“Sex Education:” Netflix’s newest hit holds an important message
“Sex Education” is a British web television series that focuses on Otis, a high school student whose mom is a sex therapist. Otis does not have much sexual experience, but grew up surrounded by sexual paintings on the walls of his home, clients coming in needing assistance and his mother talking about sex in a very casual manner. Because of this, Otis seems to have a natural talent for helping people with their own sexual problems.
When his classmates learn about his home life, Otis decides, with the help of his friend Maeve and Eric, to start an “underground” sex therapy business with their classmates as clients. As time goes on, Otis becomes successful in helping his classmates. However, Otis begins to realize that he, himself, may need some therapy as well, as he cannot masturbate nor is able to come to terms with his feelings for Maeve. Each episode introduces new characters and the challenges they face in their sex lives. “Sex Education” is a good blend of comedy, coming of age, love, drama and heart that is relatable to a wide variety of audiences.
In my own personal experience, I did not have much of a sex education class in middle school or high school. The main takeaway from the class was “don’t have sex.” Rather than teaching kids ways to have sexual intercourse safely and give important information regarding it, all we were told was to not do it. Educators at my school and many adults did not feel comfortable talking about sex, so the subject was always swept under the rug.
The fact is, people have sex in high school. It should be something that should be openly talked about when kids start having feelings toward others and urges that they may not understand. “Sex Education” displays sex as something that isn’t embarrassing or necessarily “bad,” but is shown as a natural action for people with trials and tribulations that follow.
People praise “Sex Education” as being a good show not because it just focuses on sex, but because it does not portray it in a pornographic way. It displays sex in a realistic light that many teens and young adults can relate to. Sex scenes in movies are typically idyllic, nothing is awkward and each partner seemingly knows exactly what the other wants. This image provides viewers with unrealistic expectations that obscure what sex can really be like.
Throughout the series, Otis has to help a certain couple or individual work through problems they have with insecurity, chemistry, confidence and communication. For example, in episode 2, Otis helps a couple with communication issues. The girlfriend was feeling insecure but the boyfriend felt like she was not listening and trusting him. Otis was able to work with the two and help them get to a mutual understanding.
“Sex Education” isn’t just about sex, it’s about learning self-appreciation and respect. Everyone, young or old, experienced or inexperienced, will be able to relate to this show. One would expect this series to be raunchy and something your parents should not see, but the core of the show is centered around love and self-exploration. However, because the main theme of the show is sex, it explicitly happens often during the episodes. Depending on how comfortable people are with the topic, some viewers may not enjoy the show, while others might like how open it is.
The character development is exquisite and crucial in understanding the whole series. At a first glance, the characters seem to follow the major stereotypes: the naïve awkward kid, the jock, the gay best friend and the mysterious girl. Throughout the series, the characters grow, change and learn. As the series progresses and we get to know the characters more, they become more than just their stereotypes.
Otis finds his voice in helping other students with his gift of being a sex therapist. Maeve has to struggle between school, friends, relationships, pregnancy, abortion and her feelings. Adam comes across as a jock but is silently struggling inside with his perceived image and his own insecurities, and Eric opens up about his own struggles that he faces every day.
Overall, “Sex Education” is a light-hearted show that bravely puts sex in the spotlight in a casual and open way. The complex characters and interesting plot make it an enjoyable show that is relatable and also attention grabbing. Some viewers might find the subject matter to be uncomfortable and risqué, but others might find it truthful, refreshing and enjoyable.