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Sex scenes in films get new anti-harassment guidelines

Intimacy co-ordinators will now be on hand to monitor physical barriers

New guidelines for sex scenes in films have been released in an attempt to prevent sexual harrassment on set, in response to the #MeToo movement.

Intimacy co-ordinators are now required to have one-on-one meetings with cast members to discern the exact level of nudity and contact before filming, according to a series of rules released by The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

“Under the guidelines, intimacy coordinators should have pre-production meetings with producers, directors, and writers to establish the exact degrees of nudity expected, and the specifics of simulated sex as established in scripts,” Gabrielle Carteris, the president of SAG-AFTRA, said in a statement.

She added: “These protocols and guidelines will help to normalise and encourage the use of intimacy co-ordinators in productions, therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work.”

The Intimacy Professionals Association, who defines itself as the first agency in the world to solely specialise in representing intimacy professionals, welcomed the new guidelines. Its founder, Amanda Blumenthal, said that the guidelines “strike the right balance between describing the roles and responsibilities of intimacy co-ordinators while still allowing for flexibility from show-to-show”.

“I’m excited about the release of SAG-AFTRA’s guidelines for intimacy coordination,” she continued, “because I think it signals to the industry just how important it is to do what we can to make sets safer and to protect performers”.

One show ahead of the game when it comes to ensuring the safety and comfort of its actors is Netflix’s Sex Education, where intimacy co-ordinators have been on set since 2019’s first season. Speaking to Dazed earlier this month, Emma Mackey, who plays Maeve Wiley, said: “It’s such a relief to have that kind of person accompanying you in this kind of show because then we’re able to feel really empowered afterwards.” Patricia Allison (Ola Nyman) added: “You never have a fight scene without a fight director, so why would you have a sex scene without a sex director?”

Read our piece on the most transgressive sex on screen here.