After more than a year of drought, Sex Education finally released its third season on September 17, which took a spot on the top 10 shows on Netflix for several weeks. The series is about a socially awkward teenage boy with a sex therapist mother who teamed up with his high school classmate to set up an underground sex therapy clinic at their school to deal with the problems of their classmates.
Sex Education is not just a typical teen drama. Well, aside from sex, it puts a spotlight on the relevant issues still taboo in society, such as practicing safe sex, sexual desires, sexual pleasure, feminism, gender identity, mental health, and so much more.
From Season 1 to Season 3, the series also discussed the struggles of every teenager and some adults: identifying and accepting oneself, building relationships, and learning how to process emotions.
Sex Education Season 3 brought more touching scenes and fewer explicit sex scenes than the previous seasons. What made the viewers more attached to this season was the unforeseen character developments. There were plenty of heart-warming scenes and life lessons that viewers could relate to.
First things first, let me warn you: spoilers ahead.
1. Abstinence Is Not the solution
As the title says, the main goal of the series is to talk about sex and emphasize the importance of sex education. With the goal to revoke the reputation of the Moordale Secondary School as a “sex school,” the new headmistress, Hope Haddon, revamped the Relationship and Sex Education (SRE) and implemented strict and conservative policies on the campus.
Under the new SRE curriculum, Hope instructed the teachers to encourage the students not to have sex by letting them watch videos that only promote abstinence and homophobia. All girls from the class were forced to watch a video of a woman giving birth.
Thanks to Maeve Wiley for asking if the boys are also being educated about pregnancy. It’s not the first time she has stood up for what is right. She confidently said in front of everyone that people shouldn’t be ashamed of having sexual desires, sex can help someone explore their bodies, and students must be taught how to practice safe sex instead of telling them to refrain from doing it.
Abstinence won’t prevent teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Students need comprehensive sex education and accessible reproductive health services to help them make informed decisions.
2. Dealing With Trauma and Sexual Assault
As Aimee Gibbs continues to grapple with the trauma caused by the sexual assault incident on the bus, Maeve advised her to seek therapy. Despite being hesitant and anxious, Aimee pushed through the therapy with Otis’ mother, Jean Milburn.
Their therapy sessions are one of the most comforting and accurate parts of the series. Jean helped Aimee process her trauma and encouraged her to discuss what’s bothering her without any judgment or pressure.
In their second session, Aimee wondered if her friendly personality, specifically her smile, was one reason why she got assaulted. Jean firmly and calmly dislodged that thought. She reminded Aimee that her smile or personality had nothing to do with the incident.
Victim-blaming is still rampant in society, and it needs to stop as it only propagates rape culture. The conversation between Jean and Aimee gave women an affirmation that it will never be their fault regardless of their clothing, behavior, or anything.
3. All Vulvas Are Unique
Another important lesson from the therapy session of Jean and Aimee is that not all vulvas look the same. Upon seeing the educational vagina model at Jean’s house, Aimee got curious, saying her vagina didn’t look like it. Jean explained that vulvas come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. She also asked Aimee to visit a website highlighting the wide variety of vulvas, which inspired her to bake vulva cupcakes!
Teenagers tend to feel ashamed of their bodies and compare them with what they see on porn sites. It’s a good thing that Sex Education sheds light on appreciating our bodies and comfortably discussing vulvas. Did you know that the website Jean recommended actually exists? If you’re curious and want to learn more about vulvas, visit this link. Always remember: every vulva is unique and beautiful and deserves to be cherished.
4. Unlearning Patriarchal Ideologies
Season 3 surprised the viewers with the unexpected character development of Moordale’s former headmaster, Michael Groff. Going back to the previous seasons, his militant policies and backward beliefs are almost similar to Hope. Not to mention that he leaked Jean’s private journal at the campus, making him the most hated character.
In Season 2, Michael loses his job as a headmaster, Adam cuts ties with him, and his wife Maureen divorces him. After everything he did, it is satisfying to see him living a miserable life; he can’t find a job and is forced to live with his obnoxious brother. But it turned out that his redemption would be one of the most touching scenes of this season.
The therapy session between Michael and Jean revealed that his abusive father and brother inflicted trauma, toxic masculinity, and homophobia on him when he was younger, causing him to repress his emotions and pass down those patriarchal ideologies to his son, Adam. He got back on track as he began discovering his passion for cooking and striving to become a better man.
The best part is when he finally had the courage to stand up against his brother for bullying and emasculating him for a long time. It just shows that no matter how old you are, you can still unlearn all the things that the patriarchal society ingrained in you. It is a reminder that everyone can also learn to process their emotions, overcome their trauma, and heal.
5. Building Healthy Relationships and Safe Spaces
Sex Education doesn’t only delve into important topics, it also proves that healthy communication is the foundation of relationships. From Cal and Jackson’s conversation to Ola and Jakob’s heart-to-heart talk, there were a lot of heart-warming and wholesome moments, as well as intimate and consensual communication seen on the series.
It always starts with “Do you want to talk about it?” which feels so reassuring to hear, especially from your parents. Aside from the willingness to listen and communicate, it is necessary to make sure if someone is ready and comfortable to open up. Respecting boundaries and decisions is a part of building a safe space, whether in school or at home.
That’s what people, particularly parents, need to understand. Teenagers are often dismissed for speaking their minds or sharing their thoughts. Lashing out and instilling authority would only add a burden to them and leave more issues unresolved. The series shows the value of effective and healthy communication that most households and schools lack.
There are many learnings from Sex Education Season 3 that everyone should keep in mind. No one knows what’s in store for Season 4, but let’s hope to see more from Ruby Matthews, Adam Groff, Lily Iglehart, and of course, Michael because they don’t deserve to get hurt for loving someone and being true to themselves.