Curious About Strap-On Sex? Trust Us, You're Not The Only One

We kind of think of ourselves as the best friend you can go to who literally never judges you, so we're going to talk about strap-ons for a bit. Because, let's be real: some women love strap-ons, and we know you've got some questions about WTF they even do. But first off, let's chat about what a strap-on is, and why you should know about them. A strap-on is basically a dildo, or a vibrator, that you insert into a harness and use to penetrate your partner.

To see where women are at with strap-ons these days, we asked you guys for your take. Here's what you said.

Can straight women use strap-ons? Yep. 

Our first source explains, "Well I personally have never used a strap on or been with someone who has, but I recently went to a sex shop called Good Vibrations in Cambridge with my friends so we could not only purchase new sex toys but also to learn more about masturbation and stuff. When the woman there was giving us a tour of the store and telling us where everything was, she went along the wall with the strap-ons. She told us that whether we were gay or straight that we would be able to use strap ons! I personally don't think I'd be comfortable with it, but knowing that you can use it no matter what your sexuality is was really interesting to me! Like I had no clue and didn't even give it a thought about it and she said that it was actually more popular with straight couples than we'd ever think!"

While, if you've heard of it at all, you've probably heard about it as a thing queer women do, it's actually not related to sexuality at all. Plenty of straight women enjoy strap-ons.

What if my straight guy partner is weirded out, but curious?

News Editor Katie Speller explains, "As a queer person, sex toys are just a part of sex. If you don’t have the parts to penetrate the way you want, you sometimes gotta use a bit of ingenuity (and Amazon) to get where you wanna be. I know for a lot of non-queer couples especially, introducing them can be a intimidating conversation — you never know what’s weird, what’s too much, what’s crossing the extra intimidating territory into kink (which real talk, is super normal/common).

I had a partner once, a Cis-Guy, who was super nervous telling me that he was into receiving penetration during sex (particularly via toys). I remember the conversation being drawn out a bit, tip-toeing around the subject because he was most definitely socialized to think of it as a weird or perverse desire (when real talk, the prostate is a hella interesting erogenous zone that a lot of penis-having people don’t get to explore).

But, luckily, after I shared the realities of how I view and enjoy sex — something that is way broader and more flexible than the lame, plain P&V model, it made it so much easier for that conversation to move forward and for both of us to have more satisfying encounters."

What is it about strap-ons that makes them appeal to women?

We chatted with Cameron Glover, writer, sex educator, and voice behind podcast Sex Ed In Color, to get some expert feedback on our main questions about strap-on sex. We asked Cameron about the general appeal of strap-ons. Why are they even a thing? "Many people across all genders can be turned on by the appeal of doing something taboo," Cameron explains. "For cis women, the idea of a strap-on can be empowering because it allows us to play with this perception of what gender looks like."

Too, Cameron says, it can just be a fun and interesting experience, and a good way to mix things up with your partner. "It can also be a fun way to play with assumed gender roles — for women that play with the idea of wearing a strap-on during sex, this can be a way to experiment with dominance in bed. Plus there's something visually erotic about the way feminine and masculine qualities can come together when women wear strap-ons. Plus they're a fun and safe way to experiment and switch things up."

Let's be real: there's def a stigma if you're a woman who wants to try out a strap-on. How can we get away from that?

"I think an important way is to break the silence on strap-ons," Cameron says. "We can see our interest in them as something "wrong" or "dirty" when it's a healthy way to want to express our sexuality. Being able to communicate with our partners is important, but to also talk about them with other people we trust can help break the stigma. You'd be surprised how other people can feel safe enough to open up about their desires when the dialogue is started."

Basically: talk to your partner. Be chill about it. You never know what another person is sexually interested in unless you ASK.

How can I learn more about strap-ons if I'm curious, but kind of nervous?

"Definitely, do your research," Cameron recommends. "If you have access to a local sex shop, I'd recommend seeing if they have any classes where you can see a demonstration on how to buy a strap-on, what kind of strap-ons are available, and how to use them during sex. If a sex shop isn't accessible, online resources like Autostraddle and Go Mag (even if you aren't queer) have great guides on the 101 aspects of finding your first strap-on. Getting comfortable with it before sex is also something that's underrated: take some time to wear your strap-on while doing tasks around the house to get used to the feel and the visual of yourself wearing it."

Is strap-on safety a thing, or what?

YES.

Cameron is all about safer sex. "Strap-ons can be fun, empowering, and a healthy way to express yourself and expand your sex toy incorporation. But make sure that you're being safe: wear condoms when you're using the strap-on, take your time, communicate, and use lots of the right lubricant. Make sure that your dildo is made of a body safe material, and if it's silicone, do not use silicone-based lube with it — opt for water-based instead to not degrade the material. And don't forget to have fun!"

This was published as a part of The Most Real: Sex, Wellness, and Bodies, our answer to your questions (and, let's be real, our questions) about everything sexual health and wellness. Tampons, strap-ons, first time sex, ingrown bikini hairs, why you poop so much when you're on your period - we're getting real. Get real with us. Join the convo using #HCMostReal, and tagging @HerCampus.