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About Intimacy Professionals

What is an Intimacy Professional?

An Intimacy Professional is an umbrella term for someone who uses consent-based methods to craft scenes of intimacy (including but not limited to familial, romantic, traumatic, and professional intimacy) and nudity within the arts and entertainment industry. An Intimacy Professional may describe any number of artists who work as part of an Intimacy Department including Intimacy Coordinators, Directors, Assistants, Choreographers, or Consultants.

What are the different types of Intimacy Professionals?

Intimacy Coordinator: A fully trained Intimacy Professional who works on digital media including film and TV, audio recordings, and video games from pre through post-production.

Intimacy Director: A fully trained Intimacy Professional who works on live performances including theater, dance, improv, burlesque, opera, and circus throughout the pre-production and rehearsal process.

Intimacy Choreographer: A fully trained Intimacy Professional who only choreographs scenes of intimacy for theater and live performances without doing the other duties of an Intimacy Director.

Intimacy Assistant: An assistant to an Intimacy Coordinator or Intimacy Director who is typically in training to become an Intimacy Professional.

Intimacy Consultant: A fully trained intimacy professional who works with filmmakers, theatermakers, and other artists during pre-production to clarify what is needed for a project based on the script and meetings with Production staff.

Intimacy Captain: A designated professional who is familiar with the intimacy choreography of a live performance and who is responsible for running the intimacy call before shows.

What qualifications should an Intimacy Professional Have?

Ready my blog post What Qualifications Should an Intimacy Coordinator Have?

Always check any union guidelines your production might be subject to as qualification requirements can very.

SAG•AFTRA Intimacy Coordinator Requirements
Recommended Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators
“Consent training; Anti-harassment/anti-sexual harassment training; Movement coaching and masking techniques; Proper use of modesty garments and barriers; Mediation or conflict resolution training; Gender identity & sexual orientation training; Anti-racist/EDI training; Bystander intervention; and Mental health first aid, trauma stewardship, or related training”
Intimacy Coordinators must have a state and federal background check
Intimacy Coordinators must also have “experience and an ability to adapt and implement the role’s responsibilities, functions and protocols on a variety of sets.”

ACTRA Intimacy Coordinator Requirements
BEST PRACTICES for Scenes Involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sex and Sexual Violence
“Sexual health safety; Consent; Mental health first aid; Closed set protocols; Movement and choreography; Modesty garments, barriers and other tools; Riders and contracts; Union agreements and guidelines; Harassment laws and resources”

BECTU Intimacy Coordinator Requirements
BECTU Guidelines For Shooting Intimacy
“Movement coaching & intimacy choreography for screen practice; Masking techniques for camera; Use of modesty garments, barriers and other intimacy equipment; Working with artists, directors and other departments in all stages of casting and production; Closed Set Protocols; Nudity & Simulated Sex Riders/Waivers; Contracts, Union Agreements & Guidelines; UK law & resources on consent and harassment; Sexual harassment, harassment & bullying awareness training; Creative Industries Safety Passport; Mental Health First Aid; Trauma Awareness or Trauma Informed Practice; Working with minors in the entertainment industry; Power dynamics in the filming industry; LGBTQIA+/Gender awareness training; Disability awareness training; Unconscious bias training; Equality, diversity & inclusion training; Communication & mediation/conflict resolution; Leadership & management training
An Intimacy Coordinator should have Basic DBS Check showing no sexual or safeguarding criminal record.”

Are Intimacy Professionals required to be certified?

No, an Intimacy Coordinator or Intimacy Director certification is not required by any union to work as an intimacy professional.

To read The Certification Question by Chelsea Pace click here

To read Identifying Growing Pains in a Rapidly Expanding Field by Acacia DëQueer and Kristina Valentine click here

To learn more about Acacia DëQueer’s qualifications click here

Do Intimacy Professionals work on real sex scenes?

