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Strap-on dildos and grinding bodies: queer sex and gender identity

Words and photos: Nina Sever
Illustration: Meg Murgatroyd

 

I desired a strap-on harness for the first time since watching “Sense 8” by the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski a few years back. I voraciously observed this lesbian queer couple fucking like there was no tomorrow and when, after Nomi’s orgasm, Amanita unbuckled the harness and threw the whole ordeal on the floor, still dripping wet, my jaw dropped open and my whole perception of what a strap-on meant shifted. I wanted to feel that. I wanted to feel myself inside of someone I was attracted to, I wanted my body to move like that.

Strap-on dildos weren’t new to me as a whole. When I was a teenager I saw them in porn, and people talked about them, but at the time sex toys were seen as something to use when not partnered, or when a partner was not enough; vagina owners were expected to use phallic objects only to compensate the lack of a male penis in their lesbian dynamic. That couldn’t have done any good to my little queer brain as I was coming out and trying to figure out my sexuality.

Self portrait by Nina

The sex scene in “Sense 8” showed me that I owed nothing to the outside world, I started to slowly realise that I could just fuck and use hands, feet, mouth, genitals, sex toys, thighs, knees, hips; I could melt and merge my entire body with someone else’s.

To me, a strap-on dildo is a tool, a connecting point, a glueing element between human minds and bodies. It’s a genderless addition to a sexual act or a gender-affirming continuation of one’s body. Perhaps the idea of a dildo shaping itself into a missing penis is not entirely wrong, but to me personally, it’s not the craving for someone else’s dick but the absence of my own.

I am a non-binary trans person. Independently of how I present myself, my mind is masc-leaning, and that is the reason I am going to talk about how using a strap-on to add sensations and dominate is different from using it as a gender-affirming element, although one doesn’t exclude the other.

My gender identity was why I struggled for so long before giving this a try. My love partners asked me to fuck them with a strap-on several times, and although a direct approach was appreciated, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I postponed and procrastinated, creating more confusion in myself and others. I wanted to be the badass Amanita, but how could I? Amanita was a female fiction character and I was a messy non-binary man feeling ashamed for not having a penis. I spent hours on sex shop websites, dreaming of the perfect dildo, imagining how it’d look like as part of my body, but the colours never matched, the sizes felt like an alien concept. How does one measure their own genitals if they’ve never been there?

Self portrait by Nina

I didn’t know how to communicate my issues to the people I was dating, and I was too shy to ask my queer friends to guide me. I couldn’t allow myself to experiment just for the sake of it because everything was so intrinsically connected to my gender identity. I wanted to be felt and seen for who I really was, I needed my lovers to feel my dick energy whether it would be through a dildo or any other part of my body, and that kind of desire arises in the mind before flowing into everything, literally anything else. Even now, In order for me to use a strap-on harness, we need to be already fucking each other in our minds, and in our minds, one of us or both have a penis that is not quite there biologically.

What finally pushed me over the edge and out of my non-comfort zone was a non-binary human at a private sex party. It felt as if we were eating each other from the inside out, the rest of the world was liquefying and there were no boundaries between their body and mine. A kind soul just put a strap-on harness and dildo next to us and winked, we looked at each other and I heard myself asking them to fuck me with it. And they did, and it all made sense, it felt as if it was their dick.

I was blown away. I was whole again. I wanted more of that mind-dick experience, no matter if on the giving or receiving end.

I finally said “fuck this”, and bought a harness, a couple of dildos (this and, not even joking, this) and looked at myself in the mirror: I was bursting with joy. If that was the way I wanted to experience strap-on fucking, if it was so important, it was right to communicate my needs and connect with who’d vibe on my colourful gender-affirming dicks just as much as I did. I knew it because I had proof, because I experienced it with someone I liked and trusted. There was now an intense feeling that it just couldn’t be otherwise. That’s how I usually know I am not betraying myself.

Self portrait by Nina

I love putting on the harness, I like when I can buckle up one-handed, I think it’s hot. I love that I am given an active space to gear up to be my real self, it’s a non-verbal sexual intention, it’s the queer coming out. I adore my whole body to be involved in the act of penetrating, I become primal and highly intuitive. It’s incredible when our bodies synchronise because then I feel the other person with my whole being; from the tip of my dick, it flows and expands throughout my body. I experienced that feeling before with people, just grinding against each other with our clothes on, and that was sex because my mind was aroused and the body wasn’t required to do anything more than just riding the waves of pleasure. It is still very soothing when I can disengage my biological genitals and feel with the rest of my body. There is nothing that kills the mood more than psychological pressure but, sometimes, the strap-on dildos I could wear allow me to be both gender-euphoric and expectation-free. 

I wish I had all these realisations earlier, but I also think it’s pointless to dwell on my past lives. Perhaps it’s best this way. Imagine if I threw myself into an experience just because I felt like I had to, or just to please someone else. Maybe I prevented my body from collecting more traumas. It’s been a long process but I never felt emotionally unsafe, and I am happy now, and I hope you can be happy too. You owe nothing to the world, but you have to be honest with yourself and give yourself time to understand. You don’t even have to love yourself, just like you don’t have to love the other person to have great sex together, but you have to be honest and connected… and perhaps you can bond over a strap-on dildo.

About Nina

(Photo by Aurora)
I’m a non-binary erotic artist strolling between London and Berlin, and I can’t imagine my life without writing and directing, taking photos and sometimes jumping back in front of the camera too. So, I just do everything I can, and the adult film making industry allows me to pick up all the pieces and be myself. 

I’ve written and directed two films for XConfessions, “Coffee with pleasure” and “Can you see me?”,  two very different stories but both exploring the gap between fantasy and reality. XConfessions was  the perfect place to unfold that part of my sexuality and share that with like-minded people! 

I’m setting up boundaries and teaching consent, breaking down shame and stigma around nudity  and sex, seeking my own freedom of speech and expression; always honest, always evolving.

You can follow Nina on Instagram or check out more of their work on their website.