This, my friends, is television today: The U.K.'s Channel 4 is set to premiere a show that will ask couples to have sex inside an opaque soundproof box and then cross-examine them about said sexin' immediately afterward. It sounds like the precursor to pornographic reality-TV -- only, get this: the stated aim of the show, subtly titled "Sex Box," is to "reclaim sex from pornography."
In other words, they're fighting one artificial construction of sex with a different artificial construction of sex.
Pretty genius formulation, huh? The show's producers can profess to be above it all, fighting the scourge of pornography, their hands clean, while also benefiting from the public's salacious fascination with the idea of "sex in a box." (Not to be confused with Zurich's "drive-in sex boxes," which are a thing that exist in the world, FYI.)
The program's website explains that "Sex Box," which airs October 7, is part of "a season of programmes that aims to reclaim sex from porn by exploring how the ever-increasing consumption of pornography is distorting people's expectations of sex and ultimately damaging the sex lives of Britons." Presumably the show will address these distortions through its promised frank post-coital discussion with a panel of sex experts, including the always-entertaining Dan Savage.
Channel 4 doesn't explain the need for the box itself, or the sex on-set, beyond saying that the aim is to get people chatting about sex "while the feelings and sensations are still vivid and truthful." I suspect the truth is simpler: It's the only way to get viewers talking about the show before they've even seen it. By that measure, they've been wildly successful.
Predictably, supposed public outrage has ensued. (See headlines: “Channel 4 under fire over planned ‘Sex Box’ show.”) Oh, humans. Sometimes we are just so darn cute with our ability to be shocked by sex.