No, Intimacy Professionals do not typically work on what American society would consider “real sex scenes.” Intimacy Professionals choreograph scenes of intimacy using masking techniques, modesty garments, and intimacy barriers to make a simulated sex scene look real.

However, many acts of intimacy that a performer might be asked to do are not simulated, such as kissing, intimate touching, or nudity. These actions can be masked, but many performers and productions opt to depict real moments of intimacy instead. In these instances, Intimacy Professionals are choreographing real intimacy.

Many productions mistakingly believe it is unnecessary to bring on an Intimacy Professional for scenes of kissing or other types of intimate touching not traditionally associated with “real sex.” However, kissing scenes have some of the highest risks because of the potential for fluid exchange and emotional bleed off. Ensure you are protecting yourself and your actors by always bringing on a qualified Intimacy Professional to facilitate these scenes.

It is also important to note that some Intimacy Professionals do choose to use their skills in consent, choreography, and harm reduction within the porn industry. This is typically considered a different role entirely, but there is a considerable amount of crossover between the two industries.

Can an Intimacy Professional create Nudity Riders?

An intimacy professional can draft the layperson terms of a nudity rider to ensure the actors’ boundaries and director’s vision is accurately and thoroughly conveyed. However, an intimacy professional cannot write the legal aspects of the nudity rider and cannot give legal advice or council. It is always important to consult an attorney to reduce liability.

To learn more about nudity riders check out the National Society of Intimacy Professional’s Riders + Intimacy Factsheet

What equipment does an Intimacy Professional Provide?
What is an Intimacy Barrier or Modesty Garment?

An Intimacy Barrier is a piece of equipment worn by actors to protect the genitals and prevent unwanted contact or fluid exchange. Intimacy barriers come in a variety of forms including garments, external barriers, and inserts.

A Modesty Garment is a peace of clothing worn to prevent full nudity.

To read Tools of the Trade: Reflections on Modesty Garments & Barriers by Yarit Dor click here

For Directors & Producers

When is the best time to hire the Intimacy Department?

The best time to hire an Intimacy Department (Intimacy Coordinators/Intimacy Directors and Intimacy Assistants) is before casting performers. Offering clear casting notices and communicating reporting pathways helps ensure the entire production process is rooted in consent-based practices and demonstrates to performers a production’s commitment to harm reduction and care.

Please note: Acacia DëQueer does not accept last minute jobs. Acacia needs a minimum of 1 week for pre-production per scene. Typically productions require at least 2 – 6 months of preparation depending on the needs of the project.

What is a production paying for when they hire an Intimacy Department?

Training & Education; Pre-Production: casting breakdown, layperson terms for nudity riders, meetings, rehearsals, intimacy breakdown and risk assessment, research and planning, intimacy coordinator kit, intimacy barriers, resources; Production; intimacy coordinator kit, intimacy barriers, choreography and movement coaching, risk-reduction, mental health first aid, liability, resources; Post-Production: Post-Production intimacy meeting, follow-up check-ins, ADR; Intimacy Coordinator Kit

How can Intimacy Professionals help productions save money?

Intimacy Coordinators save production money by using consent-based methods to help scenes of intimacy run smoothly, reducing the time needed on set and the potential overtime or legal fees needed to pay cast and crew members if any number of potential risks occur.

Why employ a full Intimacy Department instead of an individual Intimacy Professional?

Hiring an entire Intimacy Department (consisting of multiple Intimacy Professionals) has a myriad of benefits including:

Saving Time
By employing a full Intimacy Department, productions save time because Intimacy Professionals can work simultaneously on multiple scenes of intimacy, be on set and at the circus, or help multiple actors and members of the production team. The time needed for pre-production is significantly reduced as well, with depth of preparation and research greatly improved. It also becomes more efficient to choreograph safe, dynamic choreography within the actors boundaries.

