By Lindsey Palmer
Can taking a break from making love actually improve your sex life? Sex
therapist and REDBOOK Love Network expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D., proposes just that
in his new book, Sex Detox. Here, Kerner explains how it works:
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
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
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.