I definitely had pre-conceived notions about Hedonism II, the clothing-optional resort in Negril, Jamaica I previously knew about solely from it’s association with Mocha Fest. While I never counted myself “raunchy” enough to enjoy the pure debauchery associated with the popular Memorial Day festival, I’m still a very open-minded individual, and was curious to see just how far down the rabbit hole I’d go in a completely judgement-free environment.
For the record, while Hedo is clothing-optional, staff stresses that the facility isn’t a nudist or swingers resort, but rather “lifestyle friendly,” meaning you can indulge in such activities if you so choose. The property infamously has its “nude” and “prude” sections to suit your comfort level, the latter extending to several pools and half of the beach where visitors have the option to remain clothed while enjoying their stay.
This was my first stop, as I lounged with the strongest Pina Colada I’ve ever had beachside, daring myself to at least go topless in preparation for revealing my full birthday suit the following day.
And so, I did.
The moment seemed monumental in my own mind, but the normality of the human body in all of its glory quickly brought me back to this reality: where people of all body shapes and sizes feel free, expressive and safe in nothing but their own skin. Yes, I felt the eyes of certain guests, singles and couples, examining my frame throughout my 4-day-stay, but never in a manner that made me feel violated or embarrassed. In fact, my topless moment and the completely nude days that followed did wonders for my own self-esteem. But while lying underneath the Caribbean sun nude is paradise for some, there are definitely places on the grounds where clothing is required, because free-spirited or not, who wants to stare at your balls during dinner?
While my days were consumed with beach walks, yachting and an endless supply of drinks and jerk chicken, things get a little spicier at night when the in-house entertainment puts on their jaw-dropping shows in the main hall. I happened to be visiting the same week as the Men At Large and Women At Large calendar competitions, mixing and mingling with the gorgeous group during Hedo’s nightly parties.
The themed parties are legend ‘round those parts, a fact I understood as soon as I entered the foam pit located on the prude side of the property. Other themes included Lingerie & Leather, Toga and Rock Stars.
After hanging with Mr. October for a few hours, we escaped to the nude side, soon joined by his fellow months and my crew, a group of writers-turned-besties on this ultimate girl’s getaway.
The energy was, surprisingly, young and sexy, but never skeevy. Some paired off for the night while others retreated to their rooms, all of which include mirrors on the ceilings and patios, many of which include private hot tubs.
Another late-night option would be the Romping Shop, which I stumbled upon during my solo exploration of the property. With hot tubs, fresh linens and private rooms for invited play, men are only allowed in with a partner, while women can indulge in their voyeuristic fantasies either solo or with a mate.
Of course, not every activity is steaming with sensuality. I was actually able to get a few shots in on one of many basketball courts one morning while finding my way around. From tennis and volleyball to snorkeling and wind surfing, there’s no end to the ways one could spend their days at this all-inclusive.
Admittedly, I spent much of my time downing Rum & Tings along with some of the best food ever! While I wasn’t able to sample what Pastafari, their Italian-Jamaican fusion restaurant, had to offer, Flame, their beachfront chophouse, and Harrysan, a Japanese dinner-and-a-show style eatery, were exceptional.
From judging the men’s calendar competition to breathtaking beach-side dinners, I had an amazing time. That being said, the experience isn’t for everyone. The more conservative may find themselves challenging their own ideas of expression vs modesty, but rest assured the resort is far from the den of iniquity many have labeled it — unless, of course, you’re into that sorta ting.
Learn more about Hedonism II and book your summer getaway here!
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.