A Beginner's Guide to Strapon Harness Styles

Beginner’s Guide To Strap-On Harnesses

When asked what the most important elements of sex are, most people will answer with a tried and true list of three terms: it must be safe, sane and consensual.

And while all three of these are without a doubt extremely vital for the practice of healthy, pleasurable sexual activities, we'd like to add a fourth: COMFORT.

Sex should feel good.

Yeah, at first that might sound like a bit of a no-brainer - of COURSE sex should feel good, that's what it's all about in the first place, isn't it?

But "good" doesn't just mean "causes you and your partner to experience pleasure".

"Good" can - and should - also mean that you are comfortable at all times, and don't experience any pain or discomfort that you haven't explicitly consented to and planned to experience.

When it comes to strap-ons, the number one way to ensure maximum comfort for you and your partner is by purchasing a high quality, properly fitted harness.

The "harness" is the part of the device which attaches to the wearer's body (or to an object during solo play) in order to keep the "dildo," or simulated penis, in place.

Harnesses allow for easy, painless penetration and ensure that neither partner experiences any pain or damage from the dildo even during the roughest of play.

A good harness won't just keep you safe - it will also open the door to a wide world of fun and varied play.

Nowadays, most strap-ons allow various dildos to be inserted into or removed from a single harness at will.

Therefore, having a single comfortable, well-fitted harness allows you to experiment with and use a wide variety of dildos of all shapes and sizes.

Yes, you heard that right - just one single harness can lead to endless hours and even days of strap-on fun!

What type of harness works best for you is an extremely individual decision - results will vary depending on your personal tastes and interests.

As a result, there is no one "perfect harness" which we can point you to that will work perfectly for all couples and in all scenarios.

However, what we can - and will! - do is provide you with this informative guide which introduces you to several common types of harnesses as well as both their advantages and potential drawbacks.

In addition, we will discuss how to ensure that your harness fits properly, explain which red flags and negative effects should be avoided at all costs, and provide a list of questions which you should ask yourself when purchasing a new harness.

Whether this will be your first harness or your five hundredth, we believe that the information in the following sections will be extremely helpful to you and will ensure that each and every harness you own helps you have hot, pleasurable, and above all comfortable sexual adventures!

Purchasing Your Harness: Questions to Consider

The highest quality harnesses can last for months or even years without needing to be replaced.

For this reason, we believe that it is a worthwhile investment to choose a harness which is sturdy and durable - not to mention able to stand up to the most acrobatic and athletic of sexual sessions.

In general, a good harness will blend sturdiness and comfort, able to firmly support the dildo but not so rough, tight or uncomfortable as to cause any pain or discomfort when worn for long periods of time.

Currently, there are a wide range of harness styles and materials (both discussed in more detail later in this article) available for purchase. The sheer amount of options might seem overwhelming, especially if this is your first time ever purchasing such an item.

However, luckily for you, there are a few general considerations which can help you pick out the right harness for your needs, regardless of what style and material you end up selecting.

While you are shopping, here are some questions that you should ask yourself prior to making a final purchase:

  • Is this harness adjustable? Adjustable harnesses are generally considered to be the most flexible, as they are able to fit a wide variety of people of all shapes and sizes. If a harness is adjustable, you do not need to worry quite so much about taking accurate measurements or performing a careful fitting before making your purchase.

    However, if a harness is one set size and cannot be adjusted after purchase, it is very important that you select one which fits you as closely as possible, and we highly recommend taking key measurements (such as the circumference of your waist and thighs, the distance from your belly button to genitals, and the curve of your buttocks) ​before purchasing

  • Will this harness be comfortable? We discuss the relative comfort of different harness materials later in this article. However, you should also consider factors which as where the harness will ultimately "sit" on your body - will it come in contact with any extra-sensitive areas, such as the anus or genitals?

    Do you have any scars, wounds or old injuries which need to be avoided? Do you have sensitive skin or material allergies which cause you to become itchy or irritated more quickly?

  • How easy is this harness to put on or take off? When things start to get hot and heavy, the last thing you want to have to do is take a step back for several minutes while you figure out a seemingly endless, complex configuration of buckles and straps. A good harness should be simple to put on and just as simple to remove when you are finished so you can get to your post-coital cuddling as quickly as possible.

