How to Have Sex: A Coming-of-Age Tale on Rotten Tomatoes


The coming-of-age genre thrives on exploring the complexities of adolescence, and Netflix’s recent film  How to Have Sex  doesn’t shy away from the awkward realities of navigating intimacy for the first time.  

While the title might raise eyebrows, the critical reception on Rotten Tomatoes suggests this film offers more than just a provocative title.

This article delves deeper into How to Have Sex, analyzing the aspects that resonated with critics and audiences alike, exploring themes, the approach to sex education, and the overall impact of the film.

A Title That Gets Attention: Beyond the Clickbait

How to Have Sex garnered attention for its blunt title, which some might dismiss as crass. However, a closer look reveals a film that tackles the anxieties and uncertainties surrounding sex education with refreshing honesty.

The title directly reflects the central theme: three teenage girls on a “rites-of-passage” holiday, determined to lose their virginity.  

Their quest isn’t driven by a desire for mere physical experience, but by a yearning for connection, understanding, and navigating the social pressures surrounding sex.

Critical Acclaim: A Look at the Rotten Tomatoes Score

As of today, How to Have Sex boasts an impressive 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,  indicating critical acclaim.  Here’s a breakdown of what resonated with reviewers:

Honest Portrayal of Teenagehood:  

Critics praised the film’s realistic portrayal of teenage experiences,  capturing the awkwardness, humor, and emotional turmoil of adolescence.

Focus on Consent and Communication:  

Unlike some coming-of-age films that treat sex education flippantly, How to Have Sex emphasizes the importance of consent and open communication in healthy relationships.

Strong Female Characters:  

The film centers around three well-developed female characters, each with their own vulnerabilities and desires.  Their journey towards self-discovery resonates with viewers.

Balancing Humor and Heartbreak:  

Critics commended the film’s ability to blend humor with moments of genuine emotional vulnerability, creating a relatable experience for audiences.

Beyond the Rotten Tomatoes Score: Audience Reception on Youtube and Social Media

While critical reception is important, audience reaction is equally valuable.  A quick search on Youtube reveals numerous reaction videos and reviews praising the film’s authenticity and its portrayal of female friendships.

Social media discussions highlight how the film resonates with viewers who appreciate its realistic depiction of first experiences and the social anxieties surrounding sex.  

It sparks conversations about the importance of comprehensive sex education and open communication in relationships.

Not Without Criticism: Exploring Potential Concerns

Despite the positive reception, some viewers might find the film’s content uncomfortable.  Here are some potential criticisms to consider:

Limited Scope:  

Focusing on a specific group of teenagers on vacation might not represent the diverse experiences surrounding sex and intimacy.

Mature Themes:  

The film tackles mature themes like sexual pressure and disappointment, which some viewers might find unsuitable for younger audiences.

Focus on Physicality:  

While the film emphasizes open communication, some might argue it still prioritizes the physical aspect of sex education over the emotional one.

How to Have Sex: A Conversation Starter, Not a Manual

How to Have Sex isn’t a comprehensive guide to sex education. Instead, it serves as a conversation starter, encouraging viewers to reflect on their own experiences, expectations, and the importance of communication in healthy relationships.

The film’s success lies in its ability to normalize conversations about sex, particularly amongst young viewers who might be grappling with anxieties and uncertainties.  

It highlights the need for open communication, respect, and a focus on consent in all sexual encounters.

The Importance of Open Dialogue: A Call for Comprehensive Sex Education

How to Have Sex serves as a springboard for broader discussions about the importance of comprehensive sex education.  Here are some key takeaways:

Open Communication is Key:  

The film emphasizes the importance of open communication between partners regarding expectations, desires, and boundaries.

Consent is Mandatory:  

The film makes a clear statement about the importance of obtaining enthusiastic consent before any sexual activity.

Sex Education Matters:  

How to Have Sex highlights the need for educational resources that address not just the biology of sex, but also emotional aspects, communication, and healthy relationships.


Q: What is the Rotten Tomatoes score for “How to Have Sex?”

The film boasts an impressive 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from over 130 critics as of May 4, 2024.

Q: What are critics saying about the film?

Reviews praise the film’s unflinching portrayal of teenage sexuality, its honest exploration of consent, and its powerful performances from the young cast.

Q: Is the film considered a coming-of-age story?

Yes, “How to Have Sex” follows three teenage girls navigating friendship, self-discovery, and their first sexual experiences.

Q: What are some potential criticisms of the film?

While generally well-received, some viewers might find the film’s frank portrayal of sexuality uncomfortable or even exploitative.

Q: Is the film appropriate for all audiences?

Due to mature themes and sexual content, the film likely carries an R rating and is not suitable for younger audiences.

Q: Where can I find reviews for “How to Have Sex?”

You can find reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and various film critic websites.

Q: Does the film focus solely on the physical aspect of sex?

No, reviews suggest the film delves deeper, exploring emotional intimacy, communication, and the pressures teenagers face around sex.

Q: Does the film address issues of consent?

Yes, the film is praised for its honest portrayal of consent and the importance of clear communication in sexual relationships.

Q: Is the film intended to be educational or purely entertainment?

“How to Have Sex” walks a line, offering a compelling story while sparking conversations about important topics like consent and healthy relationships.

Q: Should I watch the trailer before making a decision?

Trailers can offer a glimpse into the film’s style, tone, and themes to help you decide if it’s something you’d enjoy watching.

Q: Why is there so much interest in a film titled “How to Have Sex?”

The title is likely a deliberate attention-grabber, sparking curiosity and challenging traditional views of sex education.

Q: Can this film be a conversation starter about sex with teenagers?

Yes, the film’s portrayal of real-life situations can be a springboard for discussions with teens about consent, healthy relationships, and responsible choices.

Q: Are there any resources available to help parents discuss sex with their teens?

Many organizations offer resources and guidance for parents on talking to their children about sex. Search online for reputable sources like Planned Parenthood or the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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