To Strap Or Not To Strap?

To strap, or not to strap, that is the question. That’s the concept we shall be exploring in this essay. Someone raised a concern about a pattern she’d noticed among Ghanaian LBQ women. Apparently, many of us are opposed to strap-ons and she finds it strange, considering that it’s not much of a big deal in the community where she lives; (obviously not Ghana). There were varying opinions and I thought I would explore them.

I don’t have a strap-on. I have thought of owning one, and I am sure I probably would soon. I am not particularly moved to get one. My sex life has been fire enough without one, and while it may spice things up, I don’t find it a necessity. My partner has said though that she wants me to get one because she thinks my stroke game would be good. I don’t mind trying. There are those who see it as a necessity because they, or their partners, enjoy penetration. That is perfectly okay. However, there are those who hate to hear about strap-ons, for various reasons. This became a topic of discussion among some of us queer women and the different opinions were interesting.

Before I say what I think though, here’s an unpopular opinion; fems should generally be the ones to buy straps, not studs. That way, no matter how many people they date or sleep with, the dick goes into just them. It’s a dick, dedicated to just you. A stud purchasing strap-ons, well you see how that gets annoying when she has multiple partners, don’t you? Okay, back to business. 

Many people don’t use strap-ons simply because they don’t know how or where to get one. I haven’t seen any physical sex stores in Ghana. It would take a very brazen individual to open one, considering the kind of environment we find ourselves in. Everyone’s fucking, but we’ll rather pretend sex is some taboo that would call divine indignation upon our heads if we so much as talk about it. Hypocrisy wey no dey wear shirt. Instruments of pleasure can only be found online; you have to know where to look. Sure it’s 2022, but some people, myself included, aren’t very social media savvy. Unless someone shows you the road, you’re navigating the wild west by yourself.

There’s also the element of cost. The prices of good quality strap-ons are insane. Even those of lesser quality aren’t so cheap either. With this economy going the way it is, not a lot of people can afford to spend 700 Ghana Cedis plus on a good strap. And it’s not just in Ghana. I’ve been in Nigeria for the past month and went to get a piercing. The artist told me after I was done that they sold sex toys too. Mind you, there was no indication of this on any of the flyers or during our communication before I arrived at the studio. (Adding to my point of Africans generally being hypocritical about sex thus toys being sold discreetly because nobody wants needless wahala.) He showed me a strap; good quality, and penetrates the wearer while she also penetrates her partner. 35K naira. That translates to about 720 Ghana Cedis. Like why is it so expensive to get a dick?! So, some people wouldn’t mind using it but at these prices? Orgasms have to be within budget, chale.

Some friends of mine think strap-ons aren’t necessary. One of the general reasons is that they believe their fingers are capable of doing the job quite well. I cannot fully disagree with them. If fingering is something that works for you, you’d know that it is very pleasurable. Again, if it is something that works for you. Not everyone enjoys fingering. No matter how skilled you are with your fingers at inducing pleasure, you could meet a partner who just doesn’t get down like that. My friend says that she “just clamps up” when fingers come anywhere near her. She likes dick though. So, what if you argue against dick in favour of fingers and you become attracted to someone like this?

For others, it has nothing to do with the physicality of it. It’s about the idea the strap-on represents. A strap-on is a penis made of synthetic materials, basically. Penises were originally observed on male creatures. That sounds weird but that’s the truth of the matter. To some people, using a strap-on means they’re giving deference somehow to men. It’s as if they’re admitting that they cannot find or give pleasure unless there’s a male organ present, no matter what it is made of. “Mimicking straight sex” makes them feel like they’re not really lesbians and their queerness is invalid. 

Some feel like their partners want them to be men when they ask for a strap-on. It feels, in a way, as if they would relinquish a part of their femininity each time they use a strap-on. It’s all mental. Why would she be asking me to get a strap-on? Don’t I satisfy her enough? Is she secretly wishing I were a man?  I understand this reasoning, but I think it is flawed.

Listen, there is nothing straight about using a strap-on. Being straight or gay is about who you’re attracted to, not how you have sex. I am not attracted to men, but I don’t mind being penetrated. (Also low-key motivation to buy the strap my partner wants). Wanting this doesn’t make me straight, nor lend power to straight people. Not using a strap because you don’t want to appear straight is counterproductive. In effect, you are letting them dictate to you how to have sex. They haven’t even done anything but they’re getting in your head. They fuck this way and so I will not fuck this way. Who made straightness the yardstick for measuring how sex should be had? Why are you thinking of straight people when you fuck in the first place? I haven’t heard any straight man complaining that he won’t finger his woman because that’s how lesbians fuck.

Wanting to be penetrated, or having a partner who wants it to be a part of your sexual activities, is normal. In fact, you’re the reason strap-on penises were invented. Because it is fine to not want men but to want dick. The appendage doesn’t define your sexuality. Using a strap-on doesn’t in any way invalidate your queerness. Why would you deny yourself or your partner pleasure simply because it feels straight? Like? I’m yet to meet a woman who’s pegged a man and thought it made her lend power to gay men.

It’s not compulsory to have a strap-on. However, the perception that its usage makes someone less of who they are, has to stop being perpetuated. If y’all want to give it a go in the bedroom, do. If it makes things better, that’s perfect. If it doesn’t then that chapter is closed till either of you decides to open it again. 

Don’t lock yourself in a box of your own making. You don’t deserve that.

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