All About Strap-ons: An Interview with Louise Bourchier

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic presentation by Louise Bourchier on strap-ons, which was hosted by Pleasure Forum Australia. I had no idea there was so much to know about the subject. Louise gave such an informative and entertaining presentation, I couldn’t wait to interview her about her expertise.

Kate: Tell me, how did you come to know so much about strap-ons?

Louise: Well, I guess I got interested in strap-ons a few years ago when I was expanding my sexual horizons. But most of my knowledge comes from working, for the last year and a half, in a sex toy shop. Helping customers and find the right fit harness and the right sized dildo and answering their questions has really helped expand my knowledge.

K: I’ve heard you say that strap-ons can be for everybody. Can you elaborate on that?

L: They sure can. Strap-ons are probably most well known for their use by lesbians or by straight couples who want to try a bit of ‘bend-over-boyfriend’ but they can be used by anyone and on anyone. Most strap-ons are designed to be worn by a female where the dildo sits on the pelvis in typical ‘erect penis’ position and is used to penetrate the partner. There are also strap-ons designed to be worn by males, some have a hole for the wearer’s penis with a dildo attached above so you can do double penetration, and some have a hollow dildo where the penis is inside the dildo. There are even strap-ons where you can attach a dildo to your thigh or to your chest. So many options! And, of course, the receptive partner can be penetrated vaginally, anally or you can have some hot strap-on blowjob fun. Whatever tickles your fancy.

K: I can see how the receptive partner can enjoy this, but what does the wearer get out of strap-on play?

L: Some wearers really enjoy the psychological element of penetrating their partner, and/or the gender and role-playing that can be part of strap-on play. The wearer can get a lot of physical pleasure too, both from their clit rubbing against the dildo and from their pelvic muscles contracting as they thrust. Some wearers also like to attach a small vibrator under the harness, or wear a vibrating egg in their vagina, or use a double-ended dildo especially designed for this purpose, such as the Feeldoe or the Fun Factory Share

K: What should people keep in mind when they’re buying a strap-on?

L: Strap-ons come in various types and qualities. Usually you buy the harness and the dildo separately rather than together as one piece. One of the first things you’ll want to consider is the materials. Leather is a strong, stable, comfortable and good quality material for a harness. But if you don’t want to buy leather there are also good quality harnesses made of various types of fabric, such as nylon, spandex, neoprene and denim! It’s worth getting a good quality dildo make of silicone with a flared base to hold it in the harness.

It might sound a bit technical, but it’s worth trying on a harness if possible because different styles give a different fit, with different pros and cons. When the o-ring (the hole where the dildo goes through) is positioned higher up, then the dildo will sit on the pubic bone and give the wearer lots of control, when the o-ring is positioned lower down, then the dildo will sit over the wearer’s clit and give more direct stimulation. All these little things to consider that can turn your strap-on fun from good to amazing.

K: What would you recommend for people on a tight budget?

L: There are some good quality nylon harnesses out there, start with one of those. You can get some more ‘novelty’ style strap-ons out there where the harness is made of elastic, but I wouldn’t recommend those because they’re quite flimsy and can be frustrating. Dildos come in a range of sizes, prices, colors and materials. I’d always recommend silicone, but if you can’t afford a silicone dildo then that’s ok, just remember to use condoms on other dildos because cheaper materials aren’t as hygienic or body-friendly.

If you’re feeling creative why not make your own D.I.Y. strap-on harness! You can easily and quickly make one with two scarves [see video below], or if you’ve got an afternoon and a few more materials you can make an excellent harness out of old bicycle inner tubes.

K: Can you recommend some strap-on resources?

L: A great place to start is these two books:

The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap-On Sex by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex by Fairy Butch

You can also get more clued up by reading through sex toy and sex toy shop websites, reading about the products and reading customer feedback. But remember, the best way to learn is by trying it out!

Check out Louise’s how-to video on DIY strap-ons here:

About Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator + blogger. She's the founder of Sex Geekdom, a global community for sex educators, researchers, and other folks who love having geeky conversations about sex.