What is an Intimacy Professional?
Intimacy professionals for TV and film are experts on topics related to intimate material, including but not limited to sexuality, gender, relationships, and sex work. They are adept at telling the story of intimate moments on screen while keeping actors safe in the process. Intimacy professionals include intimacy coordinators, trans consultants, topic expert consultants, choreographers, and performers. IPA is a network of knowledgeable intimacy professionals that promotes safe, high-quality work on topics of intimacy.
Intimacy Professionals Association (IPA) was founded to bring together experienced intimacy professionals in the television and film industry who share the vision of creating intimate content that is produced safely, ethically, and with authenticity in mind.
The work of an actor can be dangerous at times, and on many levels. Whenever an actor is asked to do something that could be physically dangerous, a stunt coordinator is brought in to walk them through the movement and make sure the stunt is done safely. The need for such a position is immediately obvious to anyone watching because physical injuries are apparent to the naked eye; we all know and can see that a sprained ankle is painful and debilitating.
Unfortunately, the mental and emotional safety of actors has not been taken as seriously as their physical safety over the years; psychological wounds cannot be seen, but that does not mean they are not real or less painful. When performing in scenes of intimacy, actors are in a very vulnerable place. Due to the power dynamics that exist on sets—whether that be between an actor and a director, executive producers, or a screen partner that is a celebrity—actors can be put in compromising positions that are ripe for boundaries being pushed too far or crossed completely. When this happens, actors can be traumatized, or previously experienced trauma can be re-triggered, both of which can cause intense psychological pain. Such situations are harmful not only to the actors, but to the production as well as they can lead to poor performance from the actors or even a shut down of production if an actor refuses to continue a scene.
So how does one protect the emotional and psychological well-being of one’s actors? By having an intimacy coordinator present on set during scenes of intimacy. Intimacy coordinators (IC’s) are present through the whole process of making intimate scenes—from prep to shooting to post—to ensure that the actors are safe and that their boundaries are respected. IPA-trained intimacy coordinators receive extensive training in IC protocols, trauma and sensitivity training, consent, conflict negotiation skills, sexuality education, and more.
No actor should ever have to perform an intimate scene under duress. Historically it has not been uncommon for an actor to feel pressured to do more than the terms laid out in their nudity rider for fear of being fired or branded as being “difficult.” Intimacy coordinators ensure that content is being produced ethically by obtaining informed consent from actors regarding the level of nudity and simulated sex that characters will be engaging in. No actor is ever forced or pressured into doing something that makes them feel unsafe.
IPA members help to make sure scenes of intimacy and stories involving LGBTQIA+ (which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and other identities) characters or characters who are involved in an intimacy-related field (such as sex work or erotic dancing) are being told authentically. Working with an IPA member can help to not only make scenes look more real, but also make sure the production is accurately portraying the groups or communities being shown on screen.
IPA members are highly trained and experienced intimacy professionals.
Scroll down to learn more about what IPA members can do for your production.
An intimacy coordinator (IC) ensures that the process of filming intimate scenes goes smoothly, both behind the camera and on the screen. Intimacy coordinators ensure that actors are safe on set during the filming of simulated sex, nudity, and other intimate scenes while still bringing the director’s creative vision to life and telling the story.
IPA trans consultants are people who identify as transgender and have lived experience as to what it’s like to be trans in our society. Trans consultants are available to consult on scripts, act as an advocate on set for trans and LGBTQIA+ talent, and more.
expert INtimacy consultants
IPA is home to experts on a variety of topics that include kink, BDSM, polyamory, ethical non-monogamy, swinging, and sex coaching. Our expert consultants are available to read scripts and provide feedback on authenticity, as well as to provide workshops to actors on specific skill sets.
For scenes involving specialized forms of dance, such as burlesque or pole dancing, IPA can connect productions with choreographers whose expertise is in erotic forms of dance.
Members of IPA don’t just work behind the scenes; they include pole dancers, burlesque performers, exotic dancers, and more.
Learn more about the services our members provide here.
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