What ‘Sex Education’ Taught Us About the Power of Communication

In a 2023 article, it is suggested that the British Netflix show “Sex Education”, not gaining significant popularity in the US, was viewed as a “blessing in disguise.” The reason is that its success could have potentially sparked concerns among conservative parents in the country.

So, why would it have stirred up issues with these conservative parents, you ask? Well, Sex Education doesn’t shy away from any topic. We’re talking about wet dreams, drug addiction, crime, pansexuality and even sexual assault – the list just goes on and on.

In today’s blog, we’re going to explore some of the creative methods the show’s creators used to address these so-called “taboo” topics, as well as discussing how Sex Education focuses on the power of communication to make educational and thought-provoking points.


Trust and communication are your best allies

Looking at the relationship between Anwar and Nick, we saw how they found themselves in a situation that required open and honest communication. Anwar, perhaps in a moment of misplaced confidence, had portrayed himself as more experienced than he truly was.

As Anwar realised he had ventured too far into unfamiliar territory, he reached out to his friend Rahim for guidance. Rahim, recognising the value of trust and transparency, advised Anwar to be candid with Nick about his true knowledge and experience. He reminded Anwar that trust begins with open communication, especially in the context of intimacy. Anwar took this advice to heart. He decided to have an open conversation with Nick, revealing his lack of experience and the fact that he was a virgin. To Anwar’s relief, Nick responded with grace, empathy, and understanding. He appreciated Anwar’s honesty and listened to his concerns and fears.

This heartwarming and honest conversation between Anwar and Nick laid a strong foundation of trust and understanding, setting the stage for their journey of sexual exploration together. It underscores the importance of trust and communication in any intimate relationship. Anwar’s honesty not only deepened his bond with Nick but also ensured that their intimate moments would be built on trust and shared expectations.

Miscommunication and misunderstandings can complicate relationships, but open and honest dialogue can prevent these issues and help both partners focus on creating enjoyable experiences for each other. It’s all about fostering love and understanding.

It’s crucial to recognise that discussions about sexual health and intimacy can be challenging, particularly in same-sex relationships. Information and education should be accessible to all, free from stigmatisation. We encourage open and inclusive conversations to create a more supportive and informed community.

Anti sexual-assault sign

Sexual assault

Sex Education did a fantastic job of promoting the idea that victims of sexual assault should seek help, advice and support in a way that feels most comfortable to them. According to research, 72% of children who experience sexual assault will not disclose the incident to anyone. This theme continues for many into adulthood, with 31% unable to find the courage to speak out about what happened to them.

In season 2 of Sex Education, Amy was sexually assaulted by a member of the public on a bus whilst travelling to school. She found herself overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, especially when it came to taking the bus to school after the incident. Her ordeal left her feeling isolated and helpless. However, her path to recovery began when she opened up to her group of close friends, a group of girls she trusted and felt comfortable with. This was a pivotal moment in her journey towards healing.

The narrative underscores the significance of seeking help and confiding in a support group, even if it consists of close friends. By sharing her traumatic experience and the emotions she was experiencing, Amy found an empathetic and non-judgmental network of individuals who were there to listen, support and offer guidance. This support group played a critical role in helping her regain her confidence and self-esteem.

The narrative of Amy’s experience with sexual assault on the bus journey to school serves as a powerful example of how seeking help and group support from trusted people who can facilitate healing and empower survivors to overcome their traumatic experiences. Amy’s journey is a testament to the resilience of individuals who face such adversity.


Array of drugs

Drug addiction

After abandoning Maeve and her brother due to her drug addiction, Erin returns to ask for forgiveness and a place to stay with her new daughter, Elsie.

Maeve allows them to stay under the condition that Erin gets clean from drugs. Erin agrees, and it seems the relationship between mother and daughter is slowly being repaired.

Unfortunately, later in the series, Erin is found to have been secretly hiding heroin, a sign that she is using again. Fearing for the safety of Elsie, Maeve decides to take action and informs the police about Erin’s potentially dangerous behaviour. As a result, social services stepped in and took Elsie into their care.

