Gay Harness Guide 2023: Top Styles & Brands
Harnesses & Gay Culture
The harness is an iconic and traditional gay accessory with an origin in the leather and fetish communities of the 1960s. Harnesses grew in popularity through the 80s, which many leather enthusiasts attribute to the historic artwork of Tom of Finland.
Harnesses are trendier now more than ever. Even during the past few years alone, tons of new styles and brands of gay men’s harnesses have emerged.
In addition to their use as a kink/sex accessory, gay men wear harnesses at all sorts of events.
You’ll see them at circuit parties, fetish celebrations like the famous Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, pride parades, and even bear weeks. They’ve become a fashion statement pretty much anywhere gay men party.
This guide covers all the basics including common types of men’s harnesses, what materials they’re made from, all the most popular gay harness brands, unique styles, and how your harness should fit.
So whether you’ve never worn a harness before or you’re looking for new style inspiration, I have plenty of ideas to share with you.
Different Harness Types and Materials
The traditional gay harness is made of leather straps connected with metal hardware like buckles, snaps, and rings (called “grommets”) in a style known as a “bulldog harness.”
Now referred to simply as a chest harness, it’s constructed in an H shape, accentuating the shoulders and framing the chest.
100% leather harnesses don’t come cheap and are often considered an investment in gay fetish gear. Fortunately, plenty of imitation leather options are available at a fraction of the cost. They’re often better for first-time buyers, anyway.
Many types of harnesses today are made of elastic materials, making even more intricate designs and color variations possible. For example, rubber and thick-strap neoprene harnesses resemble leather ones but offer more flexibility.
This flexibility can be ideal as part of a circuit party outfit for comfort while dancing but may not always offer proper “function” when things turn sexy.
Thinner elastic harnesses have recently become quite popular, made of nylon, spandex, and/or neoprene fabric. Single strap and sports harness variations are easy to pair with all kinds of other clothing and accessories.
Regardless of material type, harness designs can get as complex as you can imagine. Evolving away from the H-shape and classic bulldog harness, you can find full-body harnesses and plenty of add-ons like neck, leg, and suspender harnesses.
Gay men’s harness styles are always being re-invented, too. Asymmetrical shoulder harnesses, chain harnesses, holster harnesses, and multi-strap torso harnesses are just a few examples.
As society embraces queer culture, harnesses don’t always have to be designed for masculine-presenting gay men anymore either. Many new styles implement components with a feminine flair.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the best and most trusted brands to buy your harness from.
Popular Gay Harness Brands
Addicted Fetish is one of my all-time favorite gay brands, and their harnesses strike the perfect balance of quality and price.
Born in Barcelona, Addicted is known for flashy yet tastefully branded gay underwear, clothing, and fetish accessories. Each Addicted harness has a perfectly placed AD logo on the front.
Their leather color harness is so playful—it’s one of the most vibrant I’ve seen. Another one of my favorites is their camo harness for its fabric-like finish.
Mr-S-Leather is one of the world’s best gay harness and leather gear brands. They’re the real deal, crafting high-end true leather harnesses.
Solidly constructed with the finest materials, these come with a correspondingly luxury price tag. But the quality of these harnesses is well worth the price.
Most of Mr-S-Leather’s harness styles come in several sexy bold colors and are easy to pair with matching accessories like attaching jockstraps, armbands, and body extension straps.
Mister B is highly respected brand known for well-made gay harnesses and other fetish accessories. Their leather Y-front chest harness is both sexy and memorable, not to mention affordable.
The X-back neoprene harness is another one of my favorites for its overlapping back straps and clean look.
Mister B is interestingly one of the only gay harness brands that sell rubber chest harnesses. If you’re around water, no material will be more resistant than rubber.
Andrew Christian harnesses are perfect for gay dance parties, especially their flashy chains harness and gold fringe harness. The brand’s collection includes a range of leather, elastic, costume, and even pride harnesses.
The Slick Harness is one of Andrew Christian’s latest styles and it looks super sexy, especially when paired with the separately sold Slick Shorts.
