Netflix’s new sex-positive smash hit is about hearts as well as parts

How To Build A Sex Room isn't just Changing Rooms with butt stuff. It's warm, wholesome and fun

How to build a sex room
(Image credit: Netflix)

There's part of me that's forever ten years old, and that part of me was cackling when I saw the new number 1 in Netflix's UK chart: How To Build A Sex Room is a genius title, and the premise – basically Changing Rooms or Fixer Upper, but with spanking paddles and butt plugs – is fantastic. Every episode, designer Melanie Rose designs sex rooms for people.

The jokes write themselves, of course: a gimp in the garage! A sex swing in the summerhouse! Dens full of dildos! But while I'm sure plenty of people will check this out for what they expect will be shocking sex stuff, what Netflix is actually streaming is more about hearts than body parts. It's a fun, sex-positive show that above all else is really, really sweet.

Sexy! No, no, no

The reviews of How To Build A Sex Room are all very positive. The Guardian puts it best when it says "this is a self-aware show with a sense of humour... much of How To Build A Sex Room is about talking and communication." And according to Rose herself, "I really would encourage people to talk about sex."

Speaking to People magazine, Rose says: "Hopefully this show will educate a little bit more. I want people to look at it and be able to talk about it together in their partnerships and just say 'yeah, let's have a go at that ourselves'." 

That's important, I think, and refreshing in the current climate: where I live in Scotland we recently had people protesting in the streets about inclusive sex education for teenagers, and you don't need to spend much time on social media to see that lots of people are shockingly uninformed about not just sex but about how to have happy and healthy relationships. 

So if people are coming expecting smut and learn something positive, that sounds brilliant to me – although I suspect it says a lot about my age that my response to the show isn't "look at the sex stuff!" but "look at how much space they have!" It's probably for the best that they didn't film the show in an expensive city: my flat barely has enough space for a sex corner, never mind a sex room.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).