Since we've been doing this, every time we go into a new project we come up with a lot of ideas about intimacy coordination that are far removed from what our day-to-day life is really like on the set. Let's help to dismantle some of these ideas...
It is true that one of the functions of the intimacy coordinator is to protect the consent of performers and to provide the appropriate channels of communication so that the hierarchies of power, so complex in our industry, do not affect decision-making in intimate scenes. Now, is this the only or main function of intimacy coordinators? Not at all. We are not policemen on a film set as some people think. In fact, a very creative part of our work, often unknown, is all about the choreography and narrative vision of intimate scenes, and this is probably one of the most exciting and important parts of our job.
It is often mistakenly thought that only the actresses are in a vulnerable situation during the filming of these scenes. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is true that we come from a tradition in the audiovisual industry where female bodies are usually objectified, but during the filming of intimate scenes, all performers, regardless of their gender, can feel an important vulnerability. ICs we do not make any difference with respect to the gender of the performers when approaching these sequences. An example of this is that very often in scenes of sexual violence it is the actors who play the aggressor who need the most attention due to the great impact on the body of performing sexual violence against other partners.
We could develop this idea infinitely, as it is one of the most common comments about our work, but isn't it somewhat contradictory to accuse of puritanism a profession that is dedicated exclusively to the representation of sexuality and intimacy? The reality is that those of us who do this are passionate about intimate scenes and believe in intimacy as an immense narrative opportunity. We spend our days practising simulated sex positions for our fiction, watching intimate scenes from films or ethical porn, learning about sexual diversity... So no, confusing consent with puritanism is a huge mistake. If intimacy coordination belongs to any kind of movement, it would be more like a sex-positive wave.
We know, because we see it every day in our work, that intimate choreography offers an immense expressive potential that can greatly enrich our stories and turn a script annotation into infinite narrative possibilities. When we speak of choreography, we speak of a route to follow, of a guide that frames the encounter of bodies in fiction, providing limits that, if well understood, offer much more creative freedom than emptiness. The vulnerability that exists in intimate encounters has the potential to bring to light perhaps the most hidden traits of the characters, to discover unexplored power dynamics, to tell the unsaid with details, caresses, rhythms... And intimacy coordination proposes all these questions to the scenes, giving the time and space for the bodies of the actors to find a way to approach them, overcoming the anxiety, discomfort, nervousness, fear... that usually awakened these scenes and made their execution difficult.