The newest addition to my list of addictive series is the British masterpiece Sex Education. Starring The X-Files legend, Gillian Anderson, and Asa Butterfield as a mother-son duo, the Netflix original tells the story of the teenage sexual awakening, a topic that many find, vulnerable, and extremely intimate. To the viewers’ surprise, the TV show approaches this sensitive subject with such a wittiness and open-mindedness and successfully promotes sex and everything that comes with it (both physical and mental changes) as a topic which no one is supposed to feel embarrassed to talk about.
The well-known teenage struggle with sexuality
The series follows the life of Asa’s character Otis, your typical awkward teenager who struggles to openly talk about sex. The environment he studies in makes the situation even harder. His classmates are as much confused about their sexuality as he is and they are in desperate need of sex education. Ironically enough, Otis steps up as the much-needed sex guru.
After helping the school’s bully, who has taken Viagra pills, to stop panicking, Otis draws Maeve’s attention. Together they start a sex counseling business – students pay up and Otis helps them resolve their problems. The fact that it is almost unbearable for him to talk about his issues and would rather spend his time discussing other students’ struggles makes it impossible not to adore him.
Just your usual next-door sex therapist
Otis’ mom, Jean is an absolute delight. Although she is constantly nagging him to talk to her about his sexual problems, she means well. As a qualified sex therapist, Jean is well aware of what her son is going through and her only intention is to help him get through this experience which can be quite awkward and uncomfortable. I loved her character from the very first episode. If only more parents wouldn’t be so close-minded and encourage their children to ask questions and talk freely about this topic.
Unlike the usual insecure teenagers who are terrified about their sexuality, Eric, Otis’ best friend, has proudly stepped out of the closet and is hands-down the most confident teenager I have ever seen on TV. He couldn’t care less what others think of him and focuses only on being himself. His indifferent behavior towards his bullies is an awe-inspiring lecture for all teenagers around the world. His character can certainly increase the confidence level among the younger audience.
The untold story of teenage abortion
The previously mentioned Maeve is followed by an even more painful experience. Not only does the show openly talks about intercourse, but it also exposes the frightful consequences the lack of sex education can bring. Maeve’s abortion is without question the most distressing part of the first season. Left all by herself, Maeve tracks down a clinic willing to do the procedure on her. While watching this scene you can’t help yourself but feel heartbroken and overwhelmed, but kudos to Emma Mackey for delivering such an exquisite emotional scene.
The stigma of sexual assault
Last but not least, another deep issue Sex Education introduces is the stigma revolving around sexual harassment and the public’s ignorance of it. Maeve’s friend Aimee experiences sexual assault during her morning bus ride to school and immediately brushes off the incident. Only after she is confronted by Maeve and taken to the police to make a statement does she truly break down and suffers a tremendous emotional trauma.
As the bus was full, everyone witnessed the assault but no one dared say anything. With Aimee’s experience, the series exposes the stigma that doesn’t seem to stop circulating around the issue of sexual harassment. When it happens, it’s still overlooked and the victims are almost always the ones that are blamed for it.
Despite portraying many amusing scenes that will make you burst out laughing, I believe that the target of the series is to persuade parents to inform their children on topics concerning safe sex, sexual assault, abortion, rape, and many more. The show does a splendid job of dedicating enough attention to each of these issues and stressing the importance of proper sex education.