Since when have long-distance relationships become the envy?

Since sex went high-tech. With the virtual world rolling out one sex marvel after the next, couples can hardly take a breather from all the action. Instead of waiting weeks to unleash their longings, lovers are going at it day and night — whenever they’ve recovered from the last realistic virtual sex romp. Whether a mile down the road or completely across the globe, lovers are delighting in the Internet’s version of sexual intimacy, which seems to know no end.

Long-distance relationships used to be such a drag. While nothing can replace the joys of real human touch, technology is making it a lot easier — and racier — to love from afar. Tech sex can keep you pining for each other and ready for action at a moment’s notice, and quite literally at that.

Heated sex play used to consist of shooting instant messages to one another, piquing one another's interest in chatrooms or wooing each other in online interactive worlds. Suddenly, Internet-enabled sex toys are all the rage.

Teledildonics, also known as cyberdildonics, combines sex with telepresence (the experience of being “present” in a real-time, real-world situation regardless of where you’re physically located). This realistic virtual sex involves sex toys that can be controlled for your pleasure via your computer over the World Wide Web. All you have to do is download the sex toy’s software, then plug the device into your computer, and you’re in business.

Lovers can then log onto the ‘net and relish in controlling each other’s toys remotely. This typically involves controlling the vibrations of faux genitalia. A popular combination of this is the Interactive Fleshlight and Sinulator.

The Interactive Fleshlight is a sleeve (for the guys) that is compatible with the name brand Sinulator wireless vibrator. The Sinulator connects to any Windows computer with an Internet connection. While the male plays with the Fleshlight, vibrations are sent through the Sinulator to his female counterpart.

These products, as well as similar devices, also contain gadgets that allow lovers to adjust the virtual sex to a rhythm of their liking. Really tech-savvy partners may want to go all out, hooking up their Webcams or using instant messaging to add an audio component.

Adventurous lovers are finding that tech sex is changing their relationships for the better. This mode of sex is great in that:

— It enables lovers to stay in touch with the objects of their affection, as in practically in touch.

— Online sex communication makes in-person, offline sex talks that much easier.

— People are exploring new sexual frontiers, piquing each other’s interest as they amp up their sexual fantasies and erotic stories as never before.

Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that such sex play is not everyone’s cup of tea. I can appreciate its benefits, but I'm a slave to my computer. Getting me in the mood involves getting me away from my PC. Luckily, for those of us up for technological inspirations of a different sort, there are other options.

Your cell phone can offer you more than the buzz of its vibrating ring option. Vibrators are now available that work wirelessly with your cell phone. When you call your lover, or vice versa, the vibrator is activated, triggering a patterned, vibrating sequence for the duration of your conversation.

Other cell phone vibrators depend on text messaging. Sex partners can engage in some solo pleasuring, titillating each other with scintillating IMs. Lovers wear the wireless, bullet vibrator over their favorite hot spots. The gadget is activated when you receive a text message.

While some of these devices may seem a bit far out, they can be well worth your “sexperimentation,” taking you beyond the physical and virtual. Given the amount of intimacy people share, Internet sex enthusiasts claim it can be quite the emotional and mental experience.

Who knows? You may find yourself aroused as you’ve never known before.

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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