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TV Series Review

Sex. As you might've gathered from the title, this Netflix show is all about it.

Perhaps that tells you everything you need to know about Sex Education, and if so, that's great. Ideal, even. You may now go about the rest of your day. Thanks for stopping by, and please click on the many, many other quality reviews we have for you. May I recommend our fine review of Carmen Sandiego, for instance? Or perhaps The Passage? So many options, really.

Because here's the thing: To really talk about Sex Education, we'll need to talk, to some extent, about sex. And as important as sex is, it's a difficult, awkward, sometimes titillating and often wholly inappropriate thing to talk about.

Which, ironically, is exactly what Sex Education is about.

An Entertainment Complex

Dr. Jean Milburn knows a thing or two about physical intimacy. It's her job, given that she's an official sex and relationship therapist and all. And, judging from the string of one-night Joes who fill her bed, it's her hobby, too. She has pictures and statues of hoo-hahs and whirly-ma-bobs and people engaged in all manner of (ahem) intimate activities scattered about her house. Before the internet, just stepping inside the good doctor's house and home office would be a prurient dream come true for many an adolescent boy.

But for Otis, Jean's teen son, it's a bit of a nightmare.

A lifetime of being exposed to sex in all its many forms, predilections and deviancies has left Otis incredibly blasé about the whole subject. He's still a virgin (remarkable in itself at his oversexed school), and he doesn't mind in the least. He finds the subject distasteful, and the thought of doing it himself—even by himself—is rather disgusting to him.

But while Otis is not particularly interested in sex, he's remarkably good at helping others with their own sexual issues. And it turns out, his high school is filled with amorous teens who want to do it but can't, who do it but don't want to, who want to do it differently but are scared to say so and have all manner of issues about "it" to navigate.

So now, with the help of bad-girl business partner, Maeve, and the support of his gay best friend, Eric, Otis serves as Moordale Secondary School's unofficial sex counselor—helping his classmates navigate the perils of sexting, venereal diseases, impotency and, likely, the occasional bestial fetish.

His mother would be so proud.

Sometimes a Netflix TV Show is Just a Netflix TV Show. And Sometimes …

It's not enough for Sex Education just to talk about sex. This program—originally a British-produced web-based series—pairs a whole lotta showing with all its telling.

We see lots of people, many of them ostensibly high schoolers, naked and often engaged in obvious, boisterous intimate activity. Sometimes their lovemaking (and I use that word lightly here) is accompanied by verbal play-by-play, too—spoken descriptions of exactly what's happening and what's about to happen and, often, what the participants would like to happen.

When people aren't actually engaged in sex, they're talking about it. Or they're looking at Jean's incredibly varied artwork depicting it, or her highly detailed tools meant to facilitate it. Physical and emotional hang-ups are unpacked. Condoms are used and discussed. Clinical illustrations and dirty magazines alike are displayed, examined and used as inspiration. We hear people having noisy sex.

Naturally, neither Jean nor Otis condemn any sort of sexual inclinations: They're only there to help. And that means that we, the viewer, are not only exposed to an almost unimaginable level of sexually charged imagery, but a huge gamut of different sexual expressions as well: Sexual inclinations prohibited in Scripture are condoned and graphically depicted here, and there's a subplot involving Eric, who's gay, trying to deal with his religiously devout parents.

The show has other issues, too—language, drug use, etc. But really, how many of you need more detail in those areas by now?

Sex Education is witty and well-acted, but it's incredibly explicit and bawdy and prurient, too. Where Game of Thrones reveled in its graphic sexual scenes, they often seemed beside the point: Here, they are the point. And for me, it's alarming that this show can be watched by any 8-year-old with the family remote, access to their parents' Netflix account and an hour of unsupervised time.

In the first episode, Otis tells his first "patient" that the young man can tell him anything, that the four walls surrounding them are a safe space, free of stigma. Television screens have "four walls," too, in a way—the barriers around the picture. But when it comes to Sex Education, what happens inside those walls is anything but safe.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Jan. 11, 2019: "Episode 1"



Readability Age Range



Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn; Gillian Anderson as Dr. Jean F. Milburn; Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong; Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley; Connor Swindells as Adam Groff; Kedar Williams-Stirling as Jackson Marchetti; Alistair Petrie as Mr Groff; Mimi Keene as Ruby; Aimee Lou Wood as Aimee Gibbs; Chaneil Kular as Anwar; Simone Ashley as Olivia






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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