Intimacy is a word that has been thrown around a lot lately, and it means different things to different people. It’s not only sex or nudity. It’s a wide range of expressions, from something as subtle as conversation or eye contact to hugging, kissing and explicit sexual acts. It’s the physical or emotional closeness between people or just with yourself.
Intimacy can be a beautiful form of self-expression, and it can be part of your storytelling vocabulary. These days, almost every movie, series, and many other media types include intimate scenes. However, it comes with some challenges. For example, the director might not know how to choreograph staged sex or how to discuss actors’ boundaries. Some actors might be scared to say “no” to the director, leading them to consent to the things they don’t want to do.
To resolve these and many other challenges, mainstream cinema created the role of Intimacy Coordinator. In short, an IC is a specialised person who is competent in working with intimacy on screen.
While this role has been maturing in the arena of mainstream cinema and theatre, pornography has been excluded. At the end of the day, porn presents very intimate scenes. I don’t know if it gets any more intimate than real sex. The role of IC was created to ensure the professional treatment of people who are involved in the production of intimate scenes. In porn, we work with people, and like any other human being, they deserve respect, professionalism and a safe work environment. I said it many times and will say it again. Sweeping pornography under the rug,
and making it illegal won’t resolve any issue, it will make things worse, and it will put people who work in the industry in danger. So instead of turning our heads away, we should lean into it and seek ways to create a work environment that is ethical.



Sweeping pornography under the rug and making it illegal won’t resolve any issue.

Izzy, Intimacy Coordinator

There is no doubt that producing an entire pornographic film or just a short intimate scene is full of challenges. Dealing with intimacy in real life is already hard, and now imagine trying to produce ethically an entire film that is about pleasure and real sex. Having a person on a set, who knows how to navigate this challenging area, is a must. An Intimacy Coordinator on Adult Film Sets it’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Let’s look at two examples of shoots where something went wrong.
A production company is planning a shoot, and they booked two performers for a sex scene. On the day of the shoot, the producer goes quickly through the acts that performers are expected to do. There is no other preparation. The shoot starts. Suddenly, during the sex scene, one of the performers slaps the co-performer, sometimes on the buttocks and other times on the face. The slaps are not too extreme, but they have happened without the permission of the performer who
was being slapped. Another example is when the director, on the day of the shoot, comes up with a new and unexpected scene to add to what has already been discussed. The performers are surprised by the request and uncomfortable with the last minute changes, but they agree to proceed because it doesn’t seem like there is any other option. These two short scenarios present issues that are not that uncommon when it comes to producing intimate scenes, regardless of the film genre.




In the first case, there was no clear communication about expectations or boundaries. Effective communication is not easy to accomplish. It takes time, patience and curiosity about another person. Communication accounts for many different elements like the choice of words, tone of voice, active listening, and speakers’ gestures or facial expressions. There is no one recipe that would fit everyone, and more often than not, the amount of interest we are willing to have in a conversed topic influences the quality of the conversation. Way before the shoot day starts, the IC must have an in-depth discussion with the director and the performers. Since they are trained in communication and mediation, they will be able to clarify expectations from the production side and establish boundaries and comfort levels for the performers. The proper preparation is the key, and the IC knows it. During the shoot day, the IC should be on the set observing if everything is happening, as discussed earlier. Their presence will contribute to a frictionless
process. In the second scenario, we are witnessing unequal distribution of power. The director holds specific power on set. She can’t give it away. But just because the director is in a position of a higher power, it doesn’t mean that everything needs to happen as she pleases. Generally speaking, an unequal power dynamic is not necessarily bad. Still, it depends on how the power is used and in this specific case, the power wasn’t exercised correctly.

By having a trained IC, the production company gives power to performers. This facilitates understanding of one’s rights and allows performers to express their boundaries and concerns easily. It’s important to understand that the Intimacy Coordinator for adult film sets isn’t there to replace or diminish the director’s role. Instead, they mediate between performer and director, ensuring a healthy and
professional relationship between the two. At the end of the day, if the performers do their job with joy and the feeling of safety, it will show on the camera, and this will influence also how the viewers feel about the film.


So how do we do it? We train a new type of Intimacy Coordinator who will know how to work with real sex scenarios. We teach them the practical skills of communication, critical thinking and problem-solving. We provide them with knowledge and a mindset that helps them navigate through the challenging landscape of the production of intimate scenes. It’s a truly interdisciplinary role that favours a human-centric approach. We need to remember that porn
shows intimacy in a different way than mainstream film does. Not better or worse, but different. And so, the approach of IC needs to be different too.
This role is also important for the destigmatisation of the industry. For ages, pornographers, performers and anyone working in the production of adult media were shamed for what they do. It was easy to turn the heads away and let the injustice run its course. By welcoming Intimacy Coordinators to adult film sets, we are opening our doors to the right and professional treatment on set. We say “yes” to learning and improving. We – the adult media industry – say “yes” to the
ethical production of porn. We show that sex is not something we should be ashamed of. It’s a beautiful form of self-expression, and it deserves the right approach.

—-
Written by: Izzy, founder of RedCheeks.org
If you enjoyed this article and you are interested in becoming an Intimacy Coordinator for Adult
Film Sets check academy.redcheeks.org. You can also email me with your questions at
izabela@redcheeks.org, it would be great to hear from you.


In August we are running our first five weeks long, online workshop. And since it’s the first time
we do it we’re offering it for a reduced price and we increased the number of scholarships that
we can award for every class. More info about scholarships and how to apply here.

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