If the words “virtual date” are enough to give you traumatizing 2020 flashbacks, same. But while we may finally be past the era of pandemic Zoom dates (fingers crossed, anyway), there are still some (less depressing!) occasions that call for internet-based dating. Maybe you’re in a long-distance relationship, maybe you’re one of those highly efficient daters who prefers to screen your matches with a FaceTime date before committing to an actual date-date (smart, TBH), or maybe it’s just winter and you and your partner would rather not have to leave the house for date night. Whatever the case may be, it’s key to have a few virtual date ideas at your disposal that aren’t just staring at each other on your respective screens.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with simply catching up with your person over FaceTime. But if that’s your idea of date night, it may be time to get just a little more creative. Yes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, but even long-distance couples may find that they’ve settled into a bit of a rut. If that sounds familiar, then it may be time to spruce up your long-distance dating game.
As for those of you who prefer a virtual first date (aka one that doesn’t require you to put on pants and leave the house for some Tinder rando who may very well turn out to be a total dud), I see you. But let’s be real with ourselves for a moment: sitting on your couch talking to a stranger over video and trying to make sure you look good can be freaking awkward! But! If you have an activity ready to go—like, say, cooking together or playing a game (spoiler)—it gives you something else to focus on, which can make your date more comfortable.
Hi, that’s where we come in. Here are 26 (count ’em) virtual date ideas perfect for your next FaceTime hang. Are they better than IRL dates? I mean, probably not. But there’s a time and place for virtual dating, and here’s how to make the most of that time and place.
1. Have a wine and paint night.
All you need is wine, some art supplies, and some creativity. You can follow along with one of the many painting tutorial videos on YouTube or get creative and do your own thing. You could even take a picture or memory that’s special to you (like your favorite vacation spot or the place you first met) and each do your own painting of it. After, you can mail your paintings to each other to hang up to make this activity an even cuter idea. If painting isn’t your thing, you could also try making pottery with air-dry clay, or just vibe while you fill in some adult coloring books.
2. Break out the long-distance sex toys.
Okay, so is this one first-date material? Probably not (unless, of course, you want it to be, in which case knock yourself out, babe). But long-distance sex toys exist for a reason, and this is literally the reason. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a brave new world of sex toys out there that a trusted partner can control from literally anywhere. (Here are just a few of our faves, BTW.) If it’s been a minute since you and your partner got it on (or if you’re feeling frisky with a new boo), giving each other remote orgasms is a great way to keep in touch sexually without, you know, actually touching each other.
3. Do a virtual wine tasting.
Hi, yes, virtual wine tastings are a thing, and they’re a thing you should definitely be doing. Here’s how it works: you and your partner sign up, you both get sent a few bottles of wine, and then you follow along together on Zoom as an expert guides you through a tasting. Try some great wines, brush up on your vino knowledge, and bond with your person, all without leaving the house? Believe it.
4. Watch porn together.
As I like to say, the couple that watches porn together stays together. And while I usually suggest doing it in the same bed, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy some X-rated viewing together from the comfort of your own respective homes. Pick out a flick that titillates you both and get ready to indulge in a little long-distance mutual masturbation.
5. Break out a deck of conversation cards.
Whether you’ve been together 5ever or you’re just getting to know each other, a deck of conversation cards can help you deepen your connection. You and your partner can respond to prompts that are funny, deep, and/or H-O-T, depending on the deck.
6. Plan a trip together.
If you’re in an LDR, planning a future visit is one way to feel connected. Talking about the types of vacations you like can help you get to know your person better. Looking at Airbnbs or hotels together and planning what you want to do on vacation is actually so fun. Plus, you’ll have something to look forward to when you’re done.
7. Take a walk together.
Okay, so you might have to get out of your pajamas for this one. (Or not, you do you). You and your partner can both take a walk or a hike while you chat, stopping to point out things of interest or nice views. It’s a good way to get your blood pumping and have something to do that isn’t just staring at a screen.
8. Do some Mad-Libs. (No, really, this is a serious suggestion.)
If you’ve never done a Mad-Lib, all I can tell you is you are missing out. Yes, they’re for children, but I can promise you they are just as fun (and, yes, absurd) now as they were as a kid at camp. Grab a few on Amazon (or just look up some free knock-off versions online) and settle in for a silly evening of laughter and probably a lot of fart jokes. What? It’s called romance.
9. Play a game of sexy truth or dare.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a game that’s a little on the steamier side, might we suggest an arousing round of sexy truth or dare? Oh, and what’s that? A master list of sexy truth or dare questions for your inspiration? Damn, we are good. (Oh, and you’re welcome.)
10. Get to know each other ~deeper~ via Spotify.
Using Spotify’s Group Sessions feature, you can 1) Share your fave songs with your date as you’re listening to them or 2) Take your conversations way, way, way deeper by sending each other prompts like “Play a song that reminds you of me” or “Play a song that describes the type of love you’re seeking.”
I promise, this is the easiest, most efficient way to get deep with the person you’re talking to without being super intrusive and creepy about it. One Cosmopolitan writer said here that it “single-handedly saved her dating life during quarantine.”
11. Hire a virtual private chef or attend a virtual cooking class together.
The idea here is that you’re doing things you’d normally do together IRL…just virtually. So since food = the way to everyone’s hearts, there are lots of virtual options to get you and your date cooking. You can try a virtual cooking class with a personal chef from a website like 100 Pleats, or sign-up for a local virtual cooking class near you.
