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Is 'Sex Box' Too Much Sex for TV?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- TV watchers in England are bracing for a sexual revolution in the form of a new show that involves couples, both gay and straight, having sex in front of a live studio audience.

The show, called Sex Box, will feature the couples having intercourse inside an opaque, soundproof room followed by a discussion with a panel of experts.

Sex Box premieres next month on Britain’s Channel 4.  The network is promoting the show as an attempt to generate real dialogue about sex in the midst of what it says is an “explosion of online pornography” which is “distorting people’s expectations of sex.”

The show’s critics, including British comedian Bridget Christie, say the show is just an attempt for ratings by Channel 4, already known for airing racy programs including The Joy of Teen Sex.

“How to boost your ratings while pretending to help society? Fight sex with sex! It’s almost genius,” Christie wrote in The Guardian.

Others argue, however, that the show could serve a real purpose.

“People are learning sexual experiences through pornography and it makes the real experiences seem really different,” said Dr. Karen Stewart, a clinical psychologist and sex and relationship expert.  “We’re going to get to see who they are and what they just experienced so it can also be educational and tantalizing.”

The three couples to be featured on the show include an engaged pair of childhood sweethearts, two gay men in their thirties and a young couple whose romance has just begun.

Across the pond, in the U.S., Showtime on Sunday will debut a new drama, Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality.  The show, or any other on U.S. television, will not feature sex in a box, however.

“The rules have kind of changed in TV and the demand or the opportunity for more sexually explicit content seems to be really happening,” said Steven Gaydos of Variety magazine.


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