TOF Paris has taken elastic harness design to a whole new level, with dozens of products to choose from.
Their collection includes adjustable suspender harnesses, shoulder harnesses, and even an all-new hoodie harness. One of my absolute favorites though is the TOF Paris circuit leg harness.
Rough Trade Gear
Rough Trade Gear harnesses are rugged, ultra-masculine, and come in a a variety of custom designs. Their Renegade Leather harness has two eye-catching straps across the front with a modern look.
Garçon carries some of the brightest elastic gay harnesses you can find. They’re great for guys with slimmer body types because the extra wide bands really stand out.
I personally love Garçon’s Ocean Circuit Harness, which you can buy along with a matching jockstrap.
Gay Harnesses on Amazon
Gay harness brands on Amazon are popular for being inexpensive, available in all sorts of color variations, and shipping quickly. For first-time harness buyers, Amazon is a fantastic way to try a few options to find out what fits best.
The chest belt harness by a brand called Comebuy is one of the best adjustable harnesses on Amazon. It’s inexpensive and has hundreds of stellar reviews—a perfect choice for harness newbies.
Other top-selling gay men’s harnesses on Amazon are the neoprene strap harnesses by Ginchain, the adjustable belt shoulder cage harness by a brand called Lover Dream, and the elaborate nylon torso harness by YOOBNG. (The seller names may be strange, but their products are the best!)
More Gay Harness Styles
Endless other unique gay harness style variations are out there. But since they’re often sold by smaller gay clothing or fetish brands, finding them can be a bit cumbersome.
Not to worry though—here are some more stylish suggestions to help you stand out from the crowd.
Torso and Body Harnesses
Torso harnesses fantastically frame the torso and are great to wear at parties. Cellblock 13’s Buckle Up Harness and Rogue X Harness both attach to the front of your jock or shorts. They have a sporty and colorful look without being overly extravagant.
Most Male Basics harnesses have similar torso-framing straps but are a bit more rugged. They’re also incredibly cheap. For more fun body harness styles, browse collections from Maskulo or the well-respected Full Kit.
Charlie by Matthew Zink’s body harnesses are both elegant and sexy at the same time. Carefully crafted in New York City, it’s easy to see how they command such a luxury price point.
All their waist belt harnesses uniquely feature attached straps and come with gold, silver, or black hardware. Charlie’s Stallion Belt Harness is constructed with a back buckle and antique silver hardware.
Light-up and glow harnesses are all the rave, especially at evening pride parades and afterparties. Some of them use reflective strips, while others are true battery-powered apparatuses. Nothing attracts more attention than something shiny!
With straps only around the shoulders, Breedwell’s glow harness is a relatively subtle option, especially in comparison to their large collection of neon and reflective circuit harnesses.
For a similar look at a fraction of the price, clip a pair of light-up suspenders to your favorite party shorts. You can add a pair of glow bracelets to your outfit.
Other reflective harness styles I love are Rough Trade Gear’s eye-popping Bulldog Latigo Neon Harness as well as Nasty Pig’s Hi Vis Bulldog Harness, which incorporates side-release buckles instead of traditional belt hardware.
If you prefer minimal harness styles without any bands or straps across the chest, check out Garçon’s Espanola Shoulder Harness. The extra thick bands really pop, making them easy to see.
Harnesses by Skull & Bones are also minimal but in a completely different way. They feature chic brass hardware with specialty thin-strap printed leather styles. Their brown leather harnesses are one of my all-time favorites—I think they’re so chic.
Sex Party Harnesses
Harnesses worn at sex parties need to be extra kinky. Mister B’s Leather Slave Harness is an ultra-tough and modern apparatus that covers the whole torso and connects all the way down below to a removable cock ring.
For those who love playing rough, a leather neck harness with an attached strap is easily one of the most hardcore types of harnesses. Depending on how you want to use it, the strap can be worn on the front or the back of your neck.
A choker harness is a less-extreme alternative since the band around the neck connects to the chest straps instead of a dedicated pull strap.
