Episode 152: The Rise of Intimacy Coordinators
December 9, 2022 by Justin Lehmiller
Sex scenes are common in movies and on TV, but have you ever stopped to think about everything that goes into bringing one of those scenes to life? It’s a unique situation, and it puts the actors in a highly vulnerable position. For example, what if your scene partner goes off script and does something that you did not previously consent to? Or what if the director asks you to do something you aren’t comfortable with? In the past, issues like these weren’t given a lot of consideration, but that has all changed with the rise of intimacy coordinators. These are the folks who work to carefully choreograph sexual and intimate scenes to ensure respect and safety for the performers.
This is the first episode in a two-part series all about what it takes to coordinate sex on screen. I am joined by Marci Liroff, who has worked as a casting director, producer, and acting coach for more than 40 years. Her extensive credits span more than 60 films and television series. In 2019, she completed an extensive training course and is now a Certified Intimacy Coordinator.
Today, our conversation focuses on the evolution of on-screen sex scenes and the rise of intimacy coordinators. Some of the topics we discuss are:
- What are the power dynamics like on set, and how does this influence actors’ ability to advocate for themselves?
- How were sex scenes typically navigated before intimacy coordinators?
- When did intimacy coordinators first come onto the scene and what prompted studios to start hiring them?
- What are some of the things that people get wrong about intimacy coordinators, and how do we make production teams more receptive to the idea of bringing them on board?
- What is the certification process like to become an intimacy coordinator?
- Do intimacy coordinators have specializations? Or, do they need to be prepared for virtually any intimate scenario?
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Credits: Precision Podcasting (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.
Dr. Justin LehmillerFounder & Owner of Sex and Psychology
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.Read full bio >