Why the Couples resorts in Jamaica may be the best bang for your buck in nude travel this winter

As Florida home owners we bit our nails the entire week that Hurricane Irma approached the Sunshine State. The good news is that the massive hurricane only did moderate damage to Central Florida and left the Cove without power for a week. And our citrus tree survived the on slot. After leveling much of the Caribbean including wiping out big swatches of Orient Beach, Caliente DR, and the Florida Keys Irma left nudists with less choices this fall and winter. As we sit in November rain and sleet thoughts quickly turn to sunshine and frolicking naked. And no matter how much Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley playing the background it doesn’t replace the real thing. So where is the best bang for your buck if you want to be naked this winter?

We suggest looking to Jamaica.

We once spent a whole month at Hedonism ll in Negril. And went on weekend trips to explore the Couples destinations in and around the island. They were magnificent. The nude sections were small but the resorts more than made up for it with outstanding service and accommodations. Our favorite was Couples Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica which has it’s own nude island. The resort has this to say about it’s private island.
” It’s more intimate. We can’t add hours to the day, but we can make every hour count with more of everything you love. From the island’s finest farm-to-table cuisine to heart-pounding recreation to on-island treks to Jamaica’s most renowned attractions. Because giving you more is what our all-inclusive hideaway is all about.”

We think it may be a great place to look at -especially before Christmas. The resort is offering both air and resort credit of up to $500 and given that Jamaica was largely unscathed it will give couples the getaway that’s heavy on the romance but lighter on the pocketbook.

The best romantic (and inexpensive) hotels in Florida NOT washed away by hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma was devastating to much of the Florida Keys and the Gulf Islands on Florida’s west coast. Even Central Florida is still re-building after such destruction from a Category 5 storm.

But there are still places to be visited inexpensively this fall and winter to up your romance level. What’s new is Allegiant Air’s many flights from Canadian border cities for a song this fall. As we priced one vacation out of Ottawa via Ogdensburg NY’s new airport hanger it was $180 return US for a long weekend to Sandford/Orlando Florida. That’s almost just the price of gas return for a Toronto trip. If you are looking for some deals in accommodation for a lovely, 5 day trip to the sun there are some great ones.

Islands magazine published a list of romantic hotels in this month’s edition. They aren’t inexpensive however. Have a read about them here.

Our favorite of that list is the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine.
Not only do we love St. Augustine (and home to the best alligator/crocodile zoo in the world) but St. Augustine beach is a fantastic place to stay.

The Casa Monica Hotel “blends modern luxury with old-world charm, this circa-1888 landmark in America’s oldest city takes you back to another time. The castle-like feel is present in every detail of the resort (it even has turrets!). Every one of the 138 rooms is uniquely appointed and decorated. We love the two-story Signature suites, especially the Ponce de Leon with its rooftop whirlpool and private balcony.”
At. Augustine feels like the cobblestone cities of Europe mixed in with a little Disney marketing. It is Florida. Great speakeasy distilleries and wineries, fantastic seaport areas and amazing food.

We found an Air Bnb in downtown St. Augustine for $96 dollars a night with parking and breakfast included. It had a balcony and a great bed. Mount Dora is great for a day or two while Miami, the Keys, Naples, and lower St. Pete’s is under construction. There are fall deals to be had in clothing optional vacations at both Cypress Cove Resort and Caliente north of Tampa.

Don’t give up on Florida this fall. There are deals to be had for outstanding romance getaways. And as we espouse, great vacations make for great relationships.

Top 8 travel must haves for romance adventurers

We believe that adventure travel is one of the best thing you can do for your relationship. It often requires a leap of faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and realizing that mini vacations are sometimes as effective as more exotic, elaborate get-aways. But if you are a super cool

We’ve come up with the top 8 travel must have’s for romance adventurers.

1. Tilley Clothes. We love the scrunch up, throw in a bag, mix and match, wash-in-the-shower travel collection of casual elegant travel clothes. We swear by the hats, buy them online and roll them into a tube for light, easy packing. We know a nudist friend that once traveled around nude St. Martin with nothing on but flipfops and a Tilley hat. The hat had his passport, hotel key and money in it.

2. We try to keep the shoes to 3 pairs each. Limit yourself to a casual super comfortable pair, a pair of flip flops/burks and a dress pair if needed.

