Sexier than shiplap.
Netflix’s new design series “How to Build a Sex Room” (now streaming) enlists the help of interior designer Melanie Rose, who says she has been creating sensual spaces for about a decade. In the eight-episode season, filmed last summer, she transforms 12 spaces for sex-positive and adventuresome Denver residents.
“The first thing that came to my mind was like, ‘Oh my gosh, my parents are going to see this show!’” says Taylor Stonack, who appears with her boyfriend, AyJay Lasater, in the premiere. But “the way that we view sex, and the people around us do, it’s a very positive thing, and so the hesitation was outweighed by all of the positive things that we think that the show will bring to the world.”
Rose hopes the series will prove such spaces needn’t be “dirty and disgusting.” She wants viewers “to see that they can actually be quite beautiful and luxurious, and I really would encourage people to talk about sex.”
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There’s no denying “Sex Room” is looking to put the “Big O” in renovation. It delves into sex toys, suspension and cage play. Rose meets with participants, learns their tastes and encourages them to push their limits. The first episode includes A flogging demonstration, in which one person strikes another with a whip to arouse a sense of pleasure. Rose tests out a spanking bench, and Mike, her general contractor, doles out his own gentle whippings.
But the show’s benefits go deeper than bondage. A devoted space to intimacy and exercises strengthen the participants’ bonds.
Raj and Ryan, another couple featured in the premiere, wanted to make over their bedroom, which Raj sees as “a bit of a metaphor for our relationship. Just like we always plan to get around to the romance and intimacy part of our relationship, we’ve been planning to get around to overhauling that bedroom for the longest time,” she says in the series.
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Prioritizing time with a partner is “the most important thing,” Rose says. Some couples featured are experiencing a post-marriage sex slump. Shenika and Matthew are parents to three children and have different work schedules. “We just don’t have time for sex because we don’t have a space for it,” Shenika says in an episode. After the makeover, she praises Rose as “our angel for our marriage.”
Heather and Sarah’s sex life dwindled when they moved into a van. Orlando and Matthew are a long distance couple. A polyamorous couple need space to accommodate their seven-person “family.” Lisa, 52, finds herself “single as hell” after the end of her 22-year marriage, during which sex “wasn’t good, (there) wasn’t enough of it, and I just thought that part of me died. ”
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Stonack, who has been dating Lasater since September 2019, says the room is “not that KitchenAid attachment that you buy and forget about.” Instead, it gets her in the mood. The experience helped the couple become comfortable voicing their desires.
“It’s opened up communication between us, asking for what we want a lot more and making sex a lot more intentional about how we explore things together and making a dialogue, honestly,” Lasater says. “I don’t know if we would have the same level of intimacy and openness if we didn’t go through this experience.”
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Those interested in creating their own sexy space should begin with a conversation, Rose says.
“If you want to heat it up a little bit more in the bedroom, explore the idea of bringing in some adult toys. If you want to go a step further (with) remodels, and you don’t have a space, then why not reinvent the bedroom? Bring in some luxurious linens and candles. If you want a little bit more spark, put in some under–mattress restraints.”
But “don’t try (to) put a sex swing in the ceiling without putting it into a joist,” Rose says. “If you put a sex swing into just drywall, it’s a disastrous result.”
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