The pair had lived on a Northern Nevada ranch for the past 18 years, taking in abandoned lions, tigers, cougars and other big cats. They were a young newlywed couple in when they bought a cluster of rundown buildings on 15 acres 6 hectares overlooking the Pacific Ocean and turned it into the Sandstone Foundation For Community Systems Research. It offered seminars on human bonding, relationships and sexuality, but its Sandstone Retreat, where as many as people would gather on weekends to frolic in the nude, swap spouses and engage in group sex, quickly made its existence in the bohemian canyon notorious. The couple, together 47 years, exchanged partners themselves and it never put a strain on their relationship, said Williamson, who is writing a memoir of those years. Sandstone was also the subject of a documentary.
John Williamson, Co-Founder of the Sandstone Retreat, Dies at 80
Sandstone Retreat – FREE LOVE AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION
By Tom Leonard. Guru: John Williamson was a pioneer of the sexual revolution as co-founder of Sandstone Retreat, where nudity and free love took place with abandon. Visitors making the long, zig-zagging journey up into the Malibu hills to the sprawling Sandstone Retreat were rewarded at the top with a magnificent view of the Pacific.
John and Barbara Williamson always insisted that Sandstone Retreat was about more than sex. By all means, help yourselves to each other, they would say. But the goal was larger than spouse-swapping or fulfilling forbidden lust.