Him and her, both adolescents, locked up in a room in the parents’ house, having sex.
One of them reaches orgasm, the other one fakes it.
She’s not the one faking it.
I can’t thank you enough for this start, Netflix.
I’ve waited a long time for this series to be released and, finally, here it is! When this happens, I usually end up to have expectations so high they become impossible to be met.
This isn’t the case.
Sex Education is the new British Netflix’s comedy-drama series that talks about sexuality in an educational (and also ironic, light, frank) way. Period. The title couldn’t be more transparent.
Finally, a series that represents sexuality for what it is: a natural aspect that shapes, influences, transforms everybody’s life – both of those who decide to live and explore it and the ones that try to put it aside and not to listen to it.
Sex Education gives a depiction of an everyday, real sexuality as experienced by adolescents who embark on a journey of discovery with a cocktail of knowledge/belief/stereotypes/desires different for everyone. It’s a sexuality that includes all genders, orientations and identities, investigated in all its nuances, with no prejudice, jumping from playful experiences (like rimming) to serious conditions (like vaginismus). It’s not the “quickest possible” “penis-in-vagina” sexuality where “bigger is better”.
It’s no surprise as one consultant on the script was Alix Fox, incredible human being and brilliant sex educator I had the pleasure to meet during an event in London.
The series follows Otis (Asa Butterfield), a 16-year-old high school student waiting for his sexual awakening, who has to cope with emotional/psychological raids of her mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) – sex and relationship therapist who never misses a chance to drag him into awkward mother-son sex talks and pry into his life – and the physical ones of her multiple sexual partners who systematically barge into Otis’ room while looking for the bathroom, causing moments of mutual embarrassment.
Convinced by his classmate Maeve, he puts his knowledge of sex to good use and teams up with her to open a sex therapy clinic at the high school and give the fellow students insightful advice on their romantic and sexual affairs.
Sex education uses sex as a means to investigate matters like love, friendship and interpersonal relationships in general.
Don’t be fooled by first episodes’ apparently simple and linear plot. Characters are introduced as stereotypes but revealed in time in all their complexity, making impossible to side with one or another. You end up liking them all and finding something to relate to in everyone.
I just rolled my eyes once on the explanation of “what sex is” – gave by a young Jean wearing a very horrible wig to a very young Otis – as “when a man puts his penis inside a woman’s vagina”. Sex is way more than that.
It also looks strident that red sticker with the number 18 inscribed that rates the series as inappropriate for people 17 and under – same people the series talks about and to.
What I loved the most is the positive message every episode delivers, which is that we all can live a happy and fulfilled sexuality: we just have to talk about it.
For the rest, expect a lot of erections, not-so-mainstream sex terms, twists and turns, high-level feminist references and teen (but also adult) drama. Everything laced with that ’80s teen comedy vibe borrowed by the beloved Stranger Things (at which the seventh episode’s fake finale seems to wink – or it’s just me?).
I end as I began, with a spoiler:
it gets better.