However, Nunn (who, alongside the show’s other writers, works closely with intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien) is conscious that Sex Education’s unflinching frankness never tips over into prurience that may worry actors.
“We’re constantly having open conversations, navigating the sensitive material, and if anybody did feel uncomfortable then it’s a very safe space for them to be able to voice that,” she says. “I also have a rule that sex scenes have to push the story forward or be educational in some way. That stops the show ever teetering into a gratuitous space or being titillating which, when you’re dealing with teenage characters [is a line] you have to tread very carefully.”
Last year, Game Of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke spoke of her “terrifying” early nude scenes on the show and inadvertently launched a wide debate about the pressure placed on inexperienced female actors to strip off on screen. Was Nunn conscious of this?
“It’s something I take very seriously,” she says. “Working with the intimacy coordinator is key to it. I feel that there’s a very interesting conversation to be had about whether we need as much gratuitous nudity on screen or whether we could pull back on that. Not just in our show but the industry in general.”
Nunn feels that there is a “purpose” to the show’s graphic content, both dramatically and — as per its name — educationally. Her decision to make horny sci-fi obsessive Lily (Tanya Reynolds) a sufferer of a sexually inhibiting condition called vaginismus has led to “quite a lot of messages” from grateful sufferers who didn’t realise they had a highly treatable medical condition. Tellingly, one of the most praised subplots from this new batch of episodes concerns a character who experiences a traumatising sexual assault that she initially tries to brush off with humour.
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