“No, it’s my vagina.”

In a school assembly hall, students of all genders stand up one by one, each proclaiming to be the subject of a revenge porn incident. A teen cries for help as he realizes the effects of taking a whole bottle of Viagra. A girl discovers masturbation and her perception of sex is flipped. These are just a few scenes from “Sex Education,” a Netflix Original series released January.

The quirky British show created by Laurie Nunn centers around Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), a 16-year-old preparatory school student in the idyllic English countryside. He lives with his mother, Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a divorced sex therapist whose profession proves to be the bane of Otis’s existence. He is mortified by his mother’s job, by the erotic art and phallic objects that decorate their home and by her perceived lack of boundaries and unsolicited advice.

Despite — or perhaps as a direct result of — his mother’s openness on the topic, Otis has yet to experience his own sexual awakening. Though it seems to him and his best friend, Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), that everyone around them is “either thinking about shagging, about to shag or actually shagging,” Otis is unable to masturbate and has anxiety surrounding his body and sex.

Art by Hannah Li

However, despite his lack of firsthand sexual experience, Otis inadvertently picks up a significant amount of knowledge on the subject and a knack for counseling his peers on their own sexual dilemmas. When rebel and deemed school slut Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) recognizes his unlikely gift, the two form a student sex counseling business.

Unlike other mainstream teen dramas, “Sex Education” transcends stereotypes by openly discussing taboo subjects such as masturbation, abortion, sexuality, gender expression, discrimination and body shaming.

The show’s biggest draw, however, is its set of diverse, multifaceted and hilariously relatable characters. Eric, Otis’s openly gay black best friend, is one of the strongest and best-developed characters in the show. Coming from a devout Ghanian-Nigerian Christian family, Eric undergoes his own journey of sexual development and self-discovery as he tries to balance who he is and who he wants to be with his family’s expectations for his manhood. Unlike many representations of families of color which adhere to the “strict immigrant parents” trope, the show offers an intricate, nuanced and realistic portrayal of Eric’s relationship with his family — their struggle to accept his sexuality, though partly stemming from religious and cultural beliefs, is largely rooted in genuine concern for Eric’s safety and well-being rather than a rejection of his identity.

A far cry from the stereotypical “gay best friend,” Eric is just one of the many characters who transcend norms. The two most popular boys in school, for example, are Jackson, a black, well-mannered star athlete with interracial lesbian parents, and Anwar, an openly gay fashionista of South Asian descent who embodies the “mean girl” queen bee trope.

Not only does the show portray diverse queer characters with unusual sophistication and sensitivity, “Sex Education” also explores dimensions of gender expression in unexpected ways. Take Otis and Eric’s relationship; not only are they a rare example of a feminine gay boy and straight boy in a close and unapologetic friendship, Otis also breaks gender barriers himself. Every year, the two dress up in denim skirts, heels and wigs to attend a concert on Eric’s birthday. The show then flips the situation, presenting Ola Nyman (Patricia Allison), a girl who wears a suit to the school dances and appears stereotypically butch despite her clear attraction to men. Otis’s and Ola’s clothes have nothing to do with gender or sexuality; they are comfortable in their respective identities.

There’s also Otis’s new best friend and business partner, Maeve — or, as her peers have taken to calling her, “cock-biter.” Maeve represents the patriarchal double standard placed on girls­­­­­. Women who have sex are often considered “sluts,” whereas men who do the same are generally praised.

The show also juxtaposes Maeve’s situation with that of nerdy band girl Lily Iglehart (Tanya Reynolds), who spends her free time writing erotic comic books about extraterrestrial creatures. These female characters subvert sexist stigmas and offer realistic, diverse examples of the attitudes and behaviors of girls regarding sex and intimacy; more storylines including dynamic characters like Maeve and Lily are desperately needed across the board.

This refreshingly unique, brutally honest manner of storytelling is what makes “Sex Education” a true gem, especially in the world of young adult television. A cleverly relatable pastiche of humiliating sexual encounters, unlikely romances, teen angst, friendship and oddly alluring Swedish plumbers, “Sex Education” seamlessly balances the explicit with the innocent. Its writers understand that teenagers are multifaceted human beings with distinct challenges, feelings and fears whose sexual experiences are markedly different than those of adults — and takes great care to portray them as such. For teenagers, adults and parents alike, “Sex Education’s” sweet, sincere and smutty 20-minute glances into the world of teenage angst send the very simple message that we should  all be unabashedly and unapologetically ourselves and that perhaps the kids are really alright.