"Is foreplay sex?" Sex Education and a French family planning agnecy, Le Planning Familial, have joined forces and created a hotline to answer some questions...
Much like Netflix’s hit animated show Big Mouth, teen comedy Sex Education is out to do some good.
Both shows explore sexuality and tackle a whole bunch of questions everyone has asked themselves at some point, positioning themselves as safe and entertaining spaces where difference is not mocked but celebrated, and where sexual curiosity at pivotal ages is encouraged.
Sex Education follows teenage sex therapist Otis (Asa Butterfield) who, encouraged by Maeve (Emma Mackey), ends up running a self-styled clinic at their school. It deals with many issues related to sexuality – whether it be contraception, female pleasure, asexuality and even abortion.
It’s no stretch to say that entire generations could have benefitted from a show as inclusive, diverse, and which tackled topics which have left many feeling either ashamed or too shy to broach – especially when faced with some frequently flaccid Sex Ed classes at school, which left a lot to be desired.
With this in mind, the hit Netflix series, created by Laurie Nunn, has decided to mark the release of its fourth and final season by teaming up with Le Planning Familial – a French family planning agency - to give free, anonymous information on all topics related to sexuality.
The institution has been campaigning for better and more accessible education on all issues relating to sexuality and sexual health for sixty years, and the result of this new collaboration has been the creation of the Hotline Sex Education, as well as a poster campaign promoting the toll-free number: 0 800 08 11 11.
As part of its "fight for access to sex education for all", the posters feature questions inspired by the show, asked by 15-25 year olds: "Is foreplay sex?"; "How do I know if I like boys or girls?"; "Is contraception only for girls?"; or "Everyone's done it but me - am I weird?"
These adverts can be found in various French cities, with the tagline: "It's the final season, but sex education continues."
"Joining forces with the Sex Education series is a no-brainer for Le Planning Familial, at a time when access to reliable, inclusive information on sexuality, sexual health and emotional life is at risk,” explains Sarah Durocher, President of Le Planning Familial. “Pop culture can help us to tackle these issues in the right way. Since the very first season, teenagers have been spontaneously talking to us about the series!"
In France, sex education was made compulsory in 2001 with the Aubry law. However, Le Planning Familial says young people have questions and few answers. The campaign fills a gap in the French education system, since the agency considers that the three sessions of sexuality education each year at school "is not being applied".
An audit by the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research, submitted in 2021, showed that twenty years after the 2001 law came into force, only 15% of students had benefited from the three compulsory sessions from elementary school to high school.
Pop culture to the rescue, indeed.
Season 4 of Sex Education is available on Netflix.