Leisure

Strap-Happy

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

The perfect harness to your favorite dildo is like sunshine to your picnic, chocolate chips to your cookie, gel-based lube to your... you get the idea. Time to learn the ropes (well, straps) of harness buying.

Do you only knock the vegan boots or would you rather ride with rawhide? Leather harnesses look bad-ass, soften with age and can be cleaned with a damp cloth and soap. More budget- and animal-friendly, nylon or fabric harnesses are machine washable and waterproof, which is helpful for those who enjoy a good, messy, eco-friendly romp. But fabric harnesses come with a lot of excess strappage that can slide out of place, compromising your leverage. Tie knots on the outside of the straps' buckles to prevent slippage, then cut and burn the ends to minimize leftover length.

Get cheeky with a single-strap harness like the Simply Sexy (goodvibes.com), which looks and acts like a G-string. For a more traditional tailoring, opt for a two-strap like La Strap On (babeland.com), which fits like a jockstrap with two leg straps that go around your buttcheeks for better control. For anatomical correctness, go for a low-riding fit that positions your dildo further down on the pelvis, applying pressure where you may appreciate it.

Minimize strap-hassle with a thigh-harness like Sportsheets' Pony (sportsheets.com). This solid piece of fabric has a non-adjustable hole for a dildo and goes around the thigh much like a brace would, allowing for penetration for a leg-straddling partner. Two people might each try wearing one for simultaneous penetration. Or strap one around a pillow for a hands-free solo situation.

If simultaneous penetration sounds good but leg-humping doesn't, get a double-dildo-compatible harness. A curved double dildo like the Nexus (vixencreations.com) is easily held in place by a harness with removable backing (like the Terra Firma, goodvibes.com), leaving both sides of the ring open so the harness wearer can both give and receive penetration. If you're a size queen and your sweetie's size-wary, you won't find a double dildo that'll mutually please. Outlaw Leather's hand-made, unique harnesses settle the dildo debates with a special double-sided backing that unsnaps, revealing two different holes for two different dildos, making for a customized double dildo once the backing is snapped together again (see their website, www.outlawseattle.com).

No matter the style, I'd recommend a harness with removable backing and a changeable "O"-ring (the middle ring that holds the dildo in the harness). Removable backings accommodate double dildos and let you choose whether or not you'd like to feel the base of the dildo against you—a welcome reciprocation for some, an irritating pelvis-pounding for others. And because one size never penetratively fits all and not all "O"-rings fit around all dildos, keep your options open with a harness whose "O"-ring can be changed out for different sizes.

Consider your harness hardware. D-rings, where the strap weaves through two metal rings, are designed to be easily tightened with a pull on the strap's end, though this is usually easier said than done. Buckles are sturdier and stay put better than D-rings, but your sizing options are limited to the belt's notches.

A harness that uses D-rings around the legs and buckles around the waist is ideal, as it stays sturdy around the hips but remains fully adjustable around the legs, where straps often need to be cinched during position changes.

A well-fitting harness is important, but you'll feel even better in a harness that fits who you are. Get fatale in the Femme Harness decorated with frills and pink zippers or the Vibrating Corsette, with Victorian ties in back and a clit-buzzing mini-vibe in front. Butch up with the Joque Harness (vixencreations.com) or Outlaw's pyramid-studded Syd Harness. Modest types can cover up with the shorts-style Spandex harness (goodvibes.com), tops can tie up bottoms with the bondage-ready Outlaw Bonnie-B, while cowgirls can giddy-up with the corsette-tied Outlaw Annie-O, complete with decorative sheriff's badge.

However you harness it, make sure to tighten those straps, because if you're strapping it on, chances are you're about to get bucked.

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