Having better sex in the age of social distancing

Struggling to nail down intimacy in the age of social distancing? Get distanced-sex right with these techniques.

Image by @rjohnphotos via Twenty20

by: E.B. Johnson

Relationships have become more difficult to manage in the age of social distancing, and that especially applies to our sex lives. It’s hard to maintain levels of healthy physical intimacy when you’re dealing with lockdowns and social distancing requirements. Thanks to technology, however, there have never been more ways to connect intimately with the people that we love — we just have to get a little more open and creative.

We can cultivate blossoming and burgeoning sex lives, even in the age of social distancing. By expanding our horizons, learning to value foreplay and recognizing the value of safe digital interactions, we can create truly enjoyable and deep intimate bonds with our partners…no matter the space that separates us. Stop letting the social distancing regulations of your country or city hold you and your partner back from getting what you need in the bedroom. Build better intimacy digitally and do it with compassion and knowledge.

Distance makes the urge grow stronger.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and it’s true. The further we are pulled away from the people that we love, the more we can find ourselves longing for them — and that goes double for our intimate cravings. Social distancing has a way of making us desire our partners more, and that can be a difficult thing to manage. If we want to maintain happy and healthy sex lives in this “new normal” then we have to get creative and expand our horizons.

Being separated from your partner or spouse is difficult and it takes a major toll on the intimate life you share with one another. Physical affection is an important part of any romantic relationship, and it reaffirms the way we feel about one another and our security together.

Through our sex lives we express emotions that we may not be able to express face-to-face. There’s an affection there, but also an intimacy and a vulnerability that is hard to replicate in any other part of our relationship. It can be a crucial part of the way we bond and connect, and that doesn’t change just because we’re separated due to lockdowns and quarantine restrictions. If you’ve found yourself distanced from the person you want the most, it’s up to you (as a couple) to come up with creative ways to keep that spark alive.

Why sex is such an important part of our relationships.

Sex is a critical part of more romantic partnerships, and that doesn’t stop just because of the ravages of a virus. When we’re intimate, we build trust, respect and vulnerability in a way that is deeply bonding and deeply validating. Don’t underestimate the important of sex, no matter how far away your partner might be.

Building trust

While sex is a highly entertaining activity, it also serves as a way for us to build trust and security as a couple. When you’re intimate with someone you’re vulnerable, and you expose yourself in ways that are both scary and deeply binding. To share physical intimacy is to build trust and one another, and an understanding that you accept each other for who and what you are. The closer you are physically and emotionally, the more you come to trust one another.

Uncovering vulnerability

To have sex is to be at the peak of vulnerability with someone, whether you recognize it or not. Intimacy puts us right into the heart of an act that requires us to expose our flesh and physical insecurities. On top of that, the act itself is one that leaves us highly exposed and vulnerable to physical threats. When you have sex with someone, you’re letting down that animalistic guard and exposing yourself for who and what you are. It’s uncovering vulnerability on the highest level.

Creating fun memories

Sex is absolutely a recreational act when it comes to short- and long-term relationships alike. We can use physical connection to entertain ourselves, distract ourselves, or even recover from a major conflict. Getting intimate with one another allows us to create fun and mischievous memories which are unique to us as a couple, and exciting for future endeavors in the bedroom.

Showing affection

Whether you’re practicing distanced intimacy, or you’re right in the same room, sex and sexual bonding are a great way to show affection. Physical affection is important to a relationship, and it allows us to reaffirm our emotional connection and the promises we make to one another. Expressing physical desire for someone can add a, “You’re special to me,” to any relationship. And make the other person feel especially valued beyond your other relationships.

The benefits of long-distance intimacy.

Like it or not — there is an incredible array of benefits to long distance intimacy. Whether you want to increase your communication or just build more gratitude and trust, learning to love on one another from a distance can be a powerful catalyst for growth and change.

