Crazy, horny, and anxious teenagers stop at nothing to understand and learn the intricacies of sexual intercourse in Netflix’s Sex Education. Somehow, that raunchy premise turned out to be the secondary plot behind a charming, sweet, and thoughtful coming-of-age story.
Sex Education stars Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, an awkward teenage virgin who lives with his mother, Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a sex therapist and author. After helping out a student with a problem, Otis teams up with bad-girl Maeve (Emma Mackey, not Margot Robbie) to run a “sex clinic” at school where Otis listens to problems regarding sex and relationships and administers advice on the matter.
Right away, in the first scene, viewers are hit with a sex scene, which sets the a vulgar tone that the viewer believes the series will be all about. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of sex scenes, some more awkward then other. Masturbation, oral sex demonstrations, and penis reveals (One of the characters shows his large “package” to the entire school) are scattered throughout the series.
However, the sex scenes are outweighed by a sweet, caring storyline about self-discovery and young love. Otis is awkward with deep-seated emotional issues, but he has a good heart and displays many “good guy” qualities. Maeve may be seen as rough around the edges, but her sheer intelligence and ability to survive on her own are admirable. Otis’s interactions with his mother show the highs and lows of being the son of a therapist and how their relationship is not your typical mother-son interaction, but that’s ok. No family is normal. That’s what makes them special and unique.
Sex Education had its fair share of funny moments, but it also tackled issues that are not only relevant, but important topics of conversation in today’s society. Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), who is Otis’s best friend, is gay, but comes from a religious African family. Eric is confident and charismatic, but still struggles to fit in. Without giving too much away, there is an episode where Eric is dressed as Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch and it will leave you in tears after Eric experiences homophobia and violence. Another episode tackles vagina-shaming that ends with a feminist protest of support. It’s issues like these that make Sex Education more than just about an awkward kid who is afraid to masturbate. The series portrays how teens experience identity crisis on a daily basis and how they need to draw on the support of their peers to overcome such obstacles.
Without spoiling anything else, there are many other characters that deserve your attention (looking at you, Aimee), but overall, the ensemble comedy will take you on a journey of adolescence and how young teenagers battle hormones, bullies, and societal norms everyday. There may be a lot of sex talk, but the message of self-love and friendships brightly in the end.