3. Beach bag. We’ve got an old one we bought at Chapters that scrunches up but carries a ton of stuff. It has a secret pocket to store emergency money, and is bright and beachy.

4. Swiss Navy Silicone Lubricant. It stays on even in hot tubs. And everyone (and we mean everyone says Sue the sex therapist) needs lube. We’ve used it as a moisturizer in a pinch and won’t stain clothes.

5. Baby wipes. They double as toilet paper and hand wipe’s and after play clean ups. We don’t leave home without them.

6. A collection of sealable plastic bags in different sizes. Good to keep things from leaking, important to put your liquids in for travel through security and great to keep things organized and cleaned up in the bottom of your bag.

7. Couple or personal business-type cards. We were first introduced these at Hedo where everyone had their names, email addresses and a picture of them in some vacation picture. Great way to stay in touch with friends and we now have quite a collection from all over the world. We got 500 for $20 off vistaprint.com. It allows you to give a fun description of your mission statement and they are a great way to connect.

8. Silk travel blanket — as warm as a regular blanket, yet takes up much less space. Pocket at bottom keeps feet toasty; blanket rolls up and tucks into a 12 x 4″ pouch you can toss in your carry-on. And silk is oh-so-nice on your skin and for cuddling together on long plane rides.

Abject luxury, naked style

Hidden Beach is in a class by itself. Set along the Riviera Maya about 75 minutes drive from the Cancun airport, Hidden Beach is a small 42 room, five-star, all-inclusive, upscale resort attached to the El Dorado Seaside Suites. The price per room ranged from $450 to $800 a night on their website, but there are deals to be had if you joined a nude travel group or sought out tour operators. Based on this price point Hidden Beach is the highest priced naturist resort we’ve found in the Caribbean to date. However, what they do, they do exceptionally well. The rooms are beautifully appointed (we stayed in a spectacular second floor dome room with a balcony) and fellow guests raved about comfort and convenience of the first level swim-up rooms.
As a rule, nudists are used to/ forced to pay 50% more for vacation rates at sun destinations than at equivalent textile resorts or hotels. It’s not fair, but that’s the reality. Nudists hate wet, sandy bathing suits and are willing to pay the premium to go without them.
You can be naked from the moment you walk through the door of the property. You are provided with an excess of towels, robes if you want, and slippers to use. Despite the heat we thought that rubber-soled slippers were important. The shiny, Mexican tile everywhere in the resort was treacherous when wet. Even the staff mentioned that they had frequently slipped. For that we would caution anyone to think twice about visiting if you are ambulatory challenged.
Hidden Beach prides itself on both the luxury of their resort and the grace of their service. The staff tries incredibly hard to meet your every need. The guests we spoke to were very happy with the service. We were over served at breakfast and dinner, with the response “it’s a pleasure” when you request anything of them. By day two the wait staff is asking if you want your usual. The staff tries hard to please, and work hard to remember your name and serve with that smiling, understated Mexican charm. The animation staff was of particular note. Outgoing and enthusiastic without being pushy, they walked the line beautifully between encouraging participation while letting those who wanted to read a book on the beach relax in the sun. Water volleyball, guided snorkeling trips, 30 person twister may be just some of the activities that happen around the pool. Playing water volleyball where everyone was laughing so hard because of the outrageous cheating was great fun. Some of the evening events included a fire show, Caribbean and world tour dancers, poker nights, karaoke, and live bands that kept the entertainment staff hopping 14 hours a day. The evening shows were held in the huge moon palapa by the beach. The palapa also provided a spectacular setting for group dinners and dancing. It should also be noted that the palapa included a hot tube that would hold 40. It was fabulous to be able to move from dancing to dinner to the hot tub while under the same roof. Our only complaint about the entertainment was that it started far too late in the evening. After a day of sun, volleyball and unlimited alcohol, most of the guests (45 plus in age) were in their rooms before the entertainment had even set up and thus the bands played for only a handful of guests.
Travel articles tend to focus on the features of a specific location and property. This resort really is as luxurious as any we’ve stayed at throughout the Caribbean. But what makes the vacation memorable is the guests. Nudists are friendlier than most any other type of group. Something about taking off your clothes makes everyone friendlier and more apt to start conversations. Eliminating clothes gets rid of pre-conceived ideas about other people and opens up the lines of communication. We were invited to join a group of 10 strangers for dinner within a few hours of our arrival. The staff immediately (and cheerfully) pulled tables together in an elegant dining area and everyone was included in the conversation. Hidden Beach even more than most naturist resorts has you making friends quickly.
For the most part the guests were couples over 40 (a majority over 50) who came from Europe, Canada, and all over the continental United States. A majority had been there before as those who like it, like it a lot. We met four couples who visited four to five times a year. They have a low-key membership package for repeaters wanting to buy extra weeks, or get their vacations discounted over a decade of visiting. Of the five couples who sat in on their presentation for the first time, three chose to become members and commit to Hidden Beach as their holiday destination for the next five years. We did mention that those who like it really, really like it. Most of these couples had frequented the now defunct Superclubs resorts in Jamaica like Grand Lido Negril, Grand Lido Braco or Hedonism III.
There are benefits to hanging naked. It makes doing fun things even better. Our favorites included hand feeding the reef fish bread from the breakfast buffet and wading into the water with the sting rays. With green and loggerhead sea turtles using the Hidden Beach waterfront as nesting grounds, many of the repeat guests had witnessed and/or aided the turtle hatchlings in their moonlight dash to the sea. The romance of sitting on a private beach swing bed watching for baby turtles under the moonlight is worth mentioning. Compared to the Maroma beach which is spectacular (El Dorado Maroma is 30 minutes drive away and is the departing location for the nude cruise which can be booked at Hidden Beach), Hidden Beach oceanfront is rough, shallow and not great for swimming. You still have the turquoise Caribbean Sea water and swaying coconut palms, but it is the community – not the beach that is what makes Hidden Beach special.
We would be remiss if we didn’t write about the food. Hidden Beach shares the property with the El Dorado Seaside Suites. The Seaside Suites is an all inclusive resort with 5 restaurants that you have complimentary access to if you feel like dressing for dinner. Having had outstanding dining experiences at the El Dorado Royale, as part of the Karisma Hotel gourmet inclusive (GI) program we had expected the same great food. This time we were disappointed. The breakfast and lunch menus at Hidden Beach had a sameness about them that was typical at all inclusive resorts but wasn’t up to the usual Karisma standards. The Seaside Suites were casual with our food allergies resulting in a bad reaction. The desserts were minimal and we had orders forgotten by room service on two occasions. On a positive note, the drinks weren’t watered down, in fact they were delicious and the bartending was outstanding.
As the repeaters keep coming back and Hidden Beach increasingly becomes the destination of choice for people who are looking for luxury naturist holidays, being naked is getting better in Mexico.

