Significance of Sexual Education

Table of Content

Of course. Like in most coming of age movies and shows, today’s teenagers are obviously adapted to either one of two distinct sexual lifestyles: highly virtuous or extremely confident and promiscuous. In contrast to the mass media and such interpretations of pubescent sexuality, the Netflix show, Sex Education takes a spin on various pre-conceived notions of sexual health and paints the reality of the emotions, stereotypes, diseases, and more that today’s younger generation actually encounter. Through jumping from one character’s story to another, the show depicts potential consent issues, medical conditions, and stigma students may struggle with due to the lack of sexual education. The program essentially serves as blatant evidence of how underdeveloped sex education is and what the downfalls are of such. As represented in this show, comprehensive sex education is critical in keeping teenagers’ physiology and sexual dignity healthy.

In the program, friends of Otis Milburn – a son of a sex therapist mother – confront diverse physical complications: taking three viagra pills at once, spreading pubic lice, and getting pregnant. In just two episodes of this show, the audience is given a frank and realistic portrayal of what many sexually active individuals go through in contrast to the “perfect” and fun sides of sex that media likes to only depict. What should be alarming to the viewers is that the characters are merely teenagers, with raging hormones and constantly changing minds and bodies that could put these young students at risk of utilizing sex in physically unsafe ways. However, sex has not been simply an “adult” behavior for a long time and remains as a monumental milestone for a large portion of young students. In the UK, the average median age of first heterosexual sex was 16 (Wellings K et al. 2000). This trend is not only limited to the Britain, but also the United States, where 41 percent of high school students have reported having sexual intercourse (Kann et al. 2015). It is evident that sex has been and is a prevalent behavior in students’ lives. In order to lead the students towards the right path of exploring sex and sexuality in safe manners, teenagers should be well educated upon what sex is, the potential risks, consent, and more. However, when research suggests that people of ages 15-24 acquire half of all STDs, one in four sexually active adolescent girls has a form of STD, and such a Netflix show is highly applauded for its honest representation of sex, it is even more evident that the current form of sexual education is not comprehensive and effective enough (Satterwhite et al. 2008, Forhan et al. 2009).

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Not only do the statistics point towards the inadequacy of the current sexual education in both Britain and United States, but the show also depicts such challenges experienced by Otis’s friends to be a result of the unsuccessful education in school. Contrary to Otis, who has been exposed to sexual knowledge from an earlier age thanks to his mother, his friend Maeve and other classmates fail to identify parts of the female genitalia in biology class. The stark disparity in background between Otis and others underline the key source of this ignorance: education. Otis continues to help out Adam, who takes three viagra pills to address his impotency, Maeve with her unwanted pregnancy, and a boy that continues to have sex with multiple partners despite having pubic lice and an uncontrollable urge to itch. The list goes on, but all point to reveal the extreme ineffectiveness of sexual education about physiology and health to an extent where teenagers like Adam have put their bodies at stake. By depicting what could happen to teenagers, which is precisely the reality of the STD epidemic and teenage pregnancy, the program makes a statement about the failure of schools in serving the sole purpose of education: to teach and prepare students for their future.

As the massive number of sexual harassment victims prove, consent and respect are other significant aspects that sex education should teach but has clearly failed to do so. Such scant notice has been paid towards what young women and men experience on a daily basis. Even in a high school setting in this show, Otis is consistently pressured by his peers to engage in sexual activity and looked down upon on for his virginity. Maeve walks the halls of her school, enduring the sexual jokes made on her and her breasts nonchalantly. If only this was simply a fiction story and a made-up comedy. Frankly, it is of common knowledge that this representation of sexual disrespect is only a tip of an iceberg when considering the statistics. 56 percent of surveyed girls and 40 percent of boys have reported experiences with sexual harassment in middle and high school, while 39 percent of the young perpetrators have labelled their behaviors as “fun.” The high numbers should not be the only shock factor, but rather that these numbers exist despite the existence (or lack thereof) of sexual education. It is of urgent responsibility to understand that the “light” jokes and pressures often leave heavy scars to young students who are vulnerable and confused about understanding their changing bodies and sexualities. Again, the show becomes an animated work of evidence by showing the possible consent and respect issues that could have been prevented through proper education.

It is recognized that the countless amount of mundane harassment portrayed in the show could possibly lead to the viewers normalizing such unacceptable behavior. However, the show precisely follows these depictions with the victims’ emotions that could help viewers understand the stakes of such actions. The facial expressions and physical response, such as punching the perpetrator, of Otis and Maeve signify the hurt and uncomfortable emotions they experienced post being a victim to everyday sexual peer-pressure and harassment. This successfully allows the audience to see that the commonplace abuse actually puts a powerful negative impact on others and also possibly prevent future perpetration from happening.

Amidst the sex-jokes and comical characters, the show displays a great portion of what teenage sexual life is like: confusion, fear, physical dangers, and harassment. There is also a consistent distinction brought up between Otis and his friends based on the amount of sexual knowledge they know, which leads to the conclusion that the list from confusion to harassment could have been counteracted by education. As a popular show with a lot of outreach to the public through a massive media company – Netflix – this show and what it reveals about our society are notable in the potential effects it could have. As the setting and plot line appeals to a younger demographic, it could possibly encourage younger students to start thinking about the significance of being taught sexual health in a detailed and considerate manner. Not only could it spark thinking but also discussion in a bigger public on how education should evolve to become better suiting to our society’s teenagers that are still suffering everyday. Regardless of how controversial the program may be perceived as, its portrayal about the results of undeveloped education will continue to remain authentic and thus hopefully inspire a change in the future.

Schools are essentially the only required educational house that have consistent interactions with teenagers. This gives the school a responsibility of guiding the generation that will lead the future towards the correct path. It is by all means desired that such young girls and boys do not have to struggle with sexual health issues. Yet, as shown in Netflix’s Sex Education, they are present and we may not avoid it. We have to accept the reality and face it with education to grow better taught, respectful, and mature individuals for our shifting society. Sex education should not be an option for students to pick but rather a mandatory, comprehensive, understanding, open, and accurate part of a student’s school life. Every student deserves a right to be taught in school, which included sexual matters as well. Not only is it a student’s right but it also is a fundamental duty for all of us: to educate the next generation of our society. And currently, we are failing.


  1. Campbell, Jamie, et al. Sex Education, Season 1, episode 1, Netflix, 11 Jan. 2019

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Significance of Sexual Education. (2022, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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