"We want to know your 'no'. We want to know what's not suitable for you as a person, and we can work creatively with an actor with your agreement and consent and help the production. When we work from a clear 'yes' from the actors, it'll be a way better sex scene because the actor can be free, they can be open, which you can see from the scenes in Sex Education."
Intimacy co-ordinators like O'Brien are also skilled to choreograph the intimate content - that could involve where camera angles might go or where legs are placed.
"We have an understanding of physicality, body movements and anatomy, and of an actor's process and how they can serve the script," she said.
Ideally, O'Brien would be able to have time during rehearsals to go through the process, but she has found that "old school people" are still resistant to what she brings.
"They have short shrift for the work and don't really understand or want to understand. It's very frustrating when productions are calling us in and wanting the role there, but then I come up against resistance of actually implementing the work on set.
"One of the misunderstood parts of my job is what we take up too much time or we're taking something away from the director."
O'Brien said all she was asking for on set was 10 or 15 minutes to rehearse the intimate content.
"And then once you get in front of the camera, your actors can be free because they know they can trust where they're going to be touched and where they're touching their fellow actor," she said.
She said when she was not given the time to rehearse, it often made for an awkward scene.
"If the choreography isn't there, the audience will say (it) doesn't look real," she said.
"I had a situation the other day where, by the third scene, the director gave me no time to work with the actor. I went away thinking that scene isn't going to read.
"Very often the director is challenged because they have a whole lot of things to get through, but it's mad to skip that bit when you know that scene isn't going to be the scene it could be if they had allowed us to bring in our skills and support them."
Still, O'Brien said that despite the regressive forces, the industry was changing. She said she had worked on many productions in 2019 and been "rushed off her feet".
The company she founded, Intimacy on Set, counts three intimacy co-ordinators in training in Australia including dancer Chloe Dallimore and actor Michala Banas.
O'Brien added that Sex Education, filmed in Wales and starring Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield and Ncuti Gatwa, had been a joy to work on and hoped it would become a model for how productions can work with intimacy co-ordinators, especially when there are young actors involved.
"It's exploring so many different aspects of our lovemaking, not just for young people but for us as a whole," she said.
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