Netflix’s Sex Education went from an unexpected hit to be a widely acclaimed show by the time its second season was available for streaming on the platform. Something that the teen series owes to its earnest representation of adolescence through the story arcs of its multi-faceted characters. At the same time, it never fails to tackle important aspects of human sexuality — gender identity, consent, sexual assault and more — in a relatable manner. It’s more than just entertainment, it’s a lesson on understanding sex as a broader topic beyond intercourse. Even though it hardly ever feels like one.
Now, once of its stars had the opportunity to interpret a pivotal storyline that many viewers applauded online. Aimee Lou Wood stars as Aimee Gibbs who went through the traumatic experience of sexual assault in the show — a significant #MeToo moment that was a necessary sequence for modern television.
Wood’s character is sexually assaulted on a bus by a man which leads her to experience traumatic stress. She has trouble eating, goes through emotional breakdowns, has sleepless nights and struggles with intimacy. This was based on the show’s writer Laurie Nunn’s own personal experience.
“I felt so honoured because she was trusting me with her story and something that had an effect on her,” Wood tells The Guardian in an interview. “Like Aimee, she didn’t expect it to have as much an effect as it did.”
Later on, Aimee is able to overcome her fears through the help of an unlikely bond formed between her and a group of other girls from school. Banded together by their similar experiences of unwanted sexual advances, the girls found allies in each other.
“That’s what Sex Education really nails – female solidarity without being too sentimental,” Wood says about the pivotal storyline.
“They might be doing these micro-aggressions at school because there’s a hierarchy. But, when there’s a real issue, we know that we have to group together.”