They say sex sells, and when it comes to travel, that's especially true. Sex travel (or "libertine tourism," as it's sometimes called), is a growing industry targeted at people who love to take their clothes off and get buckwild. (To be clear, it's not the same thing as sex tourism, a term most people use to describe traveling to have sex with prostitutes; sex travel is totally consensual and totally legal.) These people love going to resorts, chalets, and beaches all over the world, taking their clothes off, and having sex with each other — so I decided to join them at Hedonism II to see what it was like.
Located in Negril, Jamaica, Hedonism II (or simply “Hedo” to those in the know) is a nudist resort that also touts itself as an "adult playground." Basically, it's an all-inclusive resort for adults who want to live out their sexual fantasies in a safe and consensual environment.
It's important to note that generally speaking, most people who self-identify as nudists are not swingers, and most swingers are not nudists. In fact, many people who are nudists claim there's absolutely nothing inherently sexual about the nudist lifestyle, and reject any suggestion otherwise. (At some nudist resorts, overt sexual behavior is explicitly prohibited.) That said, the two groups do occasionally intersect, and at Hedonism II, both sex and public nudity are not only accepted, but downright encouraged.
A few weeks ago, I hopped on a plane from JFK in New York City to Montego Bay. While the plane ride was fraught with nervous anticipation, Hedonism II ended up being both exactly and absolutely nothing like what I had cooked up in the twisted recesses of my mind. So if you’ve ever entertained the notion of stripping down on the sugary shores of Hedo, here are 13 things you need to know.
This might not need to be mentioned, but let’s mention it anyway, shall we? Compared to clothing-optional resorts or topless resorts, where you might occasionally see a nip slip or the occasional flaccid member, Hedonism is the spot to literally bare all. The resort is divided into two sides: Prude and Nude. (Before you ask, the lobby, gym and main restaurant/bar are clothing-mandatory. This greatly eased my anxiety come dinner time, when I was panicking over whether or not to bring a napkin for my chair.) The Prude side is clothing optional, but the nude side has its own set of rules. In fact, entry is only permitted if you check all at the door.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is especially true if you’re a 20-something woman traveling alone. That's because Hedo is not just a couples’ resort: single men are allowed to attend as well. (That's not usually the case at most sex parties, where men need to have a female guest to gain entry.) Because everyone is presumably there for the same reason, single men have a fair amount of license to approach women. I learned this firsthand one evening, when I was sitting poolside and a man approached me offering to buy me a drink. (At an all-inclusive resort, this is apparently considered a real knee-slapper.) Aside from that, a few couples approached me asking if I'd be visiting the Playroom, where guests are permitted to explore each other "in a safe and non-judgmental environment."
That said, at no point did I feel any pressure to fool around with anyone. At a resort like Hedo, the implication is that you’re there to try new things and explore your boundaries, so while other guests may try to gauge your level of interest in them, a simple “no, thank you” is all that's needed to rebuff them. The resort has zero tolerance for consent violations or creepy behavior of any kind.
Regardless of whether or not you’re the one actually doing it, you will see sex — a lot of it. Daytime at Hedo is relatively tame, because most guests are recovering from their adventures the night before. But come sundown and well into the wee hours, it’s not uncommon to watch your breakfast dining companions go at it on the pool bar. Once, I witnessed a man in his late 40s lay his female companion down on the pool bar, open her legs, and go down on her in full view of the other guests. Happy Hour buffet, indeed.
It should be noted that while Seven Mile Beach in Negril is a public beach, there are security guards at the entrance to Hedo’s private beach, who are there to check room keys and make sure that you're actually a guest. It adds a level of privacy and discretion for the guests who will likely be copulating in public.
When most people think of a nudist or swingers’ resort, they automatically think that the guests are people they would never want to see naked, and/or mustachioed gentlemen with pinky rings. But this is not the case at Hedo. The majority of guests are fit couples in their early 40s through late 50s, most of whom seemed to be empty nesters. They are healthy, they have money, and for the most part, they are very good-looking.
At first, it's a little hard to get used to the fact that the staff at Hedo is not naked (presumably because it's a little hard to be a mechanic and, say, fix a hot tub while your junk is hanging out). But because you're naked all the time, it’s not uncommon to be sitting in the buff on your patio, sipping a glass of rum, chatting casually with the fully clothed handyman. And absolutely no one thinks it’s weird. (And yes, he didn't stare at my junk the whole time — he's a professional, after all.)
A foam party is basically what is sounds like: a pool party where the pool is filled with foam and you dance in it naked. Yes, they're messy, but they're also super fun.
Wednesday is Fetish Night at Hedo, where the scene is set with leather and lingerie. Although a week on a Caribbean beach surrounded by naked people might seem like you've maxed out on the fantasy card, Fetish Night is ostensibly when guests are encouraged to indulge in their wildest fantasies. The entertainment at Fetish Night features Cirque du Soleil-level acrobatics, with half-naked people dangling from ropes and cables, seductively stretching and bending and folding for the audience. Even if you have absolutely no interest in riding crops and ball gags, it is awesome.
No, but seriously, nudists are some of the best people you will ever meet. They are completely comfortable with who they are and they have nothing to hide (both literally and figuratively). Take, for example, my dining companion, who on Fetish Night showed up to dinner in full leather regalia, a leash and collar fastened around his neck. As we sat there dining on steak, he began to tell me a story, then apologized for speaking to me with his mouth full.
“You’re in a dog collar,” I reminded him. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
...and then most likely say hello to them the next morning as they’re having coffee on their patio. And guess what? It doesn't feel awkward at all.
Most guests at Hedo are there for one reason: to take off their clothes and do what comes naturally, without fear of judgment. Hedo celebrates sexuality, and your neighbors are going to take advantage of that. In fact, they may even invite you to come along. If you're not interested, you’ll have a dandy time just sipping a daiquiri, your junk blowing in the wind.
That said, if you are interested in having sex, you could very well end up in “the playroom” at midnight. “The Playroom" at Hedo is a plush, seductive area with beds draped in white linens, with electric-purple walls and a very open-to-the-public shower. In The Playroom, anything goes, so long as you’re polite and ask first. And remember: “no” means “no.”
While food quality isn’t your first thought when you think about a swingers resort, at the end of the day, you’re still going on vacation and you want to make sure it’s a good one. Hedo has food that you actually will want to eat and enjoy, with sushi, steak, Jamaican barbecue, and a decidedly lavish breakfast buffet are among the highlights.
After people have had their fun in The Playroom, they typically want to keep the party going, so they migrate over to the Nude Pool for the post-party, while drunk onlookers munch on hot pizza from the late-night grill menu.
The bottom line is, Hedo is a place for people who love fun and love to take risks. Even if you don’t partake in The Lifestyle, as I did not, you’ll find yourself meeting some open-minded and accepting people. . So I’m no stranger to being naked with other strangers. That said, if you’ve never been naked in public before, you’ll definitely want to try it out at a place like Hedo because, frankly, you’ll be the only one not naked. And that will feel weird to you. If you’re not there for sex, no one cares. They just want you to let loose, whatever that means for you, and to not judge them.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health