Guest written by Rain Andersen (@wearenotfriends_), a marketing and e-commerce coordinator for Lovers. Rain is a retired sex worker, pleasure advocate, and sexual wellness expert. Rain has worked in the adult entertainment industry for eight years and in the adult retail industry for four years.

1. The Rise of Long Distance Sex Toys
2. Styles of Long Distance Sex Toys
3. Troubleshooting Your App-Controlled Sex Toy
4. The Best Long Distance Sex Toys

What ingenuity can come of our forced isolation?

COVID-19 has disconnected us from our friends, family, and for many people, from our romantic partners. Even as we march towards normalcy, people are not likely to forget the relief that technology afforded them during the beginnings of this pandemic. In 2020, Americans accounted for nearly 30% of global sex toy sales, and this percentage is estimated to grow as conversations about intimacy and loneliness gain value and prominence during the pandemic. Long distance sex toys provided users with the ability to stimulate touch, bonding, and with any luck- a cyber-induced orgasm. To satiate the need for human connection- people have gone virtual.

It's clear: you don’t need to be in a long-distance relationship to benefit from long-distance connection. In an era of social distancing, connection is more valuable than ever. Our relationships have been spotlighted by the pandemic, forcing us to take stock of how we maintain and express value for these connections and to reevaluate what constitutes as connection in the first place. American’s have long struggled to strike a balance between work, relationships, hobbies, and self-care. The social fallout of COVID-19 created an opportunity for us to assess the quality of our relationships, and to recognize and appreciate the vital role that connection plays in our lives.

“There was, and continues to be, a high demand for app-controlled products after the shutdown,” says Alexis, a buyer for the sexual wellness chain, Lovers. “I believe people are more interested in app-control items because it gives them something new that they can explore with their partner. Apps are more accessible on the phone and easier to control! When a user can have all their products controlled by one app, they can change their experiences in the moment with ease.” App-controlled and remote-controlled sex toys allow partners to control the narrative. This distinction is what makes long distance sex toys such a success. “As travel kicks off again, it provides connectivity and intimacy for partners who can’t be together or for those who continue to stay apart,” Alexis says.

The future of long-distance sex toys is more promising than ever, as sex toy manufactures work to incorporate connective features into their products. I hypothesize that the study of teledildonics will soon merge with the data-driven, biofeedback technology modeled in sex toys like the F1s V2 Stroker and the Lioness rabbit. With these two modes of technology, people may soon have the ability to stage their sexual encounters by collecting data about a person’s responsiveness to touch and pattern.

Styles of Long-Distance Sex Toys

Long-distance sex toys come in a variety of different styles, designed to enhance your sexual encounters through stimulated touch. This guide is will help you to identify the style of long-distance sex toy that best supports your needs.

Automated Sex Toys: Automated sex toys are a style of toy that can operate independently, without the support of your hands. Perfect for recreating the sensations of partnered sex, these sex toys add a visually stimulating layer to long-distance connection. This style of sex toy does not rely on a partner controlling the settings, which allows people to focus on the auditory and visual elements of their encounters. Automated sex toys are an excellent option for people participating in virtual dates, phone sex, or sexting.

Remote Control Sex Toys: Remote control sex toys let users control the settings of a pleasure device through an accompanying remote, ring, or bracelet- designed for discreet public play. Ideal for exhibitionists and voyeurs, a remote-control sex toy can also be used during solo or partnered stimulation to prevent awkward disruptions and improve control. This style of sex toy will typically support a connection range of ten meters, which is sufficient for partners that may be living together but refraining from physical interaction.

App Controlled Sex Toys: App controlled sex toys let users control the settings of a pleasure device through their phone’s Bluetooth Connector. This style of long-distance sex toy differs from others because it allows users to interact with one another from anywhere in the world. With app-controlled sex toys, users can control vibrations, adjust intensity, and drive their partners wild at just a tap of your phone screen. Perfect for enhancing the experience of virtual dates, phone sex, sexting, and public play, app-controlled sex toys empower their users to find new and innovative ways to express themselves.

