The role of an intimacy coordinator, at least as we recognize it today, came to prominence as part of the entertainment industry’s recocking with the #MeToo movement. According to an article by Breena Kerr in Rolling Stone, use of intimacy coordinators has become more common in film and TV productions, thanks in part to HBO and one of the co-stars of The Deuce, Emily Meade.
Meade approached network executives and asked that someone be hired to help ensure that the series’ many scenes simulating sex work were filmed in a way that ensured the physical and emotional safety of the actors. For Meade, one of the big issues was that there were many tasks she felt compelled to take on herself to make filming such scenes more comfortable, one example being that she brought her own undergarments that would allow her to give the illusion of nudity, while maintaining some modesty on set.
In bringing an intimacy coordinator onto the production, she told Rolling Stone, “It’s not the things [an intimacy coordinator does] that are so radical. It’s just having someone other than yourself to think about it […] But to have someone do it at all — the gesture of it — it helps.”
This change to the set helped cause a ripple effect that led to HBO — who had previously faced harsh criticism for Game of Thrones‘ over-reliance on sexual assault as a narrative device — mandating that all of their productions moving forward would hire intimacy coordinators. Although this shift only happened a few years ago, now that we’re seeing other shows such as Bridgerton following suit, it appears that a larger change is on the horizon.
According to fans of Bridgerton, it makes a big difference.