Netflix recently released Season 3 of “Sex Education,” a popular British comedy-drama series. The “Sex Education” characters deal with “taboo” topics, and the series serves us with a defiantly honest exploration of sex and sexuality. Following the lives of British high schoolers of Moordale Secondary School, the series offers an unflinching look into the lives of the “Sex Education” characters as they navigate modern teen relationships and sexuality.
As Otis Milburn’s (Asa Butterfield) mom is a sex therapist, he unwittingly becomes an expert on all things sex. He sets up a sex therapy clinic at school with Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), and they work together to solve the issues of fellow students, from relationship issues to rumors to sexual concerns.
“Sex Education” is praised for its approach to potentially “taboo” topics, with many viewers commenting that the show has taught them even more than what they learned in sex education classes offered in school. So, what essential advice and lessons do the “Sex Education” characters have to teach viewers? Read on to learn more about the progressive topics the show is tackling with an open mind and a heartfelt sense of humor.
Spoiler alert – you might want to bookmark this article and watch the series before reading if you haven’t caught up with the show yet!
Having safe and enjoyable sex
Sex is often a topic that isn’t discussed openly in society. Sex education in school tends to focus on the basics – wearing a condom, taking contraceptives and even just abstaining entirely. In school, we don’t get to learn much about the actual process itself aside from a sterile scientific description, and we’re often left to navigate the rest of the nuances of sexuality on our own.
Sometimes people are even deterred from having sex altogether instead of seeing it as a form of love and intimacy. The systemic prohibition of openly discussing sex skews the act itself to be immodest and provocative – sometimes, even downright shameful.
Otis’s sex therapy clinic tells us so much more. Moving past the notion that sex is just “racy,” it expounds on the importance of sex to the human condition. Of course, everyone is different and likes different things, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
The pleasure that we feel during sex is due to our consensual understanding of each other. We can see this between Otis and Ola (Patricia Allison) when she explicitly expresses what she likes and doesn’t like. As “embarrassing” as it can seem initially, “Sex Education” tells us that the purpose of sex is to enjoy the pleasure together. So, expressing to your partner what makes you feel good is wholly encouraged.
Regarding sexual safety and responsibility, the show stresses that condoms are essential and morning-after pills are nothing to be ashamed of. Olivia Hanan’s (Simone Ashley) boyfriend doesn’t want to use a condom, as he says it feels better without one, choosing instead to use the “pullout” method. She ends up being scared of getting pregnant and unable to enjoy sexual intercourse. The show underlines the need for condoms during sex, especially in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. We learn that it’s OK to require the use of a condom from your partner.
We also learn that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are spread through sexual contact and are not airborne – unlike the myth on the show that chlamydia is spreading through the air, causing a panic outbreak in Moordale Secondary School. The series also shows Ruby Matthews (Mimi Keene) struggling to get the morning-after pill (an emergency contraceptive) for herself, asking Otis to get it for her instead, only for Ruby to realize that she can’t enlist another person to get it for her.
The series also addresses the lack of sex education for the LGBTQ+ community. With Rahim (Sami Outalbali) teaching other students about gay sexual practices, the show shines a light on improvements that our current educational systems need within sex education programs.
The “Sex Education” characters represent people of various sexualities. Sexuality encompasses gender identity, sexual orientation and more, and we learn that it’s okay to be exploring your sexuality or identifying in a specific way. In the show, we see many students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, such as Ola, who identifies as pansexual later in the series, and Cal (Dua Saleh), who identifies as nonbinary. These characters who are unapologetically and freely exploring inspire viewers, normalizing the existence of diverse sexual identities.
Another highlight of “Sex Education” comes when Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a sex therapist and Otis’s mother, helps a student who’s confused about not being interested in sex at all. In comforting the student, she explains, “Sex doesn’t make us whole, so how can you ever be broken?” Comments online suggest that many viewers who identify as asexual found this part of the show comforting.
“Sex Education” is not only entertaining us but truly helping provide some real “sex education” along the way. Season 4 of “Sex Education” is confirmed to be on the way, so we only have more honest and raw lessons to learn as we continue to explore sex through the eventful lives of these characters.
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