Category: Sex

Here Are The Best Sex Shops In NYC

Along with its iconic skyscrapers and impressive selection of pizza locations, NYC is home to a true diversity of sex shops. Are you surprised? The city that never sleeps needs something to do all night. With so much choice, you might never run out of options and surprises for bringing something extra to the bedroom (or wherever).The city's sex shops cater to a variety of needs. There's a store for the bargain hunter, the indie enthusiast, the timid first-timer, and bonafide sex toy veterans. Spend a day browsing a giant superstore of sex items, or find the store that caters to your specific kink. Some of these have been made famous, but a majority are local favorites that come (ha!) recommended highly by the people who frequent them. Whether you're a native New Yorker who has yet to explore this side of the city, or an out-of-towner thinking of taking a trip to the Big Apple to see everything it has to offer, you'll find your perfect destination ahead. (And we'll be updating this post, so don't forget to check back for more great NYC sex shops.)The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more, here.Museum of SexAlong with providing New York City with one of the most expansive and expert-curated sex shops, the infamous Museum of Sex is indeed actually a museum and hosts erotic and educational exhibitions on everything from the sex lives of animals to vintage portraits of burlesque dancers. At their sex shop, you can find indulgent sex toys, such as romantic sex candles and a gold-plated couples' vibrator.Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Avenue New York; (212) 689-6337Empire ExoticsThis shop has everything from lingerie to costumes to bachelor party trinkets. If you're into neon, this is the place for you.Empire Exotics, 43 West 33rd Street, New York, NY; (917) 351-0427BabelandWith three NYC locations, Babeland has got the sex shop game on lock. Stepping inside is no different from stepping into any retail store with its bright color scheme and well-organized shelves. It's the perfect way for sex shop beginners to have a gentle introduction.Babeland, 94 Rivington St; (212) 375-1701; 43 Mercer St; (212) 966-2120; 462 Bergen St; (718) 638-3820Courtesy of BabelandRainbow Station NYCFor your 24/7 sex needs, Rainbow Station is positioned on a bustling street in Chelsea and carries pretty much anything you could ask for in the way of toys, clothes, and videos. It leans towards a more LGBTQ demographic, but its over 1,000 videos can be enjoyed by anyone of any orientation in one of eight private booths.Rainbow Station, 203 8th Ave; (212) 206-7259Courtesy of Rainbow StationThe Pleasure ChestIf you're looking for a sex toy shopping experience that's akin to browsing fine perfumes or expensive jewelry, then The Pleasure Chest's glass displays and carefully positioned merchandise should do the trick.The Pleasure Chest, 1150 2nd Ave; (212) 355-6909; 156 Seventh Avenue South; (212) 242-2158.Courtesy of The Pleasure Chest/InstagramPurple PassionPurple Passion offers local merchandise with a tendency towards BDSM. After opening in 1992, the store merged with gay leather fetish store DV8 in 2001 in an effort to achieve the broadest fetish selection in the city.Purple Passion, 211 West 20th Street; (212) 807-0486Photo courtesy of Purple Passion/InstagramLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Everything You Need To Know About How To Use A VibratorEverything You Need To Know About First-Time Anal SexOrgasm Tips To Add To Your Sex Life Now

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Everything You Need To Know About How To Use A Vibrator