Room for personal growth

Sex can be a major distraction in any relationship, and it can also make it harder for us to stay focused on our own personal path. When you’re dealing with a long-distance relationship, however, you have more time and flexibility to consider your own sexual needs and desires, as well as the ability to explore new horizons. There’s room for more personal growth when we’re socially distanced, but there’s still room for intimacy too.

Greater gratitude

Though you may not realize it, distance has a funny way of making you a more grateful partner in the bedroom. Once social distancing regulations are relaxed, you’ll be more present and in-the-moment when the real act finally reappears. Both you and your partner will be better able to connect with your bodies and the bodies of one another. Which allows you both to enjoy intimacy in new and unexpected ways.

Knowing what you want

Because you have so much more time to explore the realities of your sexual desires as a couple, you’ll be better able to identify what it is you really want. Getting down digitally requires us to explore new themes of connection, and in that we discover new things that arouse and excite us. You figure out what you like and what you don’t like; what you want and don’t want. Distance can be a powerful measuring stick against where you’re at intimately now, and where you’d like to be.

Increased communication skills

Social distancing requires us to lean into communication and open up to our partners in new ways. The entirety of your sexual connection relies on speaking to one another and being open and candid. When you’re socially distanced, you actually become better communicators as a couple — and that trickles down from the bedroom into all other aspects of your relationship.

Deeper emotional bond

At its core, sexual intimacy within a romantic relationship is all about increasing our emotional bonds and their ability to keep us together across adversity. When distanced, you have to put in more effort with one another, which often forges a deeper respect as well as a stronger emotional bond. This emotional bond allows us to see one another with greater respect and reverence…invaluable elements of any thriving and stable relationship.

How to have better sex in the age of social distancing.

Don’t let the pitfalls of social distancing keep you and your partner from bonding on an intimate level. Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to connect with the person that you love across time and space, and there are an array of options to fit with any comfort level. Get creative, expand your horizons and play safe. You and your partner can enjoy sex (even in the age of social distancing) by sticking to these basic tenets.

1. Expand your horizons

Perhaps the most crucial thing you can do when it comes to having better sex in the age of social distancing is to expand your horizons and educate yourself. Technology has transformed the bounds of sex as we know it, and that includes our options for connecting with our partner across time and space. If you’re looking for a new way to intimately connect, increase your understanding and figure out just what your options really are.

Expand your definitions of what sexual intimacy can look like with your partner. Consider the full scope of long distance intimacy and delve into new waters with your partner and start exploring other ways to turn one another one and stay intimately connected.

You can still enjoy the physical aspects of a relationship without being physically present, but it still requires the same amount (if not more) presence, consideration and respect. Drop whatever notions you think you have of sex, sexting or other long-distance intimacies and start focusing on the things you can do to bring you and your partner closer together in the age of social distancing. Let go of the notion that sexy pics and risque texts are the only way to get down in lockdown. There’s a world of long-distance sex out there, but you have to explore your needs to find it.

2. Learn to value foreplay

Because distanced intimacy can be such a foreign experience, it’s important to make sure that you and your partner are both as comfortable as possible before leaping into the deep end of the pool. Rushing things is sure to make it an awkward experience, so learning how to value foreplay is especially important when it comes to socially distanced sex. Read the room and ease into things. Creativity is key in making things work.

Really spend time getting your partner’s engine going (as well as your own) and do it through fun and somewhat demure “banter” that leaves a lot to the imagination. Tread slowly and make a game out of it. How hot and bothered can you both get before you have to make a move? This is digital foreplay, and it does wonders for your intimate attraction.

Don’t drop right into your partner’s DMs with a dick-pic and a brutal, “you up?” Be creative and find that natural progression from flirting into foreplay again. Ease into the waters and make sure your partner is feeling comfortable. When you rush, you only push your partner away or make them uncomfortable with the idea of being intimate altogether. Recognize the worth of foreplay in a long-distance situation and make the most of it to boost the quality of your intimate connection.

