There's a new Hollywood movie coming out this week about a guy who watches a lot of porn. In "Don Jon,"the lead character's porn "experiences" outweigh his real-life sexual experience by a wide margin, causing him some confusion about what sex with real people is supposed to be like.
There are a lot of different types of porn, and a lot of very different feelings about it. But one thing's for sure: Pornography is more accessible than ever. With the right phone, you can even watch it on the bus to work. Many would argue that this has led to too many men expecting real-life women to behave like porn actresses, and to think something must be wrong if their own sex doesn't mimic the sex professional porn stars engage in on camera. (How do you feel about porn? Read both sides of the debate in Porn: Love It or Leave It?)
Britain's Channel 4 hopes to start a dialog about this with its new show, "Sex Box." The show premieres in October and will feature three regular couples per episode (read: not actors, therapists, or sex workers) engaging in sex acts in a big box, in front of a studio audience. The sex will be followed by discussion among the participants and host. Executives for the show are clear in saying their show is not gratuitous or lascivious. They want to begin an intelligent dialog on sexuality.
"Sex Box" will feature couples of varying ages, races, relationship stages and orientations.
As fascinating as this concept is, the expected outrage is there. One pundit presumes the show is merely using sex to gain ratings, while another astutely points out that "people don't normally have sex in a box in front of an audience." How's that for stellar investigative journalism? The U.S.'s own"Good Morning America" discussed "Sex Box" on its show, beginning their coverage with the absurd phrase, "Just when America had recovered from Miley Cyrus' twerking ..." Isn't this the kind of exaggerated outrage that keeps us from having a civilized adult discussion about sex in the first place? Do we really need to "recover" from seeing a young girl dance on TV? Did it give us all the vapors? Is it any wonder that networks are trying to encourage mature discourse on something as simple and vital as sex?
The Guardian newspaper ran with coverage that began with the tagline "If we need Channel 4's 'Sex Box' to tell us how to have sex, we're better off not having it." Apparently, they missed the memo that "Sex Box" is not an instructional video. I won't be able to see it, since I'm on the wrong side of the pond and it's unlikely to be picked up by BBC America. That's a shame, because a concept this cool should be made available to everyone - especially guys like "Don Jon."