    In addition, make sure that the harness is easy to store, hang up or fold, and does not become tangled easily - trust us, you want to be able to have easy access to your strap-on when the mood strikes!

  • What are the cleaning requirements of this harness? Can it be put into the washing machine, or does it need to be cleaned by hand? This is a question which most people often do not even consider when purchasing their sex toys and bedroom aids.

    However, it is extremely important to keep all elements of your strap-on clean at all times, as leftover fluids (including but not limited to lubrication, sweat, urine, blood, and both male and female ejaculate) which are not properly removed can cause the harness to develop mold or mildew or rot away

    In general, machine washable harnesses are significantly easier to clean and take much less time to maintain than those which must be washed by hand. However, some customers consider the necessity of hand-washing to be worth it for high quality materials such as genuine leather

  • Does the harness feature any add-ons which will provide me with stimulation, or is it designed solely to stimulate the person being penetrated? Some harnesses (and their attached dildos) offer additional features which allow the person who is wearing the strap-on to feel pleasure as well.

    The most common examples of these include the ability to use double-headed dildos, which can penetrate both partners simultaneously, small protrusions or ridges which stimulate the clitoris, and harnesses which add vibrating elements that provide pleasure to the wearer's genitals.

    Not everyone is interested in these sorts of harnesses, but if this is something that you think you are interested in trying, we recommend confirming whether or not your harness has these sorts of capabilities before making your final purchase.

These questions will help you select a harness which fits you well, will not hurt or irritate you, is easy to use and, of course, most importantly of all, provides you and your partner (or partners!) with the maximum amount of pleasure by being highly compatible with your desired sex life and sexual activities.

Luckily, we're right here with this helpful guide designed to introduce you to both the current most popular trends and a few unique products which are beginning to make a name for themselves within the community of strap-on enthusiasts.

We guarantee that our amazing catalog, filled to the brim with all of these fantastic harnesses, will have something just right for you!

​Harness Materials

First, let's talk about materials.

In general, the material out of which a harness is made will determine a number of factors including:

  • How comfortable it is.
  • How long it lasts.
  • How easy it is to maintain.
  • How expensive or inexpensive it is.
  • How resistant it is to tearing, breaking or fraying.

You should aim to choose a high quality material within your price range that will best match your personal tastes and comfort requirements.

It has long been believed that the first ever strap-on harnesses produced were made from leather - a material which, even today, remains probably the most popular choice for customers all around the world.

Leather is beloved for the sexy, professional image which it creates - our minds easily associate stark black leather with the whips, corsets and boots of professional dominants and dominatrixes.

Fans of BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism) play frequently enjoy incorporating leather into their bedroom play, and many people even consider the heady aroma of fresh-polished leather to be synonymous with the scent of sex.

Leather's sensory appeal is not difficult to understand.

It is elegant and attractive to look at, especially as recent innovations in the world of textiles now allow leather to be dyed in any number of brilliant colors.

Traditional blacks and browns are now joined by devilish reds, virginal whites and even bright neon rainbows such as those favored by the LGBTQ community.

It looks good, smells good and feels good too - well-cured, well-polished leather is extremely soft and supple and generally feels quite comfortable against the skin.

Leather is not usually associated with any risks of scraping or chafing bare skin, meaning that a leather harness will require little to no additional padding in order to prevent damage during play.

In addition, leather is also considered to be quite durable - many strap-on aficionados strongly believe that it is the most high quality material currently available on the market.

And indeed, a well-cared for leather harness can easily last for several years without needing to be replaced.

Leather harnesses are also typically extremely flexible and versatile, and able to accommodate a wide variety of dildos in all shapes and sizes.

However, it is important to keep in mind that softer, thinner leather straps are not entirely without the risk of stretching during a particularly extended or athletic round of sex.

You can avoid this by making sure that your leather harness is properly and carefully fitted and taking time to check and adjust it each time you wear it.

The only major downfall of leather as a harness material is that it is fairly difficult to clean, usually requiring a decent amount of maintenance in order to remain top quality throughout its lifespan.