Just keep in mind that this isn’t the best date idea for ~first dates~ since you won’t really be able to talk to each other until afterward.
12. Assess your compatibility.
Hi, yes, use this time to figure out your person’s sun, rising, and moon signs (because, yup, this is literally what we all want). Then look up your compatibility online and discuss whether you agree or disagree on everything said.
Another option if you really want to test the waters: You can do a virtual couple’s tarot card reading, which can offer up love insights and help you discover ways to better connect with your partner. Just do a quick Google search through virtual tarot card readers and find someone you enjoy.
13. Take the love language test together.
I promise, this is The Thing to do on dates. (And I speak from experience.) Take the quiz online and then share your answers with each other as you move from question to question. Not only do you find out their love language—which is super important in relationships—but you can also see how they answer each question in super specific scenarios.
Trust me, I’m 99 percent positive that mismatched love languages are the reason why people do not work out. Oh, and when you’re done with that, take the apology languages test next.
14. Arrange a fancy virtual date night.
Make it an all-out black tie date night at home—because sometimes, being all dressed up with nowhere to go is a fun way to remind each other how good you look. If you’ve been staying home, use it as an excuse to put on some makeup, slip into your fave dress, and get your S.O. on video chat in their finest outfit.
Don’t forget to set the mood with a jazzy playlist, lots of lit candles, and a bottle of champagne. Then, order each other a surprise food delivery you can both eat together in front of the camera.
15. Start a recipe exchange.
Create a shared Google Doc and continuously compile it with both of your favorite recipes. As a date night, choose a recipe to try making “together” in your respective kitchens, and the partner whose recipe it is can offer tips as you go. Food is love—even if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor at the same table right now.
16. Play online games together.
If you like a little friendly competition, there are tons of two-player online games that you can play with your partner wherever you’re located. Cardzmania is a platform that offers tons of online card games, from gin rummy to Klondike. Or you can do a puzzle together virtually, chatting over Zoom as you choose what piece goes where. If your LDR is happening across two different time zones, Words With Friends lets you play your turn whenever you want and keep the game going on your own time.
17. Mail a care package.
Send your person a customized care package to show you’re thinking of them from wayoverhere. Ideas: Surprise them with a boozy delivery from Winc or Drizly, then order the same bottles for yourself and “meet” for a drink at 7 p.m. over Skype.
Or get really creative and curate a themed vacation-in-a-box. For instance, if you’ve been dying to go to Hawaii together, mail a package containing a lei, sunglasses, a drink umbrella, and a recipe for Mai Tais—then hop on FaceTime decked out in the same themed garb, enjoy your virtual “vacay” together, and use it as a springboard to start planning your next real couples getaway.
18. Start a two-person book club.
Choose a book that you’ll both enjoy and read it at the same time. Then pick a date to finish it by, and schedule a virtual book club discussion (cheese and wine optional, but highly encouraged). It’s similar to watching a show together but requires more dedication and provokes in-depth conversations throughout.
19. Create a shared photo album.
Set up a collaborative photo album on your phone or Dropbox, then go through the pics while you’re on the phone together. You can curate old snapshots from fun times you’ve had together, or walk down memory lane by including old photos from both of your childhoods and high school glory days.
20. Send a coupon book.
To really up the ante on your next reunion, create a personalized coupon book for your partner that’s filled with favors and activities they can “cash in” on next time you’re together in person. (If you’re not super crafty, use a website like LoveCoups.) The coupons can be a mix of sexy (“Good for one full body massage”) and simple (“Good for one home cooked meal, doing the dishes included”).
21. Exchange scents.
The olfactory sense is strongly connected to memory. Exchange mini bottles of your perfume and cologne through the mail so you can remember what each other smells like. (Then go ahead, spray it all over everything in your house until you’re together again.) The scents will trigger memories, which you can sweetly share with each other.
22. Motivate each other to sweat.
If you can’t be IRL gym buddies, holding each other accountable for your fitness goals is the next best thing, so sign up for the same virtual yoga or barre class. Or download an app like Runkeeper or My Fitness Pal to track and share your respective running routes with photos.
23. Binge-watch the same TV show.
It’s Netflix and chill, but from afar. First, download Netflix Party, a new Chrome extension that allows two parties to synchronize their Netflix accounts to watch something simultaneously. Pick a show neither of you have seen and watch each episode so you can send text commentary in real time. Then afterward, decide whether you collectively think Carole Baskin really did feed her husband to the tigers.
24. Go house hunting.
If you’re planning for a future together, now is a great time to start looking for your dream home. Amid COVID-19, real estate businesses and sellers are offering safe alternatives to open houses with virtual tours of their homes—which you can do with your partner from literally anywhere.
If you’re still in the beginning stages of your search (or maybe you just want to imagine what it would be like to live in a $1.6 million dollar mansion on the beach!), send each other links to homes you love on Zillow and discuss because why not?
25. Learn something new.
Being away from your person is a great excuse to pick up some skills and become experts in something new together. Sign up for an online class together like: learning French, cross-stitching, baking, you name it.
26. Stargaze “together.”
We’re all under the same sky and seeing the same stars, which is high-key pretty romantic when you think about it. Sit out on your deck, get your partner on the phone, and see if you can point out the constellations together. Looking at the same stars from afar will make you feel closer.
Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.
Associate Sex & Relationships Editor
Kayla Kibbe (she/her) is the Associate Sex and Relationships Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers all things sex, love, dating, and relationships • She lives in Astoria, Queens and probably won’t stop talking about how great it is if you bring it up • Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.