5 Life Lessons Taught By Netflix's "Sex Education"

Since its release on January 19th, the Netflix original Sex Education has been an instant hit with an 8.5/10 on IMBd and a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. People love how well-written the show is, along with the depth of the plot and characters, which covers a wide variety of subjects and issues instead of just focusing on the sexual aspects that the show is based on. 

Another huge benefit of the show is that it is full of diversity. There are several characters of color, and three of them are also members of the LGBT+ community. However, even though there are several black and gay characters, they are all their own characters who function separately from each other with their own backgrounds and traumas that motivate and influence them throughout the show. 

However, other than the show's incredible character development, diversity, and original plotline, the show also features several important messages for views to take into consideration after watching the show. 

There will be spoilers in this article, so if you haven't watched it yet, flag this article for later, and start watching this show right away! 

1. Normalizes Parents Apologizing When Overstepping Their Boundaries 

Over and over in the media, parents are depicted as overstepping their boundariess and compromising their child's privacy in order to "protect" and "understand" them. However, like Sex Educuation highlights through Otis' mom, this isn't healthy. Parents who continually invade their child's privacy only end up destroying their child's trust and cause them to drift further away from there. However, when Otis' mother realizes she has lost her son's trust by continually going though his stuff, asking overly personal questions to him and his friends, following him, and using him as the subject for her book without his permission, she approaches him and apologizes, admitting that she was in the wrong and that she will do better in the future to respect Otis' privacy and personal boundaries. Otis appreciates the gesture from his mother, causing him to trust her again and become less distant from her. 

Another important aspect of this is that Otis' mother recogonizes that she is the one who was wrong in this scenario. Even though Otis might not have reacted in the best way, she saw that this was in retaliation to her own behavior, and she stepped up to make it better. She represented that just because she was an adult and a mother, it didn't mean that she was immune to making mistakes and hurting her son; she didn't force him to apologize for his reaction to her wrongdoing, which is very important to a healthy relationship. 

2. It Is Okay to Not Want to Be Sexually Active or Lose Your Virginity in High School 

The whole premise of the show is that everyone in Otis' high school is very sexually active, and the plot is moved by the sexual problems of his classmates. However, there are many cases that assure both characters and the audience that just because everyone else is going it, doesn't mean that you have to as well.

One of these examples is with Lily, the band-geek virgin who tries to seduce several characters in hopes of losing her virginity to them. When she finally gets the chance to hook up with a classmate that she meets at the dance, she experiences some problems, which sends her to Otis for advice. Otis believes this issue to be psychological, and assures her that if she isn't ready, she doesn't need to have sex. Lily shares that she feels like she needs to lose her virginity in high school because then everyone in college will be way more experienced than her, and she doesn't want to fall behind, which is a very real and valid fear that would motivate a high school kid, and it hits a lot better with the audience than the usual "but everyone else is doing it!" mantra that is overpresent in the media. Otis assures her that this will not be the cause and that she needs to take it slow and make sure that she is truly ready before participating in something that she might regret later.

Otis himself is also a great example of how not everyone has to lose their virginity in high school. Throughout the whole series, he is labelled as different because he doesn't masterbate and doesn't want to have sex. However, this part of him is an important part of his self-awareness. Otis knows and recognizes that he is not ready to have sex and doesn't push himself. At one point, when he thinks that he might be ready, he realizes he's not midway and decides to hold off for the sake of his own mental and physical health. 

This show discusses the other aspects of becoming sexually active that aren't just social. It will affect your body and your mind, as shown in both Lily and Otis' cases. By representing two completely different people decide to take it slow and put off having sex, it shows that waiting until you are truly ready to have sex is a healthy, valid, and respectable choice to make. 

3. No Means No, In All Situations 

Since this show revolves around sex, it is important for the show to represent consent. However, the way the show handles it shows the true extent of consent. 

In the episode with the school dance, the show brings in two new minor characters, Liam and Lizzie. Throughout the episode, Liam makes multiple advances towards Lizzie to ask her to the dance, mainly in big, over-the-top ways that embarrass Lizzie and make her uncomfortable, despite the fact that she has declined him several times previously. Howver, Liam contines with his advances, ignoring her declines and requests to stop. In the episode, they even show him going to her house and leaving a cake at her door in an attempt to make her love him. At the dance, he climbs up onto the decorations and threatens to throw himself off them unless Lizzie dances with him. In all of these situations, it is Otis who talks him out of it, defending Lizzie and saying that she is allowed to say no, and that Liam in return needs to respect her choice and leave her be. 

While placing consent in a sexual situation would have definitely made an impact on how people view it, displaying it in a regular situation made it much more powerful. It helps to show the audience that consent exists outside of the sexual sphere and that we need to respect when someone says no in any scenario, be it sexual, platonic, romantic, or just any normal situation. Lizzie says no, so Liam needs to take a step back and respect her choice. 

4. Two Boys Can Be In an Intimate, Close Relationship and Not Fall in Love with Each Other 

The friendship between Otis and Eric was incredibly well-written and healthy. The boys can go to each other for anything, and they are not afraid to be their true, authentic selves around each other. Otis can talk to him about his problems with his mom and his desire to not be sexually active, while Eric can confide in him about his crushes. One of the most beautiful scenes between them that really shows the depth of their relationship was the scene at the dance where Otis offers to dance with Eric so that he doesn't have to dance alone. This scene displays the trust that the boys have in each other and how close that they are, allowing themselves to melt away from their surroundings and just be their own goofy selves, dancing away in the middle of the dancefloor. The best part of this scene: it doesn't end in a kiss or any other romantic gesture. Even though Eric is gay, he shows no romantic interest in his friend, and views him soley as such, and their dynamic remains on a platonic level. Both men are confident in themselves and they can share moments in their friendships that normally only girls get to experience. 

5. Don't Be Afraid to Be Your Fully Authentic Self 

A lot of high school revolves around people finding out who they are, and much of this show deals with that narrative as well. However, how the show handles it is different than most shows. A lot of the characters who experience this revelation as to who they are isn't some drastic transformation but rather a self-acceptance of something that they already were and just weren't ready to admit. 

The show represents this through characters like Eric who seems confident in himself at the beginning of the season. From episode one, Eric confidently makes comments about guys that he thinks are hot, and he even demonstrates how to give a proper blowjob in front of a lot of his classmates at a party. However, he realizes that there is still a big part of him that is holding back and that he isn't displaying himself fully and in the way that he wants to. In the end of the show, he finds the courage to wear bright colored makeup, nail polish, and prints that represent all of him as a Black, African descent, religious, gay man living in England. He finds the strength to not hide from his family, especially his father, and this transformation makes him stronger as a person. 

In general, when encountering any piece of media, always keep your mind open, because you never know what it might have to teach and offer you. Here, a comedy about horny British teenagers can teach you about healthy parental and child relationships, self-acceptance, and consent; however, at first glance, you would never guess that something like this could be influential. It is the works like this, the unexpected ones, that really make an impact on people. It changes something within them. Much like poeple can break your expectations, so can the media, causing you to reevaluate and adjust how you understand the world and what you expect of things like that in the future.