Sex Education intimacy co-ordinator ‘understands’ criticisms of role but ‘hopes’ people ‘change their minds’

Sex Education intimacy co-ordinator ‘understands’ criticisms of role but ‘hopes’ people ‘change their minds’

The intimacy co-ordinator for Netflix’s Sex Education has responded to criticisms of the role.

Employed on film and TV sets to help ensure the consent and safety of performers while filming scenes that involve sex or nudity, intimacy co-ordinators are now commonplace across the industry.

However, a number of well-known actors and directors have criticised the practice, such as Sean Bean and Sir Ian McKellen, claiming that it interferes with the acting process.

Speaking to Radio Times, Sex Education’s lead intimacy co-ordinator David Thackeray addressed the disputes around the position.

“I totally understand. I completely get where they’re coming from,” he said. “It’s the typical thing, because when I trained as an intimacy coordinator, before it was established, the fear was that ‘is this going to really just be a bit of health and safety? Is it going to get in the way of acting, or directing? Is it going to get in the way of a process?’

“But once you’ve gone through it, once you’ve actually worked with an intimacy coordinator, and had a brilliant process where you can go, ‘Oh, I found so much more detail. I can still respect what your acting process is, I still respect your directing process, and I’m just gonna give you a couple of tools to be able to go, ‘Oh, that’s a lot easier, we’ll just do that’.”

Sex Education, which follows a teenage sex therapist played by Asa Butterfield,is note-worthy for its frequent sex scenes.

Thackeray continued: “Or, ‘Wow, with having this open communication and consent, we can go even further’. And I won’t have to be thinking about my scene partner in a way that I’m really worried about, when you’ve got an intimacy coordinator there and you’ve had that dialogue and communication.

“So for me, I think, find out what it’s about and hopefully you have a great process with a great intimacy coordinator, and hopefully you will change your mind.”

Asa Butterfield in ‘Sex Education’ (Samuel Taylor/Netflix)
Asa Butterfield in ‘Sex Education’ (Samuel Taylor/Netflix)

As well as working on Sex Education, Thackeray has also worked on series such as Heartstopper, I Hate Suzie, It’s a Sin and Industry.

The fourth and final season of Sex Education debuted on Netflix on Thursday (21 September).

In a three-star review of the series, The Independent’s Nick Hilton wrote: “The triumph of Sex Education has been making didacticism appealing. There are few shows that have pulled off a sermonising tone with such panache. The quality of the acting, writing and production put the series firmly in the middle of the televisual pack, but as a progressive voice it has been all but peerless.”