For many of us, sex goes down exclusively in the bedroom. But what if you had a room in your home designed specifically for intimacy? That’s the question that Melanie Rose asks in the eight-episode Netflix series How to Build a Sex Room. If you haven’t had a chance to binge it yet, think of it as your favorite HGTV show with an X-rated twist. The British interior designer meets with people of all different orientations and backgrounds, from the vanilla to the highly adventurous. Then they collaborate to create a gorgeous, elevated sex room.
Rose is as warm and charming in real life as she is on the show, offering insight into why clients are so willing to put themselves in her hands. How to Build a Sex Room brings a welcome sex-positive approach to kink education that helps to help to dismantle the stigma surrounding sexuality. Along with recommending high-quality, luxurious sex toys, she introduces clients to various kink experts to demonstrate best safety practices when exploring desires.
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“I just hope that this show helps push people a little towards acceptance,” Rose says. “Exploring is great, but consent is No. 1, and safety is key. Always develop a safe word, and do your research. Aftercare is also important.”
For those not acquainted with the concept, aftercare is a broad way of showing support and kindness to a partner post-sex. This can be anything from icing bruised areas to cuddling or getting your partner a glass of water.
For couples not ready to head into BDSM territory, a boudoir photo shoot is a sensual way to start out and add sexy decor with a personal touch. When designing for kinky couple Gary and Tricia in the “Frisky Farmers” episode, Rose wanted some artful photography to help set the mood.
“I love a photograph that incorporates the couple or person in the room in an erotic way,” Rose says. “Research boudoir photographers in your city or town. I recommend going with someone specializing in boudoir since they’ll know how to make you feel comfortable and help you get the best shot, like Tricia and Gary’s photographer did. If you decide to go DIY at home, you can do so with filters and self-timers — but just be cautious with iCloud!”
How to Build a Sex Room features plenty of your usual scripted back-and-forth in a home design show. But here, that banter includes things like Rose stopping into an equestrian store and inquiring of a blushing employee how to implement horse saddles and straps in a custom-made sex swing. And Rose’s trust contractor Mike remains slightly confused and shocked but keeps an open mind as Rose discusses their projects with her signature cheeky humor.
Still, not everyone has dedicated space for an entire sex room. In that case, Rose has some solutions for maximizing intimacy: “I definitely recommend under bed restraints,” she says. “They also sell over-the-door sex swings. I’m big on creating ambiance and sensuality. I’m talking faux fur throws, textured pillows and candles. For safety reasons, I always opt for fake candles. There are tons of realistic ones that have built-in dimmers.”
Ultimately, it’s an enlightening way to open up a conversation with a partner or bring those fantasies into the open. Rose (along with the rest of us) is hopeful that the show will be renewed for a second season. “I love the diversity we had to the show, but I want to push the boundaries a little more in the next season and broaden people’s minds,” she says. “I’d love to design a double-decker bus, a private jet or even an Amtrak train where you can buy your own carriage. The options are limitless.”
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How to Build a Sex Room: Your Ultimate Guide
One of the best moments in every How to Build a Sex Room episode is Melanie Rose’s “Bag of Toys” reveal, when she takes out a silky pouch that contains all kinds of lusty goodies. It’s one of her ways of gauging the kind of her pleasure that her client might enjoy and helps her design the room in a more customized way.
Taking the Netflix show as our inspiration, we’ve put together a short list of must-have accessories and sex furniture to consider if you want to build a sex room of your own.
1. Sportsheets Door Jam Sex Sling
If you want the benefits of a sex swing and have a sturdy door in your home, consider this sex sling by Sportsheets. It helps angle the hips to better access the G-spot, and the padded seat pivots for access. The seat, height and footrests are all adjustable, and there are also built-in hand grips for added stability. Ideal for those who prefer a swing with a seat — this one’s even wide enough to fit a pillow beneath, if desired.
2. Bondage Boutique Bed Restraint Set
If you don’t have the space or privacy for a more elaborate setup, consider an under-bed restraint set like this, allowing you to explore the pleasures of bondage and restraint with your existing bed. Unlike flimsier versions, these have a stronghold, with one reviewer commenting, “The straps that go round the wrists and ankles are very soft and thick padded with strong velcro to hold them in place, neither myself nor my partner could escape or move.”
