How To Use The Latest Tech To Have Better Sex And Improve Your Relationship
As a soldier, David has spent much of the past five years away from his wife, Penny. They could be nine time zones apart, for as long as a month or two. That’s an awful lot of Snapchatting. They’re hardly alone in their aloneness. Long-haul truckers, oil rig workers, and even athletes and sports writers feel the strain of separation. But just as ballistic armour and night-vision goggles have changed soldiering, technology has changed sex for long-distance couples. (Actually, night-vision goggles in the bedroom…?)
David, 33, and Penny are a living, texting counterargument to the notion that technology only wrecks sex. Sure, smartphones distract us from our mates, dating apps can make it difficult to commit, and Pornhub isn’t sex. But for every intimacy-killing app on the market, there’s a way to use tech to enhance romance. Technology may lead you to the hottest sex you’ve ever had. So whether you want to feel closer to your long-distance mate or your long-term relationship needs a jolt, plug in and turn on.
1. Keep In Touch When You’re Far Away
Ever since Antony left Cleopatra on the shore and sailed off to battle, warriors have had long-distance relationships. The key, says David, is constant communication. He learned that lesson early after making Penny endure radio silence – she had no idea what he was doing. She set him straight, and from that point on it was frequent Facebook messages, then GChat, then Google Hangouts. “Our chat history is swimming around on a Google server somewhere,” he says.
Later it was Snapchat. Sexy messages and hot photos vanish, but linger in your memory. Like the snap of Penny’s new swimsuit: “She was excited to show it off to me – and yeah, it looked great on her.” The Snapchat streak counter helps: “Having a 275-day streak going can be a powerful motivator,” says David. Too millennial? Send pics and messages with Signal, which safely encrypts messages.
Next-Level Mission: Add an app-controlled vibrator, like BlueMotion’s NEX| (R2 399, Buy It Here), to your next FaceTime session. You can control it remotely. Start slow, teasing with a light setting, then turn it up as she gets turned on. Or just have her stimulate herself over video chat. Best show ever.
2. Learn Each Other’s Secrets, Blush-Free
Hesitant about divulging your desires? You’re not alone. Take Jason, 33, who’s been with his girlfriend for four months but hasn’t shared some particular sexual interests. “I worry about the stigma of being into sex that isn’t 100 per cent normal,” he says. Couples therapist Stan Tatkin hears that a lot: “In the beginning of all relationships, we’re auditioning,” he says. “You’re trying to not get into trouble, at the very least.” Don’t let fear hinder your sex life.
Tech Tactic: Give Blindfold a spin. This app, new this year, lets both of you check off stuff you’d like to try. It tells you if you score a match and keeps the nonmatches secret – no judgment here. Do it on your own time; there’s no need to decide rapid-fire whether spanking is something you’re really into or you’re just curious. A match is a natural conversation starter. In the bedroom, try the Minna Limon. The palm-sized, lemon-shaped vibrator responds to touch (the harder you squeeze, the harder it vibrates). It’ll help you learn how and where she likes to be stimulated – and a memory feature lets you record her favourite patterns and replay them again and again.
3. Find Some Creative Work-Arounds
A penis disability due to injury or illness doesn’t have to be a death blow for your sex life. “We have erogenous zones all over our bodies,” says Professor Charlie Glickman, a sex and relationships coach based in Seattle. “You can learn to tune into them, but it takes practice.” The nipples, butt, perineum, anus, and prostate are ripe areas for sexual stimulation, and tech can offer something different.
Related: The 9 Best Sex Positions For Any Age
Action Plan: A finger vibe from Picobong (R599, Buy It Here) can turn your digits into a supercharged erotic tool. Get her to wear one and slowly trace it down your chest, pausing at sensitive spots. With practice and focus, you may even reach orgasm from this kind of touch. But don’t stress: if it feels good, you’re on track, says Glickman. Open to prostate stimulation? Check out Aneros’s Tempo line of reengineered butt plugs, or the b-Vibe Novice Plug, sized for beginners. Ease into it. If you’re anxious, you may tense up – leading to pain, not pleasure. Take things slow and use lube. Lots of lube. Have your partner start by using a finger, gently caressing the anus, rubbing it in a circular motion, and gently pressing in as it starts to relax. Once you feel comfortable, try a toy.
4. Employ Stealth Technology
Some women might prefer additional matériel in their campaign for the Big O. New, stealthy sex toys don’t hide from radar, but they’re unobtrusive. Treat yourself to Je Joue’s Mimi (R1 899, Buy It Here). Erika Moen, creator of the sex toy review comic Oh Joy Sex Toy, calls it the “best couples vibrator I’ve used so far.”
Reinforcements: Use toys in a support role. The Mimi fits in the palm of your hand, slides comfortably between two bodies, and is easy to hold in place. Or use it to kick off foreplay with a little vibration, and then let your fingers join in. Fingers, of course, are the ultimate digital stimulation. If the Mimi isn’t enough, Moen also adores the new Mystic Rechargeable. “I’m really impressed with the strength, and it’s quieter than the original Mystic Wand,” she says. The redesigned handle makes changing the speed or vibration settings easier than ever, no matter what position it’s in.
5. Don’t Let Sex Smoulder On The Back Burner
After a few years (and maybe a few children), finding the time to get naked together may become a big challenge. “We live in a culture that deprioritises sex,” says Bay Area psychologist Liz Powell.
The Strategy: Use the decidedly boring Google Calendar to schedule sexy time, Powell suggests. Send her an invite for, say, Thursday at 10pm. Set the mood early in the day with a sext, or send her an erotic story from literotica.com. In the bedroom, try Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast of hot stories, taking inspiration from the characters’ actions. Or use the stories as a soundtrack – candles and wine can’t hurt, either.
For efficiency, the Fiera, an itty-bitty device that combines suction and light vibration, is made to bring blood into the clitoris. Travelling overseas? Think outside the bedroom by joining KinkBNB. It’s like reserving a hotel room with fully stocked dungeons. Quickie tip: you can book by the hour.
6. Realise You Can Always Learn More
Think you know it all? You’re probably missing out. “Most of us have pretty abysmal sex education histories,” Powell says. “There are always new ideas and new approaches.”
Advanced Training: Websites like Kink Academy and O.school offer videos and livestreams, respectively, from sex educators tackling topics like tantra, massage, and the basics of blindfolds. Over at OMGyes you’ll find a collection of research-backed, interactive, hands-on (tablet or phone) videos on the many ways to pleasure a vulva and clitoris. Instead of Netflix and chill, try sex ed and chill. Set aside a night to explore; if you see something you want to do or get your mate’s opinion on, pause the video for a discussion – or a trial run. For sex ed on the go, the mobile app and service Juicebox puts a team of sex educators in your pocket.
*Names in this article have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.