Wild and crazy romance and honeymoon spots

We keep getting asked for fun, new romance holiday locations. Blaik picked the blog picture….). Anyway we got a list of current off-the-beaten path places from our friends at Wildland and thought we would pass them along.

§ Romantic Belize – The eight-day, Romantic Belize adventure is the perfect trip to fall in love all over again. Stay in a comfortable ecolodge and thatched, beachfront bungalow. Explore inland rainforests and ancient Maya ruins, and snorkel with the tropical fish on the Caribbean’s barrier reef. For more adventurous couples, plan an overnight underground stay in a limestone cave.

§ Honeymoon in Costa Rica – Costa Rica’s lush rainforests and secluded tropical beaches make the perfect backdrop to any new couples’ dream honeymoon. Spend a few days on the Pacific Beach at Punta Islita Lodge and in the private rainforest reserve of Lapa Rios Ecolodge, where you can plant a tree in the rainforest in honor of your love.

§ Romantic Galapagos and Ecuador Honeymoon – Begin your new life together with a voyage through the Galapagos Islands. Hike, snorkel and explore by day, then enjoy fine dining, wine and evening lectures by your on-board master naturalist at night. Top off your trip by escaping on a romantic getaway high in the Andes at a boutique colonial hacienda in a colorful native village of Banos.

§ Zambia Honeymoon Safari – Discover the romance of the hidden jewel of Zambia. In this 11-day itinerary, spend two nights in an open-plan house on the banks of the Zambezi River. Fly to the remote Lower Zambezi National Park for a stay in a deluxe tented camp and then explore the wilderness on game drives, nature walks and night drives in areas teeming with diverse species. Finish your journey in the wildlife-rich river valley of South Luangwa National Park.

