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What Happens at a Sex Resort

Here's What Really Goes Down at a Clothing-Optional "Erotic" Couples Resort

My boyfriend and I excitedly opened the door to our gorgeous beachfront suite, unsure of what to expect when we entered. While away at dinner, our special selection from a "fantasy menu" at Desire Riviera Maya Pearl, a clothing-optional, couples-only resort in Mexico, was being set up for us.

We crossed the threshold in anticipation, thinking we were ready for what was next. I must stress, emphatically, that we were not f*cking ready for what was next.

Let's rewind.

We arrived a few days earlier to Desire Riviera Maya Resort, the sister to the resort where we finished off our trip. Both are "adult" escapes for couples, where clothing is optional and where anything goes. We certainly learned what "anything goes" can mean. The resorts describe themselves as places full of freedom, oases of "beauty and eroticism" (wholeheartedly agree) where "fantasies become reality" (reality, indeed).

I found myself in a pool-size sex spa full of guests — all completely nude — sandwiched in between one of the most attractive women I'd ever seen in real life and her boyfriend.

When I first read about both resorts, my curiosity was understandably piqued. Clothing optional? Great, no more tan lines. Couples only? My boyfriend was very down. Sexy shows every night, great food, and sensual experiences geared toward turning up the heat in your relationship? Sign us up.

Desire Riviera Maya and Pearl are all about creating an environment of openness, where people can explore their sexual desires in a safe, accepting place among like-minded people. Couples (mostly, but not all) in their 30s to 60s are able to escape the limitations of everyday society and embrace the lifestyle they seek, all against the backdrop of the beautiful Yucatán coastline.

I consider myself to be very open-minded, sexually adventurous, totally fine with nudity (love it, actually), and fully supportive of pretty much anything going on between consenting adults. I'm a Love and Sex editor, for f*ck's sake. Even if it happens to be on public display, as is the case at the resorts, I'm down. It can even be a turn on for many people.

On day two, however, as I found myself in a pool-size sex spa full of guests — all completely nude — sandwiched in between one of the most attractive women I'd ever seen in real life (not complaining one bit here) and her down-for-pretty-much-anything boyfriend, it occurred to me that my significant other and I were in way, way over our heads. We rolled with it, to an extent. But it wasn't exactly the experience we expected. For the first time in my adult life, I felt incredibly naive and unprepared — and it was pretty hilarious. For the most part.

Most guests coming to resorts like these are generally knowledgeable about what occurs there. In fact, one of the questions we were most frequently asked in the five days we spent at both places was "are you two lifestylers?" This is the question couples often pose in order to get a feel for whether another couple is open to swinging. We were told that around 60 percent of the people who come to the resorts are swingers — people who swap partners and/or engage in group sex — but I'm convinced based on our personal experience that the number is just a bit higher.

The resorts are beautiful and all-inclusive (drinks, too!), with spacious suites, multiple pools and hot tubs, countless restaurants and bars open all hours of the day and night, and extra amenities like spas, salons, and stores filled with all of the sexy outfits and accessories you could ask for. Forgot your lube? No problem. Everything is where you need it, when you need it. The staff is extremely friendly, helpful, and completely nonjudgmental, and overall were a highlight of the trip for us.

But — and there is a but — first-timers should be aware of what they're diving into. The golden rule that all guests must agree to upon arrival is that "no means no" — which should give you an idea of what kind of things go down daily. This isn't a nudist resort where people mostly keep to themselves. This is a full-on sex resort, with public rooms decorated with round pink and black leather beds dedicated to group sex, massive hot tubs where couples and groups can go at it to their hearts' desires, and where (in my case) attempting to casually rock a bathing suit bottom made me stand out among the sea of bare butts. This is absolutely what many people are looking for in a getaway — and I'm so glad that there's places that exist where couples can really be themselves and where this is celebrated.

Fast-forward back to the night we returned from dinner thinking we were getting a casual private dance in our suite . . .

The first thing I saw was the sex swing that had been drilled into our ceiling while we were gone for barely an hour. Impressive. Our bathtub was filled with bubbles and roses, our bed completely covered with the petals as well. A bottle of Champagne chilled nearby. We suddenly started having second thoughts about inviting our new couple friends along for what we (stupidly, in hindsight) believed to be the kind of silly striptease you see at bachelor parties that last all of 10 minutes. It was not.

We thought we'd chat and laugh with the husband and wife we'd brought along with us while we watched a sexy performance, sip Champagne, and be dancing at the resort's (actually very fun) disco in no time. Nope. It was the erotic preamble to what would've been sex with my boyfriend — guided by a beautiful (and amazingly sweet) woman decked out in black lace and silk. But (due to my own obliviousness) it turned into the preamble for what was essentially a foursome — since I'd invited our newfound friends along for the (literal) ride. I guess the rose petals on the bed should have been my red flag?

Did we know what we were getting ourselves into? Absolutely not. Did we have exciting sex in places and ways we never have before? Yup.

Needless to say, we skipped the group sex (wasn't really our ideal scenario, but totally great for other couples interested in something like this!), dipped out, and headed to the disco where we made it just in time to see a badass dancer perform one of the coolest aerial shows I've ever seen. Our friends, who laughed good-naturedly and incredulously asked how we didn't know what the deal was all along, joined us on the dance floor. Crisis averted. Our ignorance about what an "erotic couples massage" really means is a whole other story . . .

Did the resorts play a part in helping my boyfriend and me spice up the romance after more than five years of dating? Absolutely. We got closer not only because of our admittedly awkward roller-coaster ride, but also because the resorts really do foster a sense of eroticism and sexual openness that was entirely contagious. Did we know what we were getting ourselves into? Absolutely not. Did we have exciting sex in places and ways we never have before? Yup.

Bottom line, going to an erotic couples resort got my partner and me out of our comfort zones, but more importantly, the resorts allow others who visit to truly be in their comfort zones, whatever those may be.

Travel and expenses for the author were provided by Desire Riviera Maya and Pearl for the purpose of writing this story.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Hilary White
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