3. Know where the wind’s blowing

Some people have a bad habit of looking at long-distance intimacy as somehow “junior league” or less-important than a physical encounter. This thinking is flawed, however, as this type of intimacy is just as deep and lasting as anything else we might engage in. It’s still important to listen to your partner’s needs, and it’s just as important to understand what level of consent they’re at. You have to know where the wind is blowing and know when to stop or change tactics for your partner altogether.

Understand your partner’s desires and don’t pressure them into anything they aren’t sure about or comfortable with. For instance, if they’ve expressed a certain comfort level with sexting, but not with exchanging photos or videos — accept that. Make the best compromise out of a mutual comfort zone and move on.

Along those same lines, understand that consent doesn’t end at the physical act of sex alone. Just as it’s important to have verbal consent at every level of the sex act, it’s important to have that same consent when it comes to digital intimacy. Don’t send nudes to someone that doesn’t want them and don’t sexually pester someone who is uncomfortable with sexting or being intimate at that level. Know where the wind is blowing and pivot when needed.

4. Make it a mutual exchange

It’s even more important — when it comes to long-distance intimacy — to ensure that both you and your partner are focusing on mutual needs. Getting down across a digital distance can feel awkward and new. When we lean into one another, however, and ensure that both parties are feeling fun and wanted — we can unlock the power of virtual love-making, no matter what our style might be.

Focus on making your partner feel just as frisky as you are. When it comes to virtual or long-distance lovemaking, it’s not always about what we literally say, or literally do. It’s more about the feelings we inspire and the images we are able to help our partner create.

Sometimes, less is more and can leave our partner buzzing with images of their own. Rather than looking after your own pleasure, see how wired you can make your partner and focus on amping up their pleasure too. Make it a mutual exchange and you’ll make it a more mutually enjoyable experience. Even if one of you is normally the main receiver or instigator in the real world, mix it up by being mutually focused digitally.

5. Protect your safety

When it comes down to this new socially distant intimacy, the most important thing you can remember to do is to protect your safety. There are predators out there everywhere, and technology makes it easier than ever for even the people we know and trust to take advantage or exploit us. No matter how much you love someone, it’s imperative that you protect your safety and always keep your long-term security in mind.

Don’t send anything that could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in an OJ-esque court of law. Each time you send an image or even a message, ask yourself — “If I end up the butt of a daytime TV court drama, is there any proving this might not be me (should things go south)?” Don’t share your face or any identifying marks in pictures; don’t share anything that says your name.

You might think this is over the top, but you’ll be grateful for the care twenty years down the road when your points of view (and life partners) change. Likewise, only engage in this sort of behavior with someone you know you can trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. More often than not, it helps if you already share some serious experiences, which proves that you can be vulnerable with one another and protect your insecurities and privacy.

Putting it all together…

We live now in an age of social distancing, and that can make it difficult to manage an intimate relationship. Now, more than ever, we have to realize the power of a long-distance relationship and the benefits it can bring to our lives. Just because you’re separated by a thousand miles doesn’t mean you can’t still bond intimately with one another. Jump into the deep end and find your comfort zone with a new outlook on long-distance sexuality.

Expand your horizons and spend some time education yourself on the current options available for long-distance couples. Technology has made it easier than ever to stay sexually connected, and some are more discreet and subtle than others. Stop limiting yourself and explore the new limits of what’s possible. Communicate with one another and learn how to value foreplay. Listen to your partner and respect what they want and don’t want. Consent is no less important in a digital encounter, so make sure you have it, and don’t push anyone in a direction they aren’t ready or willing to go in. Find mutually enjoyable ground and experiment with it. Make it a mutual exchange and ensure that your partner feels just as wanted and comfortable as you do. Getting dirty in the digital realm might seem strange, but it can bring a number ofbenefits. Embrace them and embrace a journey into a new level of intimacy safely and with your wellbeing and future to mind.

I help you unlearn your pain. Author & NLPMP. My book “Relationship Renovator” is available now.

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