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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex Resorts (But Were Afraid to Ask)

You think you know, but you have no idea.

Let’s start off easy and talk about what a sex resort is—and isn’t. In the simplest of definitions, a sex resort is a hotel that encourages sexual behavior among its guests. You’ll find all the same features of a regular vacation resort—rooms, pools, bars, restaurants, and activities—plus something a little extra to get you in the mood.

The Basics

While it’s not uncommon to find regular hotels stocking the minibar with sex toys, pushing aphrodisiac menus, or using a little suggestive decor, a sex resort will up the ante with things like looser dress codes and fun, risqué activities.

INSIDER TIPWhile nudist resorts are sometimes family-friendly, sex resorts are for adults only.

Yes, people will be naked, or at the very least topless—but by choice. The (un)dress code at sex resorts ranges from being topless-optional to clothing-optional to fully nude. For example, Jamaica’s famous Hedonism II resort has both a “nude” side and a “prude” side. To prevent gawkers, you can’t be on the nude side unless you’re completely nude, too. At Temptation Cancun Resort, tops can come off but bottoms are required at all times (well, except during the poolside Miss Temptation contest when the contestants have to collect as many male swim trunks as possible from men in the water).

So, what isn’t a sex resort? Contrary to the concern of several people, it isn’t a place “just crawling with creeps” nor “full of sexual predators or pedophiles.” And yes, the bathrooms have doors, but no, they aren’t unisex. (It’s amazing where American minds go when sex enters the picture.)

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If you’re worried about people staring, don’t be. Coming from the land of the clothed it’s hard to imagine that people wouldn’t be staring at each other 24/7, but you’ve got to put it in perspective: if everyone’s naked, it’s not as much of a novelty. In fact, you’d be surprised how quickly being surrounded by naked can start to feel normal. After 24 hours, you won’t even notice, well, that much, anyways. And don’t worry: cameras are most definitely not allowed in areas where people aren’t fully clothed.

Sex and Nudity

So do you have to be naked or take your top off? Absolutely not (unless you’re at a full-on nude resort, which, in that case, you knew what you were signing up for before you arrived). It’s also worth mentioning that the staff isn’t naked, so don’t worry about getting served breakfast by someone in the buff. And, like at regular resorts, staff can get in big trouble for hooking up with guests.

The rules at almost every mainstream sex resort prohibit public sex acts, but let’s get real, it can happen. It does happen.

Furthermore, the rules at almost every mainstream sex resort prohibit public sex acts, but let’s get real, it can happen. It does happen. Depending on which resort you’re at (but particularly at clothing-optional sex resorts), it can happen a lot—right in front of you, behind you, or even next to you. But just like the clothes, the sex is optional.

In that same vein, consent is taken very seriously. Consent checks at sex resorts are the status quo, and rule-breakers can face serious and immediate consequences. Though it only takes one bad egg to ruin the sex party soufflé, the people going to sex resorts are into fun, consensual sex and exploration. Some resorts even cater to the latter with special themed fetish nights or sex-ploration areas outfitted with large beds, sex swings, whips, chains and cuffs, or other sex toys.

INSIDER TIPMost resorts ask guests to sign a waiver and rules of behavior statement. If you’re unsure of the policy around consent, ask.

Sex resorts are often associated with swingers, couples who enjoy switching partners with other couples (or singles, if the resort allows them), but they’re also popular with couples looking to spice up or revive sex just between them. In fact, some resorts, like Desire Pearl Resort and Desire Riviera Maya Resort, both in Mexico, are couples-focused (including swingers) and do not allow solo guests.

The People

The occasional orgy aside, it’s not a sex free-for-all. People still hang out, just like at a regular resort. They grab drinks at the bar, lay on the beach, talk about work, have lunch, or go to the spa. So just who are these people, anyway? Regular folks. Maybe your neighbor. Maybe your boss. Maybe you. The good news is that they’re regular people, and you can expect a good representation of body types (read: you don’t have to be a supermodel to be here). Toned abs, strong arms, and tight butts blur together with bodies that have perfect imperfections, terrible tattoos, swollen bellies, cellulite, and sun damage.

The occasional orgy aside, it’s not a sex free-for-all.

The age range at resorts has a reputation of retirees, and, while faces are getting younger (millennials and younger Gen-Xers, we see you), the average guest is probably late-40s and 50s. This demographic skews heavily Caucasian, while younger guests have a pinch more diversity.

Likewise, most couples are straight, with exceptions when it comes to swinging. However, while hookups are fairly common between females, it’s a rare sight between two males.

The reasons people go to a sex resort are varied. As mentioned, some people go to help their relationship, others want a judgment-free environment, and some guests are specifically looking to explore fetishes and sexuality. Regardless of the reasons, there’s still a stigma attached to this type of vacation and it’s common for guests to keep their visits on the down low, some even go so far as to buy day passes to take and post photos from a regular resort nearby.

For some people, sex resorts aren’t explicitly about sex; they are about cutting loose and feeling free. At their core, if you’re open-minded enough and even if you’re not having sex, these resorts can be a lot of fun.

INSIDER TIPResorts like Hedonism II and Desire host special weeks specifically geared toward LGBTQ, threesome, and millennial crowds.

Health and Safety

It doesn’t take long for someone’s curiosity about sex resorts to transition to anxiety. How do they keep resort areas sanitary at clothing-optional resorts? Are people practicing safe sex? Is the pool clean? Are people naked in restaurants?

Most clothing-optional resorts require guests to carry around a towel with them at all times to sit on. But most people don’t. Still, resort areas are being cleaned constantly, even in areas where nudity isn’t allowed like the dining rooms or lobby. Pools are cleaned nightly with heavy chemicals, though the hotel can’t be held responsible for any extra fluids that may find themselves in the pool during the day.

Speaking of, some sex-oriented hotels do provide free condoms for guests, but, ultimately, it’s up to the guests to practice safe sex (or not). STD tests are not required to check into a sex resort, but some may ask first-time guests to go through a background check, though it’s rare.

It’s worth noting that your experience at one sex or clothing-optional resort doesn’t translate into what you’ll experience at another. There are a lot of variables, like the resort’s location, set up, programming, and rules—and most notably, the other guests you’ll be sharing your experience with. Still, if the surprisingly high return guest rates are any indicator, you’ll probably have one hell of a time.