Intimate scenes in movies and TV shows are quite popular and have been for a while. However, creating a safe environment where the actors feel comfortable and understand the motions behind their work is important, which is why intimacy coordinators have recently become a vital role in Hollywood—but not everyone is happy about this.
Actor Sean Bean openly criticized the practice for spoiling the “spontaneity” of sex scenes after SAF-AFTRA opened membership to intimacy coordinators back in July.
Variety reported that Sean Bean told the U.K.’s Time Magazine, “It would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things. Somebody saying, ‘Do this, put your hands there, while you touch his thing…'”
'Game of Thrones'Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
The Game of Thrones actor believes that an intimacy coordinator “slows down the thrust of” a sex scene.
After realizing his poor choice of words, Bean corrected himself, saying, “It would spoil the spontaneity.”
This isn’t the first time that Bean has been critical of the role of an intimacy coordinator. During season two of Snowpiercer, Bean filmed an intimate scene with Lena Hall which involved the duo becoming intimate with the aid of a piece of fruit. Bean recalls the experience, saying, “I think they cut a bit out actually. Often the best work you do, where you’re trying to push the boundaries, and the very nature of it is experimental, gets censored when TV companies or the advertisers say it’s so much.”
Sex scenes have been toned down after years of streamy and erotic scenes. I mean, we have an entire genre revolving around sex that dominated the 90s. The truth is that the audience's appetites judge what kind of intimacy the studio believes is ideal for a scene. This censorship is what Bean is having issues with, but he apparently believes that the fault lies in the involvement of an intimacy coordinator.
“I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise,” Bean added when comparing his experience to the erotic 1993 adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
'Lady Chatterley'Credit: BBC Studios
“Lady Chatterley was spontaneous. It was a joy. [Joely Richardson and I] had a good chemistry between us, and we knew what we were doing was unusual because she was married, I was married. But we were following the story,” Bean said. “We were trying to portray the truth of what D. H. Lawrence wrote.”
Sex scenes are about mutual respect, and listening to what people are comfortable with. The best way to do this is by having someone on set who is there to encourage actors to voice what they are expecting and what their boundaries are. Not only will many actors perform better in these intimate scenes, but these scenes will hopefully live up to the expectations the audience has for a realistic, entertaining, and respectful sex scene.
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