Reducing Risks
Employing a full Intimacy Department reduces risks by establishing multiple points of contact for cast and crew members to connect with. This distributes responsibilities and allows individual Intimacy Professionals to better support their coworkers. It also gives cast and crew members opportunities to have sensitive conversations with whoever they feel most comfortable with which can be important when providing trauma and culturally-informed care.
A fully staffed Intimacy Department will significantly increasing the experience, expertise, and capabilities of the Intimacy Department as well. Balancing the skills and experiences of individual Intimacy Professionals within the Department with the needs of the production will help all the safety needs of a production be met.
Additionally, hiring multiple Intimacy Professionals can significantly increase the cultural competency of a production – especially when working on multicultural productions.

Creating Sustainable Practices
By budgeting for and hiring multiple Intimacy Professionals, productions are engaging in sustainable industry practices. The Intimacy Professionals industry is young with extremely few qualified intimacy professionals working globally. Bringing on an Intimacy Assistant in addition to a fully qualified Intimacy Professional helps provide necessary learning opportunities for those seeking to enter the industry. It also ensures that an Intimacy Professional who is familiar with the production and it’s performers is always available to work on the production in case of emergencies. Hiring multiple Intimacy Professionals also distributes the workload of what is actually an entire department’s worth of work. The rate of burnout in the Intimacy Professionals industry is astronomical because of the emotional labor required to do this work. By ensuring Intimacy Professionals have the support they need, they can do their work better!

When is it always recommended to hire multiple Intimacy Professionals?
• Productions with 8 or more people performing in scenes of intimacy and/or nudity
• TV Series, tours, or extended runs of productions
• Working with minors
• Scenes of sexual assault
• Outdoor or public intimacy and/or nudity

How does an Intimacy Professional work creatively with a Director?
How can I hire Intimacy Professionals?

You can find Intimacy Professionals from around the world in the Facebook group I Need An Intimacy Professional (Coordinator/Director/Consultant).

To advertise your position, include the following information:
1) Location
2) Start & End Date
3) Project Description
4) Rate
5) Job description
6) Contact Information
7) Union affiliations

To hire Acacia, visit fear Contact and Services page .

What questions should I ask when interviewing potential Intimacy Professionals?

1) What is your movement training or background?
2) Who have you mentored with?
3) What is your experience in this genre/medium?
4) Where did you receive training?
5) Do you have an up-to-date Mental Health First Aid certification?
6) What antiracism and decolonizing work have you personally undertaken?
7) What bystander intervention training have you received?
8) Are you a member of any unions or professional organizations?
9) What liability insurance do you have and what does it cover?
10) Can you provide an up to date background check or do you consent to the production running a background check on you?

There is no right answer to these questions as each intimacy professional is unique. However, a qualified Intimacy Professional will have an answer to all these questions.

About Acacia DëQueer

How did Acacia get into Intimacy Coordinating?

As an undergraduate at Vassar College, Acacia studied Human Rights and Film with a focus on gender and sexuality. At the same time, they were choreographing and performing sensuality as the Vice President of the Vassar Burlesque Club. When Acacia learned about Intimacy Coordinators in 2018 before graduating, they began seeking training through Intimacy Directors International, later to become to Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. Fae also worked professionally on sets in NYC in a variety of positions including Production Design, Camera Operation, Sound Mixing, and Production Assisting. Acacia earned fear first Intimacy Coordinator credit in 2020 on the feature length psychothriller, Apophenia, starring Darren Barnet. Since then, Acacia has worked on 15 productions as an Intimacy Professional, with their work appearing in festivals globally.

To learn more, visit Acacia’s Résumé, Education, and About pages.

How do I use fae/faem/faers pronouns?

Using fae/faem/faer/fears/fearself pronouns in a sentence: Fae are an Intimacy Professional. Faer work has appeared in festivals globally. Have you heard of faem? I’m going to see a film of faers soon. Fae will be there faerselves.

Fae/faem/faer/fears/fearself rhymes with they/them/theirs pronouns.

To learn more, read 10 Ways To Support Gender Diversity On Set

What are Acacia’s Qualifications?

Check out faer Education and Résumé.

Where is Acacia located?

