Long-distance relationships can be difficult. The space (and time) between you and your partner can make you feel lonely or anxious, and it can be a struggle to adjust to intimacy that’s shared only virtually, rather than IRL. This goes for emotional intimacy, as well as the physical stuff — if you’re in a monogamous relationship, being away from your partner means going without sex, potentially for a very long time (and even when it’s only a short while, it can feel like longer).
And while phone sex, sexting, and steamy video chats can help fill the gap, so to speak, there’s the possibility that these forms of virtual intimacy might seem a little unnatural, stilted or boring. Fortunately, there are a number of props — from classic dildos to remote-control vibes to sexy games — that can help spice things up, even from afar. Here are a few of our top picks, and some suggestions on how to incorporate them into your long-distance loving.
First thing’s first, though…
Before you try out any of the below toys and/or tricks, have a chat with your partner to see what types of new, virtual sex they might be interested in, and what sorts of stuff could be off the table. Phone and video sex can be uncomfortable and awkward, and making sure that you and your partner are on the same page will not only ensure that you’re both relaxed and at ease — which will make for a more fulfilling sexy virtual encounter — but you may uncover some desires or things you didn’t know that you’d both like to try.
Best for parallel play
If you and your partner are into phone or video sex sessions during which you watch or listen to each other masturbate — or take turns doing so — you might want to consider stocking up on a few toys that will not only increase your individual pleasure, but also provide an added kick of visual stimulation for your partner. Sure, toys like wand vibrators and clitoral suction vibrators are super-efficient and pleasurable, but they don’t offer the same visuals as, say, insertable dildos or butt plugs, or wearable gear like nipple clamps or a pair of sexy underthings. Help get your partner in the mood by choosing a toy or prop that looks to them as good as it feels to you. In some cases, this might mean something that mimics a type of sexual activity that you know you enjoy when you’re together: watching your partner use a prostate massager or stroker, for instance, might help turn you on if it reminds you of how much you enjoy stimulating their prostate or jerking them off when you’re together (and vice versa).
Best for hands-off fun
The future of sex toys is now! Remote-controlled vibrators, which use a Bluetooth connection and a smartphone app, are a great way to let your partner stimulate you even when they’re half a world away. To use these toys, both of you will need to download the vibe’s corresponding app, and then it’s essentially off to the races. Many vibrators have pre-set rhythms, but you can also customize them to mimic a type of touch that reminds you most of your partner. Remote-controlled vibrators — which include clitoral stimulators, insertable g-spot vibes and prostate massagers — are a great way to put on a little show for your partner: while they use an app to control the vibe from afar, let them watch you enjoy they pleasure they’re providing.
Other toys, like discreet panty vibes, can be worn inside a pair of underwear and activated remotely at any time. If you’re comfortable doing so, let your partner know that you’re wearing your panty vibe, and that they can turn it on at any time, which can add an element of sexy novelty and anticipation to your (and their) day. An important note, though: tempting though it may be, it’s probably best if you don’t do this in a public place — public masturbation, like public sex, is considered an indecent act.
Best for mixing it up
If you and your partner have found that your online sex life is getting a little repetitive — and if you’re both struggling with imaginative ways to shake things up a little — there is help! Erotic games, including cards and dice that “tell” you and your partner what to do next, might be the perfect way to introduce some novelty to your routine. Of course, you’ll have to get a little bit creative, as many of these cards and dice might suggest acts that can only be done IRL. So, for instance, if a roll of the dice tells you to kiss your partner’s neck or spank their bum, you can either try it out on yourself (which might work with the second example here) or roll again (which would probably be best for the first).
And, if you do end up landing on a roll or card that sounds oh-so-titillating but impossible to pull off over the phone or via video, make a mental note of it or write it down as something to revisit once you and your partner are reunited.
Best for keeping it real
There is nothing like the real thing, of course, but the next best thing just might be making a model of your and your partner’s, ahem, anatomy. You can do this with a Clone-A-Willy or Clone-A-Pussy home moulding kit, which allows you to create a replica of your penis or outer labia and vulva. The replica penis will be true-to-size and comes with an insertable bullet vibe, while the Clone-A-Pussy kit comes with a sleeve stroker that the replica vulva can be inserted into.