There have been many attempts made by the long distance couple to solve the no-sex dilemma. But short of sleeping with other people, there just aren't that many options. It used to be dirty love letters, then it was phone sex. There has been sexting, erotic emails, dirty pictures. Clearly, some of us still can’t keep our hands off each other - at least mentally - even when we're hundreds of miles apart. Even so, just hearing or reading those dirty words hardly compares to the real thing. Fortunately, technology has brought us the next best: video.

Lady Gaga’s doing it. And if you haven't tried it yourself yet, chances are you know someone else who has. Whoever you are, I’m here to give you some simple tips. The rest, of course, is up to you.

Make It a Date

There's no need for elaborate planning, but at least choose a time when both of you will have at least an hour or so to relax without interruptions from a roommate, work, family, etc. It might not bother some everyone to have people moving around in the house during an intimate moment, but if you know it’ll bother you, take that into account and make sure you’ll be home alone. Most importantly, make sure to close and lock your door - unless, perhaps, you’re involved in some sort of voyeuristic fantasy, but that’s for another article.

Spruce Up

Don't just roll up in sweat pants and weekend hair; prepare for Skype sex as if you were getting ready for a night of romance in real life. Guys should consider shaving, and wear something presentable (or nothing at all). Ladies should look their best, including makeup and even a little perfume if it gets you in the mood. Dress in something you know your partner will like, or try out some new lingerie.

As with any other type of sex, if you want to have Skype sex, you have to feel sexy. If you don’t like the way you look on video, either minimize your screen so you won’t be as self-conscious, or adjust the lighting. If possible, avoid fluorescent lighting and go with something with more a yellow tone. Feel free to be vain - you’re on camera, after all. You want to look the best you can to feel the best you can.

Get Comfortable

Know your body. If you’re not in the habit of masturbating regularly, definitely give that a go first. Note also that Skype sex is more than masturbating - having someone watch you do it adds a whole new level. It can be arousing, but it can also be daunting, so make sure you know exactly what gets you off in a physical way before you try it on camera. (Getting into a sexy book beforehand can help. Check out 10 Must-Read Erotic Novels: Classic and Kink Gems for ideas.)

Talk Dirty

Dirty talk isn't necessary, but it can be very helpful in terms of spicing things up. If you’re a dirty talk rookie, start easy by just describing things that you want your partner to do to you, or things that you want to do to your partner. Say it sexy, but don't worry about being clever if that isn't your thing; even the simplest descriptions go a long way toward making things hotter.

For many couples, the next stage might be role-playing or fantasy. Consider exploring a fantasy you’ve always found hot, whether it’s as tried and true as schoolgirl/teacher, or something that appeals to you and your partner on a more personal level. Just because you’re role-playing doesn’t mean you have to use cheesy lines from '70s porn - unless you want to! Whatever you say, just keep the dialog simple and focus on what turns you on about the situation. Or have one or both partners describe the fantasy situation as it unfolds.

Have Fun - and Lots of It

It's hard not to be able to have physical contact, but the upside is that it forces you to try new things. Maybe it's a role-playing fantasy, as I mentioned above, or maybe it's a new toy, such as a dildo or a vibrator. Also try different positions to ensure your partner's seeing the parts of you he or she loves the most.

Finally, don’t worry too much if things feel awkward, or you’re unable to orgasm on-screen. For some people, getting themselves off is something that they’re used to doing in private, and it can take some adjustment to get used to doing it in front of someone else. Don’t pressure yourself, and don’t be afraid to laugh at awkward moments rather than let them overwhelm you. And remember, even if you don't finish with a happy ending, your Skype quickie will ensure that you have one coming to you when you and your honey get a chance to play things out in real time.

Communicate

Finally - and perhaps most importantly - communicate with your partner! If something worked for you, say so. If it was mind blowing, shout it out. If things were awkward, talk about it and make an appointment to try again.

Skype sex is just like any other sex - the options are limitless and entirely up to you. Think of it as an opportunity to take part in your very own porno. Only in this one, your partner will only have eyes for you. (Want to start with sex texting, or "sexting," instead? Check out Safe Sext: 5 Free Smartphone Apps That Keep Things Private.)