Sex Education: What We're Binge Watching This Month
By Maya Corral
For many of us, sex consumes our life, whether it’s being portrayed on TV, in movies, or virtually any other media. I’ve spent the past five years working in health and sex education, and criticizing many of the cultural symbols that have come to define sex for teenagers and young adults. When I first heard about Sex Education, I was concerned. I worried about the tropes that are rampant throughout all movies and TV shows, and especially how they portray sex in relation to self-worth and growing up. While Sex Education plays on many of these tropes, from the overly protective mother to athletes in letterman jackets, to mean girls who rule the school, it does so with care and consideration, showing that there is some movement in our social statuses and sexuality.
Starring Gillian Anderson, the British comedy handles issues of sex in a funny and heartwarming sense, reminding us all of the intricacies of sexuality in high school. Otis (played by Asa Butterfield) is the son of a sex therapist. Although inexperienced, he quickly realizes that he can provide sex advice because of how he was raised. Working with Maeve, a social outcast and rebel, they eventually begin a sex therapy clinic together. Their business is quickly complicated when Otis develops a crush on Maeve, and is forced to reconcile his sexuality with his feelings for her.
The only disappointment that came from Sex Education was Maeve and Otis not getting together in the end. The entire show develops around their relationship, and the audience is caught in a state of wondering if they will date or not. By the conclusion of the show, it is obvious that they both love each other (and should be together), so it’s a mystery as to why the creators chose for Otis to be with someone else in the last minutes of the show. Perhaps a depiction of the difficulties of timing in relationships, it’s disappointing to see them not together in the end especially because of the other teen tropes present throughout the rest of the show.
In spite of the slightly disappointing conclusion, I’d like to see another season of Sex Education (where Maeve and Otis get together, of course). The series masterfully handles the issue of sex and sexuality in high school, entrenching the characters in their experiences (or inexperience in some cases) with compassion and humor. Sex Education shows a variety of people and identities, from openly gay characters to those who have never masturbated. The series expertly discusses differences between pleasure and apathy, showing that it’s okay to figure out what you want and speak up for it. While Sex Education uses the often overplayed teenage tropes throughout the season, it also works to address the questions we all had as teenagers when it comes to sex, doing so with comedy and patience.