We don't need to see Sex Box on New Zealand TV
The British TV program, Sex Box is expected to commence airing on the New Zealand public broadcast station, TV2 this July. It is, yet another bizarre reality TV show to occupy our screens, but this one is particularly troubling on a number of levels.
The show is presented by Steve Jones and Sexologist Goedele Liekens. It requires ordinary English couples to step into a windowless box and have sex in front of a live studio audience. The couples then come out of the box and discuss what they’ve just done with the presenters.
The show is now in its second series in the UK and has already been met with a lot of controversy. In the second series, Sex Box episodes feature a variety of different sexual experiences including bondage, spanking, sexual experimentation with partners who are both known, and unknown to the participants.
Is this really the best TV that TV2 can give its viewers?
It is not prudish to object to Sex Box. Some things ought not to be for sale, ought not to be promoted with evocative storylines, solely to grow viewership.
Some things simply require a level of good taste and decency. Sexual intimacy is not just a recreational activity to be viewed, scored and analysed in such a public setting. In bringing this intimate relationship to the TV screen for sport, Sex Box is a new low in our often ‘flash in the pan,’ celebrity seeking culture.
Whilst the TV show does not screen the couples having sex, it does raise the question of what is acceptable viewing? It is not a giant leap to suggest that what TV2 is proposing to screen is a form of free-to air pornography. The show's role therefore in the desensitisation of sexual acts and the impact of pornography on public health, especially young viewers, cannot be glossed over here.
Regardless of the time that TV2 censors the airing of Sex Box to, children and young people will be able to access it. Research indicates that children and young people are accessing pornography at increasing rates, with boys aged 14-17 years being the most frequent underage consumers of pornographic material.
The power of television to effect people's perceptions on any topic is immense, but we know that sex sells or perhaps pursuades, more than most. Anything that might contribute to the normalisation of sexual violence or promote unrealistic understandings of sexuality, as such, is not in good taste or decency.
Let’s call for an end to this show being aired in New Zealand before it even starts. Sign the petition now to call on the Network Programmer of TV2 to axe Sex Box.