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Sex Education Breaks Down Social Taboos

By Hayley Morrill

Sex is not something that a lot of people want to talk about. In school, many students have had presentations and maybe even a unit about sex education. However, outside of school, talking about sex can be a very uncomfortable subject, even though everyone thinks about it. Netflix’s new show, Sex Education, brings sex and relationships to the forefront. The show allows its characters to explore this topic openly and be more vulnerable than on other shows. A lot of people, especially teens, need more shows like Sex Education. Not only does it talk about a subject that many don’t want to, but it also shows all different lifestyles.

Sex Education is about Otis Millburn, played by Asa Butterfield, who is the son of a sex therapist. After a series of events, Otis finds himself in a strange position: the school’s unofficial sex guidance counselor. At first, Otis doesn’t want to be giving advice to people about sex as his mother does. However, eventually, he and his friend Maeve, played by Emma Mackey, start a clinic to help people with their sexual and romantic problems. After that, they help several kids from the school, which opens up a number of topics, like teenage bodies and relationships. Even the parent characters are given depth as their lives are included in the show as much as the kids’ lives are. Otis’ mom is still adjusting to being a single mom. There is also depth in the headmaster character, as he has a son at the school named Adam, played by Conner Swindells. The headmaster is portrayed as not being the greatest father, or headmaster even. These stories make the school seem even more authentic because they don’t disregard any character’s life. Even the smallest details, such as the reusing of clothes, is shown with unwavering honesty.

Characters showcase their emotions every episode in a candid manner. Characters aren’t relatable unless they show the whole human experience. This includes anxiety, which is shown through Jackson, played by Kedar Williams-Stirling, who at first seems perfect. As the show goes on though, his high-pressure lifestyle and related anxiety are revealed. The writers behind Sex Education portray his anxiety realistically by having him describe it in a unique light, different from other film portrayals.

Another extremely notable and lovable character is Otis’s best friend Eric, played by Ncuti Gatwa. Eric is one of two openly gay students at his school and his unique style and confidence captivate the audience. A key moment for his character is when he gets attacked by homophobes for dressing in drag on his birthday. Sex Education highlights the extremely damaging ramifications of such an attack, and the importance of supporting and celebrating your friends and family for their individuality.

Sex Education maintains a comprehensive focus on sex, bringing in to play the intricacies and importance of all types of relationships. What’s so interesting about this show is that while Otis does give advice about sex, he makes sure to never place himself in the patients’ issues. He connects the advice back to individuals, helping them to come to their own realizations separate from his own opinions. This shows how important self-awareness and reflection is, and successfully portrays therapy in a positive and healthy light. Sex Education gives teens a positive template for discussing sex, relationships and family.

The introduction of a sex-positive show is extremely exciting. Normalizing sex and the discussion of relationships is needed in today’s society. This show has much to offer to its viewers and makes important headway with each episode.

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