The Six Life Stages of a Strap-On
By Tai Farnsworth
1: Right now, your perfect strap-on is a mere twinkle in your and your partner’s eyes. Or maybe you’re adopting alone. That’s okay. There’s no right or wrong way to bring a strap-on into the world. As long as you are prepared to support it and care for it, you’re ready for the strap-on you’ve been yearning for. First things first – have a conversation. Strap-ons, like people, come in every shape, size, and color. You want to make sure your strap-on is going to integrate well into your life. Before fully committing, it’s important to know your options. Of course, you can always welcome more than one strap-on into your family, but again make sure you are able to properly care for them at every step of the way. Consider your budget and what your day-to-day life looks like. One strap-on will, of course, change that – less sleep, less alone time, more bodily fluids. But two will be exponential. And three? It’s just important you be extremely intentional with how you bring each strap-on into your life. In my work, I’ve seen many people act carelessly in these moments and it has had an extremely negative impact on their relationships not only with their strap-on and with their partner, but also with themselves. Expanding your family is serious business and not to be taken lightly.
2: Once you have welcomed the exact right strap-on into your life, it’s time for the naming ceremony. Through the ages there have been countless naming ceremonies employed to various degrees of success. This isn’t something to be rushed. You want the name to fit as seamlessly with the strap-on as the strap-on will fit with you. I don’t think my strap-on, Mjolnir, will be upset if I admit that their name came to me before they did. It was a risk and I was one of the lucky ones when Mjolnir truly was the most Mjolnir strap I could have ever asked for. But you are better off allowing your strap-on to reveal their name to you through the proper channels. While this can be a little time-intensive and financially prohibitive, by far the most trusted method is via a road trip. Generally, three days is the understood minimum amount of time to establish a close enough bond. In that time, you can build a couple playlists, see a few tourist attractions (with associated selfies), and eat plenty of road food. When the time is right, your strap-on will tell you their name. You only need to make sure you’re listening.
3: Step three may feel like something you can skip. It is, admittedly, a bit complicated. But my relationships with the strap-ons that have been consecrated by the moon are all the more vibrant for honoring this critical piece. If you’re in a rush, the moon consecration can happen under a waxing or waning gibbous. But, the strongest and most honored consecration is, obviously, under the full moon in your rising sign, so I recommend waiting until the calendar is appropriately aligned. With the proper time and care, this step can be the most powerful. The ideal order of operations for the moon consecration of your strap-on is as follows: fasting (recommended twelve hours, but four hours minimum), cleansing bath with your birth flowers and soothing essential oils (lavender and rosemary are critical) (you’re welcome to share the bath with your partner and/or your strap-on but should observe celibacy for this sacred day), prepare a cup of white or herbal tea (no caffeine) using a strainer and not a tea bag (it’s acceptable to sweeten it with raw honey but not recommended [and goodness please don’t use sugar or maple syrup]). Ideally, you should be completely outside and immersed in nature but if that’s not possible, a patio or balcony will suffice. At this point you should drink your tea while allowing the moon to bathe your strap-on in its healing light. You and your partner should avoid talking, so if sound is necessary for that venture, a simple singing bowl is suitable for the occasion. (There are some good playlists here.)
4: Only after your strap-on has revealed their name to you AND you have performed the moon consecration, is it right to utilize it for pleasure of any kind. Will there be times in your life when you fuck without these steps? Of course. But is that truly the long-term connection you’re looking for? I think not. Once you have a proper naming ceremony and hold the moon consecration, a conversation of consent is welcome. As you already know, consent is a living, breathing thing. So please enter that conversation frequently, as it is able to evolve and grow with time. While your strap-on might not initially feel comfortable engaging in anal penetration with you and your partner, with time and care to honor those boundaries, the future may hold brave frontiers. (Although please keep in mind, some strap-ons are never available for anal and you’ll just have to respect that.) It’s also critical at this venture to be aware of the material nature of your strap-on, as that will very quickly dictate their handling needs. Porous, non-porous, silicone, glass – one must be fully prepared to utilize the appropriate lubrication and, post-coitus, the proper cleaning/sanitizing methods. I have known people who didn’t treat their strap-on with the care it deserved, and their bonds have rightly suffered. No sense in risking a souring love over laziness. Care for your strap-on, so it can care for you.
