You know that feeling when you finally find the love of your life but have to navigate your life together in a long-distance relationship because you live on different sides of the country and each have kids? And then just as you finally find a groove of seeing each other on a regular (but not often enough) basis, a pandemic hits. Because of course.
Now it’s been months since you’ve seen your love, you don’t know when you will again, and you feel like you are dying inside each time you see each other’s face through video chat but can’t get the hug you need—the hug that would lead to a kiss and then hours in the bedroom, because sex is actually fun and meaningful for the first time in your life. Add grief, anger, pent up desire, and social distancing, and you have the firepower that drives virtual sex during a pandemic.
In case you didn’t pick up on what I’m putting down here, I’m speaking from experience. I am one of many folks finding creative and necessary ways to enjoy sexual intimacy with my partner through screens. While I’d rather have the real thing, virtual sex is more fun than masturbating alone, and it still allows for a shared and special experience even when apart.
The benefit of having been in a long-distance relationship pre-COVID-19 is that my partner and I are already good at using words to talk to each other. Duh—how else would we talk to each other? But without body language, touch, and side-eye, a lot of messages can be lost if you’re not careful. Text, phone calls, and video chats have been a part of our daily routine for a long time, so we’re accustomed to using intuition as well as direct communication to express our wants and needs. Emojis go a long way too, and I like to slide dirty talk into our conversations.
We tell each other when we are horny and what we miss doing to each other and having done to us. My partner and I are also comfortable and enjoy being nude in front of each other, so naked conversations after the kids are in bed or quick calls when we’re fresh out of the shower keep us extra thirsty.
Our relationship is built on trust and vulnerability. It’s a safe place. This makes intimacy easy and hot when we’re together, but it’s also what makes getting off in front of each other even when we’re miles away hot and fun too.
If you’re using a video app to get down, it takes some time to get used to seeing yourself masturbate. During work Zoom meetings, we worry about what our necks look like, but during video sex we worry what our bodies and O-face look like. If you focus too much on yourself, you’re likely going to lose the sense of intimacy and romance. And if not romance, it can be easy to lose the sexy feelings if we take ourselves too seriously. My partner and I are not porn stars; we are sexually frustrated people who miss each other and want the benefits of making each other come.
While I am super turned on by watching my partner touch herself, I can’t fully enjoy myself or reach climax if she isn’t comfortable. Just like when we’re physically together, I want her to come as much as I want to come myself. I want her to feel desired. I want her to want me too. Yes, even in virtual—turn the camera so I can see you better, shit I almost dropped the phone—sex, there needs to be a space of unspoken admiration, gratitude, and consent. If those things are established, then the fun can happen.
Our sexy time together isn’t the equivalent of an unsolicited dick pic; it’s more of a situation where we peel clothes off of each other with our eyes and words. Sometimes the clothes come off fast, and other times we ease into it and build the tension. Giving each other “the look” is almost as exciting through the screen as in person.
We tease each other. Ask to see body parts. Tell each other how wonderful and hot the other is. And we suggest places where the other can touch themselves and how. Don’t let fear or ego get in the way of using vibrators or other sex toys. You are still the one getting your partner off with your voice and by telling them what you would be doing if you were there. A sex toy is not a replacement; it’s an extension of each other.
If you want to add an extra layer of closeness, a remote controlled sex toy called We-Vibe allows you to control the vibrator through the We-Connect app. The app allows you to stimulate your partner even when separated through distance. I wish I could say I have one of these because they look like a ton of fun. I don’t, yet — but this toy is definitely on my wish list.
Virtual sex isn’t necessarily easy, and it’s okay if you or your partner isn’t up for it. You could skip the video and try pleasuring yourself on the phone or asking to hear your partner pleasure themselves. You could write an erotic story and email it to your partner. You could talk about your fantasies or what you imagine during masturbation. You can text all of the sexual things you want to do to your partner when you see them again. Even telling your partner that you’re going to pleasure yourself while thinking about them will get the juices flowing.
It really sucks to be away from the ones we love, but it’s still important to connect. My partner and I support and take care of each other in multiple ways, and that includes multiple (virtual) orgasms.