What year is Sex Education set? Is the Netflix series set in the present or past?

Sex Education - Credit: Sam Taylor
Sex Education - Credit: Sam Taylor /

Sex Education season 3 has needless to say been long-awaited, but it’s finally back on our screens and we couldn’t be happier! With its quirky characters, scenic views, hilarious and relatable storylines it’s no wonder that Sex Education is considered by many as one of Netflix’s best original series to date.  But, when exactly is the Netflix original series set? Is Sex Education in the present or past?

Tons of fans have flocked to social media to ask the very same question, so if you’ve been wondering, you’re not alone!

Well, we put our detective hats on and sniffed out an answer just for you, read on below to find out what year Sex Education is set.


What year is Sex Education set in?

Well despite its aesthetic and distinctly vintage feel, the Netflix original series is set in the present day. It wasn’t hard to come to this conclusion considering our biggest evidence is the fact that our heroes use pretty new iPhones and make constant references to 21st-century pop culture, such as Ed Sheeran, The Walking Dead and there’s also a mention of a Nintendo Switch, which was only released in 2017. This led us to believe it can’t be set in any other time period than the present.

However, the use of retro fashion and decor was done on purpose, which the show’s creator, Laurie Nunn, confirmed in an interview with Thrillist. Speaking on the decision to use the ’80s and 90’s aesthetic, she said: “It was a very conscious decision from myself and the producers and director Ben Taylor who is also an executive producer on the project.”

"“We all absolutely love the teen genre, particularly the John Hughes films of the 1980s so we really wanted to make the show have the feeling that it’s an homage or that it has this nostalgic backdrop, but that we are talking about very contemporary, modern themes and storylines for the characters.”"

Furthermore, in an interview with Variety, ahead of the season 3 premiere, Gillian Anderson (who plays sex therapist Jean) revealed that the use of modern technology, ’80s fashion, the mix of British and American qualities adds to the “ambiguity” of the show, making it more relatable to a wider audience.

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