For the most part, natural leather is not machine-washable, meaning that it must be cleaned by hand and hung up and allowed to dry naturally if it becomes wet.

Make sure to take care of your leather harness and thoroughly clean all stains to avoid the risk of mold, mildew, rot or even the material becoming stiff from too much exposure to moisture.

Luckily, specialty leather polishes and cleaning scrubs exist which can make the process of cleaning your leather harness simpler and less time-consuming.

Synthetic materials, including nylon, synthetic latex, imitation leather, soft plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and others, are typically advertised as a less expensive, less high-maintenance alternatives to traditional leather.

Indeed, many of these materials are capable of greatly resembling leather, being available in a similarly wide range of colors and in some cases even being capable of mimicking leather's distinctive texture.

When it comes to color, the available options are actually more varied than what leather allows for - for example, a soft plastic harness can be made to be completely transparent, something which practically no other material can accomplish.

In general, a synthetic strap-on harness will not be quite as comfortable or as durable as a leather one, but will be capable of getting the job done.

Think about the type of harnesses used for rock climbing, ropes courses and other adventure sports - nowadays, most of these are made from nylon or other synthetic materials.

They will last a decent amount of time without needing to be replaced, and can usually be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time - although some of them might require a little extra padding, especially around sensitive areas like the anus, genitalia and upper thighs.

A synthetic harness will also almost always be more inexpensive than a leather one, with many customers finding the decrease in price worth the accompanying decrease in quality.

The primary benefit associated with nylon and its fellow synthetic harness materials is that they are one hundred percent machine washable.

Unlike with a leather harness, you will not have to clean them tediously by hand or apply any sort of special polish or scrub in order to remove pesky stains.

Just toss your harness in the washing machine on a low, gentle cycle and it will be clean and ready to go in no time!

For best results, we recommend washing your harness by itself rather than mixing it with other clothing or household items, as this allows the individual straps to receive the most thorough cleaning.

If you are planning to purchase a synthetic strap-on harness, our number one piece of advice would be as follows: do your research!

There are a huge number of synthetic materials out there, and no two harnesses will be created equal - for example, even two visually similar nylon or PVC harnesses made by two different companies might in fact feature chemical makeups which are completely unlike one another.

Learn about the materials that go into your synthetic harness and their associated properties before buying in order to get the best experience possible!

Soft fabrics - such as natural cotton - and natural latex are occasionally used to make strap-style harnesses, but are most commonly found in lingerie-style varieties which cover larger areas of the body.

As a result, these materials tend to focus on comfort, softness and elasticity (the ability to stretch) rather than durability and support.

That is not to say that these materials - especially natural latex - are not durable, simply that you should take comfort into extra consideration when buying harnesses of this type as they will come into contact with a far larger area of your skin than a set of leather straps will.

Natural latex is the most elastic harness material available, meaning that it is extremely flexible and adjustable and capable of fitting customers of all shapes in sizes.

However, when purchasing a harness made from latex, you should make sure to do research into its breathability - whether or not air is able to easily pass through the material while it is being worn.

Non-breathable latex harnesses can trap moisture such as sweat against your skin, leading to a sticky, uncomfortable feeling which can quickly ruin the mood during sexual activities.

A properly breathable latex harness, on the other hand, will keep you cool and sweat-free throughout even the longest of marathon sessions.

A harness made from natural latex will be extremely simple to clean, as the material is naturally resistant to all sorts of mold, mildew, stains and rot.

Typically, a high quality natural latex harness can safely last for years and years without having to worry about any degradation in quality.

Cotton and similar fabrics are generally more fragile than natural latex and more susceptible to tearing or fraying during play.

To avoid this, look for cotton harnesses which are extra-thick or feature extra layers or padding which can drastically increase their durability.

However, cotton exchanges this lesser durability for greater comfort, being extremely soft and gentle against even the most sensitive areas of the body.

Many people who are trying a strap-on for the first time like to start with a soft fabric harness to get used to the feeling before moving on to something more "intense" such as nylon or leather.

As a bonus, they also tend to be fairly inexpensive.

Popular ​Strap-On Harness Styles

Remember, when it comes to materials, there is no "one right choice" - you should select what feels best for you and best suits your personal needs.

