TV Editor Morgana Chess shares her opinion on why Naked Attraction deserves to be on our screens
Channel 4’s Naked Attraction is British television at its absolute finest. The show’s mantra runs: ‘We like to start where a good date ends… naked’ and it upholds this pledge honourably. The viewer is greeted with an array of vaginas, penises, and everything in-between, within just a few short minutes of screentime. Much like the brainwave that is Gogglebox, the show is built on a simple premise: one singleton chooses a date from a line-up of six hopefuls, judging them solely by their physical appearance… minus the clothes.
The matchmaking process is divided into phases as each candidate stands in a glass cubicle with a screen that is raised to reveal more of their naked body with each round. Round one: genitalia. Round two: chest; then face; then voice. What better way to find love? At the end, the choosing contestant also strips off and my personal favourite moment is the awkward naked hug between the newly-formed couple, before they walk off to their first date together, bare buttocks swinging side-by-side.
Understandably, the show does not lack for controversy, and it has been accused of being tacky, indecent and objectifying. Indeed, it does sound a bit like window-shopping as the contestant weighs up the pros and cons of various vulvas, but in this, I would argue, also lies the show’s greatest strength. Naked Attraction presents a true diversity of body types and actually has an educational slant. Presented by Anna Richardson, whose other work includes The Sex Education Show, Naked Attraction provides us with interesting facts and statistics about all things sex, dating and gender-related. The hope is that people are drawn in by what initially sounds like a tacky, gimmicky concept and instead receive a little education. Those who come expecting just Take Me Out with knobs on, leave knowing how a sex change works, or that 82% of women prefer girth to length, for example.
A new series of the show has just begun and the first episode, as can be expected, doesn’t beat around the bush. First up is lad-from-Leeds Charles, who selects his naked date from a group of six women. The show tells us what we really want to know, reuniting the couple six weeks after the first date so we can see if the relationship has blossomed or who stopped texting whom – a couple from a previous series even got engaged.
The episode’s second contestant was Lee, who identifies as a non-binary pansexual and, to use Anna’s phrase, chooses her date from ‘a real smorgasbord’ of hopefuls. Several of Lee’s options were mid-transitioning and the episode provides a real education, defining the terms ‘cis’, ‘non-binary’ and generally showing the viewing public that not all relationships fit into the same mould.
tripping back to what really lies underneath comes as a refreshing approach to modern datingNaked Attraction is a great one to watch with the flatmates as well. With each round’s bodily reveal, there are communal ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as you are met with pubes and boobs galore. In an age of filtered selfies, curated dating profiles and tinder swipes, stripping back to what really lies underneath comes as a refreshing approach to modern dating. Claims that Naked Attraction is degrading and superficial can therefore be countered. After all, a pierced penis speaks volumes about somebody’s personality.
Tune into Channel 4 on Thursday evenings to get your naked fix, or check out 4-od for the full catch-up.