Review: Netflix Sex Education

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Netflix Sex Education (2019) – Review (Season One)

For Art Smitten

Words by Viv Micic

Review content warning: This article discusses sex. If you are not comfortable with this topic, please do not read this review. Also, this review contains some spoilers for the first season of Sex Education. You have been forewarned.

 

As attitudes towards sex and the LGBT+ community have changed for the better in recent years, the demand for accurate, diverse representation in the media has grown. It was inevitable that a show such as Netflix’s new series Sex Education would be made. Since its release in January 2019, it has been well received by audiences around the world.

Sex Education follows the story of teenager Otis Milburn (portrayed by Asa Butterfield), the virgin son of sex therapist parents, who uses his knowledge of their profession to set up a private sex therapy clinic with a classmate (Maeve Wiley, portrayed by Emma Mackey) at his school. He attempts to help the students with their relationships and sex issues while maintaining his own personal life.

Asa Butterfield, as Otis, presents a strong male character who challenges gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity with his caring, compassionate disposition. Otis has a kind heart and he helps others with an open mind.

When I first started watching Sex Education, I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought it would be like a progressive version of the sexual comedy movie series American Pie (1999-2012), with some boring information about genitals thrown in for good measure. Well, I was definitely wrong about that!

The series begins with a sex scene between an English schoolgirl (Aimee Gibbs, portrayed by Aimee Lou Wood) and her boyfriend (Adam Groff, portrayed by Connor Swindells) who faces the issue of feeling pressured to please her by faking his orgasm during sex. Of course, I was shocked and taken aback by the nudity and explicit nature of the content. For those of you who have not yet watched Sex Education, consider this your explicit content warning! However, the spot-on comedy lightens up the mood of the series and transforms it into an interesting, modern show.

Sex Education has many likeable (and some dislikeable) characters who are just as deep and complex as the show’s intended teenage audience. Each character has their own very real struggles in their lives and in regards to sex. For example, role model student and star athlete Jackson Marchetti (portrayed by Kedar Williams-Stirling) has severe anxiety issues, and is at the center of his parents’ relationship which is very close to collapsing. There are also powerful examples of homophobia, bullying, cyberbullying, toxic relationships, sexting and blackmail; highlighting the negative impact these activities can have on young people.

Netflix’s Sex Education is a progressive, comedic show that accurately represents its diverse, modern audience through its complex characters and their stories. I would definitely recommend this show and I can’t wait for season 2!