Surprise, You’re In A Long Distance Relationship Now!

We’re currently in the middle of a global pandemic and almost everything about life as we know it is changing rapidly. One of the things that might have changed in the past few days / weeks / months is your dating and / or sex life. If you’re not in a position to quarantine with your date(s) or partner(s) you may be surprised and dismayed to discover that you are suddenly in a long distance relationship. Surprise!

In all seriousness, life is different today than it was even last week – even yesterday. Things are moving and changing quickly and many things are currently unknown. One thing that is known? We are experiencing a global pandemic with the spread of COVID-19. Another thing that is known? Our only tool of defense against the virus, currently, is social distancing, quarantine, and physical isolation.

Some folks are able to quarantine with their date(s) and / or partner(s) but for the many of us who aren’t, never fear – queers have a long history of committing ourselves to the most outlandish long distance situations in the name of love, lust, and Gay Yearning at the best of times. We’ve got this! Here’s some advice about how to weather a long distance relationship during a global pandemic, whether you and your babe live in different countries or just a few blocks away.

Here’s Your LDR Syllabus from Autostraddle

Good news: here at Autostraddle, we have already written a lot about how to handle long distance relationships and how to build some of the skills necessary to survive them – like a strong selfie game, above-average sexting skills, and a willingness to fuck on the phone. Here’s a refresher on some things you can do to feel close to a person you like or love or are attracted to while you’re not actually in the same place.

How to Write a Really Hot Sext in 5 Easy Steps

Sexting! An excellent skill to cultivate when you’re not long distance, an essential skill to cultivate when you are.

10 Tips For Better Lesbian Sexting

More sexting tips! We’re nothing if not thorough around here.

Safe Sexting: Tech Tips for the Stress-Free Sexting You Deserve

Sexting securely remains important even (especially?) during times of global crisis.

How to Have Phone Sex: A Detailed Guide

Eventually you’re going to get bored of sexting. Time to move onto phone sex!

Ready For Your Close-Up: The Beginner’s Guide to Taking a Sexy Solo Video

Listen, you can only have so much phone sex before you start thinking, wouldn’t this be better if I could see you sucking on a dildo?

You Deserve to Practice Elaborate Masturbation in Your Life; Here’s How

Let me tell you something that happens a lot in a long distance relationship: you masturbate. Lucky for all of us, masturbation can be quite the elaborate activity.

How to Take a Winning Thirst Trap: Your Detailed Multimedia Guide to Being Hot Online

Useful whether you’re partnered and pining or single and trying to flirt with the whole world!

Selfies Are Gonna Save The World

Okay I admit this headline from less than a month ago did not age well, and it’s very possible that selfies will not in fact save us from our current reality, but taking a nice photo of your cute face and sending it to your long distance babe can still feel really good. You don’t need to be super sexual 24/7 with your long distance babe, and to be honest, it’s very likely you won’t be feeling sexy 100% of the time right now. You might not be feeling sexy at all. It’s still nice to show the person you care about and miss your face, and it’ll be really nice to see theirs, too.

How to Make Long Distance Dating Sexy and Keep Things H.O.T. in Your L.D.R.

This is our ultimate definitive guide to keeping things sexy in a long distance relationship! Written at the end of 2018, it’s slightly more hopeful in tone than any of us feel today, but it’s still chock full of good practical tips. Plus it really is a nice reminder that queers have perfected the art of the long distance relationship many moons ago, and that we as a people have always found ways to connect with our faraway loves. This time – though different and specific in its moment – will be no different.

Some Additional Tips Specific To Long Distance In The Time Of COVID-19

Keep Your Phone Clean

Your phone is about to become your BFF, so make sure it’s not covered in germs before you hold it up to your ear for three hours every night. Yes, you should’ve been keeping your phone clean before COVID-19, sure, but we don’t have time to stress about the past. We’re in the present, and in this moment, Apple has finally admitted it’s fine to use most disinfecting products to clean your phone, after years of pretending it wasn’t fine. Fascinating to learn all the things we’ve been lied to about as this crisis intensifies! Anyway! Clean your phone!

Get Real about Logistics

Depending on your living situation and your work situation, it’s possible that you will only have to be long distance from your babe for a short period of time, or perhaps not at all. If you are able to safely quarantine together and it’s what you both want, that’s lucky and awesome. But if you’re not able to, you have to be honest about that, and you have to be strict about your new long distance status. Social distancing and isolation methods only work to flatten the curve if everyone does them. Since not everyone is able to stay home and away from other humans who they don’t live with right now, those of us who are able to absolutely have to do our part.

(If you’re feeling confused about social distancing and quarantining or wondering if it’s really necessary for you and your date(s) and / or partner(s) to be long distance lovers right now, check out this amazingly well researched and informative document put together by my friend Elly Belle, a queer journalist, about why we all need to be taking the coronavirus pandemic very seriously and why all of our individual actions really do impact the collective in major ways.)

