Why There Should Be An Indian Version Of The Show, Sex Education

sex education

When I tell people (I mean Indian aunties and uncles) that I watch a Netflix show named Sex Education, facial expressions are exchanged and judgements are passed. As the title suggests, of course, there’s sex but in the most wholesome, relatable and informative manner. The British teen comedy drama follows the sexual misadventures of high school students, and even adults can learn a thing or two from them. The main plot though? Otis Milburn lives with his single mother Jean, who happens to be a sex therapist. Growing up, he is party to her conversations with clients—this makes him naturally good at comforting strangers. Realising his school has a bunch of teens who don’t know much about sex, he teams up with his classmate, Maeve Whiley to set up an underground sex therapy clinic at school.

sex education

The show talks about sexual needs and wellness—and its relation with the mental health across age groups, whether you’re 16 or 60. It also explores sex beyond the cisgender heteronormative bucket, and fits it into different gender identities and sexualities. It openly discusses masturbation not just for men but women too. But hey, what’s the common thread tying these situations? It’s all yet to be normalised in India, which is why I think it’s important to create an Indian version of the show for young adults.

As a country where Kama Sutra originated, that has temples with erotic sculptures that are considered art (and mind you, some are recognised as world heritage sites by the UNESCO), and needless to say, a country that is overpopulated–sex should be an open topic of discussion! Yet, it is shunned and considered a taboo. This begs the question—why?

A no-brainer reasoning points towards lack of sex-ed programmes in schools. And let’s not forget that even parents find it extremely awkward to have ‘the talk’ with their kids. Sex Education addresses these situations and aims to start healthy conversations around sex and our bodies.

Taking a few instances from the show across all seasons so far, here’s what I feel should be touched upon, if there were ever to be a version for the Indian audience.

1. Explore Your Own Body

Masturbating is often deemed disgusting and shameful for women. But the fact is that it’s absolutely normal and healthy for all genders. It’s a way of exploring your body, realising what you like and what gives you pleasure. Bonus: Things then become easier for your partner. We see this in the show through Aimee who would fake orgasms during her sexual encounters, even though pleasure is a two-way street! When Otis comforts Aimee that it’s not gross to flick the bean once in a while, and is in fact key to a better sexual experience, she tries it and unravels the blissful joys.

2. And Once You’ve Explored It, Own It!

Love your own body because it is what makes you unique. It’s like Aimee and Otis say, “All vulvas are beautiful!” and “The size of your penis is irrelevant and unhelpful.”

3. Take Your Time And Don’t Get Pressurised

Today, sexual awakening happens at an earlier stage and an increasing number of teens indulge in sex. This tends to alienate virgins and they feel the peer pressure. Lily goes through the same in the show’s first season. She is ready to have sex with anyone who is interested in her, but as things progress, she discovers she isn’t ready. And this is absolutely fine. Having sex for the first time anyway makes one vulnerable as you open up to your partner in a more intimate way, right? So if that’s something that counts, wait it out.

4. Facts About Gender Identity, Pronouns And Same-Sex Relationships

The Indian version should certainly have episodes on these topics since Indian society has barely accepted it. Sex Education explores same-sex relationships through Eric and Rahim, Eric and Adam, and Lily and Olla. It also explains asexuality through a character named Florence, and features a non-binary student, Cal in season three, which sheds light on the importance of pronouns like ‘they/them’. It even showcases stages of exploring your sexual identity through Adam’s character, who only discovers he is gay towards the end of season one.

5. Report Sexual Assaults

It’s disappointingly true that India is one of the top countries in daily rape case counts. And if nothing else, this alone is a crucial reason why people need to be educated on sex and consent. The show sheds light on this harsh reality and the trauma one goes through when one experiences it. When Aimee is sexually assaulted on the bus, Maeve urges her to report it since it’s the right thing to do. However, she feels too ashamed to talk about it and starts walking to school rather than taking the bus. By Season 3, she undergoes therapy sessions from Jean (remember Otis’ sex-therapist mum?) and overcomes the traumatic incident.

6. The Importance Of Sex-Ed Programmes In Schools

If they do at all, most schools hold separate sessions for girls and boys on sex education, completely ignoring the irony that sex involves both genders, at the same time! It helps understand how each others’ bodies function and most importantly, sheds light on the importance of consent. Schools tend to scare children with stories of how sex is bad and that they should refrain from it. But in Maeve’s words, “Sex is fun and beautiful, and can teach you things about yourself and your body.” And I agree! In addition, schools must also explain the importance of sexual health and wellness, pleasure, and the importance of safe sex.

7. Open Conversations Start At Home

Most parents evade the topic of sex but ignorance only enhances curiosity. We are the internet generation; misinformation isn’t far away. Kids tend to surf the internet and come across porn—which is only meant for pleasure, not education. Issues ranging from sexualising women to having exaggerated views on how your bodies should look, crop up.

By now you get the drift—India needs sex education, and it needs it NOW! (And for it to not get banned.)

- Lifestyle Editor


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