The new Netflix show “How to Build a Sex Room” is at face-value a pretty standard renovation show where a designer meets with people and creates new spaces in their home. But this show isn’t just about a new kitchen or cool backyard, it’s about sex rooms. The creations on the show range from dungeon-like chambers to spa-like bedroom makeovers. As a therapist who often talks about sex with her clients, there are a few takeaways I think you could get from the show, besides design ideas. 

Be Positive & Authentic

Some of the first things that struck me about this show was the diversity of people involved and how the show is so sex-positive. The program features single people, straight couples, queer partners, poly families, different races, and a range of ages. The show also demonstrates a range of interests when it comes to sexual relationships, from couples that are more reserved to people exploring hardcore kink.

The show also offers more than just renovations. Participants go on field trips where they can learn about and explore different areas of sexuality. Nothing is off limits in terms of what people are looking for. The designer wants to get into the nitty-gritty details of what turns people on so she can build the best room possible. 

Define Sex for Yourself

I love how the show gives us examples of so many different ways to have sex. It’s incredibly helpful to expand your definition of what sex is and what it’s for.

Sex isn’t everything, either! There are four main facets I like to look at when it comes to talking about sexuality: sex, passion, romance, and intimacy. What do these words mean to you? Which one do you want the most?

The Netflix show does a great job of separating eroticism from these other pieces of your sex life, especially in how they emphasize intimacy. There’s definitely overlap between all of these words, but how you define them is unique to you and your relationship.

Experiment

Most of the show participants aren’t actually that into kink. Many of the rooms featured on the show could easily be found in any home. This shows us you can still experiment and play around with sex in ways that are accessible without major home renovations.

Use different furniture, experiment with techniques and positions. Explore sex toys! Take pictures or videos of yourself or partners. Incorporate mirrors into your bedroom. If you’re feeling adventurous, try taking some pole dancing classes.

It’s totally okay to try something and then let it go if you don’t like it. There are always ways to modify sex if there are physical limitations, such as a large height difference between partners or physical pain.

My clients with the best sex lives are playful and willing to try new things, and they know how to recover from difficult feelings if something doesn’t work out. 

Communicate

Along those lines, communication is one of the most important parts of a healthy sex life.

No matter how long you’ve been together, your partner(s) can’t read your mind. If there’s something you want to try or something you like, you have to say it.

How you talk is also important. If you’re in a relationship, it’s vital to talk about sex as “ours” and avoid a “yours vs. mine” approach. This means that drawer of sex toys are “our” sex toys, not “yours.”

Conversations about consent and desire are also vital, and it can be helpful to touch base with partners every now and then to see if anything has changed. 

Have Fun

Playfulness can completely change your sex life. Don’t be afraid to laugh! Sometimes bodies make weird noises, and that’s okay.

Sometimes you go into a fun role-play experiment and crack up laughing. The more fun you can have with your partner, the more flexible and comfortable you will feel.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, “How to Build a Sex Room” is a home renovation show, not sex therapy. There are some things I wish they emphasized more, such as conversations about consent and safety, but I think it has the opportunity to start some amazing conversations about sex.

If you’re interested in mixing up your conversations about sex, try out some of these resources:

Mobile App: Gottman Card Decks, an app that has cards you can swipe through as conversation-starters with partners. The app includes a few different “Salsa” decks to make things spicy.

Websites: A quick Google search for “sex menu” or “partner sex quizzes” brings up a huge range of results to explore with partners. Quizzes like the Mojo Upgrade Test or BDSM Test are classics that have helped people identify and explore their interests. Sex menus like this one can give you and any partners a starting point for talking about things you’re into.

Book: Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, which explores sex and sexuality from a strong foundation of research, with particular emphasis on the female body. This book is easy to read and includes awesome quizzes and questions to help explore your relationship to your body and sex.

If you’re feeling stuck or otherwise interested in taking the conversation further, contact a therapist today.