Review: The RodeoH Harness

Yes, this blog is also about sex, remember? I’ve said what I had to say about that other subject.

Some of the images below are probably NSFW.

It started with an excited text from my boyfriend. He had seen a specialized version of the RodeoH harness on some porn site, with “Queer Porn Star” on the butt. (I think it was on Queer Porn Tv, but I can’t seem to bring up their store page right now.) I was immediately grabbed by the concept of a strap-on harness that didn’t have straps and buckles, especially since my body is shaped in such a way where most of those kind of harnesses don’t lay right. (I do own the Joque Spare Parts harness, which I’ve modified a bit for my use, and it is also a great harness especially for us chubbier folk.)

So I went to the RodeoH website, and fell in love. I don’t know why I haven’t seen this idea in practical use before: I’ve seen latex or rubber panty-or-jock style harness, but they never sit right unless you have the perfectly flat belly (and really, who does?) and I don’t know about you, but both of those materials makes me sweat when I’m…uh…being active. RodeoH, on the other hand, makes theirs with a combination of mostly cotton, with just enough spandex to give it stretch. I was sad to see that their largest size was a few inches shy of Del-hips, but in a fit of inspiration I decided to write the company and ask them if they were planning on making larger sizes.

Lo and behold, I got much, much more than I bargained for. I got a response the very next day from the owner of the company. They offered to send me a pair of their biggest size boxer-style harness – the one I was most interested in – and said that if they didn’t have enough give, they would be interested in making a larger pair! They wanted me to test drive these, since they didn’t have many larger-sized testers and wanted to know how they worked on larger size people.

These are the ones I recieved.

These are the ones I recieved.

I was totally excited by the time they arrived in the mail. They come in a little pouch, about the size of a sock, which makes them very easy to pack, either in a suitcase or in a “overnight bag” with just your equipment, your harness, and some condoms. I wasn’t able to try them on immediately since I was (unfortunately) in the hospital at the time, but it made both my boyfriend and I build excitement over when I was going to try them on. (Oh, he tried hard to lobby for him to try them on first, because he secretly really wants a pair of his own.) But alas, a time to try them out with him hasn’t manifested yet, but it will very soon.

Go ahead and do a google search on 'RodeoH Harness" if you have time on your hands.

Go ahead and do a google search on ‘RodeoH Harness” if you have some…free time on your hands.

However, I did throw them in my bag when I went to FetFestCon in the Poconos. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have any use for them, but like a now-accepted gay Boy Scout, I like to be prepared (and hopeful). My curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to try packing with them while I cruised the Playspace one night.

I was super pleased to learn that although they list the size as being 52-55, they fit me (who is a few inches larger than that) just fine. In fact, some boxer-briefs like to creep up my ass when I first put them on, and these, pleasantly, did not. I used the dildo I call “my cock”, an eight inch realistic looking prosthetic. The O ring is stretchy, and the three inches of girth on my cock didn’t have any problem slipping in. I would say this harness could take most standard-sized cocks; I could stretch it far enough to get my hand and wrist in, so I’d say even size queens would approve. If you’re using a smaller extension, like for anal play, I would estimate that the O is about two inches wide; any smaller and you can easily cut a hole in a slip of foam rubber or other flexible-but-sturdy material and slip that into the pocket where the base of the dildo goes.

These are the boyshort version. They're comfortable and inconspicuous enough to wear them like underwear, and then excuse yourself to slip in the cock when the time is right!

These are the boyshort version. They’re comfortable and inconspicuous enough to wear them like underwear, and then excuse yourself to slip in the cock when the time is right!

There’s only a thin layer of cotton between you and your cock, so if you’re a rough fuck, you might want to slip some extra padding in to keep from bruising. But what’s nice about the contact is, it’s great for those who position the base in such a way where they’re getting some sort of stimulation from it, and you’re more in tune with what’s going on down there (whereas other harnesses that overpad the contact make it feel like you’re just pushing against a tiny pillow, rather than really feeling the cock move.)

Other than having to adjust several times to keep from tenting too obviously (there’s no easy way to tuck in this harness if you’re planning to pack-on-the-go), I wore it for most of the night and it was super comfortable. Even while doing some light punching/kicking, it didn’t slip out of place or move in any awkward way. With other harnesses, especially when I pack before doing SM, I find I frequently have to stop and adjust the straps or pull it up, if I’m moving around a lot. I also loved that it made my cock feel more natural, a real extension of me, because of the thin layer; I could feel when my cock moved in my pants, and it was a huge turn on.

