Feeling Yourself: Getting Acquainted With Your New Strap On

So you bought a strap on harness and dildo — great! Exciting! Congratulations on choosing from the dozens of excellent products that are out there, and I hope it’s everything you wanted and more.

Ready to use it?

Sometimes, the distance between bringing the new toy home and actually using it with another person be a lot. Some of that might just be scheduling, and carving out the time for you and someone else to get sexy and lube up.

But some of it is fear, anxiety, or nervousness — and that can be harder to correct for. Sometimes our minds create barriers when there is none, even if — or perhaps especially if — it’s something we really want. If we don’t try, we don’t fail. We remain safer. But, in kink, and in sex toys and pleasure, taking a risk is very often where the pleasure is.

So perhaps it’s good to root out what kind of fear is happening. Actually listen to those voices in your head the next time they show up and rage at you: What if I screw up? What if I look ridiculous? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I freeze? What if it slips out and I keep going and don’t notice because I can’t feel it? What if I like it, like, really a lot?

Just listen, and see what they’re saying. If it works to reason with yourself, you might be able to counter some of the concerns with facts or likelihood, but often, those kinds of voices don’t really run on fact-based logic, so it might not help.

And ya know, the fears might be founded. Some of those things might turn out to be true — but with time, and more confidence, and more experience, not only will there be less fear, but there will be more ability to shake off whatever potentially embarrassing things happen.

So. Let’s go.

Experiment with some of these things and see what feels best for you. These aren’t in any order, and they might not all work for you. That’s cool — just take what helps, & leave the rest.

And please — add your own ideas, if you have suggestions, in the comments.

1. Set It Up

First things first: Get it out of the packaging. Wash it thoroughly with mild soap and water. Sanitize it, if you like, by wiping it down with 10% bleach and 90% water, or running it through the dishwasher in the top shelf with no soap, or by boiling for a couple minutes.

Follow the directions about the harness that you bought and do a quick once-over clean of it. You don’t need to wash it in the washing machine, if it is machine-washable, or do a whole leather-safe soap and coat of oil, but you might want to wipe it down with a damp cloth.

It’s not so much because they are “dirty” and you should be worried about how they’ve been packaged so much as it’s about getting to know it’s care and feeding.

Depending on the harness you purchased, and what kind of body you have, you might also want to trim some of the excess off of your leg straps. Some of them come extra-long so to accommodate all kinds of body shapes, but if your body has been about the same size for a while, it’s probably safe for you to customize it to you, and trim it to fit. Assuming you’re not going to share it, of course.

2. Put It On

Yep, just put it on. Take some time for yourself and put it all the way on. Wear it around the house. Do the dishes. Answer some email.

You don’t have to stay in it too long — though it is useful to figure out where the harness might chafe, where the weight of the dildo pulls the harness, and how easily the straps slip. Plus, it’s excellent practice for putting it on and taking it off, for figuring out the fastest way to get the buckle and straps all in the right places, and for how to beat get it off.

Experiment with some different things to see what works best.

That means: put it on and wear it around a few times, not just once!

3. Get to Know It – aka, Masturbate, Masturbate, Masturbate

Jerk off with it! Read erotica, watch porn, or just let your mind wander. Thinking about the use of your strap on will help it be realistic, feel more like a part of you, and maybe even give you some insight about the kind of fantasies you might enjoy.

Take it in your hand and explore it. Imagine yourself feeling down into every inch of it, down all the way to the tip. When you touch it with your fingers, feel it where your fingertips meet it, but also try to feel it from the inside. Try a little harder. Strain for the feeling. You might find it more sensate than you expected.

Belladonna has a porn series called Strapped Dykes that could be inspiring, and of course there’s the Crash Pad series. Say Please and Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 have some of my favorite strap on stories in them. Give those a try.

4. Expand Your Proprioception

“Proprioception” is the felt sense of the edges of your body, and it’s changeable, possible to incorporate inanimate objects into your sense of yourself.

For example, consider when you’re wearing a big backpack. For a little while, for most of us, we will knock into things somewhat awkwardly when we first put it on. But if we wear it for a while, we can develop an expanded awareness and start to sense how far out behind us and to the side that it extends.

Same thing happened with driving a new car, or a bicycle.

This can happen with a strap on — or a whip, a flogger, a paddle — too.

Keep feeling into it. Keep trying it on and playing with it, feeling it in your body. It can take time, but it’s possible.

Add your own ideas, if you have suggestions, in the comments.

Thanks!

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert.

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