Wellness: Sexual healing
Sexual wellness is one of the fastest growing corners of the global wellness industry, with travel increasingly part of the experience. More hotel brands and relationship therapists are offering couples retreats and beachfront sessions with intimacy coaches and guided anatomical explorations to meet the needs of travelers seeking greater couple satisfaction and personal pleasure.
“People still have stigma around couples therapy and coming to therapy, but nobody ever had a problem going on vacation,” said Marissa Nelson, a sex therapist who runs retreats in Barbados, Hawaii, St. Lucia and Washington, D.C., through her company IntimacyMoons (seven days in St. Lucia starts at $7,500). She also offers virtual sessions; even when retreats were shut down in 2020, she noticed couples were traveling — to Airbnbs or on road trips — before logging on to work with her.
Travel is a powerful tool for unlocking intimacy, said Shlomo Slatkin, a rabbi and certified relationship therapist. His company, The Marriage Restoration Project, focuses on married couples. In the past year, in response to a growing demand to combine therapy and travel, he has introduced his first destination retreats — which cost between $4,000 and $5,000 and take place in Costa Rica, Mexico and Miami.
“Going away is really powerful, because changing the relationship requires a paradigm shift,” he said. “The lockdowns brought out a lot of maintenance issues in relationships that need to be addressed.”
Tara Skubella, a tantric guide, works with both couples and single women. Tantra, a spiritual philosophy with roots in medieval India, includes practices like tantric sex, and Ms. Skubella offers services, including chakra work, which focuses on energy points in the body. Her retreats in Costa Rica and Colorado (starting at $499) have been mostly sold out since 2020, she said.
“It seems very aligned to Covid and breaking out of isolation,” she said. “Society is realizing tantra isn’t only about sex, but about inner connection and healing.”
In March, the hotelier St. Regis will launch a retreat with the sex coach Bibi Brzozka on intimacy, conscious sexuality and emotional awareness at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Mexico ($2,680). In April, Six Senses Ibiza will host Pleasure Principles — Journey of Women’s Sexual Wellness, a six-night stay focusing on female sexual empowerment ($4,500). They are the first sexuality-focused retreats for both brands. — Debra Kamin