HIM: Ok, for starters – I hate the term ‘lifestyle’. It seems like a terribly vague way to label the complexity of a person’s sexual choices. Just think about the inane associations conjured by the phrases suburban lifestyle or active lifestyle. But this is especially true of what was once referred to as swinging but is now simply know as ‘the lifestyle’. For better or worse, it has become a catch-all term for people with a wide variety of interests: swapping, orgies, threesomes, cuckolding, exhibitionism, bondage and domination, etc. About the only thing that unites these people is discontentment with the sexual status quo and a willingness to push the generally accepted boundaries. So, for lack of an alternative, I’m calling this whole mash-up ‘the lifestyle’ under protest. Just so you know.
HER: Are you finished your little rant?
HIM: Yes. As with any subculture, people in the lifestyle often feel isolated by their preferences and inevitably look for opportunities to be with like-minded individuals. Sex clubs or parties are one way to do that, but nothing is as immersive as the 24 hour a day lifestyle vacation.
HER: When we were planning our first beach vacation together, you suggested Hedonism II in Jamaica. I had heard of it, of course – many people have. It’s got a notorious reputation as a place of constant and unchecked debauchery. This actually sounded good to me, until I looked at the pictures of the resort and the price. The rooms looked dated and the prices were up there with other 5-star all-inclusive resorts. Why, I asked, would we want to pay that kind of money for a place that looked more like a three-star? We ended up in Barbados… and it was fine.
But on the next trip, after getting a little further into our alternative sexual adventures, and comparing the options, we decided to give Hedonism a shot. After all, if the unchecked debauchery proved to be more than we could handle, we could huddle together for safety on the ‘prude side’ of the resort. At worst, we’d have the sun and sand we craved, and some safe voyeuristic opportunities.
HIM: That’s the thing that struck me immediately about Hedo (only outsiders call it by its full name). If you want, you can choose to have a totally traditional beach vacation on the clothing optional side of the resort. Enjoy the sun and the ocean, keep your bathing suit on, and interact in a strictly platonic way with your fellow guests. You might see some people more scantily clad than usual in the dining hall, but no one will bother you.
However, if you want to step beyond the typical beach vacation, you can head over to the ‘nude’ side of the resort. There, you will have to take your clothes off (it is actually against the rules to wear anything!), but you have the option of simply enjoying the sun on your exposed skin and nothing more. You might see some sexual contact (or even some actual sex), but there will be no pressure to participate. If you decide you want to, however, you can dip your toe into the waters by joining in on a sexy game, or maybe simply greeting a new friend with a naked hug.
After several trips, I now can’t imagine why any couple would ever go anywhere else for a beach vacation. The clearest way to explain it is to compare Hedo with Sandals, a high quality resort right next door in Negril. Everything you might want to do at Sandals – lie in the sun, get a massage, participate in water sports, drink too much – can be done at Hedo. However, you also have the opportunity to experience some things at Hedo that would be frankly inconceivable at Sandals. A casual hand job on the beach. A threesome in the hot tub. A team cross-dressing competition by the pool. These are all things you could see in one afternoon at Hedo – in fact, we DID see them all one afternoon on our most recent trip. Why would you choose to have ordinary when you could have extraordinary?
HER: Another thing you get at Hedo that I’ve never experienced anywhere else is the social interaction. When you sit at a table in the dining hall, or on a lounge chair on the beach, people will actually come sit with you and strike up conversations. The oddity of having a conversation with a stranger while you are both naked wears off very quickly, believe it or not. And these conversations go way beyond mundane talk about the weather. Everyone you encounter is open-minded and is there because they are on a sexual journey.
I remember before our first visit fearing that I might be surrounded by a bunch of shallow, pleasure-obsessed individuals we have nothing in common with. The truth, however, turned out to be very different. We have met no end of fascinating individuals: surgeons, artists, entrepreneurs, professors and engineers. In addition to learning about their intimate relationships and sexual adventures — things we can rarely talk openly about in our everyday lives – the talk inevitably turns to work and family, and you realize that these very sexual people are also very normal.
HIM: I’ve had some surprisingly poignant conversations with people we’ve met at Hedo. I remember seeing this crazy guy balancing a beer on his head in the pool who shared with me the next day about his son’s struggles with addiction. Another woman I met while she was conducting a kissing contest with five different men (no, I didn’t win) told me over dinner that night of the unexpected joys of working with the local Alzheimer’s support group. You end up with a three dimensional view of some fascinating people, and you can’t help but develop very real friendships. After a while it’s the rest of the world that starts to seem a little shallow.
