For most movies and TV shows, sex typically features two people covered in white sheets, humping the night away with some dramatic music and dimmed lighting.
Because of this glamorized depiction of sex in media, we were given this notion that sex is a magical, awkward-free experience. But for the experienced ones, we all know that’s not the case.
Thankfully, shows like Netflix series “Sex Education” brings sex into a much realistic light. Garnering an impressive 94% rating on rotten tomatoes, this show is raising awareness on the typical issues about sex that we’re afraid to talk about, as well as introducing new concepts that people are might not be aware of.
What is “Sex Education” all about?
This groundbreaking Netflix series is about Otis Milburn — an inexperienced, socially awkward high school student who lives with his mother, a sex therapist. Surrounded by manuals, videos and tediously open conversations about sex, Otis is a reluctant expert on the subject.
When his mom’s profession is revealed at school, Otis realizes that he can use his knowledge to his advantage. He teams up with Maeve, a street-smart lass, and together they set up an underground sex therapy clinic, dealing with their fellow students’ weird and wonderful problems with sex.
15 Best Sex and Relationships Lessons from ‘Sex Education’
With this uncanny yet relatable premise, here are the 15 relevant lessons from ‘Sex Education’ revolving around sex and relationships.
WARNING: Major spoilers ahead! You may also check the series here if you want to learn these lessons yourself.
1It’s okay to stay a virgin until you’re ready
Being a virgin can be frustrating at times, especially if you’re in a liberated environment. With all the hype surrounding sex, as well as the media romanticizing it, we don’t want to feel left behind.
This is Lily’s dilemma in the first season of the show. Everyone in Otis’ high school is sexually active, so there’s pressure for Lily to pop her cherry. She tried to seduce anyone that she interacted just so she can get through with the deed.
But as the episodes went on, she then discovers that maybe she’s not ready for it yet. Good thing Otis assured her that it’s okay to take things slow and make sure that she is truly ready before participating in something that she might regret later.
For those who have the same struggles as with Lily, you don’t have to force it, sweetie. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Doing it for the first time is still something special as you’re basically opening yourself to a deeper kind of vulnerability. Do it when you’re ready and with someone you think is worthy to share your first time with.
2Respect when someone says no
Rejection hurts like hell, but when someone says no, you must respect that person’s decision. This is shown in the episode with the school dance, where they introduced two minor characters– Liam and Lizzie. Throughout the episode, Liam makes multiple advances towards Lizzie to ask her to the dance.
Despite Lizzie declining his offer, he kept on doing grandeur gestures just to get her approval, even leaving a cake at her door in an attempt to make her love him. When all his gestures weren’t working, he climbs up onto the decorations and threatens to throw himself off them unless Lizzie dances with him. In the end, Otis talks him out of it, defending Lizzie can decline to his advances and that he should respect her choice.
With this show’s subplot, it shows that consent exists outside of the sexual sphere. We need to respect when someone says no in any scenario, be it sexual, romantic, platonic, or just any normal situation.
When Otis’ high school had a major issue regarding a sexually-transmitted infection. It caused mass hysteria and strained relationships. Teenagers were getting face masks to “protect” themselves. Little did they know, STIs don’t work that way.
The scenario may be comical but it also shows how limited information can hurt people. If these teenagers are aware that STIs are not transmitted to air or whistles, then chaos wouldn’t have ensued in the first place.
Whether it’s about sex or current events, it’s important to continue educating yourself at all times. With having enough information at your disposal, you wouldn’t get swayed by #fakenews and be able to educate your family and friends if something came up.
4Parents are humans too
Aside from the sex problems, various characters on the show also struggled with their relationship with their parents. For example, Otis has boundary issues with her mom. Adam doesn’t understand why his mom has to divorce his dad. Eric is hesitant to introduce his boyfriend on his family.
These subplots show that parents are humans too. They’re struggling with different problems just like us. If we’re able to realize and understand that are parents are flawed just like us, we can establish a better relationship with them.
5Embrace your fully authentic self
Life is too short for us to hide our authentic selves and ‘Sex Education’ perfectly encapsulated this with Otis’ bestfriend, Eric.
At first, he seemed to be confident with showing his gay nature. From his sassy compliments on other men up to demonstrating a proper blow job in front of his classmates, Eric seems to be the confident type. However, he realizes that a big part of his true self is still hiding, and wanted to express himself in the way he wants to.