Be Extra Patient and Compassionate

It’s true that patience and compassion are great to practice in all relationships, and that perhaps we need even more of both things when we’re separated from our sweeties and living that long distance life, but I would argue that living through a global pandemic while being separated from the person you like, love, or even simply enjoy fucking on a regular basis calls for extra extra extra patience and compassion! Everyone reacts to a crisis differently, and what seems logical to you may not make sense at all to your cutie, and vice versa. Now is really a time to slow down and think carefully before saying anything you might regret. We’re all scared. We’re all gonna show not-the-best-versions-of-ourselves in the coming days, weeks, and months as we try to navigate this brand new reality. I hope we’re all being extra patient and compassionate with everyone, but you absolutely have to be this way in your romantic relationship right now if you want it to survive.

Now go send your long distance babe a selfie – they deserve it, and so do you.


How are you dealing with de facto long-distance dating through this crisis? Are you an LDR pro and want to weigh in because now is your time to shine? Are you feeling frustrated because instead of doing the long distance thing, your housemates all moved their casual dates into your house and now you’re living in a nonconsensual queer commune?

Are you that couple that went on one Tinder date and decided to quarantine together? Are you those exes that are unfortunately still living together and thus suddenly quarantining together? (If you are in either of these two situations, please email me immediately – vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com – because I’d love to interview you.) Let’s talk it out in the comments.

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 333 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. I’m so frustrated, because my girlfriend lives not even 10 minutes away by bike. We’re taking our responsibility and keeping away from each other, because I really don’t want to be the ahole that infects someone else. Especially because she interns at a hospital. I really miss her though.
    In the meantime, people here are still going to beaches and the forest because the sun shines. I’m afraid we’re gonna go in total lockdown because people are too stubborn to realise how serious this stuff is.

  2. I live in New Zealand and we are about to go into complete lockdown, essential services aside, in less than 2 days. My wife is currently staying with a friend after my son had direct contact with a possible covid case, since proven negative thank you goddess. But now she has a sore throat so entry back into our house of wedded bliss is not certain. We will be doing all these things (thanks so much for the tips!) but I have times of feeling truly bereft without her. We got married at the end of February and that truly feels a different world. I am so grateful that we can still communicate face to face, even if it’s not directly in person, and my heart goes out to those who don’t have that capacity. Thanks for staying online Autostraddle, it means so much. Here’s to selfies, sexting and the survival of love 💋

  3. I’m an introvert shut in who actively avoids leaving my house during the best of times, and I have been in a long distance relationship for the past five years. MY TIME HAS ARRIVED!

    In all seriousness though. sorry to all the people struggling right now. It is a difficult time for everyone in some way or another. All we can do is ban together (from a safe distance) and try to make it through the best we can.

  4. I literally just started talking to someone and it’s so frustrating that we won’t be able to see each other in person for a while. We did talk on the phone for a couple hours this weekend, though, so maybe all hope isn’t lost, lol.

  5. My incredible fiancee lives approximately 18,500 km away, door to door. Attending A Camp and falling in love has led to the most fortunate and incredible adventure of my life.

    Very luckily we spent a fortnight together before she flew back home, amidst this chaos. As I sat, sobbing uncontrollably, her being the stoic one – our consolation was ‘we’re professionals at long distance now’.

    My top tips are:
    1. Share A Calendar. If your human is lucky enough to have employment right now or you are self-isolating knowing what their schedule is and vice versa can bring great comfort. Scheduling actual activities while you are at home and sticking to them can be great for you, too!

    2. Find a (secure, free) messaging app that works for you. Use this ONLY for your Significant Human. Set rules around what’s appropriate/who deletes photos or messages etc. Some of them even let you design your own emojis!

    3. Video Calling Is Awesome: Nothing compares to seeing their face. NOTHING. Have a schedule or alternatively, simply being there, in the background as they do their things can bring great comfort.

    4. Write To Your Lover: Now is the time to commit those feelings to paper. Or copy out that Mary Oliver poem. Perhaps you can collage a card? Intentionally taking time to write to your person can bring a focus and joy that emails/texts cannot replace. More importantly, it’s your tangible history and we need these queer stories in our world.

    5. Make All The Feelings Crafts: For me, this is sewing/knitting/quilting. Find a project and put those feelings into it – in great darkness you can make something beautiful. Seeing my sweetheart wrapped in the quilt I made her, when I cannot hold her close. Wearing the toque on a walk that she knit. She is here. I am there.

    6. Support Your (Chosen) Family: It’s fucking hard right now. If their family is supportive of your relationship, reach out to them and talk. Offer support in any way you can. Make time for the people that are important to your person and invest deeply into these relationships, too. Recognise that at this time there are no rules, no reason. Lean into this support network and let them love you back.

    [I love you, K].

  6. My long-distance girlfriend and I got quarantined together, which will be the longest and most intense amount of time we’ve ever spent in the same place.

    Your points about patience and compassion are just in time. “Everyone reacts to a crisis differently, and what seems logical to you may not make sense at all to your cutie, and vice versa.” AMEN.

  7. It’s also hard if you just started going out with someone, are only just getting to know them, and now you have to self-isolate (which, of course, you do because this situation is serious and you don’t want to cause more harm or death).
    It would be great to see more content about how to have deeper conversations on video calls or how to navigate something new this way. <3

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