What I also love about this harness is that you can play with positioning. Most traditional harnesses absolutely must sit on the mons pubis or it won’t fit right. For me, it’s hard to fuck like that, since, well, it’s a little further south due to having a belly. It’s hard for me to fuck like that without reaching down and keeping one hand on the cock, and really if I’m going to do that I might as well take the fucking thing off and just push it in*. With the RodeoH, you can pull or push the cock around on your body until it’s in the most comfortable place for you to fuck from. For those of us with differently shaped bodies, that’s a huge bonus.

As a bit of a slut, I also love that it is totally machine washable. It’s just no fun to spend the next morning desperately wiping down a leather or rubber harness, and over time they start to break down if you don’t care for them correctly (aka, not just letting them sit around dirty until the next time you have a promising date.) I came home from the event, threw them in the machine, and in an hour they were ready to go again.

I am in love with this harness, and not just because they sent me a free sample. Really, this is now my go-to for any kind of play where I need my prosthetic, including packing. And I can honestly say that their largest size can actually stretch another 4-6 inches if you so need; for any buyer, I would suggest getting a size that’s actually an inch or two smaller than your actual waist or hip size (depending on what style you buy), so you get a good, tight fit and less slippage during vigorous enjoyment.

Their website, again, is here. I haven’t tried their panty versions, but if someone else has, please by all means add your thoughts to the comments.

*I did recently buy a hand-harness that’s made by Spare Parts (although it’s not on their website that I can see). It’s great for those who want to fuck for long periods of time but want something with more contact than just holding the base of the cock. There’s also removable mini-bullet vibes above and below the cock for a little clitoral/perineum pleasure. I’m definitely trotting this one out when I teach my Accessible Kink class, as it’s great for those who like using their hands instead of their hips.

And it looks kinda badass, too.

And it looks kinda badass, too.

Yes, and.

Quick warning: I know I’ve picked up quite a few subscribers and fans who love my posts on spirituality, spirit work, shamanism, and Loki. However, there’s a reason this is called Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars; I also blog about kink, both by itself and combined with my spiritual path. This is one of those posts, so if you’re not hep with the consensual BDSM or descriptions of sex, you might want to take a pass on this one.

I had stopped bottoming.

The reasons were many, and there were a lot of complications. And anything too complicated, that requires too much negotiation and limits, kills my hard on. I don’t mind if we need to take some time to figure out what works for us, but if there’s more processing than playing, I quickly lose interest.

Part of it was about being a presenter. Although I am quick to bring up the fact that I switch when it’s appropriate in my classes, most kink classes are focused on top-specific skills which sets the assumption that the teacher is a top. It doesn’t help that I’ve gained a bit of a reputation as being both a Badass Heavy Top, as well as a Dominant/Master; these are true, but it never meant that I stopped wanting to bottom. In fact, it should make it easier: “You. There. Pick up that thing and hit me with it until I say stop.”

But it wasn’t only that. I was in a relationship where bottoming was complicated. They didn’t want to cause me “bad” pain, since I was suffering so much chronic pain to begin with. I didn’t particularly enjoy the kinds of play they liked to give; and they didn’t particularly enjoy the kinds of play I liked to receive. We tried, a lot, but it never really clicked. And it only brought up the raw wound that we had started out in a power dynamic where I was the submissive, but like our play, we had very different ideas about what we wanted or needed from dominance and submission. None of this makes either of us wrong, or bad, or unsuited as a top or bottom for other people; they were and are an excellent top who has legions of people interested in play.

But it left me feeling like I couldn’t do it, not with them, and not with anyone else. I didn’t figure this out until I started dating a top who did like the kinds of play I liked to bottom to; all of a sudden the giant green eyed monster showed up and wouldn’t leave until that relationship went away. We all dressed it up as anything other than jealousy, but really that’s what it was. And I saw how hurt and sad it made them, to see me enjoying bottoming to someone else. So except for a few, very rare occasions, I didn’t do it. Not even when they weren’t there to see it or be affected by it. I just focused on other things.

Fortuitously, this happened at the same time as I was finding people who wanted to submit to me. I had gotten a bit of cache as a needle top, and played with hundreds of bottoms for a scene or two. Eventually, I started attracting submissive bottoms, who wanted to go deeper than just playing. I fumbled a lot, like most new Dominants do, and made some mistakes, but at the same time I found a well of desire within me that I didn’t know existed.