§ Highlights of Turkey – Planning to pop the question? Consider doing it in the basket of a hot-air balloon, soaring over Cappadocia at sunset. In this nine-day adventure, explore Istanbul on foot and by boat among outdoor markets and artisan workshops, experience village life in the Aegean highlands and spend several days meandering through the dramatic landscapes and underground of Cappadocia. In the evening, relax in our unique and comfortable accommodations, including a boutique cave hotel, renovated from ancient cave dwellings and architecturally designed to bring in natural light and spectacular views overlooking the picturesque valley.

§ Cape to Kruger Adventure – For newly blended families, have your first Brady Bunch moments on our Cape to Kruger Adventure. Check in at the Kensington Place located on the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain. The younger travelers will delight in the suite’s in-room iPod docking station, laptop and Skype phone and sparkling plunge pool, while the parents enjoy the peace of an outdoor supper in the tranquil garden. Then, travel to Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five and relax in style and comfort in shade of indigenous trees on the banks of the Msuthlu river in the Sabi Sabi Private Reserve. For the newlyweds, private dinners can be arranged under the stars and the gently lit acacia trees.

Vero Beach. Personal boutique hotels that feel like home

We spent a couple of nights at the Vero Beach Resort and Spa this month. Known for its romantic get aways on the east side of Florida between Palm and Daytona Beaches. It was an exceedingly warm, friendly, luxurious escape from the everyday. We loved the little touches. A pet goldfish in your room. Overall pet friendly they had both dog biscuits and M and M’s (for the owners) at the checkout. Our suite had a full kitchen, dining room and a bathroom with an echo. The restaurant is spectacular and with all the traveling we do we felt the most at home in Vero Beach. The ocean is close and a little wild on the Alantic side. Vero isn’t completely populated with what we affectionately call “the grey-haired set” but they were reasonably represented :). Vero doesn’t have the craziness of Miami, the tourists in Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale, or the expense of Palm Beach. More than any other place on the east coast of Florida, Vero should appeal to middle aged Canadians laid back, relaxed culture.

It was the nature that called us. We did a couple of day trips into the Everglades, and into eco-regions that surround Vero’s extensive nature preserves. The duality appealed.

Think abject luxury on the edge of Florida’s great river system and eco reserves. You can find manatees on one side, alligators on the other and with a quick 2 minute walk to the beach you can explore for crabs and sea turtles. The three ecosystems are connected and make for a great nature trip with all the amenities at the end of the day.

Vero is one of the most modern, boutique hotels that stays in touch via facebook and other social media outlets. You can become a friend, get great deals and feel like you are coming home. The hotel makes that kind of an effort to stay connected. I gave them a bunch of novels I finished to start a book trading nook and left a warm note to the general manager upon departure. Name me another hotel where you feel compelled to do that?

Vero Beach Resort and Spa, one of the few hotels we’ve reviewed this year that gets 9 coconuts from us. We can’t wait to go back

Love and Architecture at Jade Mountain

Love and Architecture at Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain is a love story. It’s the blending of the love of St. Lucia’s famed Piton volcanic mountains and one of the most breathtaking views in the Caribbean. It’s the love story of how Nick Troubetzkoy, a Canadian trained architect created his vision for a five star resort and destination spa on the west coast of St. Lucia at Soufriere. It’s also a love story for most of the couples and honeymooners who visit. Jade Mountain is a one-of –a-kind resort. Partnered with its sister resort Anse Chastanet, we discovered that it’s about beauty, nature, modern art, and a blending of architecture into jaw dropping scenery. All this with truly exceptional gourmet food and service, Jade Mountain propels relaxation to the highest level in an adult only resort.

The quality of the food at Jade Mountain can’t be over emphasized. The resort boasts an American Academy of Hospitality Sciences five star rating for food and service. Much of the organic produce is grown on the owner’s surrounding 600 acre plantation including mangoes, spices, and chocolate used in their so named Caribbean culinary festivals. We had homemade rum and raisin ice cream that instantly became a lifetime favorite. By day two the staff had an understanding of our food and beverage preferences, and was suggesting a favorite tea. With English Butler Academy trained butlers (they call them major-domos) at your service to fulfill any need, the attention to detail was superb. The Guild of English Butlers means that these professional hoteliers can unpack for you, arrange for your favorite foods at preferred tables, acquire hard to find items, and aid in travel arrangements. They are available 24/7 with the push of a button on your firefly, a small little cell phone that you are given for the duration of your stay and which contacts the front desk or your butler instantly.

