Oh Joy Sex Toy: Navigating Long-Distance Relationships

Erika Moen
View profile »

I’ve been producing webcomics since I was 15 and doing it full-time as a professional since the age of 25 at Periscope Studio in Portland, OR. My work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp and Villard, among my many self-published projects as well.

Each week, artist Erika Moen explores some aspect of sex and reports back on the result for Oh Joy Sex Toy. This week: Erika and her partner Matt discuss long-distance relationships and the ins-and-outs of sexting. 

Read more sex-positive comics by Erika Moen, including one about the internal condom

Want more from Erika Moen? Oh Joy, Sex Toy: Volume One is 268 pages of sex tips, interviews, sex toy reviews, and more! Get your autographed copy at BitchMart.

Here is a text transcription of the comic to make it more accessible for people using screen readers. Transcription by Morgan Kelly.  

Erika and Matthew introduce this comic by saying, “For the first three and a half years of our relationship, Matthew and I were dating long distance between the US and the UK. So today we’re talking about…” In large decorative script, “Tips and Tricks for the Long Distance Relationship.”

1. Communicate: Talking is the most important part of making any relationship work. Talk to your sweetie every day, even if it’s nothing more than to say hello. It keeps the two of you integrated in each other’s daily lives.

Erika explains, “Time zone differences can be a challenge. Matthew and I had a schedule. Everyday he’d call to wake me up…” The illustration depicts Erika in bed on the phone as Matthew tells her, “Wake up, beautiful.” Erika continues, “…And then I’d call to wish him good night during my lunch break.” The next illustration shows Matthew in bed, Erika is telling him on the phone, “G’night sweetie.” Erika adds, “And then, of course, there were all the texts, IMs and emails we’d send each other throughout the say.”

2. Countdown: Know the date that you’re going to see each other next. Erika says, “The months when we didn’t know a date were the worst. It was like being in an endless sea of uncertainty. How long can we keep doing this? Maybe we should break up because the distance is too much… I love him, but we can’t live like this forever. But when you can count down the days, you can moderate that pain.” Matthew is depicted excitedly crossing off days on a calendar, “Woo! Only 100 more days till I get to see her. Light at the end of the tunnel!”

3. LDRs are expensive so save every last penny! Erika explains, “International phone calls, taking time away from work, tickets to travel, eating abroad… That adds up! Make a budget so that you can sock a little money each paycheck.”

Erika says, “And, of course, there’s the challenge of having a sexual relationship with someone who’s not there.” Matthew adds, “Friends, I recommend you get real good at phone sex.”

4. Sexy Times: There’s no room for shyness in a LDR. Tell your partner how to please you, share your fantasies. Ask what your partner’s desires are and keep an open mind.

Erika says, “This not only helps you get your rocks off while you’re apart, but improves your communication skills for when you are together. Send your sweetie a sex toy! Video chats and dirty photos are great tools for keeping fire alive. But there are some risks and warnings to go with that.”

Matthew says, “Let’s be clear: If you consensually receive a dirty picture, you may NEVER, EVER share it. EVER.” A person comes up to Matthew and says, “But my ex broke my heart and I hate them so much!” Matthew swipes the person’s phone from their hand and says, “Never. Ever. There are no excuses.”

Erika continues, “And there’s always the change that someone’s account will get hacked or their device will be stolen or simply that a nosey victory will snoop on an unattended laptop or phone. Basically, every sexy photo has the chance of being seen by someone you didn’t send it to. So when you’re taking pictures, don’t show any distinguishing characteristics. Don’t show your face and try to obscure any obvious birth marks, tattoos, or piercings.”

5. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: It’s not all pain and hardship. Erika and Matthew say, “One of the best things about a long-distance relationship is the first time you get to have sex on each visit. You get to re-discover your partner’s body anew. Every time – mind blowing.”

Erika and Matthew conclude this comic in each other’s arms as they say, “So that’s it! Long distance is haaaard. There’s no getting around it. But it can be done! Good luck!!!”

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

2 Comments Have Been Posted

As someone who is currently

As someone who is currently in an overseas LDR for much of the year, I would HIGHLY recommend FaceTime, Skype, and other free video chat services. I didn't want to drink the iPhone koolaid, but being able to FaceTime for free during my lunch break every day is totally worth the extra money each month. (And if you use FaceTime and Apple messenger on an iPhone, you don't have to pay international calling/texting fees, which are insanely expensive.)

And yes, talk every day! Text constantly! Send cute animal gifs!

Thanks for this!

This is great advice, and I'm proud to say that much of it has already played a major part in the success of my relationship. My boyfriend and I are both full time students (myself in Montreal and him in Toronto) so although the distance isn't huge, our hectic schedules can often get in the way. Luckily, our time zones are the same and we get to Skype goodnight every day, and I can always count on waking up to a sweet message or picture from him.

One thing that I would suggest is to Skype overnight. It's done amazing things for our intimacy...hearing the other person breathe next to you while you sleep is a huge source of comfort and can almost transcend the distance.
Although I miss him tremendously when he's not physically there, it's definitely true that the distance has pushed us to communicate like pro's, because our emotional intimacy is what we're left to focus on. There's something kind of amazing about feeling like you've never been closer to another human being before...without even touching them. One of the major lessons I've gotten to take away is the old familiar, "relationships take work!" THEY DO. It's easy to get lazy about the important stuff when you're distracted by your physical closeness. Our relationship is more rewarding now than it was when we first met (while we were living in the same city). And the weeks we spend together when we can will make for some of the most romantic memories of my life. It can be done, friends! You both just need to want it enough.

Add new comment