Sex Education Highlights Lesbian Coming of Age Journey

Review of Sex Education

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Netflix’s Sex Education has been praised for its LGBT inclusivity, specifically its lesbian characters, Ola and Lily. While many coming of age shows that feature lesbian couples comes without a happy ending, it is truly a pleasure to see Ola and Lily discover their sexualities and grow together.

Sex Education, particularly in the second season, hits on a lot of different issues that the lesbian community and women often face. Likewise, Ola and Lily’s relationship really kicks things up a notch, as the show progresses and highlights a budding romance between the two. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Some context: Ola is actually dating a boy named Otis, who is their high school’s dedicated sex therapist. This is the couple’s first relationship, and while Otis is a teenage sex therapist, he often has trouble in the bedroom department with Ola. Thus, Ola takes to doing her own thing.

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During the course of Ola and Otis dating, Ola becomes very close to her best friend, Lily. Lily is very protective of Ola, and often can be quite rude to Otis for not being able to show up the way he is needed (mentally and physically.) Ola accepts Otis for who he is, and is okay with taking it slow, but from the very beginning, it is evident that the two are not entirely comfortable together. This causes friction, and that is relayed to Lily as Ola confides in her.

In contrast to Ola, Lily is very strong and confident in her sexuality. Lily is eccentric in the best ways, always sporting colorful outfits and writing her own erotica. Lily aspires to have a wonderful sexual experience with a partner like she writes about, but struggles because she has vaginismus. Vaginismus is when the muscles spasm and prevent sexual penetration; it is involuntary. The causes of vaginismus can vary per person, but often it happens as an involuntary reaction to fear of pain from penetration. Sex Education does not hit too hard on why Lily has vaginismus, however, the irony is not lost on viewers. Lily is very in touch with her sexuality – from writing erotica to fantasizing constantly, sex is a part of who she is, though she has never had it and knows she has vaginismus.

Lily seeks out Otis for advice on how to handle her vaginismus, and soon also becomes a mentor and friend to Ola. As Lily’s friendship with Ola strengthens, Ola’s relationship with Otis weakens. As Ola and Otis begin to fight more and more, suddenly, Ola is having sexual dreams about her best friend, Lily.

The "Sex Education" Douching Episode Is Required Gay ...

 

The dream begins with Ola and Otis together but quickly shifts to Ola and Lily. As Ola wakes up in somewhat of a panic, she almost immediately accepts this dream. Ola does not question the dream itself, or really what it could mean for her sexuality. Instead, Ola takes to Google to find out what her sexuality could be, instead of quickly dismissing the dream itself. Ola finds definitions for different sexual orientations. Shortly thereafter, Ola begins to dream of Lily some more and the camera pans over to her smiling face. SO CUTE. 

Almost immediately, Ola breaks up with Otis and runs to Lily’s house to confess her feelings. This results in Ola abruptly kissing Lily on her front porch, to which she smiles and says, “that’s what it’s supposed to feel like.” Lily does not accept this at first, as she had always written and fantasized about men. However, eventually, Lily does realize her feelings for Ola and kisses her right back. The two begin to explore their sexualities and feelings for one another and start dating.

The "Sex Education" Douching Episode Is Required Gay ...

As the two begin to explore more with each other, Ola attempts to advance sexually with Lily. Lily expresses that she is uncomfortable with this, and Ola immediately steps back and listens carefully to what Lily has to say. This is when Lily’s vaginismus comes into play, as it is evident to Ola and Lily that there can not be any penetration happing. Lily calls her vagina a “venus fly trap” and shows Ola the different dilators she uses to try to help. Eventually, the pair finds a way to be intimate with each other that is comfortable for both of them. Mutual masturbation. Ola really listens and supports Lily, and is understanding in the most wonderful way, as the two are able to express themselves sexually and romantically together. We absolutely love to see this. Not to mention, Lily highlights that people with vaginismus can still experience sexual pleasure!

What makes Sex Education so incredible is the relationship between Lily and Ola. Starting with the fact that Ola did not even question herself or her dream. She completely accepted herself from the get-go and went for it. This is so beautiful, as many young women struggle to find that acceptance, let along come out right away. Ola exudes confidence that many teenage girls wouldn’t, and almost immediately begins to understand herself. Ola uses her resources to truly figure out if she wants to label herself, and knows almost right away that she is not straight. Without fear, Ola jumps right into exploring herself and her sexuality and refuses to be held back. Watching Ola’s journey to self-discovery at such a young age is a truly beautiful thing to see, as she accepts herself with open arms.

Similarly, Ola and Lily’s open communication is another wonderful theme in Sex Education. While the two are in a sweet, high-school romance, they also communicate honestly about consent and what they are comfortable with. Ola and Lily explore and grow together in such a beautiful way. Thus, this creates the narrative that it is okay to talk about these things. It is okay to be a lesbian or bisexual. It is normal to love who you love and be attracted to women! That’s that on that. 

Sex Education is now streaming on Netflix.