The rooms are called sanctuaries for a reason. They are huge, offering a fantastic view of the two famed Pitons (or mountains). The Pitons are the two volcanoes that UNESCO has deemed a world heritage site, and are bordered with a lush canopy of rainforest. St. Lucia is awash in color, even during the dormant season when we were there. The turquoise of the Sea, the silver of the volcanic sand, a rainbow of flowers, and the most beautiful multi-colored hummingbirds along with the spectacular St. Lucian parrot can best be described as a feast for the eyes.

Most of St. Lucia is mountainous and covered in rainforest. The whole island is only 29 miles long, but you can expect driving the length of it to take over two hours. The roads are switch back and a bit of a roller coaster ride- especially along the east side of the island. Bring your Gravol or other travel-sickness medication if you are driving around the island much. We read one report that suggested that “St. Lucia allows you to get in touch with your calf muscles” which we found to be oh, so true. Almost everything in St. Lucia is uphill or downhill (and it seemed more uphill to us), and everyone is expected to climb flights of stairs. Meals at Jade Mountain meant that we had to climb 10 flights of stairs to get to the dining area, with no elevator option. Fortunately, the food would motivate anyone to climb. If you are mobility challenged, you can request an upper room, but it is a resort on a hill and the lay-out of the resort requires a level of fitness to in order move around easily.

The rooms (or sanctuaries as they are called) are self contained units that come with everything you need to relax (no television, phone or radio). The sanctuary does have its own tranquil infinity pool in the three sided rooms which means you have the best of living both inside and outside for your entire stay. (authors note: The sanctuaries are rectangular with no outside wall. That means open air in all the rooms, dining and common areas. It is a very different concept, and one of the few places in the world that has limited bugs, very few mountainous creepy or slithering things, warm weather, offers reasonable shelter from hurricanes and tropical storms and is relatively crime-free and difficult to access along the mountain-side. Think tropical camping with decadent comfort and push of a button service. The sanctuaries really do have to be seen to be believed.)

The full 29 rooms were occupied during our visit, but the place seemed empty, with everyone living in their villa-like sanctuaries or taking in one of the adventure excursions. With a majority of people able to do anything from sunbath, partake in gourmet room service, swim, and relax completely undisturbed for the entire time while never leaving their rooms, the sanctuaries offer absolute privacy for couples wanting to get away from it all. Jade Mountain really is romance personified. The small touches are well thought out. There was local poetry on the pillow (St. Lucia boasts the highest percentage of Nobel Lauriat’s per capita on the planet) and live guitar music at dinner. The owner’s cocktail party and the sunset cruises added to the ambiance.

As therapists, we’ve long believed that adventure leads to connection within a relationship. Anything that gets your adrenaline pumping together will bond you as a couple. One of the driving reasons to visit Jade Mountain is the duality it offers. At Jade Mountain there is the aforementioned complete tranquility of the sanctuaries, as well as the opportunity to take in couple adventures off the resort. We went zip lining, and during that tour had a quick lesson in the growing of bananas, bay leaves and cinnamon. We checked out the historic town of Soufriere. Other adventure couples took in the whale watching, rum tours, volcano hiking, and ocean kayaking. The honeymooners we spoke to were just happy to be together and uninterrupted. Many were on the joint honeymoon package with a half-and-half stay at Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet (where there was more beach living and marine life). Jade Mountain offers a shuttle service that can take you up and down to the beach that is situated on the edge of a protected marine area. A number of beach bars and restaurants are included on your Jade Mountain meal plan at the beach level Anse Chastanet resort so you only have to make the strenuous hike (or not-so- strenuous short car ride up the hill) once per day.

Jade Mountain is well on its way to becoming a complete destination-spa resort as well. Between a full menu of organic, low fat foods and a holistic health professional spa director with a well-trained staff (including a former US Navy fitness instructor), you can heal the body as well as the mind. And as mentioned, you have easy access to the famed volcanic hot springs and mineral baths which have been espoused to cure everything from arthritis to intestinal disorders. With all this emphasis on health (and all of the stairs to climb), you can avoid the five pounds of holiday bulge from too many umbrella drinks. You actually may return leaner than when you left without feeling like you’ve missed out on amazing food. It will be worth watching Jade Mountain’s evolution into a new level of spa and health centre.

