What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

~ Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday


It’s the unspoken struggle that’s come to define our postmodern existence.

It’s the silent cause of addiction, escapism, depression, suicide, and contributes to just about every physical and mental health problem humans suffer from.1

As members of the modern world, our task is to solve the problem of loneliness.

We must solve it for ourselves, for our kids, for our families, for our friends —
and there’s never been a more desperate time.

Technology has made incredible advances in our quality of life, yet it’s also made it possible for us to be more independent, and more separate.

We don’t ask our friends for a ride to the airport, because we can Uber.

We don’t bump into friends at the market, because we can get our meals delivered.

We don’t stay in relationships when they get hard, we just open an app and find someone else — we think the problem was compatibility, but we forget that it’s also our capacity to love and connect with people, even when they don’t do what we want.

We don’t open up to our friends about fears, insecurities or our shortcomings — we chat to an online therapist.

We don’t trust friends or family with our big scary dreams — we hire a life coach.

We don’t borrow things from our neighbors — we get same-day delivery from Amazon.

Modern culture has successfully externalized and commercialized almost every aspect of life, but at what cost?

What is the cost of avoiding people?

There are many, but one to which we ought to give more credence — we’ve lost our people skills.

We run from difficult conversations, we don’t ask for what we want, and our relationship to boundaries is reactive and immature.

Our intimacy muscle is weak.

Fortunately, hope is not lost ♥️

There’s a gym called “courage”, and when you get a membership, you join a group of people who have decided that life is too hard when you’re unable to love and be loved.

That’s why we do IntimacyFest.

It’s a chance for us to get together and say “yes, people skills are important”. But we don’t just teach people skills on a chalkboard — we’re a hands-on institution. And we learn from each other. We help each other grow.

In fact, IntimacyFest operates much like a pop-up community, and since it’s a small event (50 people), no one gets left behind.

Are you one of us?

All you need is courage, we’ll do the rest.

What To Expect

  • Gain real, applicable tools to deepen the connection in all your relationships.
  • Safely lean into your edges of self-expression, vulnerability and honesty.
  • Experience being seen, felt, and known like never before — and witness others as they receive that gift from you.
  • Experience three full days of well-facilitated practices, games and workshops.
  • Meet new friends who share your values of openness and authenticity.
  • Get feedback about your blind spots by receiving caring and honest reflections from other people.
  • Get plenty of personal time to recharge and enjoy the beautiful land & surrounding nature.
  • Allow yourself to drop your armor, walls and masks so you can experience being fully yourself.
  • Get the chance to express yourself and be seen in your creative greatness at our Talent Show.
  • Allow yourself to feel good in your own skin, and learn to trust your body’s wisdom and your authentic desires.
  • Become a part of a community of dear friends, chosen family, and allies who support who you want to be.
  • Have a lot of fun!


Shakespear Lodge, Whangaparāoa, New Zealand

Internet & Phone Usage

We don’t have any specific phone usage policy, other than not taking pictures of people without their permission.

In our five years, we haven’t had to make any policies about phone usage, because we’ve found that when people have other things to do that are more fun and engaging than their phone, they limit phone usage naturally.


There will be six meals (and mid-day snacks), all are included in the price.



IntimacyFest 2024 will be held on Oct 24-27 in Whangaparāoa, New Zealand. Tickets will go on sale this summer, so if you’d like to get updates on future events, sign up for the email list below.

If you’d like to see our budget, it’s public and can be viewed here.


4-6pm—Guests Arrive
7:30-9:30pm—Welcome & Connection Games

8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
11am-1pm—Morning Workshop
1-3pm—Personal Time & Snack
3-6pm—Afternoon Workshop
7-10pm—Cuddle & Connection Party

8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
11am-1pm—Morning Workshop
1-3pm—Personal Time & Snack
3-6pm—Afternoon Workshop
7-10pm—Talent Show

8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
11-1pm—Closing Circle

Pictures & Moments

Meet Some Past Participants

I frequently have friends ask me where to get started on their journey thru emotional/sexual/intimacy development & self-growth. This festival is so powerful, thoughtful, and created by people with intentions and heart in the right place. I’ll be there again this year. Can’t recommend it enough!

— Christina M. Host, T&A Talk Sex Podcast

I accessed superpowers I didn’t know I had. I healed wounds I didn’t know I had. I fell in love with so many of you.

I am grateful for it all.

