While long distance love may make for lonely nights and the need to keep a few extra batteries on hand in the nightstand, living and loving from a distance is a common arrangement in the modern, globalized world. As more people connect through online dating, new relationships are often separated by hundreds of miles from the onset. And though the distance may prove challenging at times, smart couples are taking advantage of all that long-distance love has to offer.

On the plus side, absence not only has the potential to make the heart grow stronger, but it can also make the libido soar. While intimacy may be cultivated through comfort and closeness, raw sexual desire is often fueled by unpredictability, risk and the unknown. So sex in long distance relationships can be very hot — as long as you don’t let a little space get in the way.

Phone sex, Skype sex (hooray for webcams) and sexting are not only the perfect foreplay to let the tension build until your next in-person tryst, but these forms of safer sex can be more than satisfying on their own. Once you get pass the awkwardness of learning the lingo of a little dirty talk, phone sex provides the perfect opportunity to let down your guard, forget about any body image issues and allow your imagination run wild. If you’re uncomfortable with full-on phone sex at first, you can start with some sexy phone flirting and work your way up to mutual masturbation and over-the-airwaves orgasms.

Sexting also provides a titillating prelude to later in-person or on-camera hook ups. To protect yourself when sexting or emailing sexy pics, never include your face in any photographs and bear in mind that there is always a risk of unintended exposure when you send anything electronically. Close-ups of body parts can make for hot messages while ensuring enough distortion to protect your identity. And be sure to double-check the sender’s phone number before hitting send, because once you do, there is no going back. Aunt Enid definitely doesn’t want to see a close-up of those.

Do bear in mind that anything you send via email, text or other social media network will be eternally published in the online world, so there is always risk in electronic flirting. One of my clients who is an avid sexter taught me this trick: add a temporary tattoo to your body when you take close-up pictures. If anyone were to come across the photos, no one will suspect you since your tattoos don’t match!

Since meaningful relationships are about more than just sex, open communication, honesty, trust and emotional check-ins can also help your love to continue to grow from a distance. And while planning for a future in which you’ll likely live in closer proximity is exciting and relevant, try to spend some of your time enjoying the present and embracing the unique exhilaration of longing for your love.

Until next time, have fun, experiment and always practice safer sex.

Dr. Jess (Jessica O’Reilly) is a sought-after sexologist with a PhD in human sexuality. She maintains a private practice in Toronto and travels the world to teach workshops that promote healthy and deliciously pleasurable sex. From hosting a reality show on PlayboyTV to coordinating retreats in the sunny Caribbean, she relishes in every moment!

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