that they may not have been addressing. Either way, communication is key. Go have fun! Try something new! Access. That. Pleasure. Reach new heights and have some orgasms together 🙂