Clicky

Virtual Sex

Loving in a Tiny World: How Long-Distance Sexual Relationships Are Finally Working

Gaps between lovers are shrinking as our planet becomes more intimate.

Let’s start with a cliché: the world is getting smaller.

It hasn’t, of course, in actual fact: the Earth is still basically the same size it’s always been. For many people, though, communicating almost instantly with those living at even its farthest corners has not just become possible but an everyday occurrence.

Until a few years ago, the idea of a long-distance relationship was a synonym for “it’s over.” But now we almost take for granted the idea that distance has become almost inconsequential, even in regards to romance—and especially sex.

So how exactly has this changed? And what are the tools—here now or coming soon—that will reduce the world even more, as well as bring us a new level of sexual intimacy?

Speed, language, and ease of use

I love you message

A few decades ago we could pick up a phone and reach a friend or lover in another far off land. But it wasn’t always easy. Landlines trapped the caller and receiver to schedule a particular time and place to converse and also limited what could be communicated. If you didn’t speak the same language then your options were pretty much zip.

Now a large percentage of the world has a smartphone within hand’s reach. The devices have become so ubiquitous that we forget how much they’ve changed human interaction: blazing speed, no more barriers imposed by having to be in a certain location when the phone rings, no being tied (quite literally) to a landline, and no more need for a common language.

As we discussed a while back, we are approaching a form of universal sexual communication. With emojis, that you don’t speak French doesn’t stop you from flirting with someone who does. And if we do want to speak the language of love, or, at least, lust, there are real-time translation services at your disposal.

And if you meet in an online virtual environment, like Second Life or in one of many dedicated erotic worlds like 3DXChat [NSFW], all that matters is that you both have access to a computer. The rest is just negotiation.

Meanwhile, a number of innovators are working on haptic tech: the ability for people to send and receive physical contact—especially sexual contact—with body suits, Internet-connected sex toys, and touchable holograms.

I love you—no matter where you are

A rose and a smartphone

According to Assistant Professor of Communication Crystal Jiang at the City University of Hong Kong, most people may still be nervous about a long-distance relationship. However, she told Today a few years ago that “research provides compelling support for the opposite side—long distance is not necessarily inferior to geographically close dating.”

In fact, professor Jiang’s study, with Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University, reported that long-distance relationships may actually forge more intimate bonds than those between partners living within easy-touch distance:

Called Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships,” its abstract states that “recent research suggests that long-distance romantic relationships are of equal or even more trust and satisfaction than their geographically close (GC) counterparts.says.

That new technological breakthroughs have made communication, and thus long-distance relationships, easier doesn’t really need to be said. That couples can use smartphones, Voice over IP (VoIP) like Skype, Facetime, virtual avatars, or any number of tools to stay in contact on a moment-by-moment basis, means that lovers don’t have to always set a time and a place to catch up, touch base, or even indulge in text or video sex play.

Not just the amount but the degree

This sexual ease of communication also means the possibility for enhanced intimacy. Think about it for a moment: being truly connected to another person is about sharing and listening. But sharing and listening have become very multifaceted, with all kinds of possibilities.

We’ve already talked about emojis and texting. But a liked post on Facebook, a love or reblog on Tumblr, a like or retweet on Twitter, can also feel like a gentle, or even sexual, connection between lovers.

We can snap pictures of whatever we like, or our own bodies, or engage in full-video, sex play with excellent sound anytime we like. For lovers separated by distance, this means a cornucopia of techniques to make contact—even if they aren’t physical.

Reach out and touch, touch, touch

But even that’s changing. We already have quite a few sex tech companies that have developed Bluetooth and Internet-connected devices allowing lovers to go beyond the symbolic and the verbal. Now they can hook up their Lovense (that even advertises their products as “long distance relationship gifts”), their Kiiroo, or theirVibease sex toys, to give and receive sexual stimulation.

We are fast approaching a time when acceptance of this form of sex tech goes from rare to commonplace. And, coming up even sooner, are developments in virtual reality and haptic touch technology. Very soon lovers will be able to please, and be pleasured, by their partners with the same comfort we have with sending a text message or a lusty emoji.

The world as an erotic playground

Heart planet

What does this mean for the future? While the world, physically, retains its dimensions, it’s pretty clear that being able to see and feel its outer limits will not just be easy but desirable. We already share social networks with the world, play video games with people in practically every country, and businesses already embrace a global marketplace.

Once we get the glitches out of real-time translation, perfect haptic tech, and work out those pesky details of giving everyone on Earth the benefits of this technology, the new sexual revolution will arrive: one as big as the planet and as small, and intimate, as a bedroom.

Image sources: Kathryn Connell, Poisoned_Pics_Photography, emily792872

Links in this article or on this site may lead to affiliates from which we may earn revenue.

You May Also Like