Sex Education was first released in 2019 through Netflix. It follows the main character, Otis, who is the son of a renowned sex therapist. He decides to start an underground sex clinic at his school with the smart, punk girl Maeve.
The show tackles a lot of issues that are rarely addressed in a lot of mainstream shows. For instance, as the name implies, a big part of the show is sex education, especially among youths and young adults. There is still a stigma regarding the conversation of sex and sexuality. The reality is that many youths and young adults still are not being properly educated on the natures of sex and how to perform it in a safe manner. There is also a stigma when it comes to your preferences when it comes to what kind of sex you have and talking about the issues you might have.
The show helps to lift these stigmas. Sex Education discusses various story points regarding fears and confusion when it came to certain aspects "in the bedroom." Numerous characters express their anxiety regarding their lack of experience in certain aspects of sex and regarding their partner, such as their lack of reception to certain techniques and roleplay. Sex Education shows that there is no shame in being insecure or inexperienced and that sex does not have strict rules. There is room for fluidity and alteration.
Also unlike many other shows, this show especially pays attention and puts a spotlight on various gender and sexual identities. For instance, throughout the 3 current seasons released, there is a focus on homosexuality not only in the social context, but also in the familial and cultural context. This is examined through the character of Eric Effiong. Eric is an openly gay character that has to deal not only with discrimination from his peers in his high school, but also that of his religious Nigerian/Ghanaian family.
The show puts a spotlight on other identities that usually do not receive that much attention in mainstream shows. The show introduces characters who are bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and non-binary. The show does an amazing job at addressing their identities and the issues these characters have to face, but in a way that it does not feel shoehorned into the story.
Sex Education also tackles the issue of "toxic masculinity." This is done primarily through the lens of Adam Groff. Adam is the son of the former superintendent of Moordale Secondary School. Throughout the series, Adam struggles with his own masculinity, especially as he comes to terms with his own bisexuality. Living under a hyper masculine household and a strict father, it made it harder for him to accept a form of masculinity different from the norm.
Adam's father is also a good example to examine the effects of toxic masculinity. As previously mentioned , Adam's father is very strict and has a very defined image in terms of what it means to be a man. This essentially includes the ideas that men do not show emotion, that they do not fail, and that they are the dominant figure in a relationship and the family unit.
This belief and mindset is challenged throughout the series. Mr. Groff has his ego damaged in Season 2 when Otis' mother takes a more commanding role in the school, as she is assigned to help examine and improve the quality of sex education in the school. His abrasive and unfeeling demeanor is also challenged when his wife files for divorce from him.
Sex Education is an amazing show that is not only entertaining but also informative in how it tackles and puts a spotlight on different issues and identities who do not often get a lot of attention.