Top Therapists Warn of Psychological Damage from TV Sex Makeover Show ; Channel 4's New Series `the Sex Inspectors' Will Show Couples Having Sex and Being Offered Tips by the Author of `Hot Sex' and `Superflirt'. Cue Row
Malcolm Fitzwilliams and Anthony Barnes, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Britain's leading sex therapists have launched a scathing attack on a Channel 4 series in which couples' sexual techniques are given a makeover, saying it could cause viewers psychological damage.
They claim Tracey Cox, a broadcaster and writer, is out of her depth and unqualified as an adviser on The Sex Inspectors in which volunteers invite cameras into the bedroom to transform their love lives.
The series, which begins next week, was commissioned while Mark Thompson was chief executive of the station before taking up the reins as director general of the BBC. Couples were filmed having sex, then given tips on how to improve their techniques, although the use of heat sensitive cameras and blurring will prevent graphic images being screened.
Dr Petra Boynton, a lecturer in health services research at University College London, claimed Ms Cox, who is not qualified as a therapist, was dabbling in complex areas that should be left to experts.
Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Sex Therapy, who reviewed the programme for The Independent on Sunday, said he was concerned the show misrepresented what counts as normal sex. "I fear that we are now going to be faced with a whole new battery of false sex norms in the consulting room as a result of the Cox Factor," he said.
Mr Hodson said the "amateurishness" on screen showed, and he questioned "the ethics of calling someone a sexual expert" when they had no recognised qualification in that field. Ms Cox, 43, has acted as a relationship expert for the BBC series Would Like to Meet and written books such as Hot Sex and Superflirt. The psychology graduate and former editor of Australian Cosmopolitan is joined on the show by Michael Alvear, a gay American agony uncle.
Ms Cox said: "I treat sex very carefully, but I think after 20 years dealing with the subject I have got it right and my talent is in making it accessible, being warm about it, and not embarrassed about it. …