Sex Education: the pressure to perform

Sex Education: the pressure to perform

Netflix recently launched their most Netflix show yet: Sex Education. Set in the UK (but somehow, with all the traits of an American high school show), Sex Education follows the story of Otis (Asa Butterfield), son of a sex therapist, Jean (Gillian Anderson). After years of overhearing his mother dish out advice, he sets up a sex education clinic at school with classmate Maeve (Emma Mackey) dealing with all the issues you’d expect a bunch of teens to have.

Poor crisis management

It’s not really any surprise that one episode features Viagra - the first episode in fact. May as well jump in at the deep end. Adam (Connor Swindells) son of the headmaster, part time bully and known across the school for being well endowed, is having difficulty in his relationship with Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood). Namely, he can’t ejaculate. To really get things going, the series begins with a scene of him faking an orgasm (women aren’t the only ones to do so).

Later in the episode, Adam takes three Viagra tablets to try and manage the problem. The evening before Jean explains to him that regularly smoking marijuana can lead to erectile problems. Adam tried to piece things together and (pardon the pun) comes to the conclusion that Viagra will fix the issue.

There are a few things to note here:

  • There is definitely evidence to suggest that smoking marijuana can cause erectile dysfunction, but it hasn’t been proven in humans yet, only animals. You might have heard of it described as “weed dick”.
  • If you’re having difficulty finishing - known as impaired or delayed ejaculation - Viagra isn’t the correct solution for you. If fact, as the episode goes on to show, sex therapy is usually the most effective treatment for managing this problem.
  • Adam takes several Viagra tablets in the show, which is a no-go regardless of the occasion or cause. The standard starting dose for Viagra is one 50mg tablet, which your doctor may choose to increase to 100mg. Unless explicitly told otherwise, you should only take one 50mg tablet per 24 hours.

Adam’s priapism

So we have Adam, in an abandoned toilet cubicle, having taken three Viagra tablets, sporting an erection so persistent it’s making him feel lightheaded. When used properly, Viagra will only give you an erection when combined with sexual stimulation. What Adam is experiencing is known as a priapism - an erection lasting for several hours, not caused by sexual desire. Priapism is more likely to occur when you take too many tablets. If not managed quickly, it can lead to permanent damage of the penis. Thankfully, Otis saves the day.

Alongside everything else, Adam shouldn’t have taken the medicine unless he intended to have sex, which he probably wouldn’t as this is the middle of the school day - but anything could happen with this show.

Sex Education highlights how sexual problems can affect people of any age.

He’s found in this cubicle by Otis and Maeve where he, embarrassed, explains what happened. Copying techniques he learned and overheard from his mother, Otis talks to Adam about how he is feeling, and what made him decide to take the tablets.

It materialises that Adam was experiencing delayed ejaculation due to pressure to perform (well endowed), and how being in the spotlight (headmaster’s son) made him feel. Eventually the priapism is managed, and Adam learns to “own his narrative” - it seems Otis’s work is done.

The moral of the story? Viagra won’t help you ejaculate, but taking it unnecessarily can cause the effects shown in the show - a priapism. It’s designed to treat erectile dysfunction, and should only be taken if you’re suffering from the condition.

The show also highlights how sexual problems can affect people of any age, and that emotional or psychological blockers are more common among younger men.

Content Marketing Officer
Content Marketing Officer
Libby Mayfield

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