Where would you learn about sex when no one is willing to talk about it?
I’m sure a number of us turn to what available media there is because adults aren’t willing to come clean—or are equipped—to talk about sex. If, like me, you went to a sex-segregated Catholic school, you likely did not receive sex education. At most, we learned about our periods and the scientific explanation behind getting pregnant. Hardly helpful for students who were sexually active anyway and others navigating their queerness.
When I was in high school, the UK series “Skins” gained some kind of cult following because it unwrapped topics that adults refused to discuss with us, from sex to being gay to eating disorders. These days, there’s “Sex Education,” which lives up to its title in doling out handy sex advice.
But there’s still something to be said about portraying sex in the Philippine context. I would contend that homegrown creators would best capture the nuances caught in our religious, patriarchal conservatism, the ubiquitous sex jokes (even from the president), and the ins and outs of modern dating.
Thanks to streaming platforms, we’ve gotten opportunities for sex-positive shows in the country. Here, women are allowed to age, LGBTQIA+ representation goes beyond stereotypes, and sex can be both meaningful and meaningless. (You *might* want to watch with headphones because these get into NSFW territory!)
“The Kangks Show” (2021)
The spotlight’s recently been on “The Kangks Show,” the racy and educational series released last December on WeTV. Directed by Antoinette Jadaone, it revolves around the titular sex show that Dr. Kara Teo (Angelica Panganiban) is trying to salvage. Ratings have dropped with the rise of a Gen Z TikToker, Maris Racal’s Cassandra, who has mass appeal with her spicy bedroom tips.
While the behind-the-scenes drama is compelling, it’s the depictions of Doc Kara’s letter senders and the informative—and empathetic—advice she gives that make the series stand out. Whether it’s a middle-aged woman concerned about her boyfriend’s micropenis or a man falling in love during a threesome, the show manages to make these stories relatable and entertaining at the same time.
“The Sexth Sense” (2021)
“Pearl Next Door” co-stars Adrianna So and Phillip Nandez (a.k.a. Davao Conyo) host an online talk show that covers sex and the messy feelings that come with it. The show dubs itself as a “brand new way to talk about sex based on real-life experiences.” It’s basically your besties dishing out practical and nonjudgmental advice on everything from porn to rebound sex.
“Manilennials,” an iWant original series, serves slice-of-life stories through millennials navigating the brutal realities of Manila and adult life. The five friends consist of eccentric artist Yeye (Chai Fonacier), sheltered new lawyer Missy (Ria Atayde), self-starting caterer Ruth (Mela Habijan), her persistently jobless BFF Kiko (Fifth Solomon), and call center agent and budding rapper Art (Nicco Manalo).
When it comes to sex, Yeye is carefree about it and doesn’t let herself be defined by labels or gender. The series also doesn’t shy away from tackling the dating dilemmas of a trans woman like Ruth. But it’s not all bad when you have friends to back you up, and humor and heart are woven into each of their journeys.
“Call Me Tita” (2019)
This show dissects the concept of the put-together Tita of Manila with four women: socialite and influencer Celine (Agot Isidro), cafe owner Ruth (Cherry Pie Picache), career-driven Maya (Joanna Ampil), and yoga instructor Frida (Mylene Dizon). Angelica Panganiban is here too, still on the way to claiming her tita status as she plays the daughter of their MIA amiga Josa.
A sexual awakening in your 40s? It totally happens. There’s a queer romance between Frida and Sam (Ice Seguerra), which has a refreshingly healing storyline. Meanwhile Ruth—a.k.a. thirsty tita—enjoys workplace romps with her chef. These titas show us you can transform yourself no matter your age—and that no one is too old for a good sex toy.