What Is an Intimacy Coordinator, and How Are They Making Sex Scenes Look More Realistic?

Photo Courtesy: Hulu

Like Winona Ryder, I too performed the 2020 spring-lockdown rite of passage of watching Hulu’s Normal People. I was awed by the rawness and realism in the miniseries’ sex scenes.

With Normal People came an awareness of other recent titles giving a verisimilar approach to their intimate content. I’m talking about Sex Education, Bridgerton and Gentleman Jack. This new treatment of sexual content reminded me of the infamous wedding episode in season one of Outlander and how it had been praised for its manifestation of the female gaze.

Shows like Normal People and I May Destroy You aren’t shying away from period sex, loss of virginity with some discomfort and consent as a continuous concept. But navigating these sensitive scenes with the level of nuance they need can require some special consideration. At the forefront of these scenes are their creators, writers and directors, of course. But there are also professionals called intimacy coordinators making sure there are proper procedures established on sets so that simulated sex can be captured and shown on the screen in the safest way.