Dear MKE SEX,

The other night I was making out with my girlfriend, and I put my phone on vibrate and put it in her virginia [sic] for a little extra pleasure. Well, her clit must have answered a call from my best friend or something, because I could hear him talking and stuff. I didn’t answer him or anything, but my question is—why is the reception better in my girlfriend’s virginia than it is in my mom’s basement.

Help me understand!
Mixed Signals

Dear Signals,

I want to thank you for your question. This one stretched me so far outside my body of knowledge that I knew I was going to need help. Who does one turn to in times like these? Naturally, I reached out to Rob Ryan, my high school boyfriend who is now the IT Monkey at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa. This guy has an encyclopedic knowledge of this stuff, which I do not (as evidenced by the fact that I just referred to the entire field of telecommunications technology as “stuff”).

He responded to me almost instantly. “Simple answer: human flesh has much less attenuation than concrete and cement.”

I shot back, “Can you tell me more about that? Like in terms a fourth grader can understand?” This kicked off a conversation wherein he had to simplify his explanation repeatedly until I finally caught onto what he was saying. Patience of a saint, that one.

RR: When waves of sound or light move through any medium they begin to lose their strength, whether that medium is solid, water, or gas. For instance, as you yell at someone across distances your voice gets softer the farther away a person is. This is the loss of strength of sound, measured in decibels (dB). Now imagine yelling at someone through a brick wall. The thicker the wall the less the other side hears. Again loss of dBs.

Same thing works with radio waves or light waves. As long as the waves are NOT moving through a vacuum then they will begin to lose dBs as they travel through the medium of air, or brick, or whatever. Each different type of medium has a different “rate of attenuation” or “how much it diminishes the strength of the wave in dBs.” Water actually has less attenuation than air. That’s why sound travels so well over (and in) water.

Me: So, are we literally talking about decibels in the girlfriend’s virginia?

RR: Yes, literally. The bars on your cell phone indicate decibels, which is what signal is measured in…

Me: Wait! The bars on your phone indicate decibels? My mind is blown!

RR: Yep!

Me: So, the cinderblocks and concrete do not cause interference?

RR: Not interference. Loss of signal *strength.* Decibels.

Me: Okay, here’s another scenario. Let’s say they’re making out in the basement, and the phone is in her virginia. Can her virginia somehow act as an amplifier? Is that possible?

RR: If the signal inside the virginia happens to be stronger than the signal outside the virginia, then yes—reception could conceivably be clearer. Another thought that comes to mind is that the cavity in her body could act as some sort of resonance chamber. Imagine how an acoustic guitar sounds. Now imagine if it didn’t have that hole behind it resonating the sound outward. That’s what I’m getting at. But I don’t think it would work. It comes back to attenuation.

Me: So, probably her body is not amplifying his signal inside a basement.

RR: Seriously, no joke, the only way to prove it conclusively would be to attach a decibel meter (or download a decibel meter app) and take readings both inside and outside the virginia. And—jesus jumping christ on a pogo stick—if you decide to do that experiment I have to be there for it. For science.

After all of this back and forth, I feel confident giving you this explanation of his explanation. Your mom’s basement is likely built from cinderblock and concrete, both of which block the radio waves (and all other light waves) between your phone and the closest tower. You were able to pick up that call because your girlfriend’s body allows those same waves to pass through with more strength than cinderblock and cement.

Also—if you decide to do this again, please put your phone inside a condom first. Any large or extended size condom should work. An FC2 insertable condom would be another good choice. If this is a regular practice, consider picking up a UVee toy cleaning box. It’ll kill 99% of harmful bacteria and germs according to the company website. Cleanliness may not actually be next to godliness, but it sure is helpful in preventing infections.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her a question at mkesex@gmail.com and she’ll get back to you with an answer.