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TEST YOURSELF: Learning about sex

Photo courtesy of Netflix

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Sex Education is back for a second season

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these stories help you to read, understand and improve your English.

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Read the following story by Melalin Mahavongtrakul from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Netflix's teen comedy-drama Sex Education is back, following the gang’s sexual exploration in a hilarious but informative manner.


Sex Education follows the life of 16-year-old Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) and his school mates, as well as the adults in their lives. In Season 1, the awkward Otis -- whose mother is a sex therapist -- runs a sex clinic at school to offer advice to students. Some of the stories in the first season included homosexuality, abortion, sexting and bullying. There were also scenes featuring nudity and sex between teens.

The series had a successful debut last year, becoming a hit among audiences around the globe. At the same time, conservatives in certain countries -- Thailand, for example -- objected to its raunchiness, saying it would encourage sexual urges among teenagers. Others argue that the show opens up a much-needed space for dialogue on sex-related topics that are rarely discussed freely, especially among the young. The issues also include the experiences of LGBTI and people of colour.

"I think everyone who's watched the show hopefully comes out a little bit more comfortable talking about sex because it's normal. It's a part of life. It's not something you should be ashamed of or should be hiding away," said Asa Butterfield in a recent conversation with the Bangkok Post.

Season 2 opens with a bang. There is lots of masturbation and the school is in chaos over sexual diseases and fighting. Through the eight episodes, the show continues to explore themes such as fetish, different types of sexuality, parental relationships and sexual assault.

Otis now dates Ola, whose father is getting intimate with Otis' mum (played by Gillian Anderson). Meanwhile, there's also his crush from Season 1, the school's bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), with whom Otis ran the sex clinic. His best friend, Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), is caught in a love triangle with a new hot boy at school and his ex-bully who was sent to military school last season.


Sex Education brings a sex-positive attitude and empowerment to its onscreen female characters. While they may have their own issues, they form a united front when one of them is in trouble.

Gatwa, who plays Eric, described the unity between female characters as really strong this season.

"Maeve and all the rest of the girls came together onscreen for something really powerful, and that's something I'm personally very excited to see," he added.

Speaking of female representation, Mackey (who portrays Maeve) said the show has been a "massive help" in showing a variety of young women that audiences can relate to.

"This show and the writing means that a lot of young girls will feel less lonely, and will feel more empowered to just own their own narratives and be more resilient and braver and not feel ashamed about anything. Because that's what we're doing here - trying to help people. We try to get people to talk," Mackey said.


Out of the trio, Eric's character seems to be enjoying a more laid-back season compared to the others. In the first season, Eric was already openly and flamboyantly gay. He's also from a religious family. A homophobic attack left him scared and trying to hide his own queerness before he overcame it. He eventually went to the school dance in women’s clothing.

"I think it's really cool to have a black gay character being unapologetic on the screen,” Gatwa said.

Eric's character is by no means the only LGBTI storyline we get in Season 2. The show increases queer visibility among young characters, and also touches on different sexual orientations, including asexuality and pansexuality.

"We're privileged in a sense that we get to play out these characters and these storylines," said Gatwa.

Section 1: Read through the story and answer the following questions. 

1. How old is Otis? …………….

2. Otis was confident in Season 1. True or false? …………….

3. How many episodes does Season 2 have? …………….

4. Who does Otis have a crush on? …………….

5. Which character has a religious family? …………..

6. Which actor talks about empowerment? …………….

7. Which actor talks about being ashamed? …………….

8. Which actor talks about unity? …………….

Section 2: Write the noun form of the following words in the space provided.

9. successful. ………… 10. comfortable.  ………… 11. explore. ………. 12. described. ………. 

13. excited. ……….

Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

Maeve herself goes through …14… a lot this season. She has been more of a …15… wolf, and this time she's …16… her place in a family unit when her mother returns. …17…, Maeve finds a kind adult female figure in her teacher, Ms Sands, who is giving her a chance to …18… her talent and rise above her own bad reputation. "I find the relationship really …19…," said Mackey. 

14. a. quit  b. quiet c. quite

15. a. alone b. lone c. lonely

16. a. figure out b. found out c. figuring out

17. a. Sadly b. Unfortunately  c. Luckily 

18. a. realise b. resist  c. reject

19. a. moved b. movement c. moving

Section 4: Find words that match the following definitions.

20. the world ……………

21. a state of complete confusion and lack of order ……………

22. having a close and friendly relationship……………

23. give somebody the power or authority to do something …………

24. the state of being in agreement and working together ……………

Answers: 1. 16. 2. False. 3. Eight. 4. Maeve. 5. Eric. 6. Emma Mackey. 7. Asa Butterfield. 8. Ncuti Gatwa. 

9. success. 10. comfort. 11. exploration. 12. description. 13. excitement.

14. c. 15. b. 16. c. 17. c. 18. a. 19. c. 

20. globe. 21. chaos. 22. intimate. 23. empowerment. 24. unity.

SCORE 21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

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