Today, vibrators can come with breakup insurance, act as alarm clocks, and even give you personalized sex tips. While the technology is astounding, let's not forget the purpose of the vibrator: to give you sexual pleasure. Well, okay, it may have originally been created to treat the sexist and absurd notion of "female hysteria, " but, thankfully, women have taken back the vibrator from Victorian-era male doctors.That means that we get to enjoy all of the pleasurable results of using vibes — as long as we know how to use them (like we said, they can have a lot of snazzy features these days). Some vibrators are relatively straightforward; others come with multi-speeds and functions. For those with vaginas, vibrators are commonly used to provide clitoral orgasms, but they can also provide multi-orifice stimulation. And they're not just for solo masturbation sessions: There are plenty of fun ways to use them during partnered sex, too.Obviously, there's a lot to learn, and a pretty orgasmic incentive to learn it all. Read on for some sexy tips and tricks for using a vibrator.Find the right vibrator for you.Everyone has different needs, so finding the right vibe for you is crucial. If you've never used a vibrator before, a good place to start is with a simple, cheap clitoral "bullet" vibrator. If you're looking for a phallic toy for vaginal penetration, there are many realistic vibrating dildos on the market. Do you want a toy that your roommates won't hear? Read through customer reviews on a retailer's site to find a quieter vibrator. Do you like to masturbate during a relaxing bath? Go with something waterproof.Start by writing down a list of everything you're looking for from a vibrator, and then go to a sex toy site (like Babeland, Spectrum Boutique, or Unbound) and peruse the options. (The animated sex toy reviews on the blog Oh Joy Sex Toy are also pretty fun.) Or better yet, hit up your local sex shop in person and get a knowledgable sales associate to guide you through the process.Set the mood.After you’ve selected and purchased your vibrator, it's time to relax and use it. While orgasms may provide stress relief, it can be hard to get off when you're tense.When masturbating with your vibrator, think of it as a sex date with yourself. Get cozy and set up your surroundings like you would for partnered sex. Put on a romantic playlist, light some candles for mood lighting, or try aromatherapy to help you enjoy your new toy. Basically, treat yourself.Gently press the vibrator on and around your clit.If you have a vagina, clitoral stimulation is a pleasant way to first explore the vibrating power of your new toy. Whether you own a simple bullet-shaped vibrator or one that resembles a bunny rabbit, gently press the vibrator on top of your clit. When people speak of the clitoris, they're usually referring to the little nub that protrudes at the top of the labia, but most of the clitoris is actually internal and extends along the two shafts that sit at either side of the vagina.As anatomy and sensitivity vary from person to person, you may prefer your vibrator pressed right above your clitoral area, rather than directly on it. Some people with vaginas prefer to use their vibrators over panties or a blanket, as direct skin-to-skin contact is too intense. Take some time to learn the clitoral stimulation that feels best for you. If you're unsure of how intense you like it, try out a clitoral vibrator with varying speeds, such as the Minna Limon.Use your vibrator on different parts of your body.Vibrators do so much more than give clitoral orgasms, so see how it feels to use your vibe on other parts of your body. We suggest using a vibrator to stimulate your nipples as part of solo or partnered play. Just press it against your breast and nipple as you would with your clitoris. And again, sensitivities vary, so figure out the right speed/pressure/spot for you.And you know the trope about people purchasing back massagers with the real intention of using them as a vibrator? Well, the reverse can also be true — it can feel awesome to press your vibrator against knots in your neck and back. Sure, you might want to go straight to your genitals when you first buy a vibrator, but don't forget to explore how it feels to use the toy all over your body.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Here Are The Best Sex Shops In NYCEverything You Need To Know About First-Time Anal SexOrgasm Tips To Add To Your Sex Life Now

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Everything You Need To Know About First-Time Anal Sex

Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsAnal sex can be one of three things: terrifying, terrible, or terrific. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories (thanks, Tucker Max) and you’re not even remotely interested in letting something, let alone someone, go up there. Perhaps you’re tempted, but you don’t know where to begin. There are reassuring, pleasurable ways to go about anal sex, though, and it can be glorious if you know what you’re doing — and so preparation is key."It's not as easy as it looks in porn," sex psychologist David Ley, PhD tells Refinery29. "If you try to do it the way most porn does, it will be like learning to shoot from watching Steven Seagal movies: Somebody will get hurt."Step away from the porn, and set aside your worries and fears about the back door. All you need is this step-by-step guide to having comfortable, communicative, and mutually satisfying anal sex, which we'll be updating regularly. Click through, then go forth without fear — and have fun!The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.Since the receiver has good control over depth and speed of penetration when on top, sex and relationship coach Charlie Glickman, PhD, author of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, says that position is a good way to get started. Don’t be afraid to try other positions, though. “Missionary works well if you put a small pillow under the receiver’s hips to lift them up a bit,” he says. “Or have them at the edge of the bed and the giver can stand on the floor.”Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsJust as with other kinds of sex, make anal sex an experience that addresses the whole body, not just the anus. Don’t forget about other erogenous zones, including nipples, clitoris, testicles, and so on — in fact, many people with clits find that anal-clit stimulation combination explosively orgasmic. Anal play as just one part of lovemaking.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsRegardless of what you’ve heard about or seen in porn, anal is not about forcing. The receiver, rather than the giver, sets the pace. If anyone is experiencing discomfort, slow it down! You also don’t need to insert the whole length of the penis or dildo. It could be that half is the perfect amount.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsAccording to Kyla Black, a sex therapist and clinical social worker, there's really no right amount of lube: “It very much depends on the person who will have lube on or in their body,” he says. Err on the side of excess, since the anus doesn’t self-lubricate, and choose the right lube. Avoid lubes that contain parabens, phthalates, or propylene glycol, and keep in mind that silicone-based lubes generally last longer than water-based lube: “The anus is a mucosal membrane, which means that it absorbs water rapidly and will dry out water-based lubes,” Bogdonoff says.However, if you’re using toys, make sure to only use water-based lube with silicone toys and be careful with oil-based lubes, which can cause condoms to rip or deteriorate. Bogdonoff recommends Pjur Backdoor, a silicone-based lube that contains jojoba to increase the skin’s flexibility and softness.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsThere are a ton of ways to prepare for anal penetration, including using vibrators, rimming plugs, anal beads, and even dildos. These will not only open the anus but also arouse you before penetration. Sex and relationship coach Charlie Glickman, PhD, author of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure recommends using a vibrator to learn to relax the anus; be sure to use one made with a body-safe, non-porous material and a smooth, flared base to prevent it from going too far into the anus. Glickman suggests b-Vibe’s Rimming Plug, which takes the technology of the famous rabbit vibrator and adapts it for an anal toy.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsAnal has long been tainted with stigma and fears — that it’ll hurt, that something will go wrong, that you'll poop in the middle of it. But the shame surrounding anal sex "assumes that anal sex is unhealthy and should be rare," Ley says. "That’s a morally-based assumption, not a scientific or medical one." The best way to bring up the idea of anal sex to your partner is when neither you nor your partner is aroused. This way, you can talk about it without feeling pressure to do things too soon or in a way that feels rushed.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsWith new sexual territory, boundaries are key. "It can be helpful for both partners to be aware of each other's’ 'dos and don'ts' and anything in between," says Black.Ley suggests broaching the subject by discussing anal play as part of your sex life. "Discuss including anal stimulation in a variety of ways, with fingers, toys and tongues," he says. "This is how a couple can introduce the anus as an area of pleasure and sensation, without jumping too quickly to the theoretical finish line of penis-in-anus sex."Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsIn order to keep things comfortable, you’ve got to continue the conversation. Ley says that couples should be aware of each other’s fears around any new sexual behavior, especially one that’s often associated with pain. He suggests broadening the conversation so you and your partner can avoid anything that could hinder the pleasure of anal."When [people] believe their first experience with sexual intercourse will be painful, it often is. When they don’t believe that, it isn’t," Ley says. "The difference is the expectation, and the psychophysiological connections with that expectation. If you think anal sex is going to hurt, you prepare for that, tighten up in fear, and it does. If you prepare to enjoy it, negotiate it, prepare your body for it, and discuss ways to manage the experience, then discomfort is absent or greatly lessened."Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsWhether anal sex is new for you or not, every partner will be aroused differently and will have different levels of experience. "This may be an easier conversation than you expect, but a lot depends upon sexual characteristics of the couple," Ley says. "If you’re a couple that has limited sexual experience and only ever has sex in missionary position with the lights off, then it’s going to be a much more challenging conversation."Bogdonoff says that anal, like all sex, is part psychological and part physical. "The anus will naturally relax, making insertion easier, when you're relaxed and aroused," he says. Talking to your partner about how you want to warm things up for both of you will help you both relax.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsMake sure you both are aware that the person on the receiving end of anal sex might have a bowel movement, or that fecal matter might otherwise make some sort of cameo in your sex. There aren’t exactly numbers out there on how many people experience a bowel movement during anal, but it does happen — and the best thing is to agree that you’ll move on from it if it does. Pooping is normal, and no one can control what comes out of the anus, says Bogdonoff. "The worst thing that can happen to someone during sex is that they're shamed for have a normally-functioning body," he says.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsSome research has suggested that giving unprotected anal intercourse with a penis can increase the risk of a prostate infection from bacteria getting into the urethra, Glickman says. And of course, unprotected anal intercourse is much riskier for STIs because of how delicate the rectum is. The FDA states that condoms are more likely to break during anal intercourse than vaginal “because of the greater amount of friction” — all the more reason to relax and prepare with foreplay and lube.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsIf your bowel movements are generally solid, you should be fine. If you have loose stools or are really concerned about fecal matter, consider avoiding lots of fiber before anal in order firm up your stool. Otherwise, just use the bathroom beforehand and gently scrub around the anal area to ensure you don’t have to deal with any errant flecks of fecal matter (no enema required!).Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts“When you hold your breath, as lots of people do during sex, the anus tightens up,” says Glickman. Mindful breathing will not only help calm you down mentally, it’ll relax the anus, making it much easier to start any insertion or even anal play. Tensing up the entire body, including squeezing the anus, is directly linked to stress, so Glickman suggests trying breath work to quell anxiety. Partners should try to breathe together, which will not only make things easier but more pleasurable, too.Illustrated by: Natalia SpottsRemember the cardinal rule of anal sex hygiene: Never ever go from anal to vaginal intercourse without washing up first. “Transferring the bacteria that naturally occur in the GI system into the vagina can cause serious problems,” Glickman says. “And just changing condoms isn’t enough, since condoms often don’t cover all the way down the shaft.” Wash the penis or toy with soap and water after anal play to remove any lube or body fluids before switching to vaginal sex. “Or even better, save anal for last,” Glickman says.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Here Are The Best Sex Shops In NYCEverything You Need To Know About How To Use A VibratorOrgasm Tips To Add To Your Sex Life Now