Erin’s decision to hide her drug addiction from Maeve and not communicate her struggles represents a significant breakdown in communication, particularly from the perspective of someone suffering from addiction. One of the most common reasons sufferers avoid communicating their problems is the fear of judgement and stigma associated with addiction. Erin likely felt ashamed and afraid of how Maeve would react if she were to admit that she still had her addiction. This fear can hinder open and honest communication within families.

Addiction often leads to feelings of isolation, as individuals may believe they are battling their issues alone. Erin’s decision to keep her addiction a secret likely intensified her sense of isolation, making it difficult for her to seek help. Additionally, her fear of potential consequences, such as losing custody of her child, compelled Erin to hide her addiction. In her circumstances, discussing her addiction may have seemed too risky.

Sex Education perfectly shows that had Erin chosen to communicate her addiction to Maeve, it could have opened up avenues for support and treatment. Maeve might have been more willing to help her access the resources she needed to get clean. Open communication about her addiction would have allowed them to explore potential solutions together, such as therapy, counselling, or addiction treatment programmes.


Making sense of it all

Sex Education triumphed in helping people of all ages understand the complexities that sex can bring to a relationship. By adding nuggets of valuable information throughout the series, viewers are introduced to a side of sex that they may not have considered before.

Here are some of the best quotes that helped communicate some of the key points surrounding the subject:

“Intercourse can be wonderful. But it can also cause tremendous pain. And if you’re not careful, sex can destroy lives.”

This quote succinctly encapsulates the dual nature of human sexual experiences. It emphasises that while sex has the potential to bring pleasure and connection, it can also lead to harm and suffering if not approached with care and responsibility. In the context of sex addiction, it serves as a reminder that compulsive and unhealthy sexual behaviours, when left untreated, can lead to severe consequences, damaging individuals’ lives and their relationships. It highlights the importance of recognising the balance between healthy sexual expression and the potential for addiction and harm.

“I know it feels like everyone’s doing it and yeah, some people are. But most of us aren’t yet. It’s not a race.”

This quote conveys a valuable message about peer pressure and the sense of urgency that some individuals may feel regarding varying experiences. It acknowledges the common perception that everyone is engaging in a particular activity while emphasising the reality that most people may not be doing so. The phrase “It’s not a race” underscores the idea that individuals should not rush into actions just because they feel pressured by societal expectations or the behaviours of others. Instead, it encourages a more measured and individualised approach to decision-making, highlighting that personal readiness and comfort should guide choices rather than conforming to external pressures or timelines.

“You don’t choose who you’re attracted to. You can’t engineer a relationship. You have to do what’s right.”

Attraction and relationships are pretty unpredictable. This quote tells you it’s perfectly normal not to have complete control over who you’re into and when relationships happen. It emphasises embracing your desires while stressing the importance of being ethical and respectful. It’s all about recognising that love and desire come in many different forms.

“If you want to tackle Kate’s issues surrounding self-esteem whilst respecting your desire for visual stimulation, you need to establish clear verbal intercourse. Stop passively hearing and start actively listening.”

This quote underscores the importance of addressing underlying issues like self-esteem within a relationship through clear and empathetic communication. It emphasises that passive listening won’t suffice and active listening is crucial for understanding each other’s needs and concerns, which can even be useful when dealing with addiction. By openly discussing these matters and working together, couples can find healthier alternatives and provide essential support while respecting their individual desires and boundaries.

Have you been affected by any of the topics mentioned in today’s blog?

In today’s blog, we’ve explored some challenging and sensitive topics. If you or someone you know has unfortunately experienced the negative effects of these subjects, it’s essential to consider reaching out for support.

You are not alone in facing these daunting challenges. UKAT is committed to creating a safe haven for healing, recovery and transformation. Our experienced team is prepared to assist you in your journey towards a brighter and healthier future.

Visit our website to explore resources and connect with a member of our compassionate team by contacting us today.

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