In Conversation with Ben Taylor, Director and Executive Producer of ‘Sex Education’ on Netflix

With the highly anticipated release of the second series in January, ‘Sex Education’ has remained in the UK Top 10 on Netflix, with ratings soaring past series one. Ben Taylor, executive producer and director, has worked on the show from the earliest stages of piloting the series, working closely with the writer and creator, Laurie Nunn, to be responsible for many of the creative decisions that make the show so unique. Sex Education has provided a new platform to spark overdue conversations between viewers, to openly discuss universal experiences of life and sex, from teen-hood to adulthood. The show has put a spotlight on issues that society has long concealed, or been too afraid to talk about, which have been shockingly absent from conversations during the crucial stages of growing up, and Ben tells me “I wish this show had been around when I was younger”.

Season two has exceeded season one in the vast myriad of topics and issues it addresses; from female sexual pleasure to sexual health, whilst giving platforms for sexual orientations that are seemingly underrepresented in the film industry, such as Asexuality and pansexuality. Amongst the array of lessons the audience can take away from this next instalment of an informative 8 hours, the show makes a subtle statement- sex has been something that has been historically manufactured and tailored to the male desire, where women’s individual sexual pleasure has simultaneously been suppressed, and this remains to be the case with inadequate sex education in schools today.

The sense of frankness in the portrayal of sex, which contrasts the glamorised and false presentations of sex in teen movies, is a refreshing and much-needed approach to show the humorous side to sexual exploration growing up, and that it won’t always be perfect. “My cum tastes like kimchi. Do I have a fermented dick?” and “last night I looked at some cheese and got an erection”, are but a few lines amongst the overt humour that the show masters so greatly. ‘Sex Education’ gives a platform to empower different characters and their individual experiences, which are all created with diverse stories and layers that are widely relatable, and also very loveable.

Strand sat down with Ben to chat taboos, coming-of-age and Amy’s empowering storyline as well as some favourite moments from Season 2

Image: Courtesy of Ben Taylor/Netflix

For people that haven’t yet seen season 2, how would you describe the new season in comparison to the first and what can they expect?

“The second season picks up exactly where it left off, Otis has spectacularly broken through his sexual block, and we get to reveal and understand more about these characters and what makes them tick within themselves and romantically. We begin to see them put more of their theory into practice, they continue relationships, start new ones, and they all become more complex where love triangles become love squares. The joy of doing a Netflix show rather than a film is that we get eight hours to reveal a lot more about them and different layers to them.”

Sex education tackles so many issues regarded as ‘taboo’ in society, and it’s clear that many people are grateful for this show because of the way it has opened up the conversation around sexuality, relationships and individual identity.

Did you know that this was the case, as you were filming the series?