So I buried my bottoming desires and focused on becoming a Big Badass Top and a passable Dominant/Master. I found the right slave, one who fit my desires and for whom I was exactly what they wanted/needed. I sublimated my bottoming desires by giving random play partners the kinds of scenes I secretly longed for. Don’t get me wrong – I love being a top, kicking someone’s ass or making them bleed – and I also love being a Dominant.

Did I miss bottoming? Yes. Sometimes I felt the lack keenly, like reaching out for a lover who isn’t there any more. I would either try to bottom to the person I was in a relationship with, even though I knew it wouldn’t take me where I wanted to go, or I would find the very few types of scenes that I could bottom to without dredging up all the shit.

After the relationship was over, I was shy about bottoming. It had been a long time, and I had done an excellent job of completely burying those desires to a point where I almost didn’t think about them anymore. And in a fucked up way, even though I was free to do whatever I wanted, the thought of bottoming again filled me with regret and sadness about the end of the relationship. In fact, for the first few months after we broke up, I didn’t play at all. Part of it was grief; part of it was fear that I would take out all of my emotions and anger on someone who didn’t deserve it, and then I would be even more aware of my unresolved feelings about it all and possible do damage (emotionally or physically) to someone undeserving. Another part was that I didn’t know how bottoming would make me feel. A lot has changed in my body since I last took a really intense beating/caning/spanking/etc, and I was afraid I wouldn’t or even couldn’t enjoy it like I did before.

But I am blessed with a wonderful, understanding, very switchy boyfriend who listened to all of my concerns and fears about going there again. He, too, had once taken a long sabbatical from bottoming, and had many of the same fears and anxieties about opening himself up like that again; and yet, without hesitation, he definitely let me be as sadistic as I wanted during our first fuck. So I decided to trust him, and to trust myself to let go and let the experience be whatever it was going to be.

Oh yeah! I used to like this stuff!

It started out slow and private; we did a little humiliation, a little tease-and-denial, some biting and punching, mixed in with our bedroom sex. It wasn’t a scene, I told myself, although where those lines really are, are getting very blurry for me as of late. I used to be able to distinctly tell what was a scene and what was sex, but these days it’s all a big sloppy mess of feeling good. (Likely, this is partly because I no longer have to live by different rules when it comes to “playing” vs “fucking”, and some of those rules were ones I had insisted upon. Lessons learned.)

Then, I decided to commit. I asked him to bring his canes down for our next visit. He giggled with glee – he is an incredibly enthusiastic caning top, and it’s a kind of play few bottoms specifically request. Yes, I am the rare bird who prefers sting to thud; but I’m very picky about what kinds of sting and where they’re applied on my body. Needless to say, I was so blissed and happy about it, I let him take and post a picture of my post-caning ass on FetLife. If you know me, you know that’s a HUGE fucking deal, as I very rarely post pictures of me without clothes on, and I especially have self-image issues about my ass.

The next logical step, in my mind, was to try bottoming in public again. I am both a voyeur and an exhibitionist; I have a Leo moon, which makes me love theatricality and production, and playing in a play space has an energy and atmosphere that can be hard to recreate in the room I sleep and write in every day. I will admit, it was also important because people were starting to assume that my boyfriend was somehow subserviant to me (either as a sub, a slave, a boy, or the like) and that’s not only not true, but it dances some hard limits he has. So by bottoming to him in public, I was trying to send the message that this is one helluva switchy relationship, one in which I am often the bottom of.

So that I would feel comfortable, and because he likes getting beat, we started by doing a scene where I topped him. What was electric, and definitely new territory for me, was that he was not the compliant, stand-there-and-take-it bottom – he punched me back at times, or flat out told me I couldn’t do something, or grabbed my hair and yanked it. It threw some people watching for a loop, as switch play isn’t what one might expect at a public space (and by “switch play” in this instance, I mean a scene where the line between top and bottom is blurry or non existent. Many switches will decide to do one or the other, especially if they’re not playing with a fellow switch) nor is it something that I’ve done much of, if at all, in public.

