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  • Yarit Dor

Staging Sex: Beyond Just A Barrier

Choreographing simulated sex doesn't start and end in just putting a barrier in a performer's modesty garment or just by placing an external barrier between the performers. Why? Well, let's first look at what a barrier is:

The aim of a barrier is to help desensitise the area and provide a physical layer of separation between private areas. A Garment Barrier is a padded layer placed inside a modesty garment. This can be made out of silicone, foam, neoprene etc.. An External Barrier is a layer of matting placed between performers.

Whenever possible we aim to use a 3 barrier layer system.* This depends on what the shot shows (screen practice) or what can the audience see (stage practice).

But is just using barriers enough?

My answer is no. There are specific intimacy choreography techniques and safety concepts that we use when crafting simulated sex positions for camera or for stage. Many of these originate from stage combat and other methods of physical illusion. These rely on good understanding of anatomy in motion as well as knowing how to block it correctly for stage or for the camera. A fully trained intimacy professional learns these tools in their in-person intimacy choreography module as part of their certification programme. This is why online only training is not sufficient in my opinion.

Safety Concepts = transferable concepts that can be applied to various physical actions. During the training, the intimacy professional learns which safety concepts they can layer into the simulated sex position depending on the action itself, the performer's body, the performer's movement ability and where the audience or the camera is. We always aspire to use more than one safety concept when choreographing simulated sex.

Intimacy Choreography Techniques = the physical positioning and performance tools used by the intimacy coordinator/intimacy director to craft intimacy storytelling.

* for more information on barriers and modesty garments see my article in the Journal of Consent-Based Performance, Issue 1 :

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