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7 Things to Know About Rabbit Vibrators

Are you a rabbit lover? Here are some things to know about these vibrators, past, present and future.

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Orgasm Tips To Add To Your Sex Life Now

Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Here at Refinery29, we don't believe that any approach to sex is one-size-fits-all. Different techniques work for different people (with different partners, and at different times). That said, we have collected quite a few tried-and-tested tips that sex therapists, sex toy experts, and sex-having people swear can help you reach orgasm (and maybe even orgasms). No, orgasm isn't the be-all-end-all of sex, but it's part of the gamut of sexual experience, and a pretty great one at that.Unfortunately, the orgasm gap is alive and well, and far fewer women than men are reaching climax on a regular basis. It's true that there are many reasons behind this inequity, from inadequate sex ed to continued, society-wide disregard for women's sexual satisfaction. To the extent that you can take action to experience the pleasure you'd like, though, you deserve to. That's why we're collecting some of our best tips for achieving orgasm here. Click through to review some you may know and discover others you may not have heard, and check back as we continue to add to the list.Talk to your partner.Talk? We're supposed to be here for the sex, right? Hear us out. From the biological differences in our bodies, to sexual preferences, the language of orgasm is not universal. Therefore, before you start physically trying to get one another off, take time to discuss how and where you want to be touched and what turns you on."If you’d like to explore something, like dirty talk or anal play, and it’s not something that you already have in your relationship, then speak to your partner in a way that they will understand how you are feeling," Madeleine Castellanos, MD, an NYC-based sex therapist, told Refinery29. If anal play and dirty talk help you reach orgasm, how is your partner supposed to know that unless you tell them?And btw, talking about your sexual needs and desires can absolutely turn into dirty talk.Photographed by Lula Hyers.Heighten your senses.There’s a reason why blindfolds are so popular in the bedroom.“If you take away your sense of sight, it gives you permission to pay more attention to what’s going on inside your body,” Kimberly Sharky, LMFT, CST, a sex and relationship therapist, once told us.And if your partner does something you like, let him or her know.“If you love kissing on your neck, mention it. That may feel like a safer start than asking for something more sexually explicit,” Sharky said.Photographed by: Natalia MantiniGet into position.The right position can be a game-changer. Plus, if you’re having trouble getting the orgasm you want with a partner, switching things up a little can’t hurt. Whether or not you’re in a long-term relationship, it can be all too easy to fall back into less-than-exciting habits.Thankfully, from variations on classic sex positions to positions for all different sizes to Kama Sutra sex positions, we’ve got you covered.Photographed by: Natalia MantiniTake your time.Take it slow, and try putting your mind at ease.It’s been suggested before that feeling safe and relaxed is an important part of achieving an orgasm. A 2006 study, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, found some evidence that in women, the hippocampus and amygdala parts of the brain — which are associated with emotions like fear and anxiety — showed decreased activity during sex, but before orgasm. In other words, once fear and anxiety go out the window, you might find it easier to get an orgasm.In addition to a safe situation, you also want to don't to rush it. Cheri Travis, MAEd, a licensed professional psychotherapist once told us that putting down your vibrator and getting your brain involved is the first step. Fantasize about someone you’ve had your eye on, and focus on that feeling, paying attention to how your body reacts. Do your best to relax, and rid yourself of distractions, and then you can get whatever kind of physical stimulation you like involved (whether that's your vibrator or your partner or both). The key is to be in the present moment.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Go back to school.There are more online courses on orgasm than ever before, and it might be time to find one that works for you. We can vouch for sex therapist Vanessa Marin’s Finishing School, a comprehensive class designed to guide you to your first orgasms, alone and with a partner. In taking it, "You’ll banish those destructive internal monologues, you’ll learn what your body actually needs to reach orgasm, and you’ll have fun doing it," Marin writes. "Because seriously, orgasm should be fun." We agree.We’re also fans of the orgasm-training website OMGYES, which crowdsourced insight from over 2,000 women to bring you tried-and-true techniques with step-by-step instructions. For a different approach, check out Orgasmic Meditation (OM), which teaches "a 15-minute partnered consciousness practice where one partner strokes the other one's clitoris for 15 minutes with no goal other than to feel and be present." OM offers a free introductory module and a paid eight-day starter program on its website; both will give you new tricks to try with a partner or partners.