A relationship therapy TV show that premieres Friday gives most participating couples the same prescription: Go into a modular, windowless room onstage and have sex while the studio audience waits until they’re done. Not surprisingly, “Sex Box” has attracted some negative attention.

The Parents Television Council, One Million Moms and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation say they’ve collected more than 38,000 signatures on a petition urging WE TV to shelve the show. WE says it will begin as scheduled Friday at 10 p.m.

“Sex Box” is an adaptation of a British show where three therapists meet with couples who have relationship issues. In the first episode one woman has lost interest in sex after having a baby. The man in another couple doesn’t care whether his wife has an orgasm.

After some talking, therapist Chris Donaghue offers what the show clearly hopes will become a catchphrase: “Are you ready to go into the sex box?”

The couple enters the room, which is bathed in hot pink spotlights while occupied.

However titillating the concept, there’s really nothing to see. No one undresses in public. There’s not even an embrace. When the couple emerges from the sex box, stagehands rush in to make sure their silk pajamas are completely buttoned up.

“The whole sex in the box thing was kind of intimidating at first but kind of exciting,” said Chris Crom of Poway, California, featured on the debut with wife, Alexia, who had the post-pregnancy sex pause. “We were there more for the therapeutic time.”

Therapy clearly worked to some extent, since Alexia is pregnant again.

For another couple, the conflict was the wife’s discomfort with her husband’s wish to have another woman live with them for regular threesomes at his convenience. In that case, sending the couple into the sex box seemed like an odd therapeutic solution.

But Donaghue said sex relaxes a couple and brings them closer, and better able to talk through their issues. Here, the man gave up on his desire – for the time being.

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