Amanda Porter suspects your teens may well be watching but suggests they really shouldnt be
Other connected films/TV series: None
Running time, or each episode length: 47-60 minutes
Overview: Otis is a 16 year old boy with a mum who works as a sex therapist; although sexually inexperienced himself, he is convinced by his skint friend Maeve to work together to offer their fellow students sex therapy in order to make some money.
What you liked:
Sex Education talks about sex, and all manner of sex, completely flying in the face of Victoria-era sexual repression that has influenced British culture for so long. Otis’s man-eating mum has absolutely no qualms in asking her son about the intimate details of his (non-existent) sex life, making sure he knows she’s always available to talk. Otis, being familiar with the process of therapy, offers advice to his peers, more out of a desire to help than to make money. These conversations almost always traverse beyond the discussion of sex to reveal the characters’ insecurities and fears. Boundaries, bullying, body positivity, sexuality and sexual assault are important topics covered within the series, in addition to family relationships and the value of friendship.
What you didn’t like:
This might be a bit too much for many adults and is certainly not appropriate for young people. Nudity (almost entirely female) is kept to a minimum for a show entitled ‘Sex Education’ but it does take pride of place in the very first scene and in multiple scenes throughout the three series. Students are portrayed as having sex anywhere and everywhere including at school; it’s made clear they’re teenagers who think of little else and are forced to attend pointless lessons delivered by relatively incompetent teachers. The tough but endearing Maeve soon finds herself pregnant and almost immediately schedules an abortion at a centre, where, of course, ‘narrow-minded, hypocritical’ Christians are protesting.
Thoughts for parents:
Although this show is well-made regarding the concept, characters, and story-lines, it is not something I would recommend most people watch. However, it is something your young people might already be watching and learning from, whether you approve or not. Rather than watch it, I would recommend, like Otis’s mum, you initiate communication regarding sex/sexuality with your young people, making certain the conversation is open and honest and respects their boundaries and opinions. Research shows that parents have the greatest influence over their children’s decisions about sex and that young people say making decisions about sex is easier when they can speak about it candidly with their parents. A great resource to begin this conversation is A Parent’s Guide To Talking With Your Teenager About Sex, available from Youthscape.
Star rating: 1 star