How To Build A Sex Room: New show on Netflix sure ain't Dermot Bannon 

English lady Melanie Rose is the presenter of a show where DIY and interior design intersect with carnal pleasure 
How To Build A Sex Room: New show on Netflix sure ain't Dermot Bannon 

How To Build a Sex Room: Melanie Rose, Taylor, and AJ in the new Netflix series. 

I always thought a sex room was a bedroom with a lock on the inside and sheets that had been changed no less than a week ago, but I was wrong. So very wrong.

When a sensible-looking British lady with grey hair and a flowy scarf knocks on an American's front door in a reality TV show to a soundtrack resembling a Mary Poppins tune, you expect them to either help with their tearaway offspring, show them how to curate a capsule wardrobe or maybe redesign their flower beds.

But as soon as interior expert Melanie Rose starts asking her getting to know you questions, you know this is no ordinary makeover show.

"I'm definitely into vibrators, I'm a clitoral-stimulation girl all the way," says Taylor as partner Ayjay nods along smiling. 

"We've incorporated a butt plug for him," she continues as Anjay's smile falters into more of a grimace.

This is the first couple we meet who need Melanie's expert help. They really want a sex room in their house, that was built in 1885, but they totally love the exposed brick in the basement, soon to be sex dungeon, so it would be super-awesome if Melanie could preserve the history when she's working on their design.

One of the finished areas in How To Build a Sex Room.  
One of the finished areas in How To Build a Sex Room.  

"Sex rooms are not disgusting," Melanie assures us in her piece to camera. They can be sumptuous, they can be works of art, they can be anything my clients desire.

She gets out her bag of tricks then, and like Mary Poppin's bag, you wonder how she fit everything in there. Here comes the flogger and handcuffs and oh! a butt plug. Everyone looks at Ayjay. 

"That's the prettiest butt plug I've ever seen," coos Taylor. "It's hefty," agrees Ayjay, crossing his legs, He'd really like a rock and roll vibe, and Melanie says they definitely want to play around with power dynamics.

"My mind is percolating," declares sex-pot Poppins, as she speeddials her general contractor Mike.

She shows him the steep ladder down to the basement. "Are you coming," he asks. "No I'm just breathing heavy," she titters.

Melanie's second sex-room-seeking couple are Raj and Ryan. They're more vanilla than the other pair of quare hawks. She's a jazz vocalist and dance fitness instructor who empowers women of colour to live their healthiest lives and he's a creative entrepreneur "which means I'm a photographer, I'm a designer, I do branding, I do a lot of things."

 Except his wife, apparently, because she is looking to spice things up a bit.

When Melanie produces the handcuffs from her bag of tricks, poor Ryan blurts out that he has trust issues. "Ooh, tell me more," purrs Melanie, expecting perhaps a torrid tale of Fifty Shades gone wrong.

"Growing up in Brooklyn in the crack era, it was tough," says Ryan. Wow. wasn't expecting that one.

Gary and Tricia try out their new room. 
Gary and Tricia try out their new room. 

I have a strong feeling Ryan ran out of money when they were doing up the gaff and just wanted a way to get it finished. He's talking about Bluetooth speakers and a fireplace and a pull-down TV for Netflix and Chill. He's in for some land when Melanie is finished with him... 'tis Dermot Bannon you want, Ryan, I'll send you the deets.

Cut back to Taylor and Ayjay (who appears to be morphing into Troy McLure as the show goes on, same quiff and insincere eyebrow movements, it's uncanny). Melanie's brought them to visit some kink coaches, so they can learn how to flog each other properly. 

This is possibly the three most unerotic minutes of television I've ever had the misfortune to sit through. Seriously, Ayjay, get a room, a sex room if you have to, but don't make us watch you get turned on by a dude who looks like he should be juggling fire in Fitzgerald's Park flaying your partner while you look into her eyes with that McClure fear-smile.

I thought that was as bad as it was going to get, but again, I was very wrong. Melanie and Mike heft a spanking bench down to the basement, and sure, doesn't she hop on for the craic. And what a crack it is, she stays on for way too long, grinding away, arse in the air, until Mike really has no choice but to pick up a nearby whip and start half-heartedly lashing her. 

This is not in the Mary Poppins playbook, by the way. "Oh yes, harder, harder," she simpers, until Mike's son who works with him eventually intervenes. "Um, I don't think mom's going to like that too much."

So we get to see the reveal of Ayjay and Taylor's sex room, and it's everything you would expect, white leather, fur, full-length mirrors, subtle ‘Trust Me Love Me Fuck Me’ neon signs on the wall, lots of ridiculous-looking toys and things to bate each other with. 

How To Build A Sex Room: A four-poster bed with all the trimmings. 
How To Build A Sex Room: A four-poster bed with all the trimmings. 

One surprising element - the thing they tie themselves onto is called a St Andrew's Cross. "X marks the spot!" thrills Melanie. We have to wait for the next episode to see if Ryan manages to dupe thousands of dollars worth of audio-visual technology out of the show by promising he'll watch porn on it.

  • How To Build A Sex Room launches on Netflix on Friday, July 8

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