All the Life Lessons I Learnt From Netflix’s “How to Build a Sex Room”


I logged into Netflix for the first time in a few weeks the other day (I know, I’ve been busy). The first show that came up on my ‘Recommendations’ was a mini series called How to Build a Sex Room. Instantly, I was intrigued; Netflix knows me well.

I’ve always been curious about spaces that are dedicated to sex. I’ve been to a few sex parties and experienced rooms in people’s houses that are decked out with items used for play; but they’ve been more bedroom than sex room.

As my knowledge around sex develops, so does my intrigue for the different ways that people maintain and explore their sex life. The world of sex rooms is one that I want to know more about — especially around the type of people that have them in their homes.

The show follows a UK-based interior designer called Melanie Rose, who specialises in luxury sex rooms, as she meets new clients and goes through the process of building them their dream sex room.

So, I settled in for the night with a glass of wine, some chocolate and my vibrator and hit play. I devoured the entire series. I was obsessed, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Here are all the life lessons I learned from Netflix’s new mini series How to Build a Sex Room.

Sex Rooms Are Not Just About Sex

Here I was settling down to watch this show that I assumed was going to be all about sex swings and whips and red velvet lounges — and it was! — but it was so much more wholesome than I was expecting. When I envision couples who want a sex room built in their house, I immediately think of couples that enjoy kink, who are more open and loud about sex than your average couple. The couple who aren’t afraid to be spicy, not matter who’s around — y’know?

But the couples that were featured in How to Build a Sex Room ranged from a married-with-kids couple who had lost their spark, to a super curious and kinky childhood sweethearts who live on a farm, a polyamorous family of seven to a 50-year-old single woman at the start of her sexual journey. Half-way through the eight episode mini-series, it became clear to me that the role a sex room plays is more about strengthening relationships than about having kinky sex. Whether that be a relationship with your partner, with yourself or with sex and all of it’s possibilities, the sex rooms — designed by Melanie Rose — brought those qualities out of each person on the show, giving them a safe place to feel sexy and just be together.

Sex Deserved Dedicated Space

A recurring theme throughout the show is that couples don’t feel as though they have a dedicated space for sex, and therefore, find that they have less of it.

Take Heather and Sara. Heather is a musician and Sara is an action-sports journalist, and they live that Instagram-worthy nomadic van life. However! Their van wasn’t well-designed and the space wasn’t conducive to an active sex life. They’re both sexy and thriving individuals who have fantasies and are super into each other, but the van space didn’t seem to ignite the mood.

Watching Melanie redesign their van so that they had more space that allowed for a queen-size bed that doesn’t fold up, a deck on top of the van (perfect for sex under the stars) and an outdoor space; it was incredible to see the impact it had on Heather and Sara. Instantly you could see their vibe change — they were more affectionate confident and flirty almost instantly.

This made me think about my own space with my boyfriend and our bedroom. It definitely could be sexier. If we’re feeling uninspired, we’ll leave our laundry on the floor, or mugs by our bedside — just standard, every day mess — but it definitely has an impact on our sex lives. When our space is messy and doesn’t feel sexy, we don’t feel sexy. I don’t think I realised until watching How to Build a Sex Room that a healthy sex life also looks like having a dedicated space to feel sexy, a space that nurtures that side of you. Not only is it good for your sex life, but surely it’s also amazing for your mental health? We all know that feeling our sexiest selves is a form of self-care, too.

It’s Never Too Late to Explore

I often feel — as someone who writes about sex and relationships a lot — a pressure to be constantly explorative in my sex life. There are so many ways to experience sex and so many worlds of sex that I haven’t tried, and I feel like I need all the information to do my job. I also really want to try these things, so I can have a better understanding of myself, as well as the world of sex and pleasure.

Although I want to experience these things, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like the right time. Whether it’s because of the relationship I’m in, my mental state, my current priorities or my experience; when I find myself in spaces that push the boundaries of sex, I sometimes feel out of place. But that’s okay.

Watching this show reminded me that you can start exploring new ways of sex or love at any age. One couple had only begun to explore kink in their 40s and discovered that they loved it. One woman had just become single at 50 and was opening her mind to world of sex toys. Each person felt as though they had arrived at the right time in their life to explore these things. Watching them made me feel so comforted, as though I could relax and just go with the flow that is our own individual sexual journey, and allow it to happen when it’s right.

Feeling Sexy Is So Important

With each sex room that Melanie Rose designed throughout the Netflix series How to Build a Sex Room, one of the main things she kept in mind was how to make the couples feel sexy through the decor. She’d ask them questions like “what makes you feel sexy?”, and they’d say things like “soft textures” or “the colour red” or “lots of mirrors”. She then incorporated these things into the sex room, which in turn made the person feel as though the room was tailored to them. Even just being in the room made them feel sexy.

This reminded me of how important it is to feel sexy. Whether it’s dressing up in an outfit that makes you feel confident, spending some alone time with your favourite toy or going on a romantic date — whatever it is that makes you feel sexy is really important to do.

Never Stop Talking About Sex

Quite a few of the couples in How to Build a Sex Room were in long-term relationships, and had stopped talking to their partner about sex. I think that’s a pretty normal thing that gets dismissed in long-term relationships; when you get into a rhythm with one person, you often don’t feel the need to always be communicating and trying new things. You get comfortable. This series showed that when the partners started talking about sex again — as is necessary when you’re having a sex room built in your home — they started to re-discover or be surprised by each other.

Even if you think it might not be something your partner is into, it’s important to maintain your individuality within sex and celebrate that. If your boo is into you, they’re almost definitely going to be into you talking about sex and what you like. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to do if you want to have a fulfilling sex life.

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