‘Sex Education’ Netflix Show Starts Conversation


Callie Copeland

Seniors Amelia Vidrine and Emily Williams watch “Sex Education,” a Netflix show from January that has been confirmed for a second season.

Callie Copeland, Reporter

This January, a new show hit Netflix and got high schoolers from around the world talking. “Sex Education,” released Jan. 11, explores the lives of American teenagers as they navigate their newfound hormones, desires and issues.

While the American students are portrayed by young British actors, the show itself has a very American, John Hughes vibe: varsity lettermans, the classic jock vs nerd mentality and the usual tropes of 80s romance movies like “Sixteen Candles” or “Pretty in Pink.” For me, that element made the show even more appealing, and its aesthetic and compelling plot, as well as its talented and diverse cast, left me and millions of streamers eager for another season.

What makes the show so appealing to Gen-Z audiences, such as myself, is its relatable nature. Sure, some aspects of high school life are dramatized and blown out of proportion, but the root issues discussed throughout the eight-episode season are easy to empathize with. Topics such as homophobia, toxic masculinity, the pressure of sports and even some hard-hitting subjects like abortion are tackled in the first season.

Most importantly, though, is the topic from the title itself – sexual education. The common misconceptions and fears in the minds of young adults about sexual intercourse and outercourse are thoroughly addressed through the show’s great comedic timing and hilarious character development.

While inappropriate for some viewers, especially those under the age of 18,” Sex Education” is a great representation of what I believe is the problem with modern sexual education. In the show, there are multiple scenes involving a health class where students are taught how to properly use condoms, the anatomy of the male and female reproductive system and practicing safe sex. These particular scenes were surprising to me, and I had no option but to compare my own sexual education to that of the show.

In my years of middle and high school, I have not felt that school taught me accurate or safe sexual education. When I was in seventh grade, a program called Austin LifeGuard was introduced to our class to teach us the majority of sexual education. This program, however, passed out t-shirts with the words “I Love Pants,” and told me that the safest sex is no sex.

While that is technically true, I felt much like many of the Netflix show’s characters did –  that sex was something dangerous and terrifying. I think this is because I never got the comprehensive sexual education like main characters Otis and Maeve did at their British high school.

The show brought up some questions about our sexual education that I feel the need to find answers to:

Who passes sexual education legislation? Does our district, even school, have any say in what we are taught? Why are topics like sexual education so taboo in Texas, especially subject matter involving sexual intercourse, contraceptives and consent? How can we push for more socially conscious sexual education?

I will be reaching out to my peers, administration and those involved in the creation of curriculum to find out what truly goes into the sexual education that students in our district receive.