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A Buyer’s Guide to Harnesses

A Buyer’s Guide to Harnesses
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Just like bodies, all harnesses aren't created equally. Read this before you try to strap one on, and make sure you get the ride of a lifetime!

  Sizing

First of all, it's important to know how harnesses are sized. Most harnesses will list a maximum waist size, but be mindful that you may desire to wear it lower down on your body, so the sizing numbers should be taken into consideration. If you're larger, especially if you have a bit of a belly, you may want to actually move your harness up a bit so that the business end of it - the place where the dildo is attached to it - is seated higher and will be better located for your pushing pleasure. Some people, particularly the more slender among us, also find that they end up feeling a bit bruised if the harness is centered on their pubic bone - moving it up, or putting a folded handkerchief or other pad behind it as additional cushioning can help tremendously with your comfort.

The key to getting the right fit is experimentation - take a few minutes with your new harness before your big date, and try it on. Tug on the straps, move it up and down, jerk off the cock a little, see how it feels. You may find that what works best for you isn’t' the position that the porn stars wear them in - in fact, it may be up near your navel before it's giving you the best pushing possible, and that's still perfectly fine!

  Materials

Harnesses are made from several different materials: leather, nylon webbing, polypropylene, fabric, and latex are among the most popular (though that is by no means a complete list).

Latex is the most challenging to use - it relies on a good fit, gets overly sweaty underneath, and can cause an allergic reaction if you or your partners are latex-sensitive. Latex harnesses should be cared for the same way as latex clothing - wash it with cool water and a very gentle soap, then powder it lightly with cornstarch before storing it (and don't store it with latex of other colors - they will transfer to each other and ruin its appearance). You can always shine up the latex with a dab of silicone lube before you use it, especially if your partner is of the ‘oooh, shiny!’ variety.

Leather is usually the sturdiest, but as it's not as easy to clean as throwing it in the washing machine. Leather requires a bit more care (and if well taken care of, it can literally last you for decades). It's pretty simple, though - get some saddle or glycerine soap and water, rub it up into a lather, and apply it to the leather; then wipe it back off with a slightly damp cloth. You can condition it with a bit of mink or neatsfoot oil, but you shouldn't need to if you're using saddle soap, which cleans and conditions.

Nylon webbing, fabric, and polypropylene are great budget- and eco-conscious choices, but often don't hold up well to rough usage. The nice thing about them is that they're all either hand or machine-washable in mild soap and cold water (but skip the dryer - and please, no fabric softener, as there are just some things in life that don't need to be downy soft!).

Each person has a different set of requirements, so it's important to think about what kind of use your harness will be tasked with before purchasing. While materials are far more important from a safety perspective when it comes to insertables, you'll want to pay some attention to what your harness is made of - and make sure that it's not going to give you an allergic reaction which will leave you itching for less, rather than more!

Each harness configuration has its own pluses and minuses. Let's take a look at the basic styles below.

  Double Strap

The first kind of harness we'll look at is called a Double Strap harness - also known as a jock-strap harness, as it has straps that go underneath the curves of your ass to help hold it in place and give the dildo the most stability possible (not to mention, jock-straps make everyone's ass look great!). The Latigo Leather harness is what one would often think of as a classic two-strap harness - three straps (one around the waist, and one around each thigh) that join in the front at the O-ring, which holds the dildo in place. This leather harness has a great size range - it fits up to 60" hips - and while it comes with a 1-1/2" O ring attached, you can change it out for a ring that more closely fits the dildo you want to use.

If you don't like leather, Aslan's vegan (vegan = faux-leather with no animal products used in its making) Jaguar Jock is a great option. With a lower point of attachment, you can get more direct clit stimulation or use it as a harness for an internal dildo (like the Feeldoe or the Share dildos) to give them more stability. It's also perfect for packing, as is the SpareParts Joque harness, which is one of the sexiest packing harnesses ever (and is waterproof as well as washable, giving you more options for use and care). If you're larger, and concerned about getting a good fit, take a look at the new Sedeux Divine Diva harness - with a hip measurement of up to 82", supreme washability, and an easy-to-adjust configuration, you can get a great harness that fits you snugly and works fantastically!

  G-String

The next harness type is the G-String or T-harness. These are usually constructed with one strap around the waist, and one (or two) straps that hold the dildo in place and then slip between your legs and up between your cheeks, much like a thong. They aren't good choices for people who have penises and balls to maneuver around, or who don't like the feel of things between their cheeks; however, the g-string is a comfortable and familiar shape for many women, and it's definitely got some serious sex appeal!

