How do you maintain a healthy sex life when you and your partner live hundreds or thousands of miles apart? Perhaps one or both of you travel a lot for work or maybe you’ve got a spouse stationed overseas for a military assignment. While it’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, staying sexually satisfied in a monogamous relationship presents unique challenges when the physical touch of your lover is beyond your fingertips.
Let’s kick off our column with The Love Guru Blaire who founded Six Figure Singles, a site that helps traveling executives, entrepreneurs and celebrities find healthy relationships. Her short, concise advice will be a common thread throughout this article. Blaire’s simple tip to keep the LDR burning? “Web chat — sexy web cam and mutual masturbation phone sex.”
Not comfortable getting frisky online or over the phone? ASTROGLIDE’s Resident Sexologist, Dr. Jess PhD has some creative advice for bashful communicators.
“Get racy in the dark. Filming your own sex tape in the throes of solo passion might be too intimidating, so consider sending a very short clip of your self-pleasure session filmed in the dark. Your lover will benefit from the sounds -- and the lack of a clear picture helps to build mystery and anticipation.”
Dr. Jess is no stranger to maintaining the LDR (to get an idea of her demanding travel schedule, simply take a look at the events page on her website). So aside from gifting your distant lover with steamy masturbation clips, what real-time methods does she recommend for interactive thrills?
“Meet in an adult chat room online and get naughty! Using a nickname might help you to shed your inhibitions.”
Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka Dr. Romance) is a psychotherapist who [literally] wrote the book on staying close during a long distance relationship. She’s the author of The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You're Far Apart.
Dr. Romance makes a good point in that you can plant the seeds for your time apart before your partner leaves, then follow through with her relationship maintenance tips once you’re apart:
Before you leave on a trip, plant some little post-it notes -- inside the cupboard doors, in the mailbox, under your spouse's pillow, etc. If you're a stay-at-home spouse, tuck a few surprises into your mate's suitcase, briefcase or between the pages of a book he or she is taking — it's a quick and easy way to spice up your relationship.
As often as possible, schedule a phone call every day—at a quiet time—for some intimate conversation. If you have children, either speak to them first or in a separate call. If you do need to make a call to handle problems, business or decisions (or if you don't have access to email) then find a way to designate a special call for intimate conversation or, at the very least, develop a signal to say that the business part of the call is over and your special time is beginning.
Mail is one of the advantages living apart has over living together. Sending little gifts, notes, cards, postcards or pictures to your partner (whether you're the one at home or the one away) takes only a moment and racks up a huge score on the intimacy chart.
When you're at a drugstore, grocery store or card shop, pick up a few affectionate or amusing cards. Maybe send a little gift or two (it doesn't need to be expensive, a keychain or candle is fine) and then send them at random moments. Send a postcard with a scene of where you are, or a cartoon cut from the paper or a magazine. If you have cards, stamps and envelopes on hand, it's very simple to drop one in the mail.
Think in terms of making your partner smile as often as you can while you're apart. If you have a nice thought about a time you spent together, write it down so you don't forget to talk about it.
Dawn Serra is a sex and relationship coach who’s managed to maintain a thriving sex life, despite being in a long-distance relationship for over a year.
She states positively that “maintaining a healthy sex life across any distance is so easy these days. All it takes is a little flexibility, some creativity and prioritizing the time.”
If that distance is shorter — you live together or near one another, but one partner travels — she recommends scheduling date nights a few times per week and work around time differences in creative ways.
Here are some tips that have helped Dawn’s LDR maintain its steamy status:
In addition, text each other sexy, naughty thoughts throughout the day (if you're international, spend the $5 or $10 per month for an international texting plan -- it's worth it!).
Record naughty voice messages of yourself masturbating or describing an erotic scene, and email it to your lover so they can listen to it again and again.
When you schedule phone sex (or video chat sex), turn off all other distractions, get comfortable and let loose. The first few times may feel awkward but soon it will be a sexy ritual you both look forward to. Tease each other -- draw it out to build anticipation.
Tell each other when you masturbate and what you were thinking about. Send sexy pictures using SnapChat or write sexy little notes and take pictures of those to email or put on their Facebook wall.
If you're a hetero straight couple, the woman can get a dildo or vibrator that's similar in size to her partner and he can get a Fleshlight or something similar. Dictate to each other exactly when the penetration happens, sync up, and make it feel really real.
Lose yourself in the moment. There's nothing sexier than hearing your lover lost in pleasure. The new WeVibe 4 can be controlled using an app on your iPhone, so one partner can wear it and the other can control when it turns on and off for some long distance fun!
Ms. Serra sums up the LDR challenge. “The only thing limiting your sex life when you're in different locations is your imagination. You MUST schedule it and make it a priority. After that, the sky’s the limit.”
Karen Park is an erotica author who lives in Korea yet her boyfriend is in the U.S. -- so she has first-hand experience with the LDR challenge.
Karen explains “While we see each other in person every two months or so, most of our communication is via text and Skype. I am constantly creating sexy scenarios and I often use my boyfriend for inspiration. During the day, I'll text him a teaser of a scene I'm working on -- it's like foreplay that goes on until the next time we're together.”
No problem, says Park, “I also have a nice collection of vintage pulp erotica and sometimes on Skype I'll read him a particularly sexy scene. That will lead to a conversation about things we'd like to do together in bed and it definitely makes us feel closer, even though we can't touch physically.”
The final expert on our panel is Dallisa Hocking, founder of Love FrogKisser, a new web service dedicated to helping people develop meaningful relationships online. Her advice includes building intimacy between visits to create a more fulfilling sex life.
Ms. Hocking advises, “Treat the time you have between visits as an opportunity to create a deeper connection with one another. It takes time and daily commitment from both people to keep the fire burning.”
How does she propose you do this? Here are her tips for you to try:
Examples could include: "I want to do ___ and ___ when I see you." Let your imagination guide you.
Be creative. An example could include sending a wine cork from a bottle of wine you shared along with a note about how you're looking forward to toasting with them again soon.
Move beyond text messages and use FaceTime or Skype to connect. Examples include: having a drink at home "together" after work or cooking dinner at the same time and reflecting on what happened during the day. This takes time and effort, but the connection creates intimacy.
Hocking admits “Long distance relationships are a challenge, but they can succeed and flourish. But, it takes attention and creativity to keep the spark alive.”
We’ve broken it down into three essential takeaway tips for you:
Sexting, Skype, steamy calls and even sexy snail mail are all tools that can keep your long distance relationship hot. If you’re nervous about your kinky messages being seen by the wrong person, there’s an app for that! Plume is a free iPhone app developed by CEO Amy Galland because she wanted to “create something private, flirty, sensual and secure for people to use to keep their long-distance relationships spicy.”
While spontaneity is fun under normal relationship circumstances, when your lover is away, schedule specific times to intimately connect (the suspense of waiting for that naughty Skype is a form of foreplay in itself!)
Use the time between distant rendezvous to dream up erotic new ways to treat your faraway friend to a fresh encounter. Without the benefit of being able to touch them physically, the scenarios you plant into their imagination will have to keep them titillated while they pleasure themselves to your image and ideas.
Since you’ll be handling a lot of the physical touching yourself, be sure to keep a fresh supply of your favorite personal lubricant next to your bed— and have a free sample (and a coupon for $1.00 off of a bottle of ASTROGLIDE) shipped to your partner— that way you’ll both share the sensation of a well-lubed, long distance love making session when it’s time to reach out and touch someone!
Do you have any advice that’s helped you keep the fires burning while your lover’s away? Please share your tips with us on Twitter!
Images are for illustrative purposes only.