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Found yourself in an accidental long-distance relationship thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic? Hunting for a novel way to get off with a partner? Try video sex.
Video sex isn’t a “desperate times calls for desperate measures” situation.
Pandemic or not, video sex rocks!
In fact, according to Caitlin V., MPH, clinical sexologist for Royal, a vegan-friendly condom and lubricant company, “With an open mind and a simple change in perspective, video sex can be just as intimate, just as emotional, just as fulfilling and satisfying (or even more so!) as any other type of sex.”
Zhana Vrangalova, PhD, professor of human sexuality at New York University and resident sexpert for sex-toy brand LELO, adds, “When it comes to STIs and unwanted pregnancies, video sex is a completely safe type of sex.”
Because revenge porn, Zoom-bombers, and asshats exist, getting wild on vid isn’t as easy as hopping on a call.
Pick your platform wisely
Hate to break it to you, but most of your go-to video platforms for group hangs and work meetings have explicit rules against nudity.
This, to name just a few, includes:
- Google Hangouts
Searah Deysach, longtime sex educator and owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago that ships worldwide, recommends sticking with FaceTime.
“It’s actually encrypted end-to-end so that is a great, easily accessible platform,” she says.
Another option is an app called Signal, which offers the same level of protection.
Pick your video sex partner even more wisely
“I’d advise against doing video sexing with someone you don’t trust 100 percent,” says Deysach. One word: screenshots.
It’s illegal to have nudes of people under the age of 18 — it’s considered child pornography. If you’re 18 or younger, that includes photos of your own body, partner, or anyone who has consensually sent those photos to you.
Consider what you’re going to show on screen
Ideally, you’re only having video sex with folks who won’t screenshot your face, body, or other identifying features without consent.
But, just in case, Deysach says it’s worth considering:
- not including your face when you show your body
- only showing your face
- excluding tattoos, birthmarks, or other easily recognizable areas
- wearing a mask or other face covering
Also, please remove any sensitive information from the background
Time to hide away those unemployment forms, your driver’s license, and that pile of junk mail.
You also want to move away from a window that shows location-identifiable features, like the house next door or a mailbox.
Set boundaries with your partner ahead of time
Are there certain sex acts or fantasies you don’t want to talk through? Are there certain parts of your body you don’t feel comfortable showing?
Either via text or at the start of the call, take some time to share your boundaries and invite your partner to share theirs.
You might say:
- “Just so you know, I find from-behind positions triggering, so I’d love to avoid talking about those while we play tonight. Anything that’s a hard no for you?”
- “Just wanted to let you know that I’m down to video chat, but am only comfortable showing you from the waist-up. Do you have any boundaries for yourself you want to share with me?”
- “I’m going to be using a toy on myself tonight. But before, I just wanted to check: How do you feel about me using a flesh-colored dildo?”
It depends on three things:
1. Where the ‘good’ lighting is
Generally speaking, the “most flattering” lighting is frontlighting. Backlighting can create wonky shadows.
That may be in your bedroom. But it’s also totally possible your kitchen pantry or home office lighting is best…
2. Who you’re living with
If you’re living alone, the whole house is your video sex oyster.
But if you’re living with a roommate, friends, or family, it’s best to stick to your bedroom — unless your bunkmates have explicitly consented to you having sex in common spaces.
3. Where you’ll be the most comfortable
Once you pick a room, find a spot in that room that’s comfy. Aka, don’t try to have video sex on the floor in the corner because it has the “best lighting” if the ground hurts your bum. K?
Generally speaking, you aren’t just going to turn the video on and immediately slip your hand into your undies.
(Unless, of course, you and your boo just spent hours sexting or having phone sex and your last exchange was something like, “I’m touching myself right now, want to hop on video so you can watch?”)
So how do you start? Slow!
Look at your own genitals
“For many vulva-owners, video sex might be the first time they’ve ever really witnessed their genitals or seen themselves in pleasure,” says Caitlin V.
That’s why she recommends grabbing a mirror and watching yourself self-pleasure yourself prior to hopping on video. “That way you can be your own audience before your partner is.”
Schedule it ahead of time
“Scheduled sex gets a bad rap,” says Vrangalova. “But it can really enhance the experience by building up anticipation throughout the day.”