One of the most versatile G-String harnesses is the Black Cat G Harness. Its sturdy construction means that it gives you more stability than others of its type, so you can use it a bit more vigorously and get better results for your work. It's also got the classic “leather and studs” look, which offers an added visual perk. It's made of vinyl, making it waterproof and exceptionally easy to clean, and its rear strap is 3/4", so it's less likely to bind up and become uncomfortable (and it can be used to keep dildos or butt plugs inside the wearer from slipping out as well). Vinyl isn't the most healthy material for sex toys that get inserted - but for a strap on harness, it's just dandy!

Want something a little sexier and barely there? Try the Bare As You Dare harness, or the Brazilian harness! Both of these harnesses are extremely affordable and even sexier than most every other harness we can think of; their very simple lines work great if you're wanting to wear your harness under clothing (either with a cock in place or without). A word of caution though - if you've got a larger body and you want to use your harness for actual thrusting, these aren't going to be your best choices, as the minimalist g-strings work best on smaller to average-sized bodies. However, if your thing is simply wearing a cock or having it sucked; these are far better choices for you!

  Panty Harnesses

Panty harnesses are also available, and are ideal for those of you that want a little more coverage. Unfortunately, many of them are made with latex (as the fit can be challenging), or are only set up for one particular dildo (or can only be used with a particular size or type). However, there are a few good options out there. The Leather Crotchless Strap On with Dildo is one of them; its comfortable leather construction fits like a glove, and it's crotchless to allow access to the wearer's fun parts (and will work great for guys who want to strap one on above their own equipment, too). I would suggest ditching the dildo, or at the very least covering it - the material it's made from isn't the best, but you can easily swap out any other 1 3/4" diameter dildo, making it perfect for using with all your favorites. Personally, I also like the Grrl Shorts harness; these have a really sexy boy-shorts shaping that - trust me - looks good on almost every body shape, and also allows you to have a bit more coverage (excellent if you're a bit shy about how you look with a harness on). I also love the more butch appearance of these - they're a good option for someone who wants to feel a bit more masculine while they're screwing! Its interchangeable cock ring will fit up to a two-inch diameter dildo, so you can use your entire collection with this one harness. They do come with a more limited size range, so be sure to check out the measurements before buying.

  Sets & Locking Dildo Systems

Looking for a set? Simple! Just find your preferred harness style, and look for one that comes pre-packaged with a quality dildo. We highly recommend the Bend Over Beginner harness set for you first-timers (especially if you're shooting for anal sex in particular). It has a removable vibrator so you can be as distracted as you want, and comes with two very high-quality silicone dildos in smaller sizes to give you some room for experimentation. The Flame and Heart harnesses are the next step up - a larger dildo, but very attractive, feminine styling make these two a winner. The Flame is made of velvet (similar to the Bend Over Beginner harness) and can be hand-washed in the sink; the Heart harness can be likewise hand-washed, and has a shiny surface to keep it from absorbing lube, making it even spiffier!

If you'd prefer something a bit more panty-like, the Bikini Harness and dong are fantastic, as well. It's easy to clean (throw it in the washer) and its accompanying silicone dildo will last for years. Also, keep in mind that all of these can hold other dildos, making your purchase a more long-term investment rather than something that you can only use with one person or in one particular way.

Locking dildo systems are not as popular as other styles, but they definitely have their fans. This system features a harness which is specifically configured with a base that locks a dildo into it, enabling a very sturdy connection with a minimum of fuss. The main brands are the Vac-U-Lock system and the Powerlock system; a variety of manufacturers make harnesses with these bases. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of higher-quality material dildos currently available for these systems; I am hopeful that in the years to come, more and more people will take advantage of this un-tapped (no pun intended) market and make some great silicone dongs for these harnesses!

We're fortunate that there are a few fun choices that are safer for the body, though - one of my favorites is the Penthouse Powerlock Harness, coupled with the CyberSilicone Powerlock Cock & Balls. They're purchased separately, but together they offer a fantastic combo - a sturdy, panty-type harness that will offer lots of support for your fucking, and a silicone-composite dildo with great ribs and balls for lots of extra stimulation. The silicone-composite dildo shouldn't be used with silicone lubes, naturally; and it has a bit of an odor to it (most composites have a plastic-y smell to them) but as far as what's out there, this is one of the safest.

