How To Stay Sexually Connected In A Long-Distance Relationship

Sometimes the lack of sex in a long-distance relationship can drive even the sanest person mad. LDRs may be great for making your heart grow fonder, and all that other stuff you find written inside fortune cookies, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have desires, your partner has desires, and you, well, just want to have sex. And lots of it. But you can’t.

Long-distance relationships are actually fairly common. According to LDR stats, 14 million people in the United States are currently in a long distance relationship. (And all this time you felt like you were the only ones, huh?) Of those doing the LDR thing, almost a third of them are in college and 3.75 million of them are married, and that number is on the rise. A 2013 study in the Journal of Communication even found that couples in LDRs may have stronger bonds than geographically close couples.

As someone who has been in a couple long-distance relationships and even a marriage that was long-distance during parts of the year, I know it’s not easy — especially when it comes to the sex end of things. It’s amazing how much more you want sex when you know you can’t have it and have to wait another month or two. Ah! But just because you have that time and space between you doesn’t mean you can't have a somewhat sexually fulfilling relationship. Sure, it may not be as good as the real thing, but with a bit of creativity, staying sexually connected while in a LDR is totally possible. Here are 11 ways to swing it. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast "I Want It That Way":

1. Master The Art Of Sexting

By all accounts, the text was invented so we could use it to eventually sext — or at least that how it seems like things were supposed to go. So use this whole sexting thing to your advantage and let your partner know the thoughts you have in your head. Trust me; they want to know and they want to share, too. Not totally comfortable with the idea? Consider sending a more tame sext.

2. Learn How To Have Phone Sex

Sexting is definitely hot, but hearing your partner and them hearing you talk dirty is even hotter. Talking on the phone, as in using your voice to communicate as opposed to text slang and emojis, is great for any relationship, especially an LDR where communication is paramount. And, you don't have to be a dirty talking pro for good phone sex — there are plenty of ways for even the most sarcastic people to enjoy phone sex.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Tease With Photos

Only do what you're comfortable with, of course. You may find that taking “dirty” photos is really hot and empowering. Besides, if you have sexy underwear in your drawer just going to waste — it's an excuse to use it!

4. Remember That The Element Of Surprise Is Always Hot

Once upon a time people wrote letters to each other — did you know that? Yes! Like on paper! With pens! So why not do that? Do you know how floored your partner would be to get actual tangible mail that’s just some sexy words from you, and not another bill? Their head might spin off. Or, if you’ve yet to send that aforementioned sexy photo, why not send that as your surprise instead? Like, right now? You can stop your partner in their tracks and make their jaw drop even when you’re not around.

5. Invest In A Couples Toy

This is where we thank technology and sex toys for coming such a long way… with long-distance sex toys. When I did the long-distance thing, my partner and I relied heavily on the We-Vibe Plus 4, which allowed him to use an app on his phone to control my vibrator. While, from experience, I can attest to the fact that this is an amazing device to have in order to stay sexually connected, there are other sex toys out there that fit the bill, too.

6. Exchange Sexy Emails

You may not be quite the writer Anaïs Nin or D.H. Lawrence was when it comes to writing erotica, but so what? You don’t have to write 1000-word essays every day about the “fire in your loins” to feel sexually connected to your partner; even a few sentences of erotic imagery will do. And, if you can’t find the words on your own, pick up Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and borrow a few lines.

7. Try Video Chats

Speaking of Henry Miller… can you imagine the fun he and Anaïs would have had if they had video chats back in their day? Sadly, they weren’t so fortunate to be born in an era of such technological wonder, but you were, so take advantage of it. Using video chats to express your sexual desire for each other can feel a little awkward at first (especially when the video freezes or the connection cuts out), but if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s actually a lot of fun.

8. Come Up With Playful Rules

My partner and I had rules about when we were allowed to masturbate when we were apart — we could only do it when we were in contact with each other via the phone. Then, when it got close to when we were going to see each other, we stopped all masturbation for a couple weeks before so the sexual tension could build up. Do you know what sex is like when you haven’t masturbated for weeks, but have talked dirty to your partner every day during that time? One word: Amazing. So consider coming up with rules that you know will keep you both on your toes, sexually speaking.

9. Role Play

“Hello? Is this Mike’s Plumbing?” “Yes, it is.” “Good. Because I really need my pipes fixed. Do you think you can help?”

Cheesy? Maybe. Fun? Totally. Role playing is a good idea, whether you're together or apart. If plumbing isn't your thing, you can always pretend you're calling the pizza delivery girl or the UPS guy. Get creative.

10. Have Date Nights

You may not be able to get together for dinner, a movie, and sex in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it via the phone or video chat. It’s nice to know that you have a specific time or times every week where, no matter what, you’ll be in touch. It gives you something specific to look forward to, and every relationship can benefit from that.

11. Learn How To Really (Like Really) Use Your Words

Whether it’s sexting, emails, written letters, Skype sessions, or phone sex, learn how to use your words and use them well. Sure, it can feel silly at first but find words or ways to communicate that make sense for you. Being able to share how turned on you are and what you want to do to/with your partner —even in a tame way — can make all the difference.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (6)