This week’s blog is written by Maya Ward with BirthMatters
It seems like every week Netflix is releasing new content. One of the new shows that was recently released by Netflix is called Sex Education. It follows the lives of high school teens in the UK who open up a sex therapy clinic at school to help out their peers and make some cash. The show follows the teens along their hormone fueled coming of age, and it gets pretty explicit along the way. So it is no surprise that Sex Education has become a very popular show among teens. While some may respond to this by banning their teens from viewing the show, the reality is, if a teen has access to the internet, they have access to a whole host of content, Sex Education included. While the series does focus on sex, don’t be misled, the relationships with parents and teenagers takes center stage in this series. The two main characters, Otis & Maeve are polar opposites in regards to their sexual experience, comfort, and support at home. Jean Milburn, Otis’ mum, is a sex therapist and struggles with overstepping boundaries with her son. On the other hand, Eric, Otis’ best friend, is gay and struggles to find a safe space at home. Teens have questions, you have answers, why not use this show as an ice breaker to create a healthy dialogue with the teens in your life? What follows is a list of topics that come up in the show that teens may have questions about. Don’t worry if you don’t feel equipped to discuss these topics, I have included links to helpful articles and resources that you may find handy to guide your conversation and educate yourself. And if you don’t feel comfortable having these conversations, don’t worry, there are people in organizations like iMatter who are educated and happy to begin these conversations with the teens in your life.
Sex. Sex is in the title of the show, so it should come as no surprise that this show focuses heavily on sex. On who is having it, who isn’t, and the different social, romantic, and emotional components of it.
Visit https://www.connectspartanburg.org/sexual-health-parents for local and national resources to help start conversations with your teen about sex.
Condoms. The show actually depicts consistent condom use for the most part, which is fantastic, but there isn’t a perfect demonstration of how to properly use a condom. This is something teens need to know and may open the door for a demonstration lesson about STIs.
For more conversation tips on talking with your teen, visit: https://www.girlology.com/age-appropriate-discussions-about-condoms-how-do-i-explain
Teens report the biggest barrier to using condoms is access. For a listing of local spots that distribute free condoms, visit: http://www.piedmontcare.org/prevention/condom-access-program
Birth Control. Contraceptives are only briefly mentioned in the show when Maeve goes to the doctor. It is important to let teens know about the variety of options that exist and how to access them. If you aren’t confident in this, iMatter staff is trained in the different options available and can help teens schedule appointments to get them.
For more information on birth control and where to get, visit: https://www.connectspartanburg.org/sexual-health-parents or call *NODRAMA
LGBTQI+. One of the main characters in the show, Eric, is gay and is the victim of a homophobic physical assault. Most teens these days are knowledgeable about the LGBTQI+ community, but this may open conversations about discrimination faced by the community.
For resources on LGBTQI+ youth or for information on support groups for teens and parents, visit: https://pflagspartanburg.org/about-pflag-spartanburg/
Catcalling and Harassment. Maeve deals with constant harassment of a sexual nature throughout the show. This is a good time to point out to teens that this kind of behavior isn’t okay, and to teach them how to stand up against it and report it.
For more information on laws around sexual harassment, visit https://www.connectspartanburg.org/healthy-relationships-teens and watch the video on the top of the page.
Sexting and Revenge Porn/Sextortion. This is topic is becoming particularly important with the availability of technology and many adults do not feel knowledgeable enough to discuss it with teens, the resources below can help guide your conversation.
For more information on sextortion, visit: https://www.thorn.org/sextortion/
Hopefully these links will make you feel more confident about having these important conversations with the teens in your lives. If you still feel unsure or are too uncomfortable to have these discussions, reach out to us. We are happy to help start this conversation and help teens get the knowledge and resources they need.
To get more information on iMatter, please contact Maya Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org