by Sue McGarvie

Canadian sex therapist and talk show host Sue McGarvie immerses herself in her research via a vacation to Desire Resort, a couples only resort for the sexually adventurous (or curious), in Los Cabos, Mexico.

It’s not just the 17 feet of snow we’ve had this winter in my part of Canada that has me wishing I could emigrate to Mexico. I have simply fallen in love with the lifestyle and culture of our southern neighbors. Los Cabos, Mexico, where I spent a blissful week in March 2008, was absolute paradise. It was complete with near-perfect weather, the world’s yummiest coconut ice cream, and now, arguably the best couples resort in the world.

Los Cabos, which bills itself as a place of guaranteed sunshine, (only six days of rain all of last year), is located on the tip of the Baja pennisula, where the sea of Cortéz meets the Pacific Ocean. A thousand miles of desert along Mexico’s west coast, Los Cabos has a spectacular coastline due to the advent of desalination and a bevy of fresh water out of the sea that has turned desolate scrub brush into an oasis. This is where the wealthy Californians come to vacation.

And Desire Resort & Spa Los Cabos is where the sexually adventurous come to explore the romantic and erotic side of their relationships.

Desire Resort & Spa Los Cabos is an exclusive, couples-only, clothing-optional, all-inclusive hotel with a boutique resort feel and approximately 150 rooms complete with privacy and security. It’s the destination for the honeymoon of decadence and sensuality you have always wanted. Like any nude resort or beach, the minute you shed your clothes at Desire, your inhibitions come off as well. The result is that fellow guests are open and comfortable, leading to easy conversation and quick friendships.

However, unlike some other nude or clothing-optional resorts in which public displays of affection aren’t allowed, there are places at Desire where guests are free to be overtly sexual with their partner (or someone else’s).

Because Desire Los Cabos is centrally located in the “zone tourista,” there is no nudity allowed on the resort’s beach. Swimming in the ocean is also prohibited due to the strong undertow, which the scattered, red beach flags reading “FATAL” make abundantly clear. But provided that you wear a bathing suit, the beach is a delight to walk.

With no beach activities offered, guests congregate in the rooftop hot tub and heated, extra-large, central swimming pool. This central meeting place makes it easier to get to know other guests on a first name basis.

The resort’s central location is also ideal for those who want a change of scenery and choose to leave the resort for nearby shopping and restaurants.

Within the resort, the grounds are designed so that sexual interaction happens only in the secluded hot tub area or in the playroom in the dance club, making it easy for guests to avoid watching others’ sexual encounters that they might not want to see (although who’s kidding– everyone is curious to see if their pool buddies are doing anything more interesting than they are). With sex only taking place in very specific places, you can otherwise treat the resort like any other first-class resort, except that a majority of the guests are constantly in some stage of undress.

Desire Los Cabos is the place where you can be nude (or not), overtly sexual with your partner (or not), and meet other couples for friendship (or more). You and your significant other can also stay to yourselves and honeymoon in an erotic environment. As Sylvia, the Guest Services manager, told me, “The experience at Desire is strictly what you make of it.”

Desire can be called sensuously discreet; Sex is there if you want it, but is done with ease and elegance. I would estimate that only about 25% of the guests are in the “swinging” or lifestyle play. Some people are direct in their approach of looking for an exchange, but most are enjoying exclusive eroticism with their partner.

There are a surprising number of “first-timers” who had never even been to a nude beach before. There are a large group of guests who book their trip with Expedia, looking for a vacancy, and despite being initially surprised by the sexual openness of the resort, quickly join in on the semi-clothed frolicking. “When in Rome…” seems to be the common philosophy, and the comfortable atmosphere relaxes even the most uptight guest (I watched a Catholic first-grade teacher go from cover-ups to commando to sex in public with her husband in only three days).

