Family Vacation

 PERSONAL ESSAYS

 

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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.

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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."

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