Keep in mind, even if you have selected the perfect harness for you and your partner, you can still find yourself uncomfortable if you do not also pair your material choice with the right style selection.

Like material, style is a subjective element which should be decided on based on the personal preferences of those involved.

However, again just like with materials, we can help you out on your journey of discovery by discussing some of the most common styles of strap-on harness.

But remember - harnesses are pretty much infinitely customizable. The styles discussed below do not represent the totality of available options.

Nowadays, some sex toy manufacturers even offer the option of creating a personalized, personally fitted harness made exactly to your specific measurements and tastes.

When it comes to harnesses, there is no need to compromise - the perfect design for you is definitely out there somewhere!

​The Two-Strap Or "Thong" Harness

Probably the most simple harness design currently available, the two-strap (also known as the "thong") harness still manages to offer an elegant, sensual appearance.

Its alternate name of "thong" harness comes from the apparatus's resemblance to the similarly named women's undergarment, which is widely considered to have a great erotic appeal and is a favorite of exotic dancers, burlesque performers and more.

As its name suggests, this harness is made of two straps which connect to one another at both the front and the back of the body.

One strap fastens around the waist, usually at or below the navel. The second runs between the legs, crossing over the anus and genitalia as it connects to the waist belt.

Typically, the straps are fairly thin - between 0.5 and 2 inches (1.5 and 5 centimeters) in width.

The dildo is attached to the lower strap and is typically placed as close as possible to the actual location of the penis on the human body.

Some thong harnesses may feature additional straps or clips designed to hold the dildo in place, but not all will include this add-on.

Two-strapped harnesses gained popularity due to their flexibility and adjustability.

The low number of straps means that both the upper and lower parts of the harness can easily be made adjustable without compromising the stability of the design.

Typically, a single thong harness will be able to fit a number of people of different body shapes and sizes.

If both you and your partner are interested in being the one to wear the strap-on during sexual play, you might wish to consider a thong harness rather than purchasing separate harnesses in a more complicated style for the both of you.

In addition, thong harnesses are generally inexpensive due to the low amount of material needed to manufacture them when compared to other harness styles.

They are also fairly easy to put on, as they often have only one or two buckles or fasteners where other harnesses might have more.

Because of this, thong harnesses are often recommended as a solid choice for novice kinksters, especially those who have never included a strap-on in their play sessions before.

However, the simplicity of the two-strap harness often requires proportional sacrifices in both comfort and stability.

Because the straps are thin, they can occasionally become twisted during particularly rough play. This can lead to discomfort and "losing the mood" as you will be forced to stop in the middle of sex to re-adjust your harness to a comfortable position.

The dildo also generally receives less support, often being attached to the apparatus by no more than a single O-ring (see the below sections for more information).

This can lead to it "flopping" or "sagging" during play, making it difficult to maintain proper penetrative position without effort and care.

The most important element to consider when deciding whether or not a two-strap harness is as follows: due to the unique structure of the apparatus, the lower strap will come into direct contact with both your anus and your genitalia.

It is very likely that you will feel it rubbing against you while you penetrate your partner. If you enjoy this feeling, you may find it stimulating and even arousing and consider it a benefit of this harness style.

However, some people do not enjoy the feeling of straps rubbing against their sensitive areas (particularly the clitoris, vulva and inner labia for women, the testicles and the head of the penis for men and the anus for individuals of all sexes) and can find it distracting or even painful.

If that is the case, a two-strap harness may not be right for you, although it also may be possible to mitigate or eliminate this discomfort via adding extra padding to those areas or even wearing your harness on top of a pair of sufficiently thick underwear.

​The Three-Strap Or "Jockstrap" Harness

While the two-strap harness receives its alternate name from a sensual style of women's underwear, the three-strap harness is called the "jockstrap" due to the similarities between it and a certain type of protective male undergarment.

The "jockstrap" in question is designed to cup and protect the penis and testicles, keeping them stable and immobile and protecting them from damage during high-intensity activities such as sports (hence the "jock" part of the name).

Similarly, the three-strap harness is a variation on the standard two-strap style which focuses less on appearance and more on protection, avoiding sensitive areas of the body and generally providing greater support for the mounted dildo.

