By Colleen OakleyWould you send your husband to boot camp? Install a stripper pole in your bedroom? As these five couples discovered, when love is on the skids, sometimes you have to take a big risk to get it back on track.
Every marriage has its ups and downs, but when you hit a really rough spot, where do you turn? Sure, there's couples counseling, but not every couple (and definitely, let's face it, not every guy) takes to it. In fact, just as every relationship is different, so is the recipe...
Financial troubles and health woes have pulled Eileen and Barry apart in recent years, yet they seem to still crave each other's companionship everywhere -- but the bedroom.
Now that kids are home from camp, many adults like the three couples mentioned above are packing their bags and heading off to their own camp -- "booty camp," also known as couples retreats or couples enrichment weekends. Instead of swimming, arts and crafts, and campfires, adult campers learn the art of erotic massage, how to achieve orgasm, and how to keep the spark alive. The locales differ too. No upstate New York or Maine for love-weary adults. Instead, it's off to Hawaii, Bermuda, and other plush resort areas.
And it looks like they need it. According to recent media reports, some psychologists estimate that 15% to 20% of married American couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is how the experts define a sexless marriage.
Enter Booty Camp
"These [retreats] have been around since the 1970s, and some are really well-developed and sought out and some are not," says Laura Berman, PhD, LCSW, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago. "They fell out of favor because so many of the groups were geared toward '60s-style free love where you find your inner soul by engaging in group sex, but once HIV/AIDS kicked in, people really shunned these retreats," says Berman, director the Berman Center in Chicago and co-host of Berman and Berman: For Women Only on the Discovery Health Channel with her sister, Jennifer Berman, MD, a board-certified urologist.
"Now," Berman says, "they are more credible and focused on relational work, not just technique and taking sexual risks," says Berman, who co-wrote For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction and Reclaiming Your Sex Life.