Aimee originally went to Otis for help because her boyfriend called her out for being performative in bed. Every time she had sex, she’d moan and pretend to enjoy what she thought she was supposed to like. “You wanna cum on my tits now?” she asks in the very first scene of the pilot. Her partner goes along with it, but only because she suggests it. That shows just how much porn is affecting women in the bedroom. Even if our partner has no interest in trying these moves, we’re sometimes initiating them because we assume that’s what they want. Or worse yet, what we should want.
The truth comes out that Aimee’s faking when she tries this on her new boyfriend, Steve (Chris Jenks). When she asks, “You wanna cum on my face?” in the middle of sex, he looks at her, confused. “But I like your face,” he replies. She’s not sure how to react, so she asks if he wants to cum on her chest instead. He stops what he’s doing and asks her point blank, “Do you really want me to do that stuff?” When she unconvincingly says she thinks so, he tells her that he thinks she’s performing for him. Then he dares to ask her something no one ever has before, “What do you want?”
She admits to Otis the next day that she doesn’t have a clue. When he suggests she masturbate to figure it out, she’s grossed out. I can relate to her resistance, as I didn’t get over this shame until my thirties. Per Otis’ instructions, Aimee goes all out, spending a whole day pleasuring herself. She humps pillows, uses a hair-dryer on her neck, and tries every position.
I realized I’d wasted nearly two decades of my sex life being silent, misinformed, miserable, and feeling like a failure.
Again, it’s not that we haven’t seen masturbation before—but it’s the way it’s portrayed and thoughtfully handled that’s so striking. In Sex and the City, for example, Samantha Jones is the queen of orgasms and self-pleasure, but by the end of the series’ run, she had become more of a caricature than a human being. Even Samantha never touched herself while having sex. She’d usually start to quiver with pleasure mere moments after a man entered her, which always made me think there was something wrong with me. Why don’t I? Only once did she use a vibrator during sex, which was treated as more of a joke than something women do quite regularly. In pop culture, vibrators are either ignored entirely, treated as a threat to or replacement for men, or as a joke.
None of the girls goes that far in Sex Education, but they might as well. It’s both shocking and inspiring to see Aimee eventually tell her boyfriend exactly what to do—where to touch, how hard, for how long, and at what speed, then tell him the precise moment to blow in her ear. I know women my age who still can’t be that bold with their partners. The only reason I am now is because I realized I’d wasted nearly two decades of my sex life being silent, misinformed, miserable, and feeling like a failure—then faulting men for being selfish, instead of myself for not demanding my pleasure be just as important as his. Now, though, I’ll gladly draw you a map if I have to.
Thanks to Sex Education, we should expect to see more shows follow suit, and I hope it educates both men and women instead of PornHub. Either way, the clit has been in the shadows for too long, but watch out world. Her moment may have finally arrived.