No, not Burning Man.
While “sex retreat” might sound like a euphemism for a break from sex or the title of a Jason Segel movie, the concept has a bit more reach than that. In fact, there are iterations of sex-positive, intimacy-focused retreats (think: sleep-away camp for grown-ups) stationed all across the country. There’s a bit of nuance therein: Some curricula may skew in the direction of mindfulness and general sexual wellness, others towards group sex and self-exploration, others towards couples therapy for couples looking to…recharge. But more broadly speaking, the top-level ethos remains fairly steadfast: These are spaces committed to creating safe environs for folks to explore sexuality—for extended periods—removed from the drudgery of normal life.
Naturally, there’s something very ‘60s-inspired, “free love”-leaning about the notion of absconding to the wilderness to more readily explore your sexuality—but these spaces are growing in popularity, even among the sorts of people who have actively abstained from adopting Gwyneth Paltrow’s esteemed Yoni Egg. Your standard sex retreat isn’t nearly as “woo-woo” as it sounds—and the experiential concept is growing in popularity as more and more retreats open across the country. Moreover, the trend isn’t just exclusive to full-on retreats. Hotels, spas, and resorts across the globe are adding sexuality-forward packages to their menus, from “intimacy kits” in the mini bar, to couples workshops, to “orgasm honing” spa programs. In last year’s Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast from Spafinder Wellness 365, results showed a major increase in the number of travel venues pivoting their programming toward “sexual literacy and improved intimacy.”
Why, you ask? Well, for starters, sex and vacation have always been somewhat inextricably linked. According to a recent Travelocity poll, 6 percent of couples will book a vacation exclusively to keep the spark alive. So if most couples are already making vacation selections based around, well, boning, it makes sense that folks would consider opting for a trip to some tropical, beautiful destination—where sexuality is also prized as an utmost priority.
On that note, since the dawn of couples counseling, therapists and mediators have been pointedly plugging vacation as a way of reconnecting with a partner. Not only does relief from stressors and daily context often increase libido and help us feel more connected to our bodies, and more uniquely…free. Which is to say, for couples feeling disconnected on any count, leaning into a vacation as a space to deepen physical intimacy sounds like a generally wise place to start.
So what actually happens in these spaces? Well, it certainly varies from venue to venue. Most include some version of tantric fitness or bodily exploration. Many involve aphrodisiac-forward menus, venues, and hotel rooms designed to stimulate arousal. Most include couples workshops with trained professionals. But like with any vacation-resort shtick, folks are typically welcome to opt-in and out of the activities that most…excite them.Not all sex retreats are exclusively for couples, though. Back to The Body is an annual retreat, exclusively for women, focused on helping people reconnect to the experience of orgasm in a safe, natural space. Vaginal weightlifter Kim Kamami hosts a Bali Bliss Retreat centered around connecting with the fertile land as a way of accessing raw sensuality (think: erotic yoga, sultry meditation, etc). Some operate as ways to work through sexual or emotional issues with your partners. Others are about reconnecting with your own body. Others operate as free-form nonjudgemental, experimental spaces for folks to gain stronger access to their sexuality with other attendees. All, however, are sexy. So if you’re planning your next vacation, perhaps consider…leaning in.