“COVID-19 pandemic or not, video sex with a partner can be totally hot,” says Zhana Vrangalova, PhD, professor of human sexuality at New York University and resident sexpert for sex-toy brand LELO. Think about it, you’re basically creating a personal porno just for your partner. “But unlike porn, video sex is a two-way street—you’re able to watch and hear your partner while they watch and hear you.” Hot, right?
But video chat sex can feel super awk at first, and there's indeed an art to it. Here are tips from Katie and other women about how to make “special” video calls even better.
How to have video sex you actually enjoy:
1. Pick your platform wisely.
Before you even think about getting busy on camera, do a little research about the platform you’re thinking about using. Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp, for instance, all have explicit rules against nudity and sexually explicit material. Sorry to break it to ya.
What platforms are video-sex kosher? At the time of publication, FaceTime and Telegram have no explicit rules against it.
2. Only do it with partners you trust…like, a lot.
About to accept a video call? Do a gut check. “Screenshots are absolutely a thing, so if any part of you feels like this person might take screenshots without your consent, opt-out,” says Carly, 32, founder of Dildo or Dildon’t. Even if it’s been over a month since you’ve last got laid, no case of quarantine randies is worth some jerk having your nudes without consent or knowledge.
.3. Schedule it in advance.
Feeling a little ‘LOL WHAT ARE DAYS?.’ Scheduling your sesh in advance just as you would for an IRL meet-up can help, says Maile, 30, an operations manager. “Scheduling video sex with my new boo helps make my days feel a little less monotonous, and it actually gives me something to look forward to.”
Plus, she says planning ahead gives her at least a few hours to figure out what lingerie she’s going to wear underneath her clothes, what toys she wants to have fully charged (important!), what lube she wants ready for use, and *exactly* where she’ll set up her camera (see below).
4. Figure out where you’ll set up the camera.
Your first instinct might just be to hold the phone. But getting freaky (read: orgasming) over video is way easier when you have both your hands to, ahem, aid in arousal.
Find a place to prop your phone up so that the lighting is in front of (not behind!) you, suggests Carly. “You also want the camera to be slightly higher up than you are,” she says. She invested in the GripTight Gorilla stand so that she can set her phone up at an optimal height/place in the bedroom or bathroom or living room (hate to say it, but the best lighting may actually not be in the bedroom).
5. Limit distractions.
Generally speaking, it’s rude as hell to check your phone or email when you’re out with your boo. But when you’re both (partially or fully) naked?? Well, *leaves meeting*.
Put your phone in do not disturb mode and disable your Slack and email notifications. “It can be hard enough to establish intimacy via video, so the last thing I want is a work email to interrupt the moment,” says Sarah Sloane, a sex educator who's been coaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001.
6. Treat it like a date.
Don’t feel like you need to be naked, sprawled, and ready the second you answer the call. If you’re feeling romantic, make a whole damn date night out of it like Maile and her S.O. do.
“I may be living in a world of back-to-back meetings. But these video sessions aren’t that—these video sessions are what we’re resorting to in place of in-person date and romps,” she says.
So, she gets dressed up (lingerie underneath, of course), lights candles, cleans the apartment, breaks out a bottle of wine, and makes a fancy dinner. “We like to start with a drink, maybe some food, talk about our days, and when the mood veers toward the sensual or sexual, we let it,” she says. Modern romance!
7. Or have a quickie.
If you’re like Sloane and only have time for (or simply prefer) quickies, you’ve got another option: lean into sex-texting as foreplay. “We’re both working, so we like to sext all day long to build up the anticipation. Then, when we’re both unbearably horny and have a few minutes, we’ll hop on [camera] and get off together real quick,” she says.
8. If you’re nervous, say so!
Spoiler alert: These are unprecedented times that we’re livin’ in, and we’re all just trying to find ways to get our skin hunger met and feel a little less socially distant. So chances are your partner is just as new to this as you are.
“Telling my partner that I was nervous but excited helped me relax,” says new video sex aficionado, Angelica*, 31, an accountant. “It turned out they were also nervous, which helped take some of the pressure off.”
9. Pull out the pleasure products.
The Womanizer may be your go-to, but Carly recommends bringing in toys that are way more ~visual~ than that. “You don’t want a toy that you just plop onto your bits, you want a toy that helps you put on a show.” Her suggestion? Opt for a thrusting vibrator like the Fun Factory Stronic G or Happy Rabbit Thrusting Realistic Rechargeable Vibrator. “I like to position them between my legs, then angle the camera down so my partner can see them rocking.”
Oh, and take a tip from Sloane and ask if your partner has any sex toys that will really turn them off. You’re doing this together, remember?
10. Use lube.
Even if you don’t usually use lube during IRL sex, without your Babe’s hand and mouth in the mix helping to warm you up (or tbh, your go-to porno), it may take you a little longer to self-lubricate. And that’s where lube comes in. “Not only will the lube cut down on the friction, but it’s also visually sexy because it makes you look wet and slick on camera,” says Carly.
11. Make some noise.
It might sound a little “duh,” but when you’re video-sexing, in addition to not getting to touch your partner, you don’t get to smell or taste them. That’s why hamming up the audio component is a must. “All my partner gets is the sight and sound of me, so I really ramp up the dirty talk, moaning, and heavy breathing,” says Sloane.
If you’re feeling nervous about dirty talking, that’s A-OK, too. Katie doesn’t dirty talk at all, and she still has what she calls “orgasmic video sex.” “Instead of trying to say something more wild than I would if we were offline, I just let whatever moans and sounds that would happen naturally, happen,” she says.
12. Have fun!
“If there’s a silver lining in any of this,” says Kate, “it’s that it’s given my partner and me some more time to experiment with what feels good for both of us, have some seriously hot fun, and practice communicating our sexual wants and needs.”
*Some names have been changed.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.