— Kenny B., San Diego, California

I am humbled by the incredible courage, generosity and capacity for love in our IntimacyFest Family.

Thank you for seeing me, thank you for your radiant smiles, your kind words, your passion and incredible role modeling of authenticity and responsible clear communication.

— Melanie B.

I feel full of love and life. Meeting you so totally in the raw is changing the direction of my entire life. An amazing life. Thank you for guiding me closer to myself. I look forward being in your radiance and presence soon.

— Buster R., Gothenburg, Sweden

I’m still smiling. Thank you all for making my world such a beautiful place.

— Sarah W.

My heart got stretched, twisted and expanded in one amazing weekend.

After leaving the last festival disillusioned and disappointed at the lack of true human connection… this tiny event was exactly what head wanted and my heart needed.

Each day there were only two hours where you weren’t testing yourself and others to be as brutally honest and loving as humanly possible. At times it was uncomfortable, awkward and downright scary for a man like myself, but at the end I emerged a much better person.

35 people attended. I made 34 friends I’ll recognize by name next year from all over the world. The level of love, honesty, consideration, negotiation and consent was unprecedented.

Even Burning Man needs to see this level of radical inclusion.

The people were from all ages and walks of life. Incredible people who had so many amazing things to share. From the organizers, the teachers and each and every individual… each person contributed greatly. Seriously amazing.

— Adam C.

Your Host

Dave Booda is a writer, musician and social entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of IntimacyFest and hosts The Darkness Experiment. He has led over 400 workshops on connection, touch and relationships and has consulted for and facilitated experiences for companies, communities, retreats, festivals, conferences, birthday parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings of all kinds — with the intention to inspire authenticity, connection and group cohesion. He has published over 200 essays for boodaism.com and played over 1000 shows as a touring singer/songwriter. He is a former Naval Officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, currently serving on the board of directors for the Foundation for Intentional Community while touring and living at different intentional communities in North America.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I be attending with a partner? Is this for couples?

Not necessarily. We typically have about half and half couples and singles. While attending IntimacyFest with a partner would be brilliant, it is by no means necessary. There will be many people there who are flying solo, in fact attending alone often gives you the chance to meet and connect with more people.

2. What if I don’t know anyone going? Is that okay?

Lots of people come to IntimacyFest not knowing anyone. Because IntimacyFest is a small festival (typically between 40-50 people) everyone gets to know each other very quickly. In many ways, this is a perfect festival to go to if you don’t know anyone, because the exercises and games are designed to create group cohesion and bonding.

3. Will there be nudity?

Our land is very private, and people are welcome to be naked if they’d like. Often we have a handful of people who enjoy being naked, but it’s not an event where that is particularly endorsed or seen as a goal.

4. Is intimacy about sex?

We use the word “intimacy” to describe a simple feeling of closeness, which can include sexual energy, but can also be very easily limited by it.

In the past we’ve experimented with different levels of emphasis on sexuality, including having a dedicated tent for it, and also a facilitated play party. We no longer host a play party, or have any designated areas for sex — however you are welcome to enjoy whatever you would like in the privacy of your tent or room.

None of the exercises or events will involve any sex acts or intentional sexual energy. Please feel free to email Dave if you have any further questions or would like more clarification.

5. Does this festival promote polyamory or open relationships?

No, this is a festival for people in all relationship styles.

6. What time does it start on Thursday? When does it end Sunday?

Guests arrive between 4-6pm, and our first event is a group meal at 6:30pm. On Sunday we do a closing circle right after brunch, and typically we’re done around 1pm.

7. Can I come for 1 day?

No, all of our guests arrive Thursday night and stay until Sunday, there are no one or two day passes. We start together, and we finish together.

8. Is IntimacyFest LGBTQ friendly?

Yes, we have people of all kinds of sexual orientations and gender expressions. The exercises and workshops aren’t based on gender or designed in a hetero-normative way. We start from a place of humans relating with humans.

9. Are kids allowed?

No, we love kids but this is an adult-only event.

10. What is your return policy?

Life happens, we understand. You may get a full refund up to one week before the event.

Got another question?

Send Dave an email: davebooda@gmail.com

To join the mailing list to be notified of the latest news and updates.

Kurt Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope:

“Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babies. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And I’ll ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is – we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it’s like we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”

(from the book “Man Without A Country” by Kurt Vonnegut)

  1. Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874845/