Jade Mountain, while spectacular, is priced outside of normal vacation budgets, and lends itself well to short “get-aways” or long weekends. We travelled lightly and were able to get on and off the island over three days. We met a Miami physician and a New York lawyer who loved how they could arrive easily and leave without once hearing a telephone. It is perfect for intimate honeymooners, or couples wanting to recharge together. Many of the guests fly in via helicopter from the Hewanorra International Airport in the south of the island (which is a seven-minute flight), and land on Jade Mountain’s own private heli-pad.

With all of these amenities, Jade Mountain firmly falls into the highest end romance resort destination as the place to try this year.

Desire Resort, Riviera Maya. Why it shold be on you bucket list.

Desire Rivera Maya
By Sue “Sex with Sue” McGarvie and Blaik Spratt, Clinical Sex Therapists, Syndicated Talk Show Host, authors of The Ethical Hedonist

As sex and relationship therapists we’re on a mission to seek out the most romantic, the most sexually charged, and the most unique erotic vacations for adult couples who we describe as “Ethical Hedonists”. Tough job, staying away from all those calorie- rich pina coladas and preventing sunburn on your naked parts, but it’s a mission we take seriously. No hurricanes this year to worry about, but if there are hardships to lying naked at a five star, all inclusive resort in the Caribbean, we just can’t think of them at the moment. As part of our nude and romance havens worldwide tour, we have just returned from a week this fall at the upscale Desire Rivera Maya resort 40 minutes outside Cancun Mexico. All in the name of science of course, (grin) our interest was to determine where on the sexual continuum of Ethical Hedonism, the couples staying at Desire found themselves.

Described as an “elegant and exclusive, clothing-optional, couples-only resort” Desire is an adult-only, 114 room, secluded resort somewhat off the beaten path. It’s situated between acres of mangrove swamps – take the “beware of crocodile signs seriously – (we had five, 2 meter crocs swim towards us a few feet from the edge of the road outside the resort when we got out of the car) along with an interesting array of jungle birds and animals including a baby coatimundi (wild jungle raccoons that are social, curious and let you pet them on your way to dinner). The resort is located on the wayward side of the road, and is situated on a strip of Mexico’s typically breathtaking Caribbean beaches, complete with white sands and warm, turquoise water. The beach includes 40 canopied beach beds (complete with drink-providing waitresses and cabana boys) situated along the edge of the water. These beds are the ultimate in decadence beach relaxation. Apparently couples frolicking romantically on the beach beds were a common sight in the past. Desire Rivera Maya had previously been sequestered from any other resorts, but as development has hit this area of the coast (with a new resort a little down the beach) the sexual adventure has had to be curtailed by the security guards asking you to take the sex inside your rooms, or upstairs to the hot tub. A few couples grumbled about the “evil bed police”, stopping their “from Here to Eternity” wave crashing. It deterred those who really enjoyed rolling in the surf and had loved the freedom to be intimate in the Sea, but overall the tone on the beach tended to be more romantic than sexual.

Desire Resorts claim it is for couples over 25, but the average age of couples we observed would probably be in their mid 40’s. We met one couple who were a remarkably active and well preserved 80, (if only we could all be at a nude resort at 80), most of the couples had been together for ten years or longer and were what we call the “empty nesters gone wild” group, or anniversary couples looking for something different. According to the staff (which has some variation depending on the time of year), guests were 20% Mexican/Latin, 20% European, 20% Canadian, and 40% American in nationality, all in varying stages of undress. Clothing optional, as opposed to nude means that bathing suits are seen, but the majority of the couples were either nude or topless throughout the day. They had typical resort games such as water polo and beach volleyball taking place, (nude volleyball is always an interesting eyeful) along with far more sexual ones such as the chocolate eating contest (where two couples compete to see who can drizzle and eat the most chocolate and whipped cream off their partners). Nobody was pressured to participate. The tone was entertaining and playful during the day, rather than sexual, and the evening theme was more erotic, rather than smacking of blatant sex. There is no “getting jumped in the lobby” fear that some people perceive happens at lifestyle friendly resorts. The activity staff was relaxed, but enthusiastic and did their best to be inclusive of everyone interested in participating, and respectful of those who wanted to read quietly, or simply lounge on the beach.

