I remember hearing about Hedonism II years ago when Jerry Springer filmed a series of episodes there. My juvenile mind just remembered it being the “adult people” hotel. Fast forward many years later, and the adult me decided to take a four-day vacation to the clothing optional resort in Jamaica. I had no idea what to expect other than what I read online. I knew there’d be some naked people (there’s a nude and a prude side) and I’d probably encounter people having sex.

I always wanted to visit a nude beach, so I decided to just dive in and go to an actual resort where showing up sans clothing is no problem and the tagline is to “be wicked for a week.” After making my way from Brooklyn to Negril, I immediately questioned what I’d gotten myself into. But, to fast forward a bit, let’s just say that after less than 24 hours on the resort, I didn’t want to leave, and I’m breaking down just why…

If you’ve ever been curious about a nude resort, here are just a few reasons you might want to consider a visit and why it’s probably nothing like you’ve imagined.

Safe Space for Women
I’ve never felt more comfortable and free than I did at Hedonism II. The irony of feeling completely safe while walking around naked was just mind-boggling for me. But the resort took safety and comfort for everyone, especially women, very seriously. Did men look at me while I was naked or in a skimpy bikini? They sure did. But did they stare or make comments? Never. On the nude side, everyone must be naked, so it felt like a level playing field. Men seemed to be more respectful than they might be in the “real” world and understood nudity wasn’t an invitation for conversation or touching. Also, the resort has a playroom where couples and singles can go to, um, have fun. However, single men aren’t permitted in unless they’re invited by a couple or a woman. It felt extremely sex positive and feminist af. The anything goes attitude only existed if consent was at the forefront.

It’s Not Just About Sex or For Swingers
One of the misconceptions I had early on was that people would be having sex everywhere or the majority of guests would be old white swingers. I was dead wrong. I did occasionally see or hear people getting it in, but the majority of the time, people were just hanging out (on the beach, by the pool or bar) like they would at any resort and sometimes they just happened to be nude. Also, I was so happy to see a few young people and quite a few black folks. Naturally, we did the customary “hey girl!” or head nod toward one another.

Perfect Girlfriend’s Getaway
For the above reasons, it’s a perfect girl’s trip. There’s nothing more annoying than feeling the creepy stares or inappropriateness of men who just can’t let you live your best life and cut up in peace. While on the beach, I started a group chat with two of my friends back home who I knew would love the resort. They were a bit leery but after confirming it’s not a bunch of swingers (though they do host a Young Swingers Week!) and privacy is seriously protected (no phones or cameras on the nude side), they were down. And I was happy to hear from Michelle Facey, Hedonism II’s Chief Pleasure Officer, that she’s noticed a rise in black female visitors. “Ironically the nude element isn’t what excites them about the property, it’s the freedom,” she says. “They’re hanging out, jamming with their tunes and just having a blast!”

I Let Go of Perceived Perfection
After gaining a few extra pounds this year, I felt the need to suck my stomach in the first time I stepped on the nude side of the resort. But after seeing how comfortable everyone was, I immediately felt silly. If people of every size could let it all hang out, literally, why was I stressing over no longer having a six pack? I let my tummy and my frizzed out 4c curls just be. I enjoyed the sun, ate a personal pepperoni pizza by the pool and read my book. And I just so happened to do a few of those things while nude in public.

I Viewed Nudity and Sex Differently
The first hour I arrived at Hedo, I saw a couple having sex on one of the cabanas. It was 4pm, broad daylight. I remember asking myself out loud, “are they having sex?” and resisting the urge to stare or judge. But by my final night on the resort, I heard a couple loudly enjoying one another in the pool, about 10 feet away. Didn’t even phase me. They were just two adults having fun. Myself and other people in the pool looked for a second and then we went back to our conversation like nothing was wrong. Because nothing was wrong. Just days before, this would have caused me to do a double take, but now? I continued sipping my rum and Ting. Everyone may not feel comfortable in that setting, but once I started viewing a naked body as just another body and sex as two (or more!) consenting adults enjoying themselves, what’s the big deal?

The Food was Amazing
It sounds odd, but some of the best food I’ve ever had in Jamaica was at Hedonism II. It’s kinda like the equivalent of strip clubs having good wings. I’ve been to all inclusive resorts before and the food was blah, but this time around, it was going back for seconds and thirds. Besides a great culinary team, I can only rationalize the pleasurable experience at the resort wasn’t limited to sex or romping around naked, but it was an overall experience of enjoyment that also included ackee and saltfish, cocoa bread, bammy and callaloo. I even entered a cooking competition, a “Jerk Off,” while there. I whipped up jerk chicken and pork and roasted veggies. Though I didn’t win, I got a bit of a chuckle out of the fact I was in a Chopped-style cooking competition on the beach of Jamaica while a few nude people just casually strolled by.

Sense of Community
Before visiting Hedo, I heard close 80 percent of visitors return and Facey confirmed that. A number like that might sound too high to be believable, but after my second day on the resort, I became a believer. It’s not just the judgement free, safe space that had major appeal. Since there are so few clothing optional resorts, the uniqueness of the experience made it feel like an exclusive community. People can tell you about it, but unless you go, you won’t truly know. And being so open and naked made it easier, even for an introvert like myself, to be friendlier with people. It’s a bit hard to pass by a naked person and not make eye contact, say hello and possibly spark a new friendship. I understand why people go back every year. It’s the same reason I plan on saving my coins so I can visit soon. Why I can’t wait to see my new friend, Meme, again. And why I’ve been raving about this clothing optional resort since my return.

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