Sex Box is a TV format that’ll push Britain’s buttons, and not always in a good way.
The series sees couples have new sexual experiences in a soundproof box surrounded by a live TV audience, and is bound to have its haters. Steve Jones asks the audience for oral sex tips, makes jokes about porn and parades strange sex toys around on stage. There’s talk of bum holes, elephant’s erections and foot fetishes.
But while there's definitely room for moral outrage from those who are that way inclined, and it will be painfully embarrassing to watch at times for many more of us, this strange show might actually do Britain good.
Because, for something so integral to our humanity (it’s how we all came into being, after all) 'real' sex is not that common in mainstream telly and films. We learn about doing the dirty from porn, or from ridiculous rom-coms or from passionate rip-your-clothes-off dramas. Realistic depictions of people having, or more to the point talking about, sex are few and far between.
That’s part of the problem with Britons' sex lives, reckons Goedele Liekens, Jones's co-presenter. We blush, we pun, we skirt around the subject at hand. Intergenerationally – and even within our own romantic relationships – we are a nation who struggle to talk honestly, openly and candidly about sex.
That’s why the straight-talking Belgian sexologist, who tackled our secondary school sex ed last summer, is the perfect role model for us repressed Brits.
You might want to cringe, complain or curl your stiff upper lip during Sex Box, but Goedele won’t. She’s busy asking probing, important questions about what makes us tick and why. The kinds of questions that make us squirm but really shouldn’t.
She takes our sexuality seriously and owns hers in a way we wish we did. Plus she’s got science and substance on her side. She’s qualified, influential and has been a UN Ambassador for sexual health for almost 20 years.
Sex Box isn’t perfect, but, thanks to Goedele, it could be a step towards a more open, grown-up way of talking about sex.
“Watch and learn, Britain,” she smiles at the start of each episode. And you never know, we just might.
Sex Box is on Mondays at 10:00pm on Channel 4