Shop App-Controlled Sex Toys

Trouble-Shooting Your App-Controlled Sex Toy

App-controlled sex toys are controlled by phone applications that facilitate a Bluetooth connection. These applications are free to download and empower users to access special benefits and modes of connection depending on the brand and manufacturer of their toy. While these platforms aim to offer intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, they can still be challenging for new users to navigate. When purchasing a long-distance sex toy, users should begin by adjusting the settings built-in to their selected phone app. Long-distance sex toys are typically pre-set to terminate your session or enter sleep mode after a pre-determined amount of time. These settings are programed into these toys to conserve battery life when the product is not being actively used.

The settings on your phone app can also help you to navigate connectivity issues, with opportunities to reset and disconnect products that did not properly pair. There are many factors that impact a toys ability to pair with its partnering phone app. Making sure your toy is fully charged will help to prevent issues when syncing your sex toy to your phone. It’s important to remember that these phone applications work based off a set of commands- so if we are too enthusiastic (or too slow to react), we may miss the opportunity to connect within that sequence. I recommend connecting and disconnecting your toy to its phone app so that you can become familiar with its pairing cycle. Bluetooth sex toys will often use an LED interface to help alert the user that the toy is attempting to connect. When in doubt, powering down your sex toy, disconnecting your Bluetooth devices from your phone, and reinstalling the application can resolve almost any issue.

These techniques can help you to navigate any challenges you have with your long-distance sex toy, but do not address issues of connectivity related to a user’s chosen setting. For example, using your app-control sex toy on an airplane, or submerging a long-distance sex toy under water can weaken your connection because water and air (of that concentration) can create a barrier to the Bluetooth network. For extended app-control play, stick to locations on dry land, and save your Mile High fantasy for a different occasion.

The Best Long-Distance Sex Toys

One of the most erotic things about long-distance connection is ironically, the distance. Any sex toy can be fun when used from a distance because distance imbues the product with a sense of voyeurism, exhibitionism, and yearning. Below are some of the most popular long-distance sex toys, ranked for their versatility, sales performance, and design.

We-Vibe Chorus ($199)
App Control + Remote Control + Manual Control

The We-Vibe Chorus is the best-selling couple’s toy by We-Vibe. This iconic, c-shaped vibrator is designed for hands free stimulation during penetration. With the We-Vibe Chorus, couples never have to worry about regulating controls, adjusting grip, or balancing products between bodies. For the first time, couples can focus on what matters: each other. With the We-Vibe Chorus’s adjustable wire core, users can find the perfect fit for their body, no matter what changes occur over time. Perfect for pantie play, hands free sex, and dual-stimulation, the We-Vibe Chorus can adapt to your every need!

SVAKOM Alex Neo ($159)
App Control + Automated Control

This automated, thrusting stroker is fun to use with or without a partner! Configured for long distance connection, local control, and interactive web experiences, the Alex Neo is one of the few products designed to sync with live performers and PornHub videos. With SVAKOM’s Alex Neo, users can choose from 7 thrusting modes, 5 audible experiences, and 3 languages to find the combination that brings them to their knees.

Lovers Joy Stick Thruster ($99)
Remote Control + Automated Control

Lover’s top-rated, private label thruster is a non-gendered vibrator that can be controlled by remote. Couples love the Joy Sticks realistic but modestly sized thruster. 3.85 inches of insertable length are perfectly positioned to target the G-spot and prostate muscles. The textured stimulation pad acts as a base for this toy, making it suitable for both anal and vaginal insertion. Control vibration and thrust at the click of a button, thanks to this products accompanying remote.

Evolved Ballistic Dildo ($119)
Remote Control + Automated Control
The Evolved Ballistic Dildo offers the very best in remote control play! Enjoy seamless transitions of vibration with the wireless remote, perfect for pegging and hands-free masturbation. Couples refraining from sex will love this realistic, mountable sex toy that allows users to play at a distance.

Evolved Thrust and Go ($139)
Automated Control
Let this automated and interchangeable thruster do the hard work: no remote necessary. The Evolved Thrust and Go is the perfect toy for virtual sex because it's always ready to put on a good show. Users can choose from two shaft attachments to customize their experience. Simply position your toy along any 90 degree angle to target stimulation to your partners liking!

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Further Readings:

How to Have Long Distance Sex: Insider
How Long Distance Couples are Keeping Things Hot: Bustle
How to Fix Vibrator Connectivity Issues: Her Toys Review