A healthy sex life, 3,758.94 miles apart.
My girlfriend and I are both in bed naked. “Just imagine my dick deep inside of you, baby,” I whisper. “Touch yourself for me, bitte.” She’s in Cologne, Germany, and I’m in Brooklyn. Because of a lousy Wi-Fi connection, her body resembles the grainy footage from a 1970s Bigfoot tape instead of the blonde beauty I fell in love with.
"I need you so badly… Shit, you're delayed. Did you say ‘cat hose?’ I’m confused."
"Oh, you’re blurry now.”
Still, I can sort of see her areola, which is enough to get me off.
To say long-distance romance sucks is an understatement. Between the dropped calls, mismanaged schedules, and unfortunate time zones, just ask any of the other 14 million couples currently separated from their partners — some by a mere two hour drive, others by a 20-hour flight — how much they love long distance. There's a reason the vast majority of LDRs fail.
My girlfriend, Lisa, and I live 3,758.94 miles apart, give or take a few inches. That's an eight hour flight, ten days by boat, and probably a year-long swim/hike/100 yard sprint to her front door. We only met a year-and-a-half ago at a warehouse party in Brooklyn. I had overheard her speaking German to her friend, and my six-beer-mindset decided I needed to introduce myself. I spent the next 20 minutes stumbling through my best German, mentioning I’d just returned from travels in Hamburg and Berlin. She seemed interested.
Her friends eventually abandoned her, so we took a walk outside. I asked her random questions about her favorite color, if she’d discovered Kraft Mac, and whether or not she ate sausage once per day or twice per day. At the night’s end, we returned to the party, danced, kissed, possibly groped, and then she gave me her number. From there, we spent the rest of the year together.
By September, she had to return to Germany because her U.S. visa expired, and she had work at a hospital back home. Luckily for me, work sent me abroad again. I managed to see her two weekends in October. We tip-toed around breaking up, but, with a fuck-it attitude, we decided to give distance a whirl.
At a basic level, our relationship is like most: miscommunications, insecurities, why getting drinks with this girl Kirsten is Platonic, and I don’t find her sexually attractive, and, even if I did, she’s a lesbian. Beyond that, we’re disadvantaged, the biggest loss being physical intimacy.
I can’t kiss my girlfriend. I can’t hug my girlfriend. I can’t catcall to her, “Damn, your ass looks good in them jeans.” For a while, our relationship was sullied with sexual frustration. Two people with high sex drives shouldn’t commit to such sadism, but we did. Over the course of the last nine months, we’ve learned to placate our frustrations, leading to a healthy sex life without ever actually banging — or banging others.
Instead of sending the same-old nudes, we experiment with other ideas.
We Abuse Technology
In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to maintain a hyper-sexualized LDR. There’s mutual masturbation via Skype. You can text naughty pictures. There’s always old fashion phone sex, snail mail, or even the homemade pinup calendar — hint, hint. Hell, you can even control your girl’s vibrator from your iPhone. And there’s also funderwear, Durex designed for long-distance intercourse.
Of course, none of these apps replicate the feeling of a kiss or back rub or my penis in her vagina. But these apps allow us to experiment sexually in ways that a handjob will never understand. Lisa can sext me endless pictures of her breasts, but I’m desensitized by the 40th 9 pm tit pic. Through creativity and spontaneity, I can show Lisa how sexy I find her — not my erect penis — by emailing cheesy poems or sending her a catalogue of sexy attire for her to pick out for me rather than message, “Baby, you’re so sexy.”
We make the other person beg, worshipping their body. It may begin with a five-second video of her unbuttoning her blouse and telling me to get on Skype. The tease begins. I work to watch her undress, arousing her in hopes to see another inch of skin. She loves being dominant, and I love watching her pleasure herself. Kiss on the right clavicle. Suck on your nipples. Bite along your inner thighs. With each description, I’m rewarded. But one unfocused utterance and she’ll cover up.
We do this to discern our kinks, to lure our mate. I love watching her process of sexual prowess, turning her on enough to share her body with me, and she loves the almost animalistic descriptions of each touch, each lip placement on her body.
We Swap Languages
We’ve only ever had “English” sex — mostly because she doesn’t find my licentious iterations of German quantum mechanics panty-dropping. If you’ve never had foreign or bilingual sex, do yourself a favor and make it happen.
Initially, learning German wasn’t a sexual endeavor for me. I used the language as a means to further bond with my mädchen because, for us, language, although minute, has been a barrier. As I practiced the language, I’d occasionally jumble German into our dirty talk. She melted. It seemed as though nothing excited her more. The language also added another nuance to our foreplay. Linguistically, the sounds of the German language make our words seem urgent and domineering, a rough, almost BDSM, shift from our often-romantic sounding English words.
We Create Bucket Lists
We’re constantly compiling a sex bucket list, and we have to check off each item before we part. She missed Valentine’s Day in the U.S., so I owe her a sensual V-Day. In Germany, I couldn’t make it for Schnitzel and a Blowjob Day (oh, yeah, it’s real). On this list, we describe, in depth, the sex act and what we must do. Some items are easy, like bathtub sex. Other items pose problems like sex at high noon against a tree in a public park. And a few items are straight up ridiculous, like having sex while listening to Barry White’s Greatest Hits, in its entirety – on red satin sheets. Ultimately, the list allows us to fantasize about the future, and, for me, to ignore my lotion-covered hand of the present.
We Keep It Spontaneous
73 percent of marriages end because of a lack of commitment. It stagnates with the same conversations, same sex positions, same everything, and literally tears couples apart. Spontaneity alleviates the staleness. Biologically speaking, excitement instigates attraction. When you’re excited, dopamine and serotonin rush to your brain. This creates pleasure. In the most basic terms, that’s how attraction works.
Lisa and I rely on spontaneous actions. I’ll send surprise care packages filled with American goodies — like my bedtime T-shirt and a delicious box of Kraft Mac, so she remembers my scent. She’ll answer Skype calls nude. We’ll email each other surprise surveys to test our sexual compatibility, while also learning new kinks we secretly want to explore. Spontaneity doesn’t need to be planned. In fact, it can’t be planned. We treat it as a display of intimacy. Deviating from your relationship’s routine can be fun. How else can you discover what you love if you’re not constantly trying something new?
Image by Dianna McDougall