The three-strap harness does not come in contact with the wearer's anus or genitals at all. Instead, the waist strap connects to two smaller straps which loop around the upper thighs.

In appearance, a jockstrap harness is extremely similar to the harnesses worn while rock climbing or traveling through an adventure ropes course.

In general, the straps will be similar in thickness to those of the two-strap harness - between 0.5 and 2 inches or 1.5 and 5 centimeters.

The dildo is generally attached to the area where the three straps intersect, providing it with excellent support and keeping it stable throughout the roughest of poundings.

However, recently, a variation on the three-strap harness has begun to appear which mounts the dildo significantly lower - practically on top of the vaginal opening rather than against the pubic bone in the location of the real-life penis.

This design typically features thigh straps which are more slanted, creating a "V-shaped" front and thus giving rise to the common nickname "V-harness".

V-harnesses are primarily designed for those individuals who like the feeling of the harness rubbing against their vagina, receiving stimulation and arousal from the provided friction.

The jock strap harness is often not quite as adjustable as the thong, but it may still be able to be shared between partners if the difference in their heights and sizes is not extreme.

However, it is considered to be somewhat more difficult to put on when compared to the simpler "beginner's harness". This is because, in most designs, all three straps will need to be adjusted and tightened separately before the harness will fit comfortably.

Once these adjustments have been made, though, the harness will remain in place and cannot be dislodged easily, making rough, thorough, effective penetration simpler than ever before.

To make the process as simple as possible for both you and your partner, make sure to thoroughly de-twist and un-tangle the straps of the harness after each use and store it properly either on a hanger or spread out in a drawer. You'll thank yourself the next time you put it on!

Many strap-on fans enjoy the three-strap harness because it typically leaves their genitalia and anus completely exposed, allowing their partner to pleasure them with tongues, hands or even other dildos.

For mutual pleasure sessions, a three-strap harness is an excellent option which allows both partners to get plenty of time focused on them!

The Underwear Or Lingerie Harness

The underwear or lingerie harness looks exactly as its name suggests - like nothing more than a standard pair of underwear with a slit or hole in the front designed for dildo insertion.

Of course, it is probably the simplest type of harness to put on, as the process is exactly the same as stepping into your favorite pair of underwear!

There are no buckles or fasteners which require constant fussing with or adjusting. When it comes to "ease of use," the lingerie harness is second to none.

Like underwear itself, lingerie harnesses come in a variety of styles, from boxers to briefs to panties.

Typically, a "panty" style is the most common due to resting securely against the pubic area and providing the greatest support for the attached dildo.

However, as this type of harness continues to grow in popularity, it is becoming increasingly easier to find a lingerie harness in your desired style.

While strap-focused harnesses are typically made from leather or nylon, lingerie harnesses instead usually utilize thinner, softer, stretchier materials.

These tend to include cotton and natural latex, although other thin "fabric-type" materials such as linen or rayon may also be occasionally used.

In general, it is recommended that you seek out natural materials and avoid synthetic imitations, as the natural originals are usually of a much higher quality and last much longer without fraying or tearing.

Natural materials, including the properly manufactured natural latex used in our products, are hypoallergenic, meaning they are safe to be used even by those individuals suffering from material allergies.

As stated above, lingerie harnesses resemble standard underwear with a hole at the front - usually a reinforced O-ring - for dildo insertion.

Because of the larger amount of material used, they are sometimes more expensive than strap-style harnesses, although this is not always the case.

In addition, lingerie harnesses are usually the least adjustable of the common varieties. If you intend to purchase a lingerie harness, you should measure yourself carefully beforehand and ensure that you are purchasing the proper size.

Too-small harnesses will be tight and uncomfortable, while too-large ones will sag and droop, making penetration frustrating and difficult.

It is also unlikely that you will be able to share your lingerie harness around - if both you and your partner wish to experience wearing a strap-on, it is recommended that you purchase separate lingerie harnesses for each of you.

Most lingerie harnesses feature a removable dildo and can in fact be worn discreetly as normal underwear.

Customers enjoy this feature as it allows them to get as much use as possible out of their high-quality product - many even find lingerie harnesses to be thicker, more comfortable and more padded than an ordinary pair of panties or briefs.

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