As we write about Sex Education, our heart is full not just because the show opened up a varied conversation about sex but also managed, quite beautifully, bringing in almost every sexuality and gender identity. The show begins with the opening of sex clinic by Otis (played by Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (played by Emma Wackey) and somehow, despite them being one of the lead characters, the show gives an almost equal time to most characters over a series of three seasons so far.
To begin with, Eric (played by Ncuti Gatwa) is a homosexual human with a gender expression of his own. Remember, one’s sexuality or gender identity is exclusive of their gender expression. He gets bullied by Adam (played by Connor Swindells) for his identity which we later get to know, is passed by his father who also happens to be their headmaster. The show precisely depicts the harassment faced by the LGBTQIA+ people, especially when on his birthday night, Eric decides to go for a movie but Otis (his best friend) doesn’t show up and he gets assaulted for dressing femme. He gets injured badly and shuts down only to come back stronger and accepts himself proudly. The scene where he tells his father, “I am going to be hurt anyway, isn’t it better to be who I am?” tells us that he is ready to own himself quite wonderfully. A lot of queer charcters come along the way. Ola’s (played by Patricia Allison) character graph begins with dating a Otis and later in her course she realises that she is pansexual.
Dr. Jean Milburn (played by Gillian Anderson) plays the role of a sex therapist and encourages all the students at Moordale High School to be open about having discussions around sex. When a student who says that she doesn’t want to have sex at all and thinks that she is broken, Dr. Milburn tells her about asexuality and that sex doesn’t make us whole. Each character brings their uniqueness and challenges cisgender heteresexual normativity at every step. Adam’s character (one of my favorite characters personally), for example, doesn’t speak much but his silence and layered personality opens up about generational trauma that fathers leave in the name of toxic masculinity. He identifies as bisexual but is afraid to be seen with Eric infront of his mother. The fact that most of these relationships have their rough times and while some survive the tide, some don’t all of it looks okay.
The struggle of Cal (played by Dua Saleh) to be addressed by their pronouns and be able to access uniform, washrooms and other spaces as non-binary people struck the right chords. The intersectionality and diverse list of characters makes this show one of the best we have ever seen. It is okay to have kinks, to wish to have cosmos setups and believe in aliens like Lily and so is to become a mother at an older age. In one of the scenes where Prof. Emily (played by Rakhee Thakrar) was slut shamed for desiring dirty talk while having sex, six girls were detained and asked to come together about one topic that binds them. After many mismatches, they agreed on one point which is that all of them have been molested or eve teased at some point in their lives.
Maureen Groff who is married to Mr. Groff misses the intimacy she once had with him and being trapped in a sexless and loveless marriage decides to explore her pleasure through a sex toy and eventually move out of the marriage. Remember, just the marriage not the house. We are so used to seeing women leaving houses after divorces but in this case Mr. Groff left. Maeve and Otis can have one whole review separately (*giggles*). The disabled character of Isaac (played by George Robinson) is grey and lovable.
Overall, the show stays true to its title and in fact delivers a lot more on our plate. It is currently streaming on Netflix and has three beautiful seasons. The fourth season has been announced. Have you watched the show yet? What are your thoughts?