  Non-Strap-Ons

Want the ability to strap one on, but not around your hips? Do we have options for you! These are perfect for folks who want to pleasure their partner in non-traditional ways, involve a little role-play, or who have challenges with physical ability in their lower bodies. Who says you can't fuck someone (or get ridden) unless it looks ‘authentic’? Bah!

Isn't it hot when you have a sexy partner riding your thigh, craving something more? I have two words for you - thigh harnesses. You can have your lover lower themselves onto the cock and help them get off while they grind themselves into a frenzy - or, stand next to a bed or table and use your thigh-attached dildo to fuck them in a more traditional way. The Thigh Harness from Sportsheets is a great option for this – it’s budget friendly, fabric and Velcro (for easy cleaning), and incredibly sturdy - so it'll dish out everything that they can possibly take. Just one thing - there is no ability to change the dildo size beyond the 1-1/4" diameter opening, so if you like to use larger ones, you'll want to look at The Fix Thigh Harness. The Fix is a very hot-looking leather thigh harness - it'll go great on your bare skin, but will look amazingly sexy over your Levi's, too! It has a 2" ring to hold the dildo, but it's changeable with other cock rings so you can get the perfect fit for your favorites. It's leather, so it'll last a lifetime if you clean it after each use and condition it with mink or neatsfoot oil every few months. Not to mention - it's leather. And if you like leather, that's all that needs to be said.

Like the idea of your partner on your chest, working themselves into a furor? Try the Chest Harness and dido set. Its nylon strap construction is simple to get on and adjust; it doesn't constrict your chest and hamper your movements or breathing; and as a bonus, it's easy to take care of. It comes with a high-quality silicone dildo, but of course you can use your favorites with it (though this is one of the best all-around use dildos that we've seen to come as part of a set).

You can give your partner a hand with the Palm Harness, too! This allows you to hold the base of the dildo securely in the palm of your hand, which lets you use your arm muscles for thrusting (either vigorously or very gently) and frees up your fingers for working other holes, stroking the skin, slipping into the delicate creases of your partner's body, or stimulating their clit or perineum. You can also get some extra freedom (if we can call it that) to use your hands with the Chin Up Harness, which covers your mouth and chin and uses them as a base for the dildo. This is perfect for people who enjoy the idea of their partner smothering them with their ass or pussy (safely and consensually, mind you!), yet doesn't restrict breathing at all. Additionally, many people who like teasing love chin harnesses - you can get an up-close and personal view of your partner's body!

  Accessories

There are a few other goodies you'll want to have on hand to make your strap-on experience even hotter. One of the main things you'll want, especially if you want to use a few sizes of dildos in your harness, is a good cock ring set. While these make great toys for cocks, they're used in many harness designs to create a firm hold on your cock-of-choice. The Big O Ring set includes four rings that range in diameter from 1-1/4" to 2"; and since they're made of rubber, they are easy to get on and off from the dildo (if it's a tighter fit, a drop of water-based lube will help them get all the way down to the base and then get back out for cleaning and storage). If you or your partner are allergic to rubber or latex, there is the sleek Gold 3 Ring Set - also ranging from 1-1/4" to 2". These are a bit more sturdy and long-lasting, but can be chilly against the skin as they take longer to warm up than rubber does.

You'll also want to make sure you have plenty of water-based lube on hand - non-staining is important, given that you're using fabric or leather with the dildo. If you're looking for recommendations, Maximus is a great lube for anal play and is water-based, non-staining, and long-lasting; I personally like both Liquid Silk (which has the bonus of looking a bit like ejaculate!) and Sliquid Organics for vaginal use, as they're very slippery and mimic vaginal lubrication well, and they're less likely to trigger sensitivities. I'd also stay away from flavored lubes with your strap on, unless you like the idea of your harness smelling vaguely like piña coladas for the next month!

Regardless of what position you want to use, why you want to use it, and where you want to put it - I promise you, there are plenty of options out there. Just let your fantasies flow, and pick out the style that calls to you - and check back with this buyer’s guide to make sure that it's really going to do the job for you. Because, really, if it's not going to do the job, then no bargain price or fantastic look is going to make it worth it - and if it does the job, and does it well, then you (and your sweetie) will be making a new friend for life.

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Comments

Very useful.

09/04/2011
freda  

Very useful

03/05/2012

great information, thank you

07/11/2012

thanks!

10/24/2012

love this!

12/31/2012

Very helpful, thanks!

02/21/2013

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