Typically, dating somebody you meet on vacation is a terrible idea. Yes, there are the odd people who make it work, but typically those people met on a cruise ship, or at a club, or on Yacht Week. Or pretty much anywhere that isn't a swingers resort.
But that's exactly what happened to Lori and Joe (last names withheld), a couple from New York City who met at Hedonism in Jamaica over a decade ago, and have been together ever since. Proving that if you have the right connection it doesn't really matter if you met someone at a Starbucks or buck naked. We talked to them about their story, and how they found love in a resort built for casual sex.
Showing up to a swingers resort as singles
Hedonism, for the unaware, is a clothing-optional, adults-only resort near Negril, Jamaica. It sits along one of the best beaches in the Caribbean at Seven Mile Beach, and is one of the most -- if not THE most -- popular clothing-optional resorts in the world. It's also a place that doesn't discourage a little vacation indiscretion.
"When we got on the bus from the airport to the resort, they told us they had three rules," Lori said. "One, no nudity in the pool area before midnight. Second, no pot in the pool area. And third, you can't go to the help's room, but they can go to yours. We knew we were in for a wild time."
Lori and Joe were both there solo.
"I was there with one of my girlfriends, and he was there with his friends," Lori said. "There were a lot of singles there. We really didn't run into THAT many couples, although the ones we did see were looking to swing."
Their first meeting doesn't go so well
Not looking to be the guest of honor in a committed couple's bedroom, Joe and Lori both opted to head to the resort's disco on the first night. But it wasn't exactly love at first sight.
"He walked up and asked my girlfriend to dance," Lori said -- but she was undeterred by the initial snub.
"I noticed he was a very good dancer, and later on I asked him to dance."
The two hit it off, dancing and enjoying drinks at the disco's bar, which sat across a glass wall from the inside of the swimming pool.
"After midnight people got in the pool, so we were watching people swimming naked while we were talking," Lori said. "Really, it was just humorous. Especially since the water was cold, watching men with little penises floundering around was probably the most entertaining thing I saw all week."
They chatted for a while before deciding to return to their respective rooms. On the way, a topless volleyball game broke out in the swimming pool. Not missing a beat, Lori ripped her top off and joined right in. Joe decided he'd rather head back to his room.
"I thought she was a little loose," he said.
An awkward sunburn opens the door to love
Despite being a swingers resort, Hedonism isn't all sex, all the time.
"It wasn't, like, people having sex everywhere," Lori said. "There's a sexual component to it, and that's fun. But I felt like I could just walk around topless and nobody would think it was weird."
The nudity, of course, can also lead to some nasty sunburns. Especially if you opt for the day-long catamaran trip to Hedonism's private nude beach, as Joe had done on the second day of his vacation. When he returned to the main resort, he was melanoma red and obviously in a lot of pain.
"I saw him at night, trying to play some pool games," Lori recalled. "He was trying to have fun, but it's hard to move around when your skin in burning on your body." So Lori offered him aspirin, but Joe was a little hesitant.
"I thought she might be trying to drug me," he said. In excruciating pain, Joe took the aspirin anyway, and somehow kept his dignity.
Night 3: Toga and talent night
The third night they interacted was at a toga party, where guests were instructed to wear a bedsheet, and only a bedsheet, to the disco. As it happened, toga night was also talent night, and after the requisite strip teases and renditions of "Red Red Wine," Joe got up and played guitar while his friend accompanied him on drums. And that's where Lori started to fall in love. After the performance, Joe and his bandmate played ping-pong with Lori and her girlfriend, in full-on togas, and the love connection was sparked -- though still not consummated.
"We did not have sex," Lori bluntly said to end any speculation on how that night ended.
At the end of the trip they exchanged numbers and when they returned to New York, Joe asked Lori out. A year later they were married. The DJ played "Red Red Wine" at their wedding.
Are swingers resorts better than Tinder?
So there might be something to meeting someone in a place where you have nothing to hide. Men, Lori said, would actually look her in the face and listen to her when they were naked, fearing their "excitement" might show through if they looked anywhere else. That made communicating easier.
"People go on vacation, they have different clothes and a different attitude," Lori said. "But if you act like who you really are on vacation, you shouldn't have problems keeping the feelings when you come off your vacation. We felt the same way about each other when we got home as we did at Hedonism.
"You can be a little outrageous without the feeling of overt sexuality," she said, referring to her first-night topless jump into the pool. "But you should still be a LITTLE bit more crazy than normal. Otherwise, what's even the point?"
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.