How A Harness Should Fit
Harnesses should generally have a snug fit around the upper torso without being too tight. Straps that are too tight will restrict movement and irritate your skin. A size that’s too large will look awkward and slide around on your body.
Leather harnesses will normally feel rigid at first. They require a little “breaking in.” Besides normal wear, a little leather conditioner can be useful to help soften the leather.
For those worried about potential discomfort, starting with a neoprene or other elastic-type harness may be best.
If you’re buying your first harness, choosing a highly adjustable style is best. Pay attention to sizing guides when purchasing your harness. You’ll need to know your chest measurements to do so.
If you aren’t sure, grab a body measuring tape. Or, if you have some string and a tape measure handy, you can get an estimate this way.
Remember to measure around the widest part of your chest. This is typically where the tape rests just below the armpits. Don’t let the tape droop or sit at an angle while measuring.
Is Your Harness the Wrong Size?
If you have a harness that’s too big or too small, there may still be hope for making it fit correctly.
Creating a new notch in the harness for the buckle allows you to adjust the fit of the harness even further than what’s existing, so long as there’s enough material to do so.
The cheapest and quickest way is a good old hammer and nail. Give that nail a good ol’ whack, but keep in mind not to damage the surface beneath it.
If the nail you’re using isn’t sharp enough, you can start the process of creating the new notch by twisting the end of a knife in the new hole’s position.
To do this more properly, grab a leather hole puncher online. Get one that comes with multiple hole punch sizes to correctly match the other holes on the strap of your harness.
Trim any excess strap with a cheap pair of leather scissors, which will be sharp enough to also cut through fabric or plastic elements of the harness.
Gay Harness Accessories to Complete Your Look
Depending on where you’ll be sporting your latest harness purchase, a few well-chosen accessories can take your outfit to the next level.
Wrist cuffs and leather bicep bands are common accessories worn for bondage play or to attach to sex slings. They can also be worn just to make an outfit feel more rugged.
Chain link necklaces are one of the kinkiest neckwear accessories you could possibly wear with your harness. Choker necklaces are also great if you prefer to add more leather straps to your look.
Pairing your harness with the right jockstrap is essential at any underwear party or fetish-themed event. Most importantly, keep the balance of your outfit in mind.
Thicker and bulkier leather harnesses, for example, will often look better with a thick-banded jockstrap or a garment like these mesh faux leather shorts.
Harnesses with brighter playful styles or thinner straps tend to pair better with regular jockstraps or colorful booty shorts.
Fans of anonymous play and puppy play love pairing gay harness looks with a matching dog head mask. These come in all sorts of colors and often include matching shoulder straps.
A few great products are Mister B’s rubber dog hood, or anything from Mr-S-Leather’s Puppy Park collection, which includes hoods, muzzles, collars, and more.
Light-up wrist bands are the easiest and least expensive way to easily complement any colorful or glow-themed harness. I’m not talking about those snappable glow sticks from childhood—these are modern and much sexier!
To complete any traditional gay leather or fetish outfit, you’ll definitely need a pair of black military boots or a sexy tactical work boot.
You can also add your favorite style of leather fetish hat, like a cruising hat, a studded biker cap hat, a leather military cap, or a traditional and iconic garrison cap.
Taking Care of Your Harness
If you’ve invested in a quality harness, you’re surely going to want to make it last.
Leather harnesses need to be carefully cleaned and cared for. Never use any harsh cleaners on a leather harness since they can cause over-drying and subsequent cracking.
A simple leather care kit is all you’ll need. These consist of a gentle cleaner followed by a leather conditioner that will help to soften the material.
Alternatively, you can use saddle soap for a more thorough harness cleaning, followed by a little leather conditioner.
Elastic harnesses don’t require as much care and are often machine washable. Just be careful not to put them in the dryer! High heat will degrade the material’s elasticity and likely shrink the garment.
For even more harness style variations and unconventional designs, check out wolfyy’s gay harness idea list on Amazon.
Next, explore places to wear your new harness—like a pride parade, a rowdy sex party in New York City, or even an après ski event at a gay ski week.