As a sex writer, I’ve long preached the importance of pleasure both solo and in the scope of relationships. And under pandemic conditions, those truths are even more crucial. I learned so much firsthand, after my partner and I were forced into an unintentional long-distance relationship (expired lease, pesky landlord, long story). Virtual sex quickly became our only option for connecting intimately, and that made me nervous. While I intellectually understand how to have video sex and am always open to trying new strategies for connection and sexual intimacy, I hadn’t previously tried it and wasn’t sure I’d be any good at it. Basically, I didn’t have any virtual-sex confidence, but we still resolved to make it work.

The first time we attempted having virtual sex, it didn’t go well. We started video chatting late, after we’d both had 12-plus-hour days, and conversation centered upon our respective unruly inboxes. We decided that because we clearly weren’t in the mood, we’d be better off rescheduling. Two days later, we gave it another whirl, but three seconds after I’d dished the best line in my dirty-talk lexicon, his laptop died. Womp.

Finally, we did get in a successful-to-completion virtual-sex session, but the whole encounter felt forced at best. I was distracted and in my own head, internally repeating my sex-goddess mantra (which is, simply, “you are a sex goddess”) to ease my own nerves and gas myself up, but the affirmation didn’t effectively make me feel like, well, a sex goddess of virtual sex. I logged off feeling pretty disconnected from my partner. In our post-sex chat, it was clear we both felt defeated, and we decided to hold off on physical intimacy until we were reunited in person.

But all of that happened before I received an invitation for a “sexy, sassy virtual bed-dancing” class. A Bedography class—a $12 COVID-friendly virtual monthly offering from New York City-based studio SassClass—promised to “help [me] channel my inner vixen right from home,” so I eagerly added the event to my calendar. According to SassClass founder Julia Sokol, Bedography uses “dance and performance to foster self-love, connection, confidence, and self-expression.” It combines SassClass’s two most popular pre-pandemic offerings: Chairography, which involves dancing on/around/behind a chair, and Flirty Floorwork, which involves getting down, down low. “Offering Bedography is our way of taking advantage of a moment when people are exercising at home,” she says.

Upon learning more, I wondered if a Bedography class might be exactly what I needed to gain confidence for virtual sex with my partner. And soon enough, I learned that it was.

How a Bedography class improved my virtual-sex confidence

Before class, I schlepped every single mirror in my house to my bedroom, transforming it into a dance studio. Then, I outfitted the bed with my nicest sheets to help me set the mood, hid my baby blanket, shimmied on camo bike shorts and a sports bra, and powered up Zoom.

For the first few minutes upon logging on, I watched as my Bedography classmates, clad in lingerie, populated my Zoom grid to the soundtrack of WAP. When Cardi B quieted, dance instructor Emma Rosa—who has performed with Trey Songz, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dogg, among others—introduced herself and announced that Beyoncé’s Dance for You would be the bop to which we’d learn a bed dance. Nice. After leading us through a very sensual floor warmup routine, complete with body rolls, booty shakes, and hip bumps, we climbed onto our respective beds for the remainder of the 75-minute class as Rosa led us through choreographed sequences.

I kept flubbing the order of steps, my sheets kept coming untucked, and I literally tooted while trying to shake my tuchus… But after about 30 minutes, I stopped caring so much and finally started having some fun.

Frankly, for the first half of class, I felt far from sexy. I kept flubbing the order of steps, my sheets kept coming untucked, and I literally tooted while trying to shake my tuchus. But after about 30 nonstop minutes of Rosa encouragement, I stopped caring so much and finally started having some fun. Rather than trying to nail the routine, I started to intuit it. Whether that meant an off-beat body roll, an awkward mattress hump, or a missed eight count because I was distracted by feeling my own reflection in a mirror, it didn’t matter because I felt good.

With five minutes remaining, Rosa split our class into two groups, and we took turns showing off our new moves. Rather than feeling klutzy as I performed among the group of talented dancers (on and off the bed), I confidently giggled, grooved, and lip-synched my way through the dance. I felt great, and I was ready to apply my newfound virtual-sex confidence to digital intimacy with my partner.

From zoom choreography to zoom sex

Immediately after finishing the Bedography class, I ditched my sweat-drenched exercise gear and pulled on a lace bodysuit. “Up for X-rated Zoom sesh, part 4?” I texted my partner. He was game, and now I can say that we both benefitted from the Bedography class—it seemed to make all the difference in my virtual-sex confidence level.

When I told (or, rather, bragged) to fellow SassClass fan, Candice Smith, a sex educator and founder of couples’ intimacy kit Tango, about my steamy post-class screen-romp, she wasn’t surprised at all. “Bed dancing puts you in a virtual environment where you get to tap into and experience your sensuality in a movement-driven way. Of course, you finished the class feeling empowered,” she says.

And actually feeling confident during video sex—rather than trying (and failing) to simply convince myself I was confident—is likely what made the difference in my virtual sex experiences. “You were probably able to get out of your head enough to actually enjoy the pleasurable potential of video sex.” And it’s true: I didn’t repeat my sex goddess mantra again. But you know what I did do? Orgasm.

What I learned from the Bedography class is that while virtual sex tips like “find your light,” “use lube,” and “light a candle,” are solid, unless you’re authentically feeling yourself, it’s going to be pretty darn hard to feel video sex. As as Smith puts it, “confidence, communication, and consent are the three main tenets of all kinds of sex—virtual or otherwise.”

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