This is a strange concept and I really don’t get the logic. The couple is obscured from view the whole time in a sound proof box so for all we know they were probably eating pop corn and talking about what a stupid show it is before coming out to discuss the experience with a psycho therapist who has no way of knowing for a fact that they just had sex.
Why not remove the box altogether and just have a TV show where people come forward to talk about their sex lives with a therapist especially those who think they might be having problems? Why include the box? And what is the audience being fed for the 35 minutes the couple is locked away from view? Soft music and dim lights? I just don’t get it.
- Lynette Ellis and Des Lashimba will have sex in a box in a television studio
- Channel 4 claims Sex Box is ‘pushing the boundaries of British television’
- ‘I hope people will look at the programme in a positive light,’ Ms Ellis says
- Critics say the show is a cheap publicity stunt that is ‘worse than soft porn’
They were too embarrassed to tell family and friends. And when they made their debut performance – having sex in front of a television audience – they were terrified they would be too nervous to go through with it.
Now Lynette Ellis and her partner Des Lashimba will doubtless face a public outcry when they appear on Channel 4’s provocative programme Sex Box, in which they have sex shrouded from view in a box in a television studio.
The programme – from the channel which in the past faced a furore over screening a live autopsy and aired uncensored footage of penetrative sex in the movie The Idiots – is the latest offering from the broadcaster that seems determined to offend.
‘Des was terrified he wouldn’t be able to do what was needed,’ Lynette confessed. ‘But I wore some sexy underwear and that seemed to do the trick.’
Lynette, 39, insisted she and Des, 41, are not exhibitionists. ‘We have sex as part of a normal, healthy and loving relationship,’ she said. ‘I hope people will look at the programme in a positive light.’
But while Channel 4 claims Sex Box is ‘pushing the boundaries of British television’ and will prompt intelligent debate at a time when an alarming 30 per cent of online traffic is to porn sites, critics have branded the show a cheap entertainment stunt.
Many have taken to Twitter to suggest the programme is even worse than soft porn because it masquerades as a public service.
Scores have branded the notion of sex on television disgusting. Mary Beadnell wrote: ‘What the hell have we become as human beings?’ while Miranda said: ‘So there’s a new show called Sex Box where people have sex on TV . . . sounds like porn to me.’
Others accused the broadcaster of cynically trying to boost ratings after it was outperformed by Channel 5 for the first time in its history in July.
Presented by Mariella Frostrup, the show features three couples – one of them gay – who each enter a box, and have sex for 35 minutes before emerging to talk about their experiences with psychotherapist Phillip Hodson, sex therapist Tracey Cox and relationship expert Dan Savage.
Miss Frostrup said she initially had ‘great trepidation’ about the show but now thinks ‘it is a really mature look at a subject we’ve allowed to proliferate in its worst manifestations and refuse to confront’.
The programme is based on the work of sex therapists who encourage couples to have sex then talk about it immediately afterwards while their feelings are vivid.
Lynette and Des admitted there was no romantic ‘warm-up’ before they walked into the opaque, sound-proofed box, where they had 35 minutes to have sex before emerging to talk about it with the sex experts.
‘Usually we’d take a lot more than half an hour from start to finish so it was a bit stressful,’ says Lynette. The couple said they were more used to spicing up their sex life with romantic weekends. But there were no rose petals scattered on the bed in the box.
‘It looked like a basic room in a budget hotel,’ said Lynette, a mother of three. ‘It had a double bed, side tables with a lamp, a mini-disc player and a sink. It wasn’t quite what we’d expected.’
There is little that can be seen through the box, and only when the lights on the outside turn from red to amber do the audience get the hint that the interlude is almost over.
Lynette said she had been more nervous coming out of the room than going in. ‘We don’t usually talk about sex after we’ve done it and I was concerned what the experts were going to ask,’ she says. ‘Sex can be stress relieving, it is the ultimate anti-depressant. Sex is important to us within our relationship but not the most important thing in the world.’
The Mail on Sunday was given exclusive access to the programme which discusses issues including multiple partners, myths about gay sex and uses several sexual words that justify its 10pm slot.
Producers adopt a light-hearted talk-show tone throughout.
When Lynette and Des, a probation officer, were approached by researchers to take part in the show, they had no idea it would involve having sex in a box.
‘We just thought it was going to be talking about sex,’ said Lynette. ‘When they mentioned having sex, Des had reservations. We are private people and had the feelings of the children to take into account.
‘I know they might get a bit of teasing but they didn’t object to it. We felt confident the programme wasn’t going to show sex in a dirty or degrading way and I don’t feel we have done anything to be ashamed of.’
The couple have not yet seen the show. They say they will watch it before allowing their children to see it. The biggest surprise is likely to be for Lynette’s mum, who thought the couple had gone for a romantic weekend in London. Des’s dad has also not been told.
‘It might be a bit of a shock for them,’ Lynette said.