3. Luxe Faux Fur Blanket
Texture is a huge part of sensuality, and there’s nothing like snuggling up to a plush faux fur throw with your partner or for a solo masturbation sesh. These have a chic look that can be used as living room decor when not being used to spice things up; made from long, silky fibers and 100% machine washable, this luxe blanket is soft, inviting and the perfect place to get down to some spooning or foreplay.
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4. Vinkor Flameless Candles
If you want some flickering candles to set the mood but would like to avoid setting your house on fire, consider this set of nine flameless candles. Made from real wax, they’re all of different heights, letting you create a dynamic look in your bedroom or bathroom. This set uses long-lasting LED lighters with a built-in timer that allows you to set it on an auto-shutoff. It also comes with a remote control.
5. CLF Starsi Starfish Vibrator
A versatile addition to any sex toy collection, this starfish-shaped toy is another top pick from Rose. It isn’t for any specific gender or sexual orientation. Instead, the Starsi is all about exploring your body more lightheartedly. Ideal for all kinds of external stimulation on any body part, it can help you discover new erogenous zones on your body and is also perfect for straddling, grinding and pressing. If starfishes aren’t your jam, consider their adorable purple creature or little green leafy guy.
6. Liberator Sex Chaise
Sex chaise is a piece of furniture used in several of the show’s episodes, and there’s none better on the market than the Liberator. A non-obtrusive option that will enhance your bedroom decor while helping unlock new sexual positions, the Esse Chaise is worth the splurge. With elegant lines and a strategically designed shape, this chaise is meant for Kama Sutra-inspired positions. It can make sex more comfortable for all parties involved, especially if you have knee or back pain.
7. Lelo Smart Wand 2
One of the most powerful (and attractive) wands on the market, Lelo’s upgraded smart wand comes in a medium size and is whisper quiet, despite its 10 powerful vibration settings. It packs a whopping four hours of power within one charge, and while it is an earth-shattering clitoral stimulator, it can also be used for all-over body massages and foreplay. Unlike buzzier wands, this one has more of a rumbly sensation.
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Melanie Rose’s Favorite Brands
1. Stock Room
Often used on How to Build a Sex Room and Rose’s top choice, this L.A.-based brand focuses on high-quality leather (and vegan leather) and BDSM gear. They sell a wide range of fetish wear, swings and restraints, but their best-sellers include this basic suede flogger and their silicone ball gags. This flogger has a sumptuous texture for impact play and can deliver a light slap or a more substantial flogging. Their KinkLab briefcase set is also a great choice for those looking to get into electro play, and they also have several leather strap-on accessories.
Basic Suede Flogger
Agent Noir Neon Wand Electrosex Kit
Another one of Rose’s go-to choices, this brand uses decadently smooth silicone with an expensive feel. From butt plugs to suction toys and sleeves, there’s nothing that this brand doesn’t have. However, two of their most popular toys include Hugo, the vibrating prostate massager, and the Smart Wand 2. Plus, all Lelo products are on sale on both Lovehoney and the Lelo website.
Lelo Noa Luxury Rechargeable Couple’s Vibrator
Lelo Hugo SenseMotion Remote Control Rechargeable Prostate Massage
3. Kiki de Montparnasse
Lingerie and sex toy brand Kiki De Montparnasse screams luxury. While their more popular items like handcuff wristlets and stainless steel wands are sometimes sold out, there are plenty of other decadent options, like their sensual silk blindfold or dual warming wand, which can help make bedroom adventures a little more steamy.
Dual Warming Wand
4. Adam & Eve
Many of the toys used on the show came from Adam & Eve, a brand we featured in SPY’s guide to The Best Places To Buy Sex Toys online. It’s also one of the world’s largest and most trusted retailers of best-selling sex toys, accessories and all things intimacy-related. They even sell the coveted Cowgirl sex machine, the ultimate sex room addition. They often feature price slashes on already affordable products, especially their in-house brand, so if you’re not ready to dive into the world of luxury toys, Adam & Eve is the ultimate place to start.
Cowgirl Premium Sex Machine
Adjustable Silicone Penis Tie
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