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New Spin on Sex Ed -- Booty Camp!

Booty camps get couples to refocus on sex and their loving relationship.

WebMD Feature

After an intense yearlong courtship, Cheryl and Matthew, both in their mid-30s, got married and haven't had sex since.

Carlotta and Ernesto just sent their youngest daughter off to college and have no idea what to do with themselves now that their nest is empty.

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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.

"We like quick fixes like taking off for five days to lose a few pounds or detoxify, so it's not out of our realm of possibility to take a weekend to recharge our sex lives," she says. And "there is definitely an advantage for a certain type of couple, you just have to find the program that fits your personality. Some are too touchy and feely and esoteric for a mainstream yuppie, so you have to find one that matches your personality and outlook."

Later this Fall, Berman's television show will focus on three different sexual programs that she regularly sends patients to, including the Source School of Tantra in Kahului, Hawaii, where couples take part in workshops/programs on tantric sex (a complex marriage of yoga, meditation, ritual, and intercourse that originated in India in 3000 B.C.) and the Passionate Marriage program in Evergreen, Colo., which offers couples weekends, intensive therapy, and women's retreats for couples who may be in a deeply troubled marriage or those who want to make a good relationship great.

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