In the end, he showed up at the school dance in vibrant makeup, colorful nail polish, and extravagant prints. Representing as a black, African descent, religious gay man, he showed his authentic self, not just to his schoolmates but also to his family.
Just like Eric, most of us are hiding our true selves. We find ourselves resorting to the norm since because we don’t want people judging our character. Why get nasty remarks when you can put on a facade, right?
But life throws different challenges at everyone, and the best defense is to stand up for who you are without apology. Live life without hesitation– this will make you a stronger person and become someone’s inspiration, too.
6 Be in touch with your own sexuality
Back in the day, masturbation is considered a sin. Because of its taboo nature, people are ashamed of doing it. This was shown in the series through Aimee, who finds masturbation “yucky”. Because of this, she doesn’t have a clue with what she actually wants, and kept on faking her orgasm all the time.
Otis then reassured her that flicking the bean isn’t gross and that knowing what your body wants is the key to getting better sexual experiences. She ended up trying it, bringing herself to the blissful joys of self-love.
Masturbating is a normal and healthy way of coping with our sexual urges. You shouldn’t feel shame by doing so. This will also bring you to better sexperiences since your partner knows how to satisfy you.
7Sex should be good for both people
Let’s be real here: not a single sex-ed class has ever taught us about pleasure. That’s why some people, particularly women, weren’t able to discover the godly pleasures that sex brings. Sex is so much more than penetration.
A great example for this is Aimee, who only focuses on her partner’s satisfaction. Once she got out of her relationship with Adam, she was able to discover what she actually wants and was able to fully enjoy her sexual endeavors. Good for you, sis!
Just like Aimee, remember that sex is meant to be pleasurable for both consenting people involved in the relationship. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on making your partner happy but don’t forget yourself too.
8You can’t help who you’re attracted to
No matter how you deny it, you may find yourself gushing to someone you’re not even supposed to like. One example of this is Adam who has been in total denial about his feelings for Eric. Because he can’t deal with his own feelings, he resorts to bullying him.
Instead of repressing your feelings, why not confront them? Figuring out your preferences will help you find someone that truly matches you. Also, don’t resort to bullying or any type of abuse when liking someone. TV shows are (sadly) romanticizing it but it will never be cute nor healthy in real-life, hun.
9Two boys can have a close relationship without falling in love with each other
One of the best things about this show is the dynamic between Otis and Eric. These boys can go to each other for anything, even discussing sensitive topics without the awkwardness. They even danced together to the school dance, showing how close and unbothered they are. And even if Eric is gay, he shows no romantic interest in his bestfriend.
Their friendship only proves that two guys can be friends without any malicious intent. It also debunks what close-minded people are thinking about gays. They think that gays will just like any guy they’ll interact with. That’s why for TV shows and movies, it’s a recurring theme for having the gay character fall in love with his straight friend. Thankfully for this series, they presented a much realistic take.
10Some people have no sexual attraction to anyone at all
Aside from raising typical problems when doing the deed, it also tackled certain topics that most people are not aware of, such as asexuality.
It showed through Florence, a character first introduced in season two. She got cast as one of the title characters in the school’s Romeo & Juliet: The Musical. During rehearsals, Lily confronts Florence about her lack of chemistry with her partner, saying: “This is a play about horny teenagers, and I don’t believe that you wanna have sex with him at all.”
She seeks help from Otis about her dilemma of not feeling any sexual attraction to anyone but finds his advice lacking. Then she visits Jean, and bursts into her office saying she doesn’t want to have sex: “I think I might be broken.”
Jean then discussed asexuality, as to how some people never have a sexual attraction to any sex or gender. She also explained that asexuality is not the be-all and end-all of relationships, because a lot of asexual people still want to be in love. They’re not just into the sexual part of it.
“Sex doesn’t make us whole,” she says. “And so how could you ever be broken?”
For those who are going through with Florence’s dilemma, asexuality is normal. It’s okay to not want sex. Finding love is still possible even if you’re an asexual as you can still be intimate with your partner in other ways. You just need to be transparent about it when dating someone. In that way, you can sort out those who aren’t open to asexuality and find someone who will wholeheartedly accept and understand it.