Even then, during the scene where I was nominally the top, he did something he knew would open up my vulnerability. I don’t cum in public. Part of it is to take the turn on home where I can wank or fuck anyway I want without having to worry about odd rules about what a penis is and where it can go. Also, as a wise man is fond of saying, I don’t enjoy being “National Geographic”. What he means is, it turns me off if people are watching me play or fuck specifically because my body or my identity is intriguing to them; rather than watch because it’s sexy, they’re watching because they don’t fully understand or haven’t seen it done that way before. As “enlightened” as I may seem sometimes, I still have hangups about my disability, my body size, and my trans*ness as they all relate to my sexual confidence. But knowing that did not stop my boyfriend from grabbing my cock and jerking me off right there in my wheelchair. And giving in, and not asserting my boundary like a Badass Top, felt more right.

We took a break, but we saw it was getting late and the club was closing soon. I had run out of reasons to procrastinate. We found a piece of furniture that would suit our purposes, and we figured out how to bare my ass without making me feel overly naked and on display. Granted, it was a queer oriented party, so I had less “Nat Geo” issues to worry about, but some of that is too instinctual at this point to so easily dismiss. He caned me, softly at first, but harder and harder as time went on. We changed positions and my pants and underwear fell to the floor, leaving me there with my cock hanging in the wind. Normally, I would have been mortified, but instead I just stuck my ass out further and asked for more.

The endorphins came over me like a wave. Usually, they creep up on me and I don’t realize how high I am until I’m loopy. This time, I distinctly remember feeling lucid one moment, and blitzed the next. He looked down at me and commented on how happy I was. I just urged him to hit me more. We had to start ramping down, both because I was in a good place and neither of us wanted to chance going too far and ruining the scene. But man, have I missed that wonderful, floaty feeling of love, both for my partner and for myself and my body. I am in love with my body, despite how much it pisses me off sometimes (kinda like my boyfriend 🙂 ), because it can give me such elevating experiences. I was in the perfect headspace to embrace a friend who has felt a distinct lack of love lately, and share some of that warmth with her. I was pretty damn loopy the whole way home, and our plans to fuck like jackrabbits when we got home was superseded by my inevitable crash, which made me sleepy.

Oh right, I used to like this stuff. And now I love it, because it comes with no baggage, no complications, no expectations, no obligations. I can just be who I am, when and where I want, and get a good beating if that’s what I desire. I can still be a kick ass kink educator and Big Badass Top, and also float along in my own personal subspace while my problematic muscles finally relax and I feel a deep and abiding peace. “Yes, and…” as the improv performer in me says.

Yes, and.

Are the cameras ever off?

About a year or so ago, I found myself in a discussion with other kink educators. Someone had posted a rant about how they wanted the ability to play in public without having to keep their “educator hat” on; they wanted to be able to engage in actions that may or may not be considered “safe”, but you would definitely not teach to a class. In essence, they wanted to be able to play without having to worry that some onlooker will assume that since Mx. Big Name Educator did it, it must be safe to replicate in their own play. This onlooker may or may not have the same level of experience with whatever they’re seeing, or may or may not know that Mx. Educator has a different kind of relationship with their play partner (like, say, being fluid bonded), or may even be doing something that looks more dangerous than it actually is, but because they’re not teaching, they’re also not explaining to random onlookers that there are unseen safety precautions.

This came up for me last night, as I watched some free online porn. If you don’t know, one of the things I’m most known for in the kink community is needle/blood play, and especially the fact that I know and practice a very high level of safety/cleanliness when I do so. One of the scenes I watched was a needleplay scene, and although I don’t know the performer personally, we’re maybe two degrees of separation from each other (if that). In the scene, there was some safety measures taken – they did wear gloves to put the needles in and take them out  – but that’s about where it started and ended. What bothered me the most was that the performer touched the needles, laced a corset-like decoration with rope, had sex with the bottom after the needles were removed (but the blood was still evident on the bottom’s arms), and although it ended with a nice cuddle, during none of these activities were they wearing gloves or taking any other precautions so as to not come in contact with the bottom’s blood. Also, they were doing this on a bed, and there were no precautions taken to make sure the blood didn’t get on the bed, and since they were romping around nude, meant that the blood could have also entered the other person’s body a number of ways.

Now, I know, it’s porn. It’s not supposed to look or feel like reality. But if there’s anything I’ve learned and personally witnessed about kinksters and porn, is that porn is where we get a lot of our ideas for new and different things to try. Since the site this scene was posted on is not really a kink site, but a sex site that has kink content, there is a high likelyhood that this may be a person’s first encounter with needle and blood play. It’s also worth mentioning that right on the site’s bannerhead, they claim to be an educational site as well as a place for porn. Finally, the performer in question is not only a porn performer, but teaches many classes to the kink demographic, and therefore is an educator.

