As the end of the semester approaches, many of you are probably taking time out from stressing about finals to look ahead with dread to the summer months. Why dread? Well, you’re going home for the summer and you’ll be separated from your spring fling cutie for almost four whole months.

If you want to stay in a relationship with a college honey who is from far away, that means surviving summer (and winter breaks) without any person-to-person contact with your sweetheart. If you are in a monogamous relationship, it means long, long months of (gasp) celibacy.

As a veteran of a three-year long-distance relationship, I know how hard it can be to stay intimate with someone when you can’t see them face-to-face. It’s very important to take steps to keep your affection, trust and sexual connection alive when you don’t have physical cues and gestures to speak for you.

The most obvious thing to do is talk often. It’s best to use methods of cross-country communication through which you can see and hear the most of each other, such as Webcam chatting. Whether you do that or just call or instant message each other, make sure you stay in touch. It’s helpful to arrange a regular schedule of long-distance summer lovin’.

Even if you don’t have time for a lengthy conversation, a quick call to say “Hi, I miss you” goes a long way. When you don’t get to give each other a quick kiss before class or send a sexy wave as you pass each other on the quad, little signs of affection make a big difference. Send a text message or e-mail if you’re really strapped for time.

If you say you’re going to call at a certain time, make sure you contact your hottie in some way at that time. When you’re thousands of miles apart, it’s easier to blow small instances of thoughtlessness out of proportion. If you’re supposed to call at 9 p.m. and flake out, it’s easier for your lover to imagine you dead in a ditch or rolling around with some new flame than if you were going to see each other at 10 p.m. anyway.

Try new ways of being sexual with each other. Phone sex is a classic solution to long-distance horniness, but it can be hard to verbalize sex words if you’re not used to it. Try writing each other dirty e-mails; if you need inspiration, try describing a favorite shared sex experience from the past. Use lots of detail and explore what kinds of words turn you on. You might eventually work up to phone sex or talking dirty when you are together again.

It’s also very important to masturbate when you’re stuck by yourself. It’s easier to stay faithful, if that’s your goal, if your body is satisfied. You can involve yourself in your partner’s masturbation by giving him or her a sex toy such as a masturbation sleeve or a clit vibrator to use in your absence. That way they’ll be thinking of you every time they use it to get off.

Of course, if your sweetheart lives at the home you’re returning to, I’m sure you’re looking forward to an enthusiastic welcome, complete with tossed sheets and ridiculous sex hair. Remember that your time at home is your time to reconnect with your special someone. Take time to enjoy each other’s presence; recharge your relationship batteries so you have some juice for the next months apart in the fall. When you spend most of your time apart, what you do with your time together matters even more.

If you’re a swinging single or if you get to spend the summer with your lover, enjoy your lucky bad self. Bask a lot in the sun (with sunscreen), have outdoor sex as much as possible (with a condom), and spend some quality stress-free time exploring your sexuality. Or just curl up at home with a good book. Maybe watch some porn. Most importantly, have a great summer.

Waddill is a member of the class of 2009.

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