Netflix original ‘Sex Education’ covers extensive range of sexual topics; important for teenagers to understand the complexities of intimate relationships

Netflix original ‘Sex Education’ covers extensive range of sexual topics; important for teenagers to understand the complexities of intimate relationships

Da-Hyun Hong

When I ask people if they’ve seen “Sex Education” on Netflix, the most common response is along the lines of “the opening scene was too much for me so I stopped watching.” While I agree that the first scene in Netflix’s series “Sex Education” can be overwhelming, what follows is so much more important than just amateur sex jokes.

The British series first appeared as a Netflix original in early January this year, and the second season will return at the start of 2020. The story focuses on awkward and relatable teenagers learning to navigate their sexual experiences while managing the different pressures of high school. Otis (Asa Butterfield) is a gangly high-school student whose mom is a sex therapist; therefore, Otis is pretty well-versed regarding the subject. With the help of an unexpected friend, Maeve (Emma Mackey), the two set up their own business: offering relationship advice—both romantic and platonic—to any students willing to pay. Unlike most glorified shows targeted to teenagers like “Riverdale” and “Gossip Girl,” “Sex Education” successfully portrays what teen relationships are like in real life.

While Otis probably got “the talk” from his mother at a young age, I can’t say the same for me. I never planned to walk up to my traditional East Asian mother and ask her how sex works. In interpersonal relations, my class heard a single hour-and-a-half long presentation about safe sex that was predominantly emphasizing the effectiveness of abstinence. Ninety minutes is definitely not enough time to cover not only the physical but also mental and emotional aspects of sexual relationships. Considering these circumstances that I’m sure many other students could relate to, what’s shown in movies and television actually does matter.

The most common conversation surrounding the topic of sex in high school is just a matter of whether you’ve done it or not; this tends to cloud how complicated intimate relationships can be. It’s not just about learning how to use contraceptives; it’s just as important to understand how to form meaningful relationships with others, which includes both friends and partners.

Because “Sex Education” covers such a diverse number of topics, you’re bound to learn something from it. Each character brings something completely different to the table, whether it’s socioeconomic background, sexuality, athletic ability or even just weird fetishes, the show covers numerous levels of emotional and sexual maturity through its well-developed plotline.

As a TV-MA series, it is undeniably raunchy, and it’s completely valid if you’re not okay with watching content that makes you uncomfortable. But this show shouldn’t be cast aside as just another teenage rom-com. It sets a new precedent of what should be expected in high school relationships, and it opens up a more diverse discussion regarding intimate experiences. I for one will be eagerly awaiting the upcoming season.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Da-Hyun Hong at [email protected]

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