HER: I think a big part of the reason for this instant intimacy is that being naked together all day breaks down barriers. I was a little nervous about how I would feel about that annoying bit of cellulite on my thighs, but it was such a non-issue. Everyone is in the same boat (or pool): completely exposed, so pretensions tend to disappear. Nobody can use their designer clothes to hide the scars and imperfections we all have. That sounds scary, I know, but it’s amazing how confidence, intelligence, and flirtation can make anyone sexy, regardless of what their body looks like. While it may sound counter-intuitive, nudity seems to be a great equalizer.
So, while the appeal of the lifestyle vacation definitely begins with sex, it’s interesting how it ends up being about so many other things.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.
5 Comments Add yours
Great post, and a great blog. I just discovered it (from Jay and Kay) and I can’t stop reading. Love the format.
But I need your advice.
My wife booked us for 4 days at Desire RM this January. We’ve never been there or anywhere like it. Not even to a local sex club/party. We have a great marriage and thought it’s time to take our sex life out of our bedroom and be around a bunch of naked strangers for a few days.
The wife is very excited about playing with another woman, something she hasn’t done for several years. But she’s incredibly worried about HPV. She wants to enjoy giving and receiving with another woman but thinks she has the kind of luck where she’ll contract HPV leading to throat or mouth cancer. I’m really hoping she might loosen up on this in the moment because she’ll regret missing out on getting to play. What do you guys think about safe oral sex?
Other than that we are super excited about getting to scratch our voyeur/exhibitionist itch and maybe do some playing if we meet the right people. We’re also nervous about body image issues and sunburns…so there are a lot of emotions swirling around.
Hi! And thanks for reading.
I think everyone worries about STIs before they get into the lifestyle, and it’s a good thing to think about. If HPV is her concern, she can get vaccinated. They are now doing it for women under 45. She could also use an oral dam, though I’ve never actually seen one used in a lifestyle situation. But, I would say the best advice I could give would be to just go and not play with anyone else. See how you feel simply being naked and flirting — maybe even kissing and touching — other people . It’s probably the best first step you can take. It’s safeer, both physically and emotionally, and you’ll still get the sexy benefits of being incredibly turned on and having amazing sex with each other. Then you can go home and process your experience. Think about whether you want to take the next step, and visit a doctor or sexual health clinic to make sure you have the information you need to feel comfortable.
And have a wonderful trip! We’d love to hear how it went when you get back!
Well…that was quite the experience.
It was life changing in a very positive way – we feel like we’ve been reborn and have finally found our people. We had an incredible 3.5 days (felt like 6) at RM and ended up leaping into the deep end of the lifestyle.
We went with no expectation other than getting to hang out naked and have sex with each other in public places (which we had been wanting to do for years). Our flight was quite early so we arrived well before the room was ready. After stowing bags in the spa lockers we headed out to the pool and stripped it all off. Quite the liberating feeling. Once I realized nobody was looking at me my heart rate came back to earth and we got started on some drinks and people watching.
We ended up meeting a fantastic group of people within a few hours of being poolside, and we went up to the hot tub with them as well. Just great people – we felt so comfortable with everyone in no time at all.
That first night we met a couple at the lobby bar before heading up to the disco. Despite having no expectations (or hard boundaries other than staying together), we were surprised to meet people we clicked with so well. The four of us ended up in the playroom for a 2 hour soft-swap session that left us pretty shocked. Loved it. The HPV fear is still there and there is a tiny bit of regret for going face first into the whole thing…hopefully that won’t show up in a medical report soon. I started the HPV vaccine this week and my wife is doing so as well. Doing it beforehand would have been so much smarter…
Overall, it’s the happiest place on earth and we can’t wait to go back. We even bought the membership – I did the numbers and it’s definitely a break even (or maybe even a slight money loser) but it will keep us motivated to go back 2-3 times per year and there are enough non-monetary perks that made it worth doing. No regrets.
So, we went from zero to lifestyle in one day. We feel closer than ever and it proved to us that our marriage is amazing.
Wow! What an amazing result! Isn’t it wonderful when things go even better than you had hoped? And it’s good to hear that you’re going ahead with the HPV vaccine. That should help allay some of your fears moving forward. Best of luck, you two!
Maybe 7 years ago – before we had played with anyone and after i endured a move out of my dream condo – we crashed a podcaster’s week in Desire RM. It was such a luxurious and fun week. It’s so true that at a place like that, when sharing space with so many people who are of the same mindset – so so liberating and relaxing. As swing virgins though we were more on guard about playing and i think we may have felt a little out of the club so to speak. We had our chances but my wife just wasn’t ready. I left a little frustrated but was still so happy to have been.
Now we always talk about going back… or to Hedo or somewhere where we can get out kink on for a few kid-free days. This winter hopefully!