As a grown woman, Gillian Anderson knows about the birds and the bees. But playing a sex therapist on Netflix’s “Sex Education” did actually teach her something about intercourse she didn’t already know: the word vaginitis.
See Jean, the “X-Files” alum’s character, is a very well-respected professional within her field and she has books upon books lining her shelves, all filled with facts about the male and female anatomies that embarrass the heck out of her teenage son, Otis (played by Asa Butterfield). And so Anderson had to learn the terminology that Jean, a smartypants when it comes to unzipping your pants, uses in everyday conversation. Unfortunately, the definition of vaginitis has since escaped her.
“Couldn’t tell you what it means,” Anderson told TheWrap in a recent interview, which you can see above. “But I looked it up and then I think I said it. And it’s gone.”
When it comes to the business of getting busy, there are other differences between Jean and Gillian, one being modesty.
“There’s a lot of sex in the show, but there’s only one time that my character, Jean, is having sex,” Anderson said. “So that sex scene– just filming sex scenes, in general, is quite hellish.”
She added: “The biggest problem is that she wouldn’t be the kind of person who would cover-up. I am the kind of person who covers up even many years into a relationship I’m like, ‘Can you turn around? I’m about to walk across the room.’ So balancing those two things was challenging.”
As for where we’ll find Jean and her son Otis in Season 2 after their big breakthrough at the end of the show’s debut year, Anderson says it won’t be as easy a road to traverse as you might have expected.
“When we start Season 2, we’re pretty much starting where we left off,” she said. “And I think she’s still trying. They’ve made some headway together in terms of levels of communication. But, as with anything with parenting, you think you’ve taken a few steps forward and then you take a few steps back. And I think that dynamic continues a little bit here and there. Which is good, because that’s real and it makes for good comedy and good drama.”
Watch the full interview above to find out if Anderson is Team Ola or Team Maeve and check back with TheWrap next week for more from our chat, in which she discusses playing Margaret Thatcher on Season 4 of “The Crown.”
“Sex Education” Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix. No premiere date has been set for Season 2, but we know it’s coming in 2020.