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Sex Education — the British teen comedy-drama that debuted on Netflix in 2019 — has gone on to receive both critical acclaim and audience adulation. Approaching sex, romance, friendship, parent-child relationships, and more with sincerity and humor, the show is — in equal parts — a revelatory review of misinformed high schoolers and a “raucous romp,” as the Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus suggests. 

Asa Butterfield of Sex Education
Asa Butterfield arrives at the HFPA & InStyle’s 2014 TIFF Celebration | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

With the recent release of season two, fans of the first season are approaching — if they have not already reached — the conclusion of the eight-episode season. And, with another school year on the table, our castmembers continue aging. And, let’s just say that, while those on the show are portraying high schoolers, they have surpassed the woes tied to puberty and raging hormone discovery in real life. 

As for the lead character, Otis, Asa Butterfield is giving one convincing performance. Butterfield is known for his work in the teen dystopian / fantasy landscape, and he has frequently been that young boy who gets into trouble and discovers the world is….you get the idea. However, the question is: is he too old to be playing a teenager? How old is Asa Butterfield?

How Old is Asa Butterfield, and how old is his character, Otis, in ‘Sex Education?’

In season two of Sex Education, Otis is 16 years old — a fact he reminds his mother (and the audience) when she tries to send him to his room for misbehaving. So, just how far apart in age are Otis and Butterfield? Asa Butterfield is 22 years old, making him six years older than his character on the show. 

While Butterfield is substantially older than his character, casting full-grown adults as high school students has been a common Tinseltown trend for ages. Remember Rizzo from Grease? Stockard Channing — the amazing actress behind “There Are Worse Things I Could Do —” played the true-to-herself Rizzo when she was 33 years old, making her one of the oldest cast members in the movie. And, looking at the rest of the cast of Sex Education, it looks like this trend continues growing strong in the showbiz industry. 

Diving into the castmembers’ ages in Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’ 

Asa Butterfield isn’t the only Sex Education star pretending to be a lot younger. Looking at the main cast members, most of the actors are in their early 20s; however, some are closer to 30!

Emma Mackey, the actress behind Maeve, is 24 years old, while Connor Swindells, the actor behind former bully Adam Groff, is 23. Patricia Allison, the actress behind Otis’ love interest Ola, is 25 years old. However, Ncuti Gatwa beats them all. Gatwa portrays Otis’ best friend Eric, who is also in the same grade. Meaning, Gatwa, at 27 years old, is over a decade older than his character in Sex Education. 

So, if you’re a teenager who has been watching the show — and wondering why you may not look as mature as the leads — it’s probably because they’re about ten years older than you are.