5: There will come a time, possibly not definitely, when you will need to ask your strap-on to shift energy with a shifting partner. Whatever the reason for the change-up (adding a partner to your relationship, breaking up with a partner, etc.), it’s necessary to share this information with your strap-on. Just as you wouldn’t bring a stranger home to your family without facilitating an introduction, so you should not ignore the protocol for a partner switch-up. If it’s just a matter of an additional partner (either recurring or one time), an informal getting-to-know you will suffice. (You know – a light lunch or tea.) But, if it’s something more jarring, like a breakup, it’s a good idea to perform a separation ceremony. The risks of skipping this step are far too high to play with. (Can you imagine having sex and somewhere, miles away, your ex can feel that energy? Can sense your every thrust? It’s catastrophic.) No need to worry though! The separation ceremony isn’t time intensive (and doesn’t require fasting or a bath). To successfully sever the proverbial umbilical cord between ex-lover and strap-on you need only perform a dried rosemary burn. Place the dried rosemary in a jar. (If possible, it’s best if the rosemary was dried from your own fresh garden with a southern sourced sunlight.) (Though the ceremony will be adequate with only the dried rosemary, it’s all the more effective with the inclusion of a crystal [preferably quartz] in the jar for the burn, too.) Next to the dried rosemary (and quartz), place one piece of paper memorabilia from your relationship. Handwritten cards work best, obviously, but even a shared piece of mail will work. (In a bind, a page from a shared book will do the job but it’s risky [and also rude.]) Using a match (not a lighter and especially not a zippo), light first the rosemary and then the paper on fire (the order is critical). Hold the strap-on in the resulting smoke for the entirety of the burn. It’s not necessary to rotate the strap-on like some chicken on a spit, but it can’t hurt and might be a worthy distraction. Do not, under any circumstances, pull the strap-on from the smoke until the contents of the jar are completely broken down (except the quartz, of course). This can take anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on the size of the paper. When you have only ash, the ceremony is complete and your strap-on’s tie to your ex is broken. (Some people have asked me what to do with the ash once you’re done. Great question! It’s fine to just throw it away or release it into the wind if that would be appropriate where you live, but the best means of disposal, by far, is via plant. The ash will mix well into any standard potting soil and works beautifully as a life source for flowers or tropical house plants [like alocasia or orchids]).
6: Of course, life is not even really life if it doesn’t hold hands with death. And there will be a time, eventually, where you must honor the life of your strap-on with a letting-go of sorts. As with humans, there are infinite reasons why a strap-on might shuffle off this mortal coil. I’ve worked with people saying good-bye to their strap-on because they grew tired of the color or they hungered for a different size. (Small reminder here that – you are welcome [and encouraged] to have many different straps-on in your life at one time. As many as you can honor and care for. So, though size may be a contributing factor, it need not mean the death of one [unless you’d really like it to].) Whatever the reason for this passing on, the process is the same. Of course, one should perform a variation of the previous stage but take care to use a personal handwriting sample. As soon as the burn is complete, you must bury the strap-on in the ground (including the ashes from the ceremony). Ideally, you should find a location far away from your home with dry, compact soil – a desert, if possible – but your backyard is fine. In a pinch, you can even bury your expired strap-on in the dirt in front of your apartment complex. It’s recommended you do this late at night, as you do not want many witnesses. After this, your strap-on has completed their full life cycle and you may start again! It’s completely normal to feel sorrow in this moment, so please feel free to cry. I also recommend making a cup of tea and drinking some water. The tea is to soothe your soul, and the water is to hydrate. Letting go is hard. In these moments, please take comfort in all your beautiful memories with your strap-on. Put on the playlist you made for your strap-on. After your tea, lie down. Pull a blanket over yourself. Close your eyes. There – can you see the open road? Can you see the sun on your strap-on?
Tai Farnsworth (she/her) is a mixed-race, queer writer living in Los Angeles with her future wife and their many plant babies. Since earning her MFA from Antioch University, she’s been enthusiastically toiling away in education. When she’s not writing or poisoning young minds with her liberal agenda, she is reading, practicing yoga, and cooking. Her work, which focuses heavily on self-acceptance and queerness, can be found in Sinister Wisdom, Homology Lit, Drunk Monkeys, The B’K, Cobra Milk, and the “Sex” edition of the Keeping It Under Wraps anthology. She was a 2018 We Need Diverse Books mentee. Find her on Instagram and Twitter