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Posted by Gokul KP

The Netflix comedy-drama series Sex Education which premiered on January 2019 had already garnered significant attention and millions of viewers owing to its fresh take on teenage sexual (mis)adventures and its sensitive storytelling. Centered around incidents occurring in the fictional Moordale High School, the first season had already impressed in terms of tackling the issues related to the students’ sexuality and presenting them in a diverse, genuine comical setting. A second season dropped on January 17, 2020 and has been universally acclaimed across the globe.

Predictability had never posed as a problem for the plot of the series. But the difference in Sex Education Season 2 is that the makers have chosen not to focus too much on the main characters of Otis Milburn, Eric Effiong and Maeve Wiley. They have given enough background and space for the proper character development of other characters who were just a part of the plot in the first season. Consequently, what we see in these 8 episodes is a narrative, rich with the essence of each of their roles, moving ahead without convoluting the overall plot.

Another huge change the creators have made to the series is the inclusion of multiple issues related to health and sexuality. Much of the first season had shown how Otis and Maeve start their sex clinic, and how their romantic lives develop independently, yet always intertwined with each other’s. Even though ample time was needed to establish most of the characters with enough screen presence, the season still lacked the much-needed spotlight on the central theme of the series. I would not say that the new season has covered everything emphatically and in detail, but it does bring a lot of issues that seldom get discussed enough openly.

Bisexuality, asexuality, and pansexuality are covered by addressing experiences of different students, and the best thing about this is that none of the incidents seem forced. Everything just neatly aligns with the story, and the show doesn’t try to overdo the inclusivity element.

To start with, there are more LGBTQ+ characters shown this season of Sex Education in addition to Eric Effiong, who is gay and has enjoyed a significant amount of screen time as Otis’s best friend right from the first episode. If the first season portrayed instances of homophobia and bullying, there is more attention this time around on how teenagers explore sexuality; how they are in a constant search to figure out answers to all kinds of ‘weird questions’ that they encounter, and thereby educate themselves.

Bisexuality, asexuality, and pansexuality are covered by addressing experiences of different students, and the best thing about this is that none of the incidents seem forced. Everything just neatly aligns with the story, and the show doesn’t try to overdo the inclusivity element. Subtle overtones about internalized homophobia are also included which also provides an insight into why teenagers are forced to suppress their sexual preferences, affecting their emotional health.

Also read: Sexuality And Disability: Providing Sexuality Education To The Disabled Through Online Space

The second season of Sex Education also showcases the unlikely change in the career path of Jackson Marchetti who was the top sports star of Moordale in Season 1. Through Jackson’s character, the makers convey how undue pressure can trigger anxiety issues and break even the seemingly toughest people, and it is okay to seek professional help especially when self-harm is involved. How Jackson’s extracurricular interests undergo a direction change despite the ridicule of his friends adds a very fresh touch against the recurring motif of the popular male kid in high school.

Image Source: Glamour

Many characters like Adam Groff, Ola Nyman, Lily Iglehart, and the newcomer Viv play pivotal roles and add important contributions to each of the scenes they are a part of. For instance, through multiple incidents involving Ola, the show emphasizes that consent is not something to be taken for granted, no matter how obvious it might seem in any relationship.

While the only adults who grabbed most of our attention in the first season were Jean Milburn and Jakob Nyman, this season creates character sketches of various other characters to put across the significance of sexual pleasure in dormant relationships, slut-shaming, cheating, lack of communication between partners, and even stress experienced by adoptive parents.

An interesting aspect of the new season of Sex Education is that it doesn’t stick to the Moordale students alone anymore. While the only adults who grabbed most of our attention in the first season were Jean Milburn and Jakob Nyman, this season creates character sketches of various other characters to put across the significance of sexual pleasure in dormant relationships, slut-shaming, cheating, lack of communication between partners, and even stress experienced by adoptive parents.

Another thing that deserves mention is the different kinds of messages the arc involving Adam and Eric tries to communicate. Adam’s character is an example of how the absence of support from parents can break your confidence and slowly transform into an emotionally detached person. At the same time, when he uses his loneliness to justify his actions, Eric calls him out on being a bully and reveals how it affected Eric’s love for and acceptance of himself.

Perhaps the most important moment in the entire series of Sex Education comes when six female characters are made to serve detention and Aimee Gibbs breaks down while recounting her experience of sexual assault (in an earlier episode). What ensues is a description by each girl as to how even they were sexually assaulted, harassed, catcalled, or stalked by men and how it affected their lives afterward. The segment shows how women are surrounded by sexual predators and hence are made to feel unsafe no matter what environment they are in, irrespective of the time of the day, the clothes they wear, or even what age group they belong to. Aimee’s initial ignorance of her assault also highlights the most important point the show is trying to convey – the importance of sex education.

Also read: Netflix’s Sex Education Is Not Afraid To Talk About Sex


Gokul KP is a B.Tech graduate hailing from Kerala and is currently working in Bangalore. He is an aspiring journalist and constantly tries to spread awareness about LGBTQ rights, feminism, and climate change. He also often writes about politics, mental health, and mainstream media. As someone who identifies as Queer, he is constantly working towards sexuality and gender inclusivity in all communities, one step at a time. You can find him on Instagram.

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