Redefining “Sex Education”

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We’ve all sat through awkward health classes and gendered sex-ed lectures, but many schools have come under fire for their traditional and non-informative curriculum. However, a new Netflix show called “Sex Education” is redefining how sex should be approached in society, and more specifically, among teenagers. The show attacks the shyness and outdated practices of how most modern cultures discuss sexuality, safe practices and sex discussion. 

The trending series follows the story of Otis, the son of a sex therapist, who develops a passion and niche for giving sex advice to the other students at his school. Otis runs his side-business with his on-again, off-again love interest: rebellious Maeve. The pair collects money from other high schoolers who seek out Otis’s expertise about a range of sexual issues such as sexuality, fetishes and general relationship advice.

In the show, the sex clinic is depicted as the outlet that the teenagers needed. Despite its quirky and outrageous tone, “Sex Education” reveals the lack of dialogue that is open, accurate and accepting in our society. 

Throughout the series, audiences witness the clear need of a support system for the school’s student body and the administration’s inadequate teachings and advice, including incorrect information provided by their sex ed teacher, Mr. Hendricks.

As the multiple-character storylines develop throughout the show, each teenage character is further humanized. “Sex Education” ensures that no character is left with an apparently perfect life, and instead, shows each individual’s struggle with his/her/their identity and sexual lifestyle. Too often, our culture tells us to ignore and shame what is natural and healthy, which can lead to toxic and dangerous sexual lifestyles. The series highlights the problem with every character’s story and viewers come along for the ride in each episode. 

The protagonist of the series, Otis, struggles with accepting his own comfortability with sex, avoiding his problems while counseling his peers. Otis’ mother is a sex therapist with a tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband (Otis’ dad), a scenario that seems to echo throughout Otis’ issues with his own sense of self and sexual desire. He combats this slowly throughout the first season with the help of the people around him and by running his school sex clinic. Maeve and Eric, Otis’ two closest friends, each struggle with problems of their own. Maeve deals with her toxic family life and complicated sex life, while Eric deals with embracing his sexual identity and acceptance from his family and friends. 

In the interest of avoiding spoilers, let’s just say that “Sex Education” will keep you on your toes as each character confronts their hindrances with the help of others. The show is a reminder that no one should have to figure out life on their own. Through tackling issues like sexual assault, abortions and addiction, it reminds audiences that these problems are the unfortunate reality of many teenagers and adults around the world.

According to a Washington Post article, “Sex Education” “considers [the students’ inner lives and motivations, less concerned with what they’re doing than how they feel about doing it.”

Once you get past the hilarious characters and situations, “Sex Education” shows viewers that there are no easy solutions to any of the issues teenagers face in the realms of sex, but open communication and compassion — two things we could use a bit more of in our society today — can help, especially in sex education.

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