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'Normal People' Intimacy Co-ordinator Reveals Secrets Of Marianne And Connell’s Sex Scenes

'Normal People' Intimacy Co-ordinator Reveals Secrets Of Marianne And Connell’s Sex Scenes

When Normal People arrived on BBC earlier this month, fans were blown away by the brilliant actors, Connell Waldron's silver chain and the realistic and refreshing intimate scenes.

It was something the team worked incredibly hard on, even hiring an intimacy co-ordinator to provide instruction and to make sure those involved felt as safe and secure as possible.

On set, it was intimacy co-ordinator Ita O'Brien who navigated the 41 minutes of sex scenes, ensuring actors were comfortable and at ease.

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Now, she's opened up about what actually happened behind the scenes, including how actors used safe words and made sure genitals never touched.

Speaking on RTE's Brendan O'Connor Show, she said: "If you're doing an intimate scene the fundamental rule is never ever should their genitalia touch.

"You'll have the actress wearing a modesty patch and the gentleman wearing a modesty pouch.

"What we have in place is the actors are empowered and they have the autonomy to halt the action when filming an intimate scene

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"The actor will have a safe word to halt the action and share it with the crew, and if anything happens through the take that isn't comfortable or they need to take a break they need to call out to halt the action themselves."

Ita O'Brien worked on the intimate scenes in 'Normal People' (Credit: BBC)
Ita O'Brien worked on the intimate scenes in 'Normal People' (Credit: BBC)

Actor Paul Mescal (who played Connell) was quick to praise Ita's work on the show, explaining he had been so nervous in the lead up to the sex scenes, he had struggled to sleep.

Speaking to Mr Porter he said: "We would discuss the scene and then Ita would block what we had discussed so it wasn't mine or Daisy's responsibility to decide what was appropriate.

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"You're told what to do. It's freeing! On the first Friday of the first week, we had a full day of sex scenes [...] It's fair to say we were both incredibly nervous. That Thursday, I didn't sleep.'

Before intimacy co-ordinators were introduced, instructions were given but essentially, the details were left to the actors involved.

Having someone like Ita on set makes the scene much more comfortable (and importantly, provides clearer guidelines) for those involved.

Viewers have been praising 'Normal People' for its sex scenes (Credit: BBC)
Viewers have been praising 'Normal People' for its sex scenes (Credit: BBC)
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The intimate scenes in Normal People have been especially praised by fans, with many calling them relatable and refreshing.

For example, in episode two when Marianna and Connell have sex for the first time, there's plenty of nervous laughter and lots of awkward fumbles, including one bit where Marianne's bra gets stuck around her head.

Despite the awkwardness, it's not cringey or unrealistic and as their encounter escalates, the scene tackles some more important issues. Marianne asks Connell if he has a condom and following a quick discussion, consent is addressed.

"If you want to stop at anything, we can obviously stop [...] If it hurts, or, anything, we can stop, it won't be awkward. You can just say," explains Connell.

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Speaking about the scene, one viewer tweeted: "The clear consent in the sex scene - 'we