Three couples, including a gay couple, will have sex in a box in front of a studio audience as part of a new Channel 4 series.
But the broadcaster has been accused of grabbing ratings under a cover of trying to counteract the “explosion of online pornography”.
During the programme, to be aired on 7 October, volunteer couples will be interviewed by presenter Mariella Frostrup after they have had sex in a sound-proofed and opaque cube.
The couples, including two gay men, will also have their sex lives discussed by a panel of experts including sex columnist Dan Savage.
Comedian Bridget Christie highlighted that showing more sex “isn’t necessarily the answer” to the problem of pornography.
She said: “How to boost your ratings while pretending to help society? Fight sex with sex!”
And relationships expert Donna Dawson said in a BBC Radio 5 Live interview that this is an “extremely unnatural” situation, and is being shown simply to excite viewers.
Mariella Frostrup said her hope is for the programme to provoke a “mature, intelligent discussion” about sex in modern Britain, despite having initially approached the programme with “a degree of scepticism”.
Both the studio audience and TV viewers will not be able to see the couples having sex.
Channel 4 says their series of programmes looks at “how the ever-increasing consumption of pornography is distorting people’s expectations of sex”.
Channel 4 was criticised by campaign group Mediawatch-UK in 2011 for broadcasting a programme which provided sexually explicit advice to teenagers.
The channel’s former chief executive Michael Grade, was dubbed Britain’s “pornographer-in-chief” because of the sexually graphic programmes he commissioned.