I also accept that as part of the non-reality of porn, there may be things going on in the background that I didn’t see. It may be that right before and after they touched the open wounds, they cleaned their hands with surgical scrub to minimize any cross-contamination. They may be fluid bonded with their bottom, may even be in a long term relationship with them where fluid exchange is an everyday occurrence. I’ll even be willing to entertain the idea that the director/producer gave them the instruction to use precautions as little as possible, so as to make the scene not feel sterile (not in the sense of clean, but in the sense of staid and unsexy).

I think these two discussions are linked. I totally understand the exhausted feeling that comes when you perceive that the “cameras are never off” – that every time you rock up to a dungeon, people start to gather to see what nefarious doings are going to happen, to see advanced techniques or ideas that they could incorporate into their own play, or even just to be entertained – and that you can’t have any sort of intimacy or privacy (however much you can expect in a public play space). I have experienced people interrupting scenes to ask questions, either about needleplay in general (including “Can I be next?”) or about a certain part of whatever you’re doing (What gauge has purple hubs?) or will just get very close to the point where I have to ask them to step back so I can access my bottom or my supplies. Granted, needleplay is one of those kinds of play that is hard to see from a respectable distance, but there are ways to ask if it’s okay to move closer and see what’s going on. And about 60% of the time, I don’t mind the interruptions. I tend to tell people that my scenes tend to draw attention, and ask them if they want me to keep people from getting too close or interrupting, or if they welcome the attention. I know that, in some ways, by allowing this sort of interaction some of the time, I may be radioing that it’s okay all of the time.

Is this part of the cost of being an educator? Many people talk about the perks, but few talk about the responsibilities and potential downsides that come with volunteering your time and expertise to share with others. You become a bit of a commodity, no longer a person with personal preferences and desires, but someone who can be considered “obligated” to provide experiences to whomever asks (and saying “you’re not my type” or “I’m not looking to Top/bottom tonight” is met with derision, or like it’s a personal insult; heck, even “My dance card is full” is sometimes met as though I am lying just to avoid playing with the person, even when it later proves to be true when I’m stuck in the medical play area all night). Are we also, then, beholden to only do in public what we would do in front of a class?

And does this transpose into performance, whether live or taped? If we are asked to “show off” in front of a camera or a crowd, does our educator status come first, and maybe sacrifice a bit of “show” in order to play to the common denominator? If we want to do something that looks, or gods forbid is actually, risky, is it part of our responsibility to make it clear that although we’re doing this for show, that the home consumer should know that there were precautions taken that they weren’t privy to?

I found the scene hard to watch. Instead of being able to get into seeing one of my particular turn-ons on the little screen, I ended up feeling detached from it, becoming judgmental and looking for further broaches of safety. I stopped focusing on the hotness and started a tally of all the things I would have done differently, even from an aesthetic point of view. In an odd way, I wonder if I have a right to porn that turns me on, which means that it looks as safe as I would want it to be in person, even if it may not be as artistically satisfying to the general consumer? Or should I just relegate myself to not watching needle/blood scenes in porn, because they’re always going to do it wrong and make me lose my erection?

This also traverses into safer sex procedures, too. There was a big brouhaha in LA when the law passed that all porn had to used condoms, and many porn performers and industry people have stated that it just means that porn production will move to another area with less legal restrictions. But I find that if I’m watching a fuck scene and there’s no glove/condom/dental dam, I turn it off or look for one that has them. I know I’m not the only, or even maybe the biggest, market for porn, but I can’t help but wonder if we made more porn with safer sex as part of the play, we would only encourage more people to take these precautions at home? If we can somehow make dental dams look sexy, then more people will use them? I mean, I’ll be brutally honest, the first time I saw someone unroll a condom onto a cock with their mouth before a blowjob, I lost all of my hesitation about using condoms for oral sex, because damn that was hot to watch. If we can find creative ways to make these things as sexy as the sex themselves, isn’t that a good thing? I’m sure the porn industry has been thinking or fighting about this since AIDS showed up, and maybe even before, but with the incidences of young people contracting AIDS on the rise again, especially in the age of “Abstinence Only” sex ed in schools, maybe it’s time to think about these things.

Are the cameras ever off? Is it ever okay for someone in the public eye to let their sex/kink be about the turn on and not about the education? Do you always play safer in public than you would behind closed doors? Do you think it’s ridiculous when play spaces require everyone to use safer sex products, even if the partners are already fluid bonded? What do you think?