Making Sex Scenes Nonthreatening, Natural; Cue the ‘Intimacy Coordinator’

Labor News, Industry News

O’Brien during the workshop in Sydney. Credit Dean Sewell for The New York Times

Reprinted from The New York Times by Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore on January 22, 2019.

In the soft afternoon light, men and women huddle in groups, their images reflected in floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Some kiss. Some fondle one another. Some touch fingertips, tension sizzling.

This isn’t a nightclub or an orgy. The men and women are actors. And they’re taking part in an “intimacy workshop” — part of a growing trend to carve out safe spaces in the theater and film industries.

At the helm is Ita O’Brien, a London-based “intimacy coordinator.” A former dancer and director, she — along with other intimacy coordinators and specialized stunt people — is emerging as a powerful influence in an industry grappling with the fallout of #MeToo. …

NY Times 1/22

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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