Sex Box: Tracey Cox Steams Up the Nation's Tellies with Real Sex Documentary
Everyone's talking about it; Sex Box, a racy new series, will be hitting Britain's TVs soon, encouraging us to open up about the realities of sex and discuss a topic that is often shrouded in myth, hearsay and uncertainty. Featuring open, honest discussion about sex and relationships, the series is part of Channel 4’s Campaign for Real Sex season which seeks to explore the nation’s expectations in the bedroom and the impact of porn on our love lives.
In this unique programme, three couples take turns to have sex in a soundproof, opaque cube - the Sex Box - before discussing their experience with a panel of experts, including sex, body language and relationship expert Tracey Cox. Post-coital discussion is used by sex researchers to encourage couples to be as open and honest as possible - we can't wait to see what this intriguing experiment uncovers!
So what does Tracey hope the series will achieve, and what does she think the British public will make of it? Read on to find out more.
How did you find working on the programme?
It was fantastic! One of the bits I enjoyed most was when the participants were in the box and myself and the panel discussed the issues surrounding sex. It was incredibly interesting hearing the different perspectives from people who’ve been studying sex and relationships for years and what we agreed on and differed on. I learnt a few things and I’ve been doing this for around 20 years, so I’d imagine the general public will learn something from it all!
What do you think of the nature of the experiment (couples have sex in a soundproof box and then talk about the experience after)? Was it effective?
The box enables the sex to remain private but the conversation to be honest and open. We got the idea from sex researchers who often get their clients to talk about sex immediately after they've had it, so the emotions and thoughts are fresh in their minds. It does make for a sex show with a twist but that twist is actually vital in enabling an open and honest discussion. The box is a mechanism to draw people in and challenge them. It’s a bit cheeky and I fully expected it to cause outrage. But it got people’s attention and that’s what we want. We want people to tune into the programme and then, hopefully, they’ll stay tuned in when they realise it’s actually a grown-up, intelligent, interesting discussion about sex that dispels all the myths surrounding it. The reaction to the box reminds me of another show I did called The Sex Inspectors. People were horrified about that until they saw the first episode and then everyone calmed down about it and realized it was actually helpful.
How does having sex inside a box change attitudes towards sex? Do we need the sex to outside the box if we are to normalise it. A concern is that the programme will show pornography as the only way teens, and adults, can get access to sex.
If we’d made the box transparent or with audio, it detracts from what’s being said. The idea is to get people watching then, with a captive audience, try to educate. If it was simply billed as a panel show about sex, no-one would watch it. It needed something cheeky to pull people in. I don’t think showing people actually having sex would accomplish anything. There are some good educational video and websites which do show educational films on people having sex. That wasn’t our aim.
How were couples chosen for the programme?
We tried to represent different sections of the community so chose young, new lovers, a gay couple and an older couple with kids. The aim of the programme is to have more open conversations about sex. After the programme has aired, how can we incorporate what we’ve learned from the programme into everyday life? What we’re hoping is that couples watching it, might well start talking about their own sex lives and what’s working and what’s not. It will normalize sex for a lot of people. They’ll go away thinking, “Oh! I didn’t realise that!” and have a more realistic view of what really happens in people’s bedrooms rather than what movies or telly tell us.
The series is part of an investigation into the effect of pornography on teenagers. How are they affected compared to adults - can everyone can learn something from the programme?
Absolutely! As I said, I learnt things while recording the show simply from talking to my peers. It was incredibly refreshing and massively interesting to participate in a discussion on this level.
Tune in to Channel 4 on 7 October at 10pm and check out Sex Box for yourself.