Immoral Channel 4 TV channel to show couples having sex then discussing the event

Couples to have sex in studio for TV show intended to ‘reclaim sex from pornography’

The Sex Box show will feature three couples having sex in an opaque box
Afterwards they will be quizzed by Frostrup, 50, and panel of sex experts
She says the pre-recorded, hour-long show will be ‘really, really mature’

PUBLISHED: 10:20, 23 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:41, 23 September 2013

A new television show will feature couples having sex in a sound-proofed box in a television studio with audience and then being interviewed about it afterwards.

Three couples, two straight and one gay, will take turns to step into the opaque box before being quizzed about what they got up to by host Mariella Frostrup and a panel of sex experts.

Makers of the show, called Sex Box, claim that the programme, which will air on Channel 4, is intended to ‘reclaim sex from pornography’.

Frostrup, 50, said she hoped the show would spark a ‘mature, intelligent discussion about sex in Britain today.

‘I approached it with great trepidation and a degree of scepticism, particularly about why we needed a box, but ultimately I think it was a really, really mature – surprisingly for television – look at a subject we’ve allowed to proliferate in its worst manifestations and refuse to confront,’ she said.

‘The sex we see on screen, in magazines and increasingly online bears little relation to the real experiences of real people – this will be a frank conversation about an essential element in all our lives.’

The first couple to use the ‘sex box’ for the pre-recorded, hour-long show, which will air on October 7, is 20-somethings Rachel and Dean. They will be followed by Matt and John, who are in a long-term relationship, and childhood sweethearts Lynette and Des.

The couples, whose time in the box will not be filmed, will speak to a panel including television sex expert Tracey Cox, relationship expert Dan Savage, and psychotherapist and author Phillip Hodson.

Cox said: ‘The Box itself is a unique way to get peoples’ attention and to recognise that sex is a normal part of all our lives and something we need to be talking about openly and honestly.’

The programme is part of a season called Campaign For Real Sex which begins on September 30 with a show called Porn On The Teenage Brain, an examination of pornography by former lads’ mag editor Martin Daubney.

Not real: Makers of the programme say ordinary people’s sex lives are not represented in pornography
Keeping it real: Makers of the programme say ordinary people’s sex lives are not represented in pornography

Other shows in the series, which begins on September 30, include a documentary about women and sex called The Week The Women Came and another in which pornography fans meet the stars of their favourite films, called Date My Porn Star.

Channel 4’s head of factual programming Ralph Lee told MailOnline: ‘The idea of the box is that it will facilitate a conversation that’s more immediate, more honest and more truthful than if we didn’t have it.

‘It’s not about the technicalities of sex but more about discussing what it means to them as a couple. There has been a massive explosion of pornography but what there hasn’t been is a conversation about real sex in people’s lives today.

‘This will add context to pornography.’

He said it had not been hard to find couples willing to appear on the show but producers had had to work to make sure they did not use exhibitionists.

‘Those who appear have a personal reason for doing so – perhaps some felt that their sex lives were not represented in the media, so it was a chance to show the sort of sex they have’, he said.


Channel 4 has a history of broadcasting sex-related programmes. In 1986 the channel introduced a warning Red Triangle symbol to highlight risqué late-night programmes – soon the shows flagged by this symbol gained a larger than expected audience.

When Michael Grade was chief executive of the channel from 1987-1997 he was dubbed Britain’s ‘pornographer-in-chief’ for his fondness for commissioning downmarket programmes.

Popular Channel 4 programmes include The Joy Of Teen Sex, Confessions Of A Male Stripper, and Dogging Tales, which was described as ‘an intimate and compelling insight into why men and women engage in or watch sexual activity in front of strangers’.

In 2008 Ofcom was flooded with complaints after showing sexually explicit material before the 9pm watershed.

Scores of viewers complained after the Sex Education show saw school pupils asked to discuss pornography and inspect graphic images of genitalia.

Previous Channel 4 shows which caused outrage include Let’s Talk About Sex, which sohowed teeangers in Holland attending lessons on homosexuality and being shown cartoons of various sex acts, and Virgin School, in which a 26-year-old man going on a sex course and losing his virginity to one of the coaches.

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