The large elevated hot tub (which is off limits to management and only manned by a bartender and one cleaning staff for the mountain of towels being used) gets going about 4 pm, and is the place to socialize until couples start getting ready for dinner at 7. The hot tub is surrounded by a bar and six beds (all in view of the hot tub) which are either draped or open depending on the level of exhibitionist tendencies of the couple in question. A few couples were seen playing on the beds, (mostly with their own partners, but with some group massages going on). However for the most part, people were simply flirty and friendly in and around the hot tub, and exceptionally respectful of couples who were only into each other. Provided you don’t stare, it’s quite acceptable to watch. And everyone is understandably curious, and wanted to see if the participants are having longer, or more interesting sex than they are. It can get wilder depending on the flavor of groups staying any particular week, but the concern that one young man had before coming to Desire of “being afraid to leave his wife alone while he went to the bathroom for fear she would be mauled” was completely unfounded. A couple of people approached us asking if we were lifestylers, but like most lifestyle aficionados we’ve ever met, they graciously understood the etiquette and body language of disinterest.

Three dinner restaurants (an Asian, a fine dining, and buffet style) had enough of a quality and variety to keep everyone happy, although we found the sameness of the breakfast and lunch buffets had us craving for anything beyond the typical beach food by the end of the week. This is not the place to go if you are trying to manage your weight – and we struggled to find things that weren’t deep fried, or carb loaded (although yummy). The service was outstanding. There is something about Mexican waiters that let them show their appreciation of you, without ever being schwarmy. The dress for dinner was sexy and elegant, and a second change into erotic costumes or lingerie was common for the late evening entertainment and disco, so paying attention to the days themes before you arrive meant you were up for prizes, and admired by the other guests. Disco themes include “pimp and ho night”, Latin fever, costume and mask night, and sexy pj’s, and participants were encouraged to do a strip tease or “show off” to determine who won the t-shirt for the most enthusiastic performance. A couples- only playroom off of the dance floor was popular for about an hour a night (after 11pm), and was the only other condoned, sex-friendly zone in the resort. However it took us two days to find the door leading into it, and with no windows, any active play certainly wasn’t in your face.

The highlight for us were the evening shows before the disco got shaking which were brought in activities including a classic rock band, body painting, lingerie fashion show, casino night (with an auction for Desire merchandise) and where you could find the entire cast of resort guests lounging on chairs, mingling, or just cuddling romantically after dinner on cabana chairs built for two. The late night hot tub action (we were leaving upstairs a few nights at 2 am and the action was just beginning), didn’t get going until very late, and there were a few groups who found beach beds after 3 am to continue the revelry. We marveled at their stamina.

Desire’s concept is certainly upscale, and anyone who tried the couple “Desire” massage (which included very sensuous touching, and a guided “happy ending” in a private room) raved about it. Desire seems to oscillate between the decadent “indulge yourself” mantra of “what goes on in Mexico”… while emphasizing their spa-like features of relaxation and health. To their credit, they had very little of the time-share, or excursion aggressive sales pitches that seem to be the bane of other resorts we’ve visited.

Occupancy at Desire is one of the highest in the Caribbean, with Rivera Maya being close to 80-100% filled from mid October until April. Martin Good, the charming General Manager said that they had purchased the vacant land next door, and were building another 40 units to deal with the occupancy levels, as you will struggle to get in any week during high season. He went on to say “about 40% of Desires guests were repeaters (we met one couple who had been nine times already), and that people seemed to really enjoy the concept”. Desire has no “spring break” feel to it, and with that kind of occupancy, and high end entertainment, the room rates are a bit dear. Rates vary during the high season range from $250 to $540 US a night per person, with bottles of wine, massages, and specialty foods like lobster being extra. This is not discount travel, and within an eight days time span, 90% of the guests turn over.

But it is one of the only places that tolerate what we call “upscale sexual encounters done with taste”. The clientele are affluent, professional, open minded, and have the time and money to explore the boundaries of their relationship. Like with all nude resorts we’ve encountered, the minute you take clothes off, the barriers to meeting people come down. You make friends easily, and most people are happy to tell you about themselves. There is a “no camera policy” and discretion is expected. In interviewing as many couples as possible, Desire vacationers seem to fall largely into one of three categories. They were the “honeymooning type” – couples who were into each other and their relationship, enjoyed a sexually charged environment, but stayed away from the hot tub, disco, and simply re-connected monogamously. They may or may not be nude through their stay. The next third were what we call “exploratory lifestylers or nudists”. These were the couples that were open to “something happening” if it felt right (although many weren’t sure what that something might be), liked trying relaxed nudity, and may participate in a gentle, and somewhat innocent group massage. This group were committed to their own relationships but usually went home without seeing any kind of action as they were just testing the waters. The final third were the swingers, or lifestylers who were social, and interested in meeting and hooking up with like minded people, along with the group we called “indiscriminate lifestylers”, for whom this was about how many partners they could try on their week away. This group was friendly, but were really only interested in meeting other lifestylers.

