Netflix’s Sex Education follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), a socially awkward teenager, whose mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson), is a sex therapist. The show also follows Otis’s high school classmates and their life experiences. Considering the show’s title, viewers can expect lots of raunchy sex scenes and conversations about sex. Although the series does cover safe and consensual sex, Sex Education is actually educational in other ways.
Following the release of its second season on January 17, Sex Education continues to educate its viewers by representing different people in society. The series has a diverse cast and covers controversial topics. Not only is the cast diverse in race, but their characters are diverse in experiences, disabilities, and sexuality.
In season one, Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) decides to get an abortion. Considering the controversy and stigmatisms surrounding abortions, the topic is rarely portrayed on television. However, Sex Education does not fear to illustrate the decisions regarding the procedure. They took the scene one step further and hired a medical professional to help with the accuracy, to destigmatize the procedure. Mackey told Teen Vogue, “I think the main point with this episode is we didn’t want to sensationalize abortions, and we didn’t want to make it this huge, dramatic difficult decision.”
In season two, Aimee Gibbs (Aimee Lou Wood) is sexually assaulted on a bus ride to school. A man stands unusually close behind her, to which she realizes he is masturbating on her. She yells that out to everyone on the bus, but no one does anything. She eventually gets off the bus and walks to school instead. Aimee tells Maeve about the incident and initially tries to brush it off. However, as the season progresses, it becomes clear that Aimee has been disturbed by the assault. She is unable to ride the bus again, sees the assaulter’s face when she’s out in public, and eventually breaks up with her boyfriend Steve Morley (Chris Jenks).
Season two also introduced a new character by the name of Issac to the cast. Isaac (George Robinson) is a witty boy who plays pranks on others, especially Maeve. Isaac is a diverse addition to the show because he’s a wheelchair user. Throughout the series, he would make dry jokes about accessibility and showcase the inconveniences wheelchair users face. What makes Sex Education so inclusive is they casted an actor who is a real-life wheelchair user, showcasing different representations of figures in society.
Sex Education also showcased the struggles of mental health. Jackson Marchetti (Kedar Williams-Stirling) struggles with anxiety. In the second season, he purposely injures himself and has to wear a cast. After his cast is removed, he tries to injure himself again. Jackson opens up to his friend, Vivienne Odesanya (Chinenye Ezeudu). She encourages him to tell his parents about this, but he does not. Eventually, Vivienne takes it upon herself and has the conversation with Jackson’s parents. Sex Education illustrated the difficulties of asking for help and how it can be a vulnerable task. However, they justify the importance of getting help.
The LGBTQ+ community has been represented through many characters during Sex Education’s run. For instance, Jackson parents are Sofia and Roz Marchetti, a lesbian couple, played by Hannah Waddingham and Sharon Duncan-Brewster. The show also includes characters that are gay, pansexual, bisexual, and asexual.
One strength of Sex Education is how they normalize the LGBTQ+ community. The show does not dramatize the relationships or sexuality, but rather normalizes various forms of love and attraction which is powerful and refreshing to watch.
Overall, Sex Education continues to showcase representation through various life experiences and people. The series is not afraid to cover controversial or stigmatized topics, but rather depicts them with knowledge. As the series continues, fans can only wait to see other realistic representations and topics that will transpire.
As of yet, there is no official confirmation if Sex Education will be getting renewed for a third season.