Besides, having something to look forward to… in these ~wild times~? Thrilling.
Or, be spontaneous
So long as you still take the time to communicate your boundaries, a spontaneous video sex sesh is a great option for the tail-end of a phone or sexting rendezvous.
- “I’m so close to finishing, do you want to hop on video and watch my face while I come?”
- “I wish you could hear the sounds I’m making thinking about you. If that sounds hot to you, too, you should video call me.”
Prep your space
“Pick out an outfit ahead of time. Light candles or incense. Select the right music and lighting. Charge your go-to toy. Place your lube on the bedside table,” suggests Vrangalova. “Doing so can help make the event feel more special.”
Besides, nobody wants their vibrator to tap out halfway through!
Start with dinner or drinks
“Would you typically eat dinner with this person prior to having sex with them in real life?” asks certified sex and relationship coach Anne Hodder-Shipp. “If so, have dinner over video.” Ditto goes for cocktails or mocktails.
Heck, if this is someone you usually take a yoga class with before getting it on IRL, take a yoga class first! Y7, for example, has a bunch of free flows available on IGTV.
Play a sex game
Naughty words with friends. Strip online poker. Dirty truth or dare.
All of these sex games are a fun, creative way to go from zero to horny.
So, you’re hooked up to Wi-Fi and ready to hook up, digitally… now what?
If you’re nervous, say so!
“Name the feeling,” says Hodder-Shipp. “Don’t waste your energy pretending that you aren’t nervous when you could use that energy to emotionally connect with your partner.”
As Caitlin V. puts it: “Whoever you are, you’re inherently an erotic being and your unique expression of sexuality is valid, and will bring the right partner pleasure.”
Try talking dirty
If you and your partner have been having phone sex, you know how hot it is hearing all the R-rated things your partner would do to you if you showed up at their door dressed only in a trench coat.
Vrangalova offers these starter lines:
- “You know what I’d really love right now?”
- “I really miss the way you feel when…”
- “Right now I’m thinking about…”
- “I can’t stop fantasizing about…”
Or make other noises
“Moaning and heavy breathing can be just as hot as explicit dirty talk,” says Hodder-Shipp.
If you’re worried about being heard, Megwyn White, somatic sensuality guide and director of education at Satisfyer, recommends:
- blasting some music
- putting on a fan
- running the shower
- using the sound of your breath
Drop trou, grab some lube, and get touching!
Oh, and no need to be shy about bringing in your favorite stroker, vibrator, wand, or butt plug.
Try an app-enabled sex toy
Speaking of sex toys, now’s a great time to invest in a sex toy made specifically for LDRs.
Luxury pleasure-product brand We-Vibe, for example, has a line of app-enabled toys that allow your partner to control the vibration speed and intensity from literally anywhere in the world via a secure app.
“Sex is awkward,” says Caitlin V. “So, give yourself permission to lean into and find fun in the awkwardness.”
And don’t be afraid to laugh!
Hey, it happens!
Hodder-Shipp recommends acknowledging that right at the start of the call. For example:
- “I just want to call out that my internet can be a little wonky, so if we get disconnected I’ll call you back as soon as it reconnects.”
- “By the way, if we lose internet connection, let’s plan to call it a night and try again next week.”
- “If we get disconnected for any reason, I’ll text you so we can continue this date via text.”
If you’re sharing your internet with other folks, Deysach recommends saving your sexy time for when everyone else is sleeping to minimize tech issues.
Anytime you have sex — and especially after you try something new — checking in with your partner is a good move.
That stands for virtual hanky-panky, too.
You might say:
- “It was really hot for me getting to see your face up close like that. How did that feel for you? Anything you particularly enjoyed? Or want to talk through?”
- “I really loved using my vibrator on myself while you watched. How did that feel for you?”
- “Wow, that was really something! Do you think it’s something you might want to try again?”
Intimate. Awkward. Orgasmic. Pleasurable. Silly. Erotic. Different.
These are just some of the things video sex can be! So while you’re isolating away from your boo, it could be worth exploring.
And, of course, if you try it and don’t like it? Say so! There are plenty of other ways to get down digitally — like sexting or sharing semi-nudes. Wink.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.