On the whole Desire really is what you make it. Elegant, upscale, quietly naked and romantic, or with late night happenings, disco dancing, and hut tubbing along with 50 new friends and sexual adventures under the stars. We heard absolutely no complaints, about the resort, rooms, food, or service, and Original Resorts who run Desire Rivera Maya and their Los Cabos location have really found their niche. Anything the resort could control, they managed very well. We really can’t rave about the service more. It is very similar to Desire Los Cabos, in theme and layout (although Los Cabos in our opinion is the nicer, newer resort), however the type of guests seemed to differ at the west coast Desire Los Cabos. They get more of their visitors from California, (think Hollywood clothes, and way more silicone), and on the whole weren’t as laid back and relaxed as the “let it all hang out” group we met at Rivera Maya.

The clientele changes by the week, but as a whole, this is the sexy honeymoon most of wish we had, and can still have. It is worthy of its reputation, and a “must-try” on the bucket list of any adventuring Ethical Hedonist.

Romantic adventures. Why you need to keep at them.

adventuresOne of our colleagues is the Chief Psychologist for the counseling group we belong to, and is a Senior Professor of Marriage and Family Counseling at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa. He’s an expert in how to stay connected in relationships. In a conversation this week, Martin commented that “married couples fall out of love after years of being together. It’s their job to do the work with connecting activities, touch, and intimacy, to fall back into love”.

Falling back into, and staying in love takes work. We think it takes play, “out of the ordinary experiences”, and good sex to encourage the endorphins you made when you first fell in love. See the blog at www.sexwithsue.com for more about the hot sex.

One of the best ways we’ve ever discovered to do this involves romance adventure activities. That’s the reason we write this blog. Romance adventure activities can be anything from a picnic in the woods by your house, to an early morning balloon ride or Disney Resorts. It can be boating in the Everglades, or playing flirty mini golf (putt putt). We make it a point to follow a few rules. Bi-weekly local date nights where we each take turns planning the evening. We’ve done naughty pirate cruises, the local reptile zoo (with backward, longing glances), or the local burlesque show. Our quarterly activities involves clothing optional beaches, and over 30 dance clubs. And we try and go away twice a year. Once within a 6 hour drive or short flight of home, and the other a romantic adventure somewhere on our bucket list.

It’s a priority for us. And we budget for it. In turn our relationship stays connected, and close. We try and post a few affordable and intimate suggestions that get your adrenaline up and has you clutching each other and gazing into each others eyes. As Martin the Professor says, “connection is eye contact, touch and words of love”. We’ll go one step further, we think it involves sexual intimacy and trying new things together.

Try the steps and see if it works for you. Invite your partner on a date. Make sure it involves touch, eye-contact, words of love, and something out of the ordinary. Play a board game, go to the local dinosaur museum, or better yet, go parking. We are quite sure that you’ll find it surprisingly effective in re-kindling some intimacy.

Spring is in the Air! And a girl’s fancy turns to….

Eating Easter chocolate, and waxing poetic about the one you love. What is it about spring that encourages a renewed desire for intimacy? The increased Vitamin D from more sunshine? The extra magnesium and zinc from spring foods? Either way, spring is an excuse to eat large amounts of rhubarb (great for trace minerals and very high in Calcium and Vitamin C), fiddleheads and asparagus. According to the Sex in Springtime article in Psychology Today, there is a peak conception rate in late March or early April. The article goes on to say that semen quality is highest in the spring, and menopause may be delayed during the spring and summer. No matter what the reason, the days are longer, we are able to show a little more skin, and love is in the air. It may also be a great time to take your sweetie away for a romantic get away. According to the Travel News, the website for travel agents, Easter is moving up as a popular travel destination. In Orlando, the alligators are mating and Downtown Disney is hopping. Cuba is still an inexpensive 5 day destination holiday from any of the Canadian border cities. And its a great time to visit New York before best of Broadway goes on holidays, and the crowds descend on Time’s Square. Whatever you decide to do this weekend do it with love and oomph. You deserve it.

Happy Spring, Happy Easter and let’s hope there the warmer air puts a bounce in your step.spring1