By Siobhan Hegarty
In the last few years, high-profile actors, including GoT's Emilia Clarke and Frida star Salma Hayek, have said they were pressured (in Clarke's situation) or threatened (in Hayek's) to expose their bodies and partake in gratuitous simulated sex scenes.
And this doesn't just affect the actors involved. It can warp audience's perspectives of the realities of sex and consent.
That's something intimacy coordinator Ita O'Brien is fighting to change.
"With the intimate content, it's your personal and private body that's at play," she points out.
"An injury can go from purely physical, to emotional and psychological — when someone's body has been handled and touched in a way that is not suitable for that person and is not within their agreement and consent."
O'Brien likens her role to a stunt coordinator — only she applies choreography and a consent-based framework to sexual content and nudity, rather than action sequences.
Some of her most recent work can be seen on Normal People, the BBC and Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney's 2018 book of the same name, which focusses on a teen romance in Ireland. (And involves quite a bit of sex.)
"There's a scene in episode two, the first time making love, and for Marianne it's her experience of losing her virginity. That scene took all day, so I'm not saying that by choreographing a scene you're not going to make it exhausting.
"But the intimacy coordination work is about everybody being in agreement and consent ... and absolutely every detail serving character, serving storytelling."
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