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Sex Education star Gillian Anderson invites women to tell her their fantasies

The 54-year-old actress, who plays a sex therapist in the Netflix series, said she is trying to figure out if women are still the ‘silent sex’.

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Gillian Anderson

Sex Education actress Gillian Anderson is calling on women to send her their stories for a book she is curating about female sexual fantasies.

The 54-year-old actress, who plays a sex therapist called Jean Milburn in the hit Netflix series, will publish a selection of these testimonies, sent to her and addressed “Dear Gillian”, anonymously.

They will appear in a book based on female liberation author Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies, which the actress read to prepare for her role in Sex Education.

The 1973 book was published during the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and became a cult hit.

Sex Education Season Two World Premiere – London
Sex Education stars Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey and Ncuti Gatwa (Ian West/PA)

Anderson said: “As women, we know that sex is about more than just sex but so many of us don’t talk about it. Our deepest, most intimate fears and fantasies remain locked away inside of us, until someone comes along with the key.

“Here is the key. I want to hear from you. This will be an anonymous, revelatory book compiling your letters to me to explore how women think about sex.

“Because when we talk about sex, we talk about womanhood and motherhood, infidelity and exploitation, consent and respect, fairness and egalitarianism, love and hate, pleasure and pain.”

Sex Education, which has run for three series, follows the son of Anderson’s character – socially awkward high school student Otis, played by The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas star Asa Butterfield – as he navigates sex and relationships with his friends, Maeve (Emma Mackey) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa).

The show has led to breakthroughs for Gatwa, who will play the 15th Doctor in the next series of Doctor Who, and Mackey, who has since taken on the role of Emily Bronte in 2022 film Emily.

Anderson wrote in a piece for the Guardian on Wednesday that the comedy-drama has been “freeing” for audiences because characters who “struggle with their sexual relations” are shown as being “brave enough to talk about it”.

However, she said there has been an expectation since the show became a hit that people will share their “sexual problems or fantasies” with her, but this has not happened.

She wrote: “What struck me… was the strong note of sexual frustration that many of these women in the ’70s expressed.”

She added: “Are women still the silent sex? I suppose that is one of the things we’re going to find out.”

Anderson said she is looking for “fantasies, frustrations, explorations, the forbidden, childhood, sounds, fetishes, guilt, insatiability”, and her invitation is open to both women and people who identify as women.

Anderson has had a long career in film and TV, which has also included playing Margaret Thatcher in the Netflix series The Crown, a role for which she picked up both Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Television Awards in 2021, and 2000’s The House Of Mirth.

She also is well known as one half of the investigating duo Mulder and Scully in the science fiction series The X-Files in which she played Dana Scully opposite David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder.

– Stories sent to Anderson at before midnight on February 28 could be included in her book, provisionally titled Dear Gillian, which will be released by Bloomsbury Publishing, and will be kept anonymous.

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