While there is a minimum age policy of 25 at Desire Los Cabos , and a number of mid to late twenties guests, the bulk of the guests are 30 to 50 years old. A 60 year old, or older, couple certainly wouldn’t be out of place, but most of the guests’ bodies are better than average, and a majority seems to have been surgically enhanced. The overall crowd is affluent, well-preserved, and well-groomed, with more than their share of silicone and botox.

There are a couple of things you may want to take note of when packing for Desire. With guaranteed sunshine, and predominate nudity, guests go through far less clothes than anticipated. Although the amount of necessary daytime clothing barely fills a toiletry bag, most women dress elegantly for cocktails, dinner and after dinner drinks, and for the disco party, where every night is theme night. My suggestion is to bring a big suite case full of erotic costumes to be creative and silly. The disco is hot and sexually charged. Themes include Rodeo-cowboy, naughty schoolyard, pink, red, and black and white nights, jungle, and emergency (fireman, nurse).

Rest assured that Desire has a camera verboten policy, so you won’t end up naked in someone else’s pictures. So plan a day trip outside of the resort if you think you will need pictures to take back to the kids.

Despite how well Desire runs, it isn’t perfect. The highlight is the staff and service. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a more gracious, more accommodating staff anywhere in the world. They learn guests’ names immediately and make everyone feel special. Overall, the food is good, shown in my goodbye hug to Antonio, my evening grill chef who concocted something special just for me every night. At times, however, the food is a bit inconsistent. We had the best steak we’ve ever eaten as well as the worst steak, only a day apart. There could be a more rounded room service menu, and the pool food, being the only lunch option, is repetitive. The bartenders, however, are great.

As a therapist, I find it surprising that there aren’t condoms provided in the playroom or hot tub areas, at least for liability reasons. I also think that the disco should open earlier for those of us who turn into a pumpkin after midnight. But I do love the live music played outside on the mezzanine between dinner and the dance club opening outside.

What is most significantly lacking from Desire Los Cabos is comprehensive information on what the erotic lifestyle really is. There is a need for clear, non-judgmental facts about what full swing, lifestyle play, group massage, and bisexual swap means to new attendees. Having tourist books in each room is helpful, but the questions in the books aren’t the questions that it takes five margaritas and a week of beating around the bush to ask. Everyone at the resort, it seems, is looking for answers to questions like “how do you spice up your relationship with group play without messing up what you have,” or simply “how do you keep it hot after years together?”

Desire seems to be marketing to the large group of people that one guest described as “empty nesters gone wild”– couples who are curious and open but hesitant to test any kind of extra-marital play. They are not the serious swingers who want to try anything and everything but they also want more than the generic romance packages offered by conventional couples resorts.

With a few minor changes, such as better training for their activity staff, more ice breakers, and delicately written information packages, the Desire resorts could be the premiere location for sensuous couples world-wide.

My guess is that it will be difficult to get a room at Desire Los Cabos over the next year as word gets out. This year, during mid-March, the high point of the regular travel season when every other resort was fully booked, Desire Los Cabos was at only 35% capacity. This isn’t a place you bring your kids, and around family holidays, Desire’s business is slower.

During times that are typically not “family holiday time,” you’ll find parents who have shipped off their kids to engage in sensuous adult play that a trip to Desire offers. In May, for example, when it is warm up north, Desire Los Cabos is entirely booked, but there are vacancies at most other nearby resorts.

But as Desire makes their final adjustments, I suspect that they will begin to be sold out year round, so book your holiday there soon.

Desire also has a second location, Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico.

About the Author

Sue credits acing male reproduction with her decision to become a sex therapist. Dealing with what Sue affectionately calls “the weird and the wonderful” as a sex therapist for over 15 years, she has also hosted a call in radio show, an television series where her co-host was an animated beaver names Buck, and is always trying to fish her bra strap out of her sleeve. Sue was the kid who always streaked around the neighborhood, and has made it her life’s mission to frolic on every nude beach she can find. She has a passion for dark chocolate, heady merlot, and men sporting a three day growth of facial hair. Sue’s website is