11Any sexual offense shouldn’t be overlooked
Aside from spreading sex-positivity, this show also gave awareness to one of the most harrowing experiences that so many women (and some men) experience: sexual assault.
It’s shown through Aimee as she rides the bus on the way to her school. Carrying a homemade birthday cake she made for Maeve, she smiles at the nice-looking man next to her. Things took a dark turn when the guy starting jerking off against her, staining her favorite jeans.
When Maeve tells her to report the incident, Aimee shrugged it off. “No, you’ve been assaulted,” Maeve says. Aimee responds by saying she thought the offender was “just lonely.” Even when they are already in the police station, she keeps insisting that it’s no big deal.
Over the next few episodes, tension builds as Aimee decides to walk to school every morning because she’s too afraid to get on the bus, and breaks up with her boyfriend because she can’t stand him touching her. By the end of the season 2, she was able to recover from her trauma, thanks to the help of her female schoolmates that also went through different sexual offenses themselves.
No matter how big or small, unwanted sexual advances can leave traumatic scars to its victim. If you’ve ever experienced sexual offenses, never invalidate your experiences. Don’t think that it’s not a big deal. There’s nothing wrong with reporting these cases. Don’t let these perpetrators win.
Also, don’t turn a blind eye when witnessing situations similar to Aimee’s. By allowing these offenders to do whatever they want, you’re putting yourself and your loved ones into danger.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking support. Sharing your problems will actually help you heal better. This is shown through Aimee again, related to her sexual assault story.
Aimee kept on insisting that the incident is no big deal. She tried her best to pretend that she’s fine, only to have a breakdown alone. But during detention with her schoolmates, she able to admit to how affected she’s been by the bus incident. Her schoolmates ended up sharing their own experiences too, bonding them through their tremendous yet horrible experiences.
Once she got to open up, she slowly recovers from her trauma and with her newfound friends, she finally got on to the bus again.
When experiencing any trauma, talking to your loved ones or authorized individuals can help. Going through it alone can hurt you more than one would think. It’s also a big step in recovery since you’re validating the things you’ve been through. Seeking help doesn’t make you a weak, but rather a person trying to better him/herself.
13Friends come before anything else
Aside from the Otis-Eric dynamic, sex education sure does emphasize heartfelt friendships with other characters as well. One of the great examples of this is Aimee’s sexual assault.
When Aimee got sexually harassed on the bus to school, she was left with severe trauma, making her not want to ride to buses anymore. However, her friends stick with her, making her feel more comfortable riding the school bus again as they helped her get through with the trauma.
This shows that friendship isn’t just for fun and games. True friends stick together no matter what, especially during tough times.
14Mismatched sexual drive can kill relationships
In season 2, Maureen asks for Jean’s help regarding her marriage. She realizes that she is no longer satisfied with her husband, Mr. Groff. Despite her efforts to keep their sex alive, her husband declines her advances. Thanks to Jean, Maureen was able to explore pleasure by using a vibrator. She ended taking control of her life by divorcing her husband and leaving her sexless marriage behind.
If you think sex is a core factor in a relationship, let your partner know. In this way, you can sort out your differences or find someone that matches your needs.
15Always listen to your partner
Let’s be real here: most of us have been guilty of spending hours reading through articles online and looking up videos of porn to help assist us with the best sex moves. So when Otis was doing the “clock” technique while fingering her girlfriend, we can’t help but chuckle in its relatability.
Different resources (just like the one you’re reading right now) can help you in pleasuring your partner. However, there’s no a one-technique-fits-all when it comes to sex. Aside from researching online, it’s best to ask your partner as well on what he/she likes. Explore different possibilities and communicate with them before, during, and after your steamy session.
With the show’s realistic and empathetic approach to human sexuality, ‘Sex Education’ main lesson of all is that we shouldn’t hide in shame when it comes to exploring our sexual side. Sex can be messy at times and there’s nothing wrong if you ever stumbled such issues.
And as quoted from Otis’ mom, Jean: “Sex doesn’t make us whole.” Your value doesn’t depend on the number of sexual partners you’ve had or the number of times you made your partner orgasm.
Rather, sex is something to be joyfully devoured. So shrug off the hesitations, learn these lessons from ‘Sex Education’ and let pleasure take over.