When, in the middle of a particularly hot-and-heavy session, my sexting partner asked if I wanted to move our rendezvous to FaceTime, I froze like one of those fainting goats. It should be a criminal offense to ask for a spontaneous FaceTime call in normal times, let alone pandemic times. And in the middle of a sexting session? Forget about it. Sure, at this moment, I might have been feeling particularly confident, sexy, and ready for some visual stimulus, but I also could have been sexting while eating cheese and homemade bread by the fistful, covered in crumbs and wearing sweatpants that drastically needed a spin in the washer. (Bet you can correctly guess which of those two scenarios was closer to the truth.) But aside from the issue I took with the spontaneity and immediacy of my sexting partner’s request, there was a bigger issue I worried about: Won’t it be awkward? Clearly, I could use some virtual sex tips, and I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not alone.
If you’re having virtual sex for the first time, with a new partner, or for the first time with a new partner—as is the case for many who are meeting on dating apps during the pandemic—there’s a good chance you, too, might be jonesing for some virtual sex tips to maximize pleasure and minimize awkwardness. Like, for starters, where do you even position the phone? And more pressingly, how can you feel connected to someone via a screen, without physical touch?
To answer these questions and help me become the confident virtual sex master I know I can be, I asked Dominnique Karetsos, sexual wellness advisor for MysteryVibe, for her virtual sex tips.
4 virtual sex tips, for a safe fun time, minus the awkwardness
1. Communicate your boundaries
“If virtual sex is new to you, remember that you’re learning a new sexual skill,” Karestos says. “Even if you’re comfortable communicating your needs in person, you’re figuring out how to do so in a new scenario (and amid a global emergency, no less).”
Chances are, virtual sex may feel a little foreign to your partner as well, so remember that you’re figuring it out together. “Ask each other questions like: What words turn you on? What do you want to see on camera? Setting these boundaries and sharing desires beforehand can make it easier to communicate when you’re hot and heavy,” she adds. She also notes that it’s important to establish consent and communicate your boundaries before engaging in virtual sex, and to “be clear that recording or taking screenshots requires consent. Establishing that trust beforehand will leave you more free to enjoy the experience.”
2. Explore fantasies
After you set the ground rules, Karestos says one of her most effective virtual sex tips is to have each participant write down three fantasies, share them, and then have a sexy planning session for bringing those to life once it’s safe to meet up in person.
And if you’re not ready to share those desires, just expressing them to yourself can be helpful for actualizing what you want, which can minimize the awkwardness of virtual sex. “Journaling about your fantasies can help you get in touch with your deepest desires—become your own erotic love letter author,” she adds.
3. Set the mood
“Setting the mood and getting warmed up is just as important during video sex as it is for in-person sex,” Karetsos says. “Hopping into a video chat and immediately getting busy might feel a little awkward.” One way to make that shift is to share a sexy playlist with your partner before getting busy. Then, “take them on a tour of your sensual space—describe how your candles smell, how soft your sheets are, etc.—to set the scene,” she adds. You can also do an activity to set the mood, like watching a sexy movie together or having a virtual cook-off wearing your underwear.
4. Use props
If you’re someone who is like “but what do I do with my hands?” Karetsos says a sex toy is great during virtual sex because it provides both “the sensations you’re experiencing solo, and a prop.” (She recommends MysteryVibe’s Crescendo because it can bend in many different ways.) “Have your partner instruct you on how to use your pleasure product, or tell them step by step how you like to play with it.” Plus this way, she says, there’s always something to reference if you need something to say or do.
And to answer my earlier question of where to put your phone, Karestos says to make sure it’s propped up on something sturdy, like against a book or two on your nightstand or an open laptop. Otherwise, it’s more likely to get knocked over, showing your partner a super-sexy view of the piles of laundry you haven’t put away, or a black screen.
But even if that happens, just shrug it off and go with it. “Don’t forget that intimacy and sex at the best of times can be clumsy and funny,” Karetsos says. “Enjoy the laughs along the way—there is no better aphrodisiac.”