Acacia resides on the stolen land of the Anishinaabeg (including the Odawa, Ojibwe and Boodewadomi) and Wyandot peoples colonially known as Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Is Acacia a certified Intimacy Professional?

No, Acacia is not certified at the moment but they are currently enrolled in the SAG•AFTRA accredited Launchpad Training Program through Principle Intimacy Professionals.

About Acacia’s Services

Does Acacia provide discounts for ultra low budget or student films?

Yes, fae offer their services at a sliding scale based on your budget.

Does Acacia provide any other discounts?

Yes, Acacia offers discounts to select productions and individuals who feature and employ systemically oppressed peoples including Indigenous/First Nation peoples, BIPOC/Global Majority members, Disabled/Neurodivergent people, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people, 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, and Immigrants. This is for four major reasons:
1) Productions that feature and hire primarily Global Majority Members, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming individuals, Disabled individuals, Indigenous individuals, and Immigrants typically have less access to financial backing because these are seen as “niche” and not profitable to large production companies.
2) Individuals from these communities are typically paid less than their white, male, cis counterparts in the industry. By discounting my services it is my goal for the funds to be directed to these individuals and their communities at large.
3) Individuals from these communities statistically experience higher rates of harassment, assault, and discrimination. By discounting their services, Acacia hopes to help the people who need faem the most.
4) Many of these productions require the expertise of additional professionals such as Cultural Consultants, Mental Health Coordinator, or other types of consultants or culturally relevant support persons. By discounting my services, these funds can be used to hire the necessary professionals.

  • 30% off to productions that feature and employ Indigenous/First Nation professionals
  • 10% off to productions that feature and employ BIPOC/Global Majority professionals in both the cast and crew
  • 10% off to productions that feature and employ Disabled/Neurodivergent professionals in both the cast and crew
  • 10% off to productions that feature and employ Trans and Gender Non-Conforming cast and crew members
  • 5% off to productions that feature and employ 2SLGBTQIA+ community members in both the cast and crew
  • 5% off to productions that feature and employ immigrants in both the cast and crew
Does Acacia offer phone or virtual consultations?

Yes, Acacia offers virtual Intimacy, LGBTQIA+, Disability, Sex Work, and Script Consultations. To learn more, visit faer Services page.

Can Acacia also help with stunts?

No – Acacia does not have any fight or stunt training. But even if they did, Acacia knows that it increases risks and may even be a conflict of interest to hire an individual to hold multiple roles (such as Stunt Coordinator, Director, Assistant Director, or Set Medic) when serving as the Intimacy Professional on a production. That’s because some of the key duties of an Intimacy Professional are to remain present during scenes of intimacy and nudity to observe body language and respond to mental health crisis, consent violations, or conflicts. In fact, to best support cast and crew members Acacia recommends employing an Intimacy Department which consists of multiple Intimacy Professionals so that someone can always be present when needed.

Does Acacia intimacy coach real couples?

No, Acacia only works with actors, performers, and other artists as an Intimacy Coordinator, Director, and Consultant to create scenes of simulated intimacy. They do not provide coaching to real couples, nor do they provide therapy.

Acacia will not respond to personal requests for coaching or other related services.

What type of content does Acacia work on?

Acacia works in a variety of mediums and genres including:

Scripted Film and Television: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Historical, Thrillers, Musicals, Romantic Comedies, Coming-of-Age, Animation, Experimental, Music Videos, and More

Non-Scripted Television and Film: Reality Television, Gameshows, Dating Shows, Documentaries, Educational Content

Audio Recordings: Radio, Podcasts, Audiobooks, ADR

Dance: Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Musical Theater, Swing, Waltz, Contra Dance, and More

Theater: Musical Theater, Burlesque, Devised Theater, Experimental, Student Theater, Immersive Theater, Educational Theater, and More

Does Acacia work with minors?

Yes, Acacia works with minors as a member of the Intimacy Department collaborating with other Intimacy Professionals to provide age appropriate support and care. Acacia does not take on projects working with minors as a solo Intimacy Professional.

For Intimacy Professionals

Where can I find mentorship?

There are 3 major ways to find a mentor:
1) Search and/or posting in Facebook groups like Intimacy Choreographers, Coordinators, and Educators Resource Group.
2) Take classes and/or applying to certification programs.
3) Reach out directly to Intimacy Professionals who’s work or teachings resonate with you.

Do not be discouraged if the first, second, or even third professional you reach out to isn’t accepting mentees at the moment. There are few positions available for Intimacy Assistants and entry into the field is highly competitive. If you feel you have reached an acceptable minimum amount of intimacy professional training and are ready to work, see if you can find a production willing to take on two or more Intimacy Professionals and invite an established Intimacy Professional to work with you on the project.

Acacia provides both virtual and in-person Intimacy Coordinator Mentorship on an offer-what-you-can basis. Currently, they do not have any on-set positions to offer, but if you have a project lined up that you would like mentorship on, fae would be happy to discuss what their Mentorship could look like. Acacia also offers early stage Mentorship for those curious about getting started with training or finding and working on their first on-set position.

Where can I find work?

You can find job postings in the Facebook group I Need An Intimacy Professional (Coordinator/Director/Consultant).

Please note: Job postings are not vetted. When applying to positions, ensure you are receiving a fair rate for your work, the appropriate support and credit as an Intimacy Coordinator or Director, and that you are honoring your own boundaries. Also consider your own lived experiences, identities, and areas of expertise when deciding if you are the right Intimacy Professional for the job.

What is an average day in the life of an Intimacy Professional like?

There is no real “average” because each project is unique. However, some common themes can be identified:

Administration: Emails, website maintenance, insurance, taxes, resumes, job applications, llc formation

Pre-Production: Auditions, intake interviews, script breakdowns, rehearsals and rehearsal planning, pre-production meetings, choreographing, nudity riders, garment acquisition, kit maintenance, shortlisting

Production: Check-ins, garment application, rehearsals, movement coaching, mental health first aid, boundary and closure practices, bystander intervention and advocacy

Post-Production: Sound and breathwork, post-production meetings, follow-up check-ins, paperwork

Education: Initial and continuing education, mentorship, teaching, publishing, presenting

Publicity: Festivals and premieres, interviews and articles, social media

How long does it take to become an Intimacy Professional?

Training and career development can take anywhere from 1 to 5 years, although consistent and expansive training in all areas of study are necessary throughout one’s career.

What is an average salary for an Intimacy Professional?

Anywhere from $0 to $200,000 USD or more depending on what type and how many projects you work on, your geographic location, your experience level and industry connections, and your individual ability.

Keep in mind, being an intimacy professional often has entrepreneurial elements and business expenses including supplies for your Intimacy Coordinator or Director Kit, business licensing, liability insurance, transportation, advertising, software, and continual training as well as the risks of being a freelancer including inconsistent and seasonal work.

The sad reality is that, according to my research, while Intimacy Professionals can technically make a lot of money, “choosing to become an intimacy professional can be a poor financial investment for those entering the field.”

Make sure you are making what you are worth and not undercharging for your services as an Intimacy Professional! Ask about the rates in you area in the Facebook group Intimacy Choreographers, Coordinators, and Educators Resource Group. When we standardize our rates, everyone benefits!

When am I ready to work?

Only you can decide that, but make sure you meet any union requirements you might be subject to as well as the ethical standards of care, safety, and professionalism needed to be successful in this industry.

Please Note: You will not be right for every job, no matter how much training or experience you have! If a job is beyond your expertise or boundaries, consider passing the job along or bringing on an additional Intimacy Professional. To find other Intimacy Professionals, post the position in the Facebook group I Need An Intimacy Professional (Coordinator/Director/Consultant).

What other skills do Intimacy Professionals need to be successful beyond the required qualifications?

Social media, networking, website design, sewing, sound mixing, costume design, working with minors, teaching, rehearsal planning, note taking

Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered?

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