Raise up your hand if you have watched Sex Education!
If you haven’t, it is a Netflix series that follows adolescents in a secondary school in the UK. It shows these characters navigating different issues surrounding their sexuality. The series talks about a lot of topics that aren’t commonly mentioned in discussions around sex including;
*Drum roll* spoiler alerts.
Representation of sexual dysfunctions in the media: The final episode of Sex Education focuses on a very under-discussed topic in the realm of SRHR; Sexual dysfunctions. The episode follows the storyline of a girl who’s been thinking about having sex and imagining the pleasure. She’s met with disappointment when she can’t have sex when she eventually tries. She can’t have sex because her pelvic floor muscles are contracting uncontrollably, causing the vagina to get tight, becoming painful for a penis to enter. Referred to as Vaginismus, which falls under the umbrella term of dyspareunia for painful sex, is one of the more common sexual dysfunctions among women.
Most research on sexual dysfunctions focuses on those men’s experiences, females experiences of sexual dysfunctions are ignored by research. Sexual dysfunctions are often left out of the conversation of sex education.
It creates an incredibly stigmatizing experience for young people when their experience of sex doesn’t match up to people around them or how it’s framed in the media. Therefore Sex Education gives an opportunity to open up the conversation surrounding sexual dysfunctions and help people feel comfortable speaking out about them.
Removing the sex taboos: Talking about sex has long since been a taboo in almost all developing countries and Sex Education is challenging that brilliantly. The show openly talks about sex in a way that has not been done before on mainstream media. Your first introduction to sex might be your friends giggling about it on the playground or having “the talk” with your parents. It’s something people don’t want to openly talk about, usually out of fear of judgement from others. Sex is incredibly stigmatized, whether you’re having too much or too little, no one is free from judgement.
Praising, not judging sexual pleasure: Sex Education also draws attention to sexual pleasure. Just like sexual dysfunctions, it’s something that’s often left out of the conversation. Sex Education, if you’re lucky enough to have access to it, often focuses on the reproductive function behind sex. It fails to mention sex as a pleasurable experience. People should be able to own their sexuality and not be afraid to discuss sex as more than simply producing babies.
Masturbation is not frowned upon in this series, it’s celebrated. It helps create a more pleasurable experience for you and your partner in the bedroom but is often seen as a sin. Sex Education is changing the perception around masturbation. Linked to sexual pleasure and body discovery, masturbation is all about getting to know your body and what works for you. It celebrates human sexuality.