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Too Hot To Handle: A new kind of social distancing on glossy new Netflix dating show

Netflix's latest dating reality show sees a group of beautiful people vie for a massive cash prize with one condition - no sexual contact, writes Sarah Manavais

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The contestants on Too Hot To Handle must resist having sex or they are fined

The contestants on Too Hot To Handle must resist having sex or they are fined

The contestants on Too Hot To Handle must resist having sex or they are fined

I wonder what Netflix knows that we don't. Do they know what's in Area 51? What's at the centre of a black hole? How the human brain works? If the Ingrams really did it? What I'm wondering right now is how they knew that this pandemic was going to happen. And how they must have known months in advance. Because why else would they have commissioned a glossy dating show that perfectly mirrors what millions of us are going through? Dating without physical contact - and if you get caught trying, having to pay a fine.

Welcome to a sexy, sun-tanned version of our current dating ecosystem. This is the premise of Netflix's new reality show Too Hot To Handle: a group of Love-Island-on-steroids level of attractive people from across the UK, Ireland, Canada, America and Australia, meet in a villa in Mexico for what they think is a sexed-up "retreat".

But what they don't know is they've actually signed up for a four-week practice in chastity, in which a version of Amazon's Alexa (called Lana) bans them from any physical contact and monitors their every move. The idea is that this group of "serial swipers" learn the value of dating without sex, forming a deeper connection on an emotional level. The prize is a chance to win $100,000 (€92,000), but every hook-up, "inappropriate touch" or kiss results in a fine: each rule break from just two people costs the whole group thousands.