Wellness

How to Have Fulfilling Phone Sex

How to Have Fulfilling Phone Sex

How to Have Fulfilling Phone Sex

We could wax on about how necessity is the mother of invention, or we could get right to it: We have some questions about phone sex—which has earned a new relevance in our lives. And so we turned to New York–based sex therapist Stephen Snyder, MD, the author of Love Worth Making, for his brand of no-nonsense, shame-reducing advice.

A Q&A with Stephen Snyder, MD

Q
In your experience, what’s the biggest obstacle to people enjoying virtual sex?
A

The biggest obstacle is probably worrying you’ll be bad at it. That you won’t be creative enough, or you’ll run out of sexy things to say and your partner will decide you’re boring.

Some people feel they need to put on a bit of a show so that their partner won’t think they’re a lousy virtual hookup. You can even find classes on “how to talk dirty like a porn star.” But that’s silly, because in reality most partners just want to know you’re authentically aroused. The only way to be “good” at virtual sex is to enjoy yourself. Period. Authentic arousal is the sexiest thing in the world.

Sure, the absence of physical touch means you may have to use more words. But don’t let the words get in the way. This is not like standard texting. You don’t get extra points for creativity. Don’t waste time trying to be clever. Keep it simple and direct. Sometimes a good-hearted, honest “I’m starting to get wet” can be all it takes to touch someone’s heart.

A Phone Sex Starter Kit

Start with the one requisite: a phone. Then consider adding any of the below—and peruse our guide to the best vibrators for solo pleasure and partner play.


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  4. Crave WINK + VIBRATOR

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Q
What’s your advice on sexting versus phone sex?
A

Texting and seduction seem to be a natural fit. You’re forced to wait for the other person to type, so you’re in a perpetual state of anticipation. Then there are those three little dots to tell you someone on the other end is trying to make themselves as interesting as possible in order to get your attention, because you’re important. Your erotic mind loves that sort of thing, bless its narcissistic heart.

Unless you’re got vibrating underwear, chances are you can’t easily text and touch yourself at the same time. So it’s natural to want to switch to the phone or FaceTime once things really get going. The phone is the traditional choice because it’s the easiest, but lots of people prefer FaceTime or some other video hangout so they can see each other naked.

Lately lots of couples have managed to create fancy multimedia events, sometimes combined with “digital remote stimulation” (also known as “tele-dildonics,” for obvious reasons). Bottom line: You have lots of options. So you might want to hunt around to find out what works for the two of you and what doesn’t.


Q
What’s the best way to ask your partner for virtual sex, assuming that’s not something you’re both used to?
A

Great sex—virtual or otherwise—starts with anticipation. Text messaging is ideal for that, since you’ve got anticipation built in while you wait for a response. Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own turn-ons, and most turn-ons start with giving yourself permission to fantasize. If you’re texting together during the day, you might try asking your partner what they’re wearing. If it’s an outfit you like, imagine your partner wearing it—or imagine them taking it off.

Then maybe invite them to join your fantasy. “Mmmm, I like you wearing that. Mind if I unbutton it?” Which obviously could backfire, if your partner isn’t feeling so positive about their body that day. But hey, that fantasy wasn’t meant to turn your partner on. It was meant to turn you on. No reason you can’t still enjoy it.

Same thing later that night, when you’re on the phone or FaceTime together. Don’t think of it as asking your partner for virtual sex. That’s too passive. Instead, tell them you’re feeling turned on after fantasizing all day long, and you’d really love to have an orgasm right now, so would they like to join you? This is your orgasm, and you’re going to have it with or without them. The only question is whether or not they’d like to come along.


Q
How do you make sure both of you are on the same page and equally engaged?
A

You can’t, really. Remember, this isn’t regular sex. It’s virtual sex. You’re not anchored by proximity and touch, so you’re likely going to have fairly different experiences.

I’d say the majority of really good sex fantasies aren’t mutual at all. How could they be, when we’re so different? This is especially true of virtual sex fantasies, where the only thing you have in common at the moment is each other. “Let’s imagine we’re on a beach somewhere” might sound great to you. But for your partner, this might bring back memories of getting stung by a jellyfish.

The great thing about a virtual sex hookup is that you can be with your partner at the beach, and they can be with you in some cozy winter cabin where it’s snowing outside, and it still works. Of course, you could always negotiate the setting in advance. But unless you’ve done that, don’t just inform your partner that they’re at the beach right when they’re trying to have an orgasm. Save those details for later. Then it can be fun to compare notes. As in, “OMG, you were at the beach? I hate the beach. Glad you waited to tell me!”

We couples therapists have a general principle called “staying in your own lane.” Just stay focused on your own experience. Don’t worry too much about your partner, and don’t try to direct their experience. Unless they ask you to, of course. And even then, that can sometimes be tricky, since you’re not a mind-reader—and unless you’re videochatting together, you can’t fully know what’s going on. If you’re having phone sex and your partner says, excitedly, “Your nipples are so hard!” and at the moment your nipples aren’t hard at all, it kind of breaks the spell, right? Bottom line: Stay in your own lane.


Q
How do you know if you’re doing it right?
A

Ask yourself afterward: Did the experience make me feel good about myself as a sexual person? If so, then you’re doing it right.

If not, ask yourself whether there was any part of the experience that did make you feel good. Maybe hit rewind and go back there. There’s no rule that says you have to do it all the way to orgasm every time. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable just getting a bit excited together, without having to go through the whole human sex-response cycle to completion.

Virtual sex can be inherently frustrating, because there’s a large element of fantasy. But remember how exciting fantasy was when you were too young to date? It didn’t exactly nourish your body, but your soul loved it. There’s no reason that as a full-fledged adult you can’t enjoy that same kind of longing while you and your partner get off to the sound of each other’s breathing. As famous sex therapist Jack Morin once said, eroticism is simply attraction plus obstacles. Sometimes the disembodied quality of virtual sex can be the right obstacle to send eroticism through the roof.


Q
What’s the best way to put vibrators and other sex toys to good use during virtual sex?
A

Some find it more of a challenge to climax during virtual sex, especially if you’re on video and being closely observed. If a vibrator makes it easier to get off, all the better. But make sure you’re legitimately aroused first. Don’t use a vibrator to compensate for not being that turned on. As I tell clients in my office, there are two roads to orgasm: The low road is where you’re only minimally aroused, but with the help of a good vibrator you can maybe squeak one out. Much better to take the high road, where your arousal builds and builds until at the moment of orgasm it’s like water going over the dam.

Vibrators and other sex toys can be valuable tools for strengthening intimacy. Sex works best when you take responsibility for your own sexual needs. Using a vibrator to enhance your enjoyment of virtual sex can be another expression of this principle.


Stephen Snyder, MD, is a sex and relationship therapist in full-time private practice in New York City. He is the author of Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship.


This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.


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