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Easy on the clitoris.The clitoris is a highly sensitive little organ: It has at least 8,000 nerve endings to the penis's 4,000, and these 8,000 interact with up to 15,000 additional nerve endings throughout the pelvis. While we're grateful for every one of 'em, we're also aware that clitoral over stimulation can jeopardize our ability to achieve a second (or even first) orgasm. Touching the clit directly on its head can be borderline painful and force you to pause the action before you're ready, so try stroking (rather than rubbing) the hood or the side, or even stimulating it through underwear if it's particularly sensitive. Then, switch it up: have your partner lick and suck your clit; gently massage and squeeze the labia; insert a few fingers if you're into penetration; then return to clitoral stimulation. This rotation will help you continue to build toward climax without sending your clit into unresponsive overdrive.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Warm up with a pelvic workout.This tip comes from Zoë Ligon, founder and CEO of sex toy retailer Spectrum Boutique and proponent of pre-sex Kegels. "I sometimes have a hard time feeling physically aroused even if I am mentally aroused," she shared with us. "If I know I'll be hooking up with my partner shortly, I'll do pelvic floor exercises beforehand... Not only does it strengthen your PC muscle in the long run (the same muscle that contracts during orgasm), it also gets blood flowing to the genitals, which increases sensitivity." Think of this as your sexual warm-up lap.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Your G-spot could be the key.I once interviewed a woman who, at 26 years old, had never had an orgasm — either alone or with a partner. She knew that "sexual repression" wasn't the cause: "It became a really loaded thing for me because I felt like something was wrong with me, and I felt like my body just wasn’t capable of orgasm," she told me. "The other thing that really drove me insane is everyone was like, 'Oh, it’s because you’re not emotionally available — it’s your fault because you’re disconnected.' I actually feel more like myself when I’m having sex than at any other time!"She proved these accusers wrong while hooking up with a casual acquaintance whose fingering technique brought her to orgasm, not once, but three times in a row. "It turns out that this very specific thing makes me squirt," she explained. "Someone has to press on my stomach really hard and finger me really hard, and they have to be sitting up while I’m lying down. I don’t have to be psychologically connected at all — it’s very technical!" Try come-hither fingering moves or sex toys tailored to stimulate those sensitive tissues on the front wall of your vagina.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Don't discount the power of anal pleasure.Contrary to (a somewhat) popular belief, anal intercourse can be immensely pleasurable for both the giver and the receiver — and some women swear by the combination of anal and clitoral stimulation. Perhaps the most important step in trying anal play is to prepare yourself mentally. "If you think anal sex is going to hurt, you prepare for that, tighten up in fear, and it does," sex psychologist David Ley, PhD, told us. "If you prepare to enjoy it, negotiate it, prepare your body for it, and discuss ways to manage the experience, then discomfort is absent or greatly lessened." And besides, many women describe any pain that comes from anal sex as the "good" or pleasurable kind — the kind that enhances rather than detracts from pleasure.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Treat yourself (to a new toy)."Masturbation is a huge part of overall wellness, and it’s a healthy expression of a person’s sexuality," Tristan Weedmark, We-Vibe's "Global Passion Ambassador," told Refinery29. "It's the best way to find out what brings you pleasure, which makes you a better sexual partner" — and the majority of women in a recent survey by We-Vibe identified using a toy as the "the best way to spice up" their masturbation routines. Peruse our pleasure-product picks here, but also consider visiting a brick-and-mortar sex toy retailer to speak with an experienced employee about what might be the best toy(s) for you.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Lube lube lube lube lube.You've heard it before and we're (anal) plugging it again: Lube is one of the single easiest ways to transform your experience of sex. What you may not know is how much lube can improve solo sex. The next time you masturbate, apply a pea-sized drop of lube or stimulating gel to your clit and observe the difference. This can be especially helpful if your clit tends to feel overly sensitive after you've been masturbating for a while but before you've had an orgasm; the lube creates a thin barrier between clit and fingers or toy and makes the stimulation less direct.Photographed By Natalia Mantini.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Here Are The Best Sex Shops In NYCEverything You Need To Know About How To Use A VibratorEverything You Need To Know About First-Time Anal Sex

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You’ve Got Options! 6 Super-Hot Things You Can Do With a Couples’ Vibrator

These unique sex toys were designed to be worn during intercourse but with a little creativity, you can get a lot more bang for your buck.

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How To Maintain Long-Distance Relationships

Let's face it: Long-distance relationships can be rough.If you've been there, you know it all too well. It's difficult to balance your friendships and your career with any romantic relationship, let alone one in which you don't get to see the other person whenever you want. Plus, while romantic relationships can be wonderfully fulfilling, they're work as it is. Factor in time differences, busy schedules, and miles apart, and you could really start feeling the strain.But, thanks to technology, maintaining a LDR these days is easier than ever. Though IRL face time is obviously the best way to keep a relationship going, the ease with which we can get face time on our phones (whether through Snapchat, Skype, or, you know, FaceTime) can certainly make that distance gap feel narrower. And not that you needed an excuse, but being miles apart can be great for your sext life and improve your phone sex skills.Ahead, we talked to a few people about how they maintain their long-distance relationships, from digital Chipotle dates to sending snail mail."Besides sending each other unflattering selfies and GIFs of funny dogs, what really helped was having TV shows in common.I was finally getting around to watching The Wire (one of his favorite shows), and, instead of sending him the same sad-girl 'hey uh miss you' text whenever the mood struck, I'd text him about where I was in the show or ask him about his favorite characters. Sure, we'd make time to have conversations about our real lives, too, but it was really helpful to have a go-to topic for whenever I was missing him....I also made him keep this shitty Han Solo action figure of mine to act as my spiritual placeholder in his apartment.""My boyfriend and I have this tradition called 'Sci Fi Friday' where we order Indian, Chinese, or Thai and watch Sci Fi. It started back in 2007. When I went to grad school in the UK in 2010, we kept the tradition alive."On Friday night, I'd microwave a bowl of instant Saag Paneer (I was dirt poor in school) and he'd order Indian food. We'd get on a Google Hangout and queue up an episode of Doctor Who. Then we'd count down 'Three...Two...One!' and hit play at the exact same time, before muting our microphones. When something crazy happened in the show, I could see him react at the same time I did, and that made it feel like we were in the same place, even though we were 4,879 miles apart."— CaraIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."When we visited each other, we'd make plans to go see a concert, movie, attend some kind of event, have a beach day, just to feel like we could make memories together during the time we did share. We got into eating shabu shabu and would buy ingredients to make our favorite meals together when we visited each other."— KaitlinIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."I started dating my girlfriend (now of 2.5 years) when I was in the middle of moving from NYC to CA. We had a passionate couple of weeks before I packed all my things and headed to the west coast."Neither of us knew what to expect, but we kept in touch by texting, gchatting, FaceTiming, Google-Hangout-ing, letters, and sending packages — and finally a long, three-month-anticipated trip for her to visit me. Our packages included printed film photographs, custom sexy videos...thumb drives of photos and playlists, silly cute trinkets, favorite sweaters with my perfume sprayed all over to remind her of my scent, and lots of handwritten love letters."— NicoleIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."My (now ex) boyfriend [and I] used to do FaceTime dinner dates at Chipotle. We would literally order and sit and eat while we FaceTimed, so it was like we were together, scarfing down our burrito bowls."— SerenaIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."Agree on an evening, find a new recipe for dinner that neither of you have tried, FaceTime/Skype while both cooking it, then eat it 'together'!"— AdrianaIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."My boyfriend lives in L.A."We love doing things 'together' even when we're not together, and will watch a specific TV show, read the same book, or listen to the same podcast and then discuss."We're always planning the next adventure and [we] really maximize time when we're together. One Thanksgiving, we spent the holiday with his parents and then road-tripped to this mining ghost town I'd been obsessed with. In the car, we devoured all of Serial. So we had a lot of shared experiences in just a few days."We talk pretty much every day, too."— AmandaIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."My fiancé lives in D.C. We've been together six years, and almost two of the years have been long-distance."We do FaceTime, schedule trips to see each other at least twice a month, and send each other packages or gifts just because."— KrystleIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."My BF (now fiancé) and I STARTED dating long-distance when he lured me in by making a bet that ended in him having to snail-mail me 10 hand-written compliments over the course of a few months. Some came on a postcard, some came with flowers, and my favorite ones came with little chocolate treats. I lived in Minnesota, and [he lived] in NYC at the time."After we officially started [dating], we ALWAYS took advantage of business trips and booked them strategically around the weekends so we could get one leg of the trip comped. Work perks?"Netflix/HBO Go also worked as a good date solution — although we didn't actually FaceTime or phone...while watching the shows. We started watching a show I had never seen, together ( The Sopranos...) [and] we watched the seasons 'together' and texted obsessively."After dating about a year, I made sure that, on one of my visits to NYC, I brought out my girlfriends to experience it with me and get to know him for more than just a dinner — all of his friends and my friends got to hang out and meet, and it was great to get us all together and feel 'normal.'"— KateIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."I'm currently in a long-distance relationship and have been for a year. We send each other old-school letters pretty frequently, and care packages (for the bigger occasions). We also use Snapchat a lot; it's nice to see someone's face! I also think talking on the phone is key. The biggest one, to me, is planning out the next time you'll see each other; otherwise, there's no light at the end of the tunnel!"— KaraIllustrated by: Amrita Marino."FaceTime dates, care packages, and making sure we didn't go longer than a month without seeing each other in person. We were both on the east coast, so we thankfully didn't face the dreaded time zone challenge or anything like that.We also made sure to put a time limit on how long we'd be long distance, so we had something to plan for."— LaurenIllustrated by: Amrita Marino.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Behold: The Best Cuddling Positions For Every SituationWhy Ben Wa Balls Are The Sex Toys You Never Knew You WantedWant To Be A Better Kisser? Try These Tips

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