Imagine the iconic "YMCA" dance. Only this version is being done by two women scissoring the letters in an ass-in-the-air performance on the side of a nude pool. Bathed by Jamaican sun, they laugh through their unorthodox, though spot-on, cheesy performance. These antics epitomize my recent stay at Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica: fun, exposed, and full of girl power. Located on Negril’s famed Seven Mile Beach, Hedonism II is a spot where nudist, bisexual, heterosexual, and "lifestyle" folks (a.k.a. swingers) can live out their fantasies — however mild or wild they may be. As a sex-positive female, my booked-on-a-whim trip was a perfect fit. I had no idea how well I’d take to a nudist/lifestyle resort experience, though I suppose the writing was on the wall.
My journey to this trip was complicated. I first discovered the power of my pussy on the fuzzy yellow bath mat in my parents' bathroom. There, I self-explored between ballet lessons, The Brady Bunch, and bedtime. I was 6 years old.
Later, my fact-based sex education began as a preteen listening to Dr. Ruth’s late-night show on my Sony Walkman. A few years after that, I lost my virginity to a smooth-talking lacrosse player who tutored me in French (despite the fact that I was an honors student). When my mother found out I’d been deflowered, she called me a slut. My father was convinced I’d been raped. Neither would accept it was a consensual act, nor did it spark any conversation about sex.
In my early 20s, I engaged in a few bouts of clumsy college intercourse before I started to think that the only person capable of pleasing me was…me. Thus the purchase of my first vibrator at the age of 18. This gift from the Big O gods taught me a loud and clear message: Sexual pleasure meant power.
Fast-forward to gigs managing the Personals & Promotions department at the Philadelphia Weekly and penning porn reviews for a major adult website. The more I talked about sex and my pursuit of satisfaction, the more I was shushed and shamed. Apparently, polite women don’t talk about sex, orgasms, or what they want between the sheets. Or so I was always led to believe.
Prior to my trip, the most common question from my female friends was, "Are you going to get waxed?" A few wanted to know if I’d have my period. Guys wanted to know: "Are you going to have sex?" As a fish-belly-white Seattleite, I had more important concerns, like SPF and sun exposure.
Still, I packed flimsy, lacy things, pink LED light-up pasties, and my vibrator for any moments wanting of instant gratification. More importantly, I did my homework (AdultTravelForum.com was particularly helpful) and kept an open mind.
The more I talked about sex and my pursuit of satisfaction, the more I was shushed and shamed. Apparently, polite women don’t talk about sex, orgasms, or what they want between the sheets.
The next performer doubled down, revealing herself to have a flashlight tucked in her vagina. She teased one man on the floor with a close-up of her, um, unique skill set. Raw, powerful, and raunchy, these women owned their sexuality and exuded confidence. To quote Beyoncé: “Who run this mother? Girls (girls).” Yes, indeed.
Nightly theme parties enabled guests to strut their stuff, though participation certainly wasn’t required. Costumes ranged from leather breast harnesses for Fetish Fantasy night to a Katy Perry-esque LED light-up rainbow tutu for Rocking Rock Stars night. As a former Philly gal, a cropped Eagles David Akers jersey paired with a five-inch mini skirt, knee-high socks, and green glitter platform heels stole my NFL-loving heart. Butt floss on bodies of all sizes was not uncommon.
“It’s very important for ladies to feel comfortable,” said Levee. “Anyone who interferes with that comfort may get a first warning, but will most likely be asked to leave.”
Public group sex is also fairly common at Hedonism. One afternoon, on the Tortuga Catamaran (an activity booked through the tour desk), one woman got fingered, while her friend received slow, deliberate oral sex. The third had a hungry mouth on her breasts. After all three were happily finished, the group of women got up, bent over the boat’s railing, and lifted their asses in the air triumphantly.
As I watched them, I chatted with another guest, a woman who decided to come to Hedonism II despite a recent split. The voluptuous woman seemed to be doing alright in the rebound department, reclining next to a handsome, lean Jamaican man. Then, a booty-shaking twerking demo broke out as Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” blared on the speakers. I reveled in the openness and awesomeness of the moment.
It’s very important for ladies to feel comfortable. Anyone who interferes with that comfort may get a first warning, but will most likely be asked to leave.
Was I hit on during my stay? Yes, but it was always done with deference. Even in a clothing-optional, sexually charged, drug- and booze-fueled environment, I never saw any suspect behavior or felt unsafe. Security staff was ever-present.
During the last breaths of dusk on my last night, I sipped Champagne while staring at the sea from my ground-floor room when a middle-aged couple walked by.
“Hey, I see nakedness!” the trim blonde laughed before bending over, showing off her below-the-belt goods, and walking away, flashing the most mischievous of smiles. The moment could not have been more picture-perfect.
I’ve traveled the world as a journalist, but in its own way, this tropical playground was one of the most powerful celebrations of women I’ve ever seen — and I’m counting down the days until I can return.