While sex scenes may seem romantic and well-played on screen, they’re not all that sexy behind the scenes.
But, of course, there are times during filming when things can go awry and an accident can happen — including when an actor gets physically aroused during a simulated sex scene.
In fact, when shooting love scenes, arousal is very normal, as the actors “are going through the physical and the mind, so yeah, it happens,” intimacy coordinator David Thackeray recently told Insider.
Thackeray added that a “time-out” is called for the stars to collect themselves, and coordinators must also make sure the actors’ needs are met.
“Just making it really clear that’s normal and that the worst thing you can do is carry on,” he revealed, adding that coordinators should be clear that, “Hey, this can happen.”
Intimacy coordinators are the ones who keep love scenes running smoothly on set and help choreograph sex movements and intimate action, as well as help make the actors feel comfortable during awkward scenes.
Thackeray — who has worked on projects for studios such as Netflix, Warner Bros. and HBO — explained that there are certain protocols, including a “time-out,” for when cast members get a bit too…excited.
“Give them five minutes, then I come in and check-in,” he said. “Then we come back into it when they’re ready.”
“The worst thing we can do is gawk or make it a massive deal,” he continued. “I will say for the crew as well, making sure they’re aware of what scene is being shot, what nudity is gonna be seen. You don’t want them to be surprised.”
Coordinators also advise cast and crew on the possibility of the players becoming sexually aroused and being present for anyone who feels uncomfortable.
Intimacy coordinators play a big role in steamy romance dramas, such as Netflix’s “Bridgerton.”
Phoebe Dynevor stars as Daphne Bridgerton on the Shonda Rhimes-helmed series. The 25-year-old revealed to Glamour last year that an intimacy coordinator helped her with the many saucy, NSFW scenes she had with co-star Regé-Jean Page, who played love interest Simon Basset.
“We did the intimate scenes like stunts — we blocked them out, so you have yoga balls, in between you and all sorts of things that never make you feel exposed in any way,” the “Younger” actress said, adding that the scenes weren’t as effortless as they appear on the screen.
“I’d rehearse with Regé so much that we both knew what we were doing. It felt very practical. But on my own, it’s a different thing,” she said about their sex scenes together. “The stage directions are very specific: You have to have an orgasm. It’s a difficult thing to rehearse, which means you don’t. You just do it.”
She then underscored the value of an intimacy coordinator by noting that if they hadn’t used one, it would have been the male director telling her what to do.
“No one wants to be told how to orgasm by a man,” she said.