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SAG-AFTRA Issues New Rules for Sex Scenes With ‘Intimacy Coordinators’

The union announced a major milestone in its ongoing work to promote the on-set safety and dignity of its members.

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SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA on Wednesday announced new landmark on-set safety standards and guidelines for crew members who oversee scenes involving sex and nudity. The union said its goal is to thwart sexual harassment, by providing a common set of policies and practices for what it refers to as “intimacy coordinators,” to help performers and productions handle sexually sensitive scenes.

“These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions, therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work,” union President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement.

Among recommendations from SAG-AFTRA, said intimacy coordinators will:

  • Meet with the executive producer/writer and director to determine degree of nudity and specifics of simulated sex.
  • Meet one-on-one with performers prior to the rehearsal and filming of an intimate scene.
  • Ensure continued consent throughout rehearsals and filming.
  • Review nudity riders, scene content, modesty garments and barriers with performers, directors and assistant directors.
  • Verify that a final cut is consistent with contractual obligations

Alicia Rodis, Associate Director and Co-Founder, Intimacy Directors International, said: “This is a homerun for our members and the entire industry. Having Intimacy Coordinators on sets where simulated sex and other forms of intimacy are present, better protect SAG-AFTRA members and all other professionals involved in such scenes. It is our hope that this process can be widely adopted for an effective and reasonable path for productions to work with a trained intimacy coordinator. With these protocols already field-tested by an ever-growing number of productions and studios, we believe we can make important and welcome industry changes.”

Amanda Blumenthal, founder of the Intimacy Professionals Association, helped create the guidelines and said in a statement that they “strike the right balance between describing the roles and responsibilities of intimacy coordinators while still allowing for flexibility from show-to-show.”

The move is the latest of several made by SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 actors and entertainment professionals, during the #MeToo era in an attempt to fight sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct experienced by actors. They include the adoption of a code of conduct in 2018, which says, among other things, that auditions and similar professional meetings should not be held in hotel rooms or homes.

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