Private Intensive Couples Retreat

Sexploration is a highly specialized three-day retreat program held in Vermont. It is designed for one couple at a time looking to explore the marital and sexual issues of their relationship. We have found that our intensive couple-to-couple marriage and sex therapy (the four of us working together) is effective for couples who are struggling with having a mutually satisfying sexually intimate relationship.

We work with couples who are looking for ways to explore and spice things up a bit, as well with couples who need much more than just a “spice up”. These couples usually have a complex relationship history and seek an intensive, individualized, well informed and guided approach. No nudity or sexual touch is done during our sessions together, however you will most likely have some homework to do in the privacy of your hotel or B&B.

Keep the Love Lights Burning

Marriages are challenging, and keeping the love lights burning in today’s fast-paced society is equally difficult. As a husband and wife team, counseling couples for over 35 years, we have specific training in marriage therapy, sex therapy, and marriage repair. We know personally and professionally about the challenges of a wide range of marital issues. We bring to our work with you a blend of male and female perspectives… and a comfort with personal and sexual issues.

Sexploration works best with a couple in a committed relationship, though not necessarily “married”. Addressing sexual issues such as lack of interest or desire, erectile dysfunction, infidelity, performance anxiety, and problems with orgasm, to name a few, are best done in a communicative, respectful, and trusting environment.

If communication is a big issue and/or communicating basic emotional needs is non-existent we need to begin with some communication skill building. If you have marriage problems such as communication, emotional intimacy, or mid-life crisis, visit our sister site at MarriageQuest.Org.

#1 Best Marriage Counseling Retreat in the U.S.

Guide Doc

#1 in the Top 5 Marriage Retreats in the US

Connect With Life

#1 in 5 Marriage Counseling Retreats

Love To Know

Top 10 Marriage Intensive Retreats

Rank My Therapist

5 Best Marriage Boot Camps and Couple's Retreats

The Coolist

#2 in The Top 50 Marriage Intensive Retreats in 2018

The Marriage Intensive Network

#2 in the list of Top Marriage Retreat sites

Top 20 Sites

8 Marriage Bootcamps That Will Whip Your Relationship Into Shape

Women’s Health

Over the years we have worked with thousands of couples looking to understand and improve their sex lives together. We can help you to explore a variety of “normal” sexual issues in your relationship, in addition to more complex situations, such as a bi-sexual spouse, exploring the idea of a sexually “open” marriage, or a desire to discuss and explore fantasy and an interest in fetishes or BDSM…. When couples can discuss certain desires and private thoughts with their spouse, their entire relationship flourishes.

We all assume that emotional intimacy is a great basis for sexual intimacy… but did you know that sexual closeness, fun and exploration can lead to deeper emotional intimacy? Research reflects that longer and healthier lives are associated with the ability to have fun and experience pleasure within the marriage.

Rekindle the Spark

Explore the Sexploration Process


Many couples start out feeling that they are totally “in love” with each other. But what does being “in love” actually mean, and how does it affect your life and the lives of those around you? Explore what it means to have all 3 “L”s: Love, Like, and Lust. Each are distinct and different, as well as equally important.



With most couples busier than ever, sex often takes a backseat to sleep and responsibilities. Don’t discount the power of foreplay to keep the attraction alive. Foreplay starts after the last time you had sex. In other words, it is how you treat each other. In healthy relationships, partners help each other feel good about themselves.



Fantasy can be healthy, and some spouses need to challenge their assumptions that safety is inside their marriage, and adventure or excitement lies outside with someone else. It is common for spouses to have different fantasies, if they are even aware of any. We have extensive experience in helping couples bridge the gap between fantasies as well as build their erotic intelligence.


Healthy Sex

Sex is ultimately an expression of the whole person: body, mind, emotions and spirit. When any part is out of balance, as in any system, it affects the rest of the system. It has been said that a person’s sexuality is mostly established by the teen years. Therefore, understanding the influences from background, childhood, culture, and religion can be useful in improving sexuality and in healing old wounds.

Healthy Sex

Sex and Aging

As a couple gets older, they can continue to have some sexual connection and fun. Skin-to-skin contact is useful to feeling the human connection and feeling loved at any age. Learn why happy couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than couples in their 20s and 30s.

Sex and Aging

Who We Are

Dr. Israel Helfand and his wife, Cathie Helfand, facilitate all Sexploration and Marriage Quest retreats at their homestead in rural northern Vermont. They do not have interns or students doing their work, they are the “sexperts”. They have been working together as Marriage and Sex Therapists since 1983.

After 10 years as owners/directors of Danbury Personal Counseling in Danbury, Connecticut, Israel and Cathie moved to Vermont to downsize, build their home and mini-farm together, and be more active parents. Today they are empty nest, enjoying their farm project and running Sexploration and Marriage Quest retreats.

Email us to find out about available dates and pricing. If you are looking to have a conversation, call us at 802-563-3063. If we are busy counseling another couple when you call, leave a message and we will return your call promptly.

Come experience what many other couples have found to be a more satisfying, comfortable, private, cost effective, and time-efficient way to nourish, heal, or re-direct your marriage/relationship.

Better Than a Year of Therapy

We have often heard from clients, many of whom themselves are therapists, that our 3-day program is worth more than a year of 45-minute weekly therapy sessions. Come experience what many other couples have found to be a more satisfying, comfortable, private, cost effective, and time-efficient way to nourish or heal your relationship.