Sex Scenes on Set: HOW TO BE SAFE!
Updated: Dec 27, 2020
We had an 'Intimacy' class at my Drama School.
I could not recommend this highly enough.
- if you're new to the industry and you have no leverage, you might not know what your rights are, what's normal in the industry and what is not- what is not okay. And even though you may have an agent, a manager and a loving supportive family, YOU have to stand up for yourself, YOU have to take care of yourself on set. You're a professional, this is your job and you must be safe so that you can be employed again and often. Just like you would if it were a stunt: If you're asked to do a stunt and you're not sure it's safe you can ask someone in the crew to demonstrate it for you. You would do this because if you break something or hurt yourself, you'll be out of work! Same with intimacy; this is a very serious matter, and must be handled as such.
- Intimacy Coordinator is the title (at least in the UK) of the person who works with actors and director to make the work safe.
- every individual has intimacy/sex/kisses in slightly different ways. Think about rhythms, positions, kinks, reactions to touch, etc, we are all different. That's why it's SO IMPORTANT that if you have a character that has an intimacy scene, that you create your character's way of having sex. Nobody wants to see you we all want to see the character. Same goes to walking, eating, reacting, speaking. We don't want to see you walk, eat, react, speak- we want to see the character doing those things and they can be very different to the way you do those things!
Each country/state should have its own rules.
At Ita O'Brien's class, we were taught amongst many, many things, that:
- its ok to ask for a skeleton crew, aka have the minimum amount of people present on set.
- in your contract you discuss what amount of nudity you're okay with. Yes your agent would have to decide with you if it's for example; 1/3 of the right nipple or no nipple showing at all.
- if you have said 'no nipples', you can wear something to cover your nipples so that even if the camera 'slips' they won't be able to use that shot or they'll have to cut just before the nipple would've been shown. It's a way of being extra sure that the production will respect/honour your contract (which it always should! It's just that ... well you can be extra safe).
- a love scene is a choreography. THERE IS NO IMPROV IN INTIMACY SCENES. They are carefully choreographed so that the actor's brain knows exactly what they're doing, they will not be taken by surprise- because that would unprofessional and NOT OKAY.
- always check-in with your partner, see if they are okay, check in with yourself. Be vocal if you need time or if something's happening to you.
These were just the basic pointers please follow/contact ITA O'BRIEN for more information.
As ever, break all legs, stay safe out there and super positive. YOU GOT THIS!!!!