A new television series aims to break fresh ground by having couples spend time in a camera-free, soundproof box on set to have sex in front of a live studio audience.
WE Tv's "Sex Box," which debuts on Feb. 27, will also feature a panel of distinguished experts, including nationally certified sex therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue, psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish and Dr. Yvonne Capehart, a pastor and couple's counselor.
Over the course of the 11 hour-long episodes, participating "Sex Box" couples will receive advice regarding intimacy issues, and then have the opportunity to step inside the box to resolve them. But it doesn't stop there, as each pair will engage in a "shockingly raw," post-coital discussion with the panelists about their experience as art of what's being billed as "America's most extreme couple's therapy ever."
The Huffington Post spoke to Sally and Brittany, a lesbian couple who will appear on "Sex Box," as well as Donaghue, to get their take on the show.
The Huffington Post: Why did you want to be a part of show?
Dr. Chris Donaghue: I wanted to be part of "Sex Box" because as a sex therapist I’m aware of the sexual shaming that occurs with most therapists and media, and I wanted to use the platform to give voice to the health of diverse sexualities, identities and relational styles. Creative sexualities are still pathologized within psychological discourse and I knew "Sex Box" would celebrate sex and push back against cultural fears.
Knowing that gay couples will appear on the show, do you see this as an opportunity to change the public's (often disapproving) thoughts about gay sex?
I think the public needs their thoughts changed about ALL sex. Gay couples no longer shock as much as the show’s other topics do. I normalize swinging, multi-partnered sex, exhibitionism and porn use. Those are the topics and communities that need the most support. The LGBT community has backing and press, those minority sex communities do not. That’s where the activism now needs to go. There are no big corporate or fundraising giants for polyamory or porn.
What would you say to someone who dismisses the show as being scandalous or controversy purely for the sake of ratings?
I would say they are correct. It’s an entertaining show but it’s also therapeutic and has an activist component for me. These couples desperately wanted and needed help, and we gave it to them. I get tweets from couples that were on the show still, thanking me for changing their lives. That’s powerful. I think it’s acceptable for a project to be both amusing and also life changing. Sex is both.
What do you hope viewers will learn or take away from watching "Sex Box”?
I want viewers to learn that sex is good, and sex is healthy. I want viewers to feel free to discuss sex more confidently and no longer drop their voices or use euphemisms when discussing sex or genitals. My objective in joining "Sex Box" was to liberate sex.
From Sally and Brittany:
Why did you want to appear on “Sex Box”?
Brittany: We were going through a rough time due to Sally's family not being accepting. It caused her to become really depressed and I thought she was unhappy with me. We just lost our communication.
Sally: Brittany started to get attention from another girl but later decided to tell me and ended it. We both decided maybe counseling would help. I lost my confidence due to feeling unaccepted by her family. “Sex Box” talks about sex therapy and people who think that’s trashy are very ignorant because intimacy is part of a relationship. The experts dug deeper emotionally and helped us realize what the root of the problems were. They also told us our love has the potential to survive but we need to shut out the world and their opinions and focus on what's important — and that's us. I don't regret going on “Sex Box” it was an amazing experience.
America still views sex as a private thing in may ways. What was it like having sex in such a public forum?
Sally: There are condom commercials on TV and people are shown kissing. Sex is an intimate thing, which is why we went into the box. Because we talked about what went on inside the box doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate. It’s part of the therapy and in a relationship there’s sexual intimacy.
When it comes to gay sex, America definitely has a long way to go in terms of accepting — much less celebrating — it. Do you see your appearance on the show as helping to turn that tide?
Brittany: Yes, we hope so. I believe in live and let live. I do expect both good and bad press from this but the truth is that this bettered my life and will make a difference in other relationships that hit hard times. So that’s all that matters to us is that love prevails. Gay couples have it harder because society isn't accepting so if we can make it through all this then that’s what really matters. We didn’t get married in front of 30 million people to fail at our love and “Sex Box” helped give us tools to become even more inspirational.
What did you learn about yourselves from appearing on “Sex Box”?
Brittany: I learned that straying in a relationship doesn’t help anything, it makes things worse. If your partner makes you feel neglected emotionally you need to talk about it instead of run from it.
Sally: I learned that I need to live life for myself and not anyone else, including my family. I’ve focused more on loving myself because I realized if I don’t love myself I can’t love my wife the right way.
Brittany: Our relationship has gotten so much better emotionally because of “Sex Box” and definitely sexually! Also, sometimes shutting out the world and making amazing love makes things even better.
For more information on "Sex Box," head here.