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I was sixteen and returning from my yearly beach vacation with my mom when I first stumbled across a brochure in the airport for the sex resort Hedonism. While Mom waited in line, I covertly flipped through a Skinemax fantasy: tanned, busty early-twenty-somethings pranced half-naked around a beach fire, licking strawberries and sipping champagne, then slipped into quiet coves for more strawberry licking, now with whipped cream and full-on nudity. I wondered wistfully if I would ever get to visit that kinky Never Never Land.
Fast forward four years, and I was, miraculously, offered a free trip with my girlfriend to Hedonism III. The only problem: It was my mom making the offer, and her boyfriend would be coming as well. I got off the phone immediately.
The set-up would have had Freud salivating, and I took several days to contemplate my answer. Was the whole "oh my God I'm at a sex resort with my mom" thing really worth turning down a free vacation with all-inclusive drinks? All-inclusive drinks! The words followed me for days. And my mom had promised that we'd stay on opposite sides of the resort. When she'd be on the nude side, I'd be on the prude side and vice versa. In all practicality, she wouldn't even be there.
I detailed the plan to my girlfriend, Hadley. During our year-and-a-half-long relationship we'd had a few milestones: the let's-be-exclusive talk; our first "I love you"; meeting the parents; our first sex in a body of water (the Atlantic). Now, I had to pop the big question. I waited until our second bottle of wine over dinner. "So," I looked deep into her eyes. "How about my mom takes us to a sex resort?"
She looked dumbfounded, and I launched into a rambling monologue. "We'll never see them," I reasoned. "Our rooms are on opposite sides of the resort. They don't force you to get naked if you don't want to or throw you into an orgy or anything." I filled her glass to the brink. "Our room will have a Jacuzzi. And did I mention the open bar?"
"Okay," she said. "But I'm not getting naked in front of your mother."
Fifteen minutes into the taxi ride to Newark Airport, I remembered that my mom's boyfriend, Harry, had a very special type of Tourette's — every fourth sentence referred to their sex life. He claimed to be naturally polysexual, and often interpreted my protests of "I don't want to fucking hear that" as "please sexually proposition my mom in front of me some more." As we pulled the luggage out of the trunk, he pinched my mom's ass and giggled, "Gee, Sue, I can't wait to see what they're gonna do to you on that beach." Fighting back the urge to strangle him, I imagined tipping back a piña colada, surrounded by beautiful people.
As we arrived at the resort, I considered what I should say to my mom. "Catch you in a week" seemed a bit too direct and unappreciative. But Mom spoke first. "How about we meet at the bar in an hour before dinner?" Before I knew what I was doing, I had said okay. Surely it wouldn't be too hard for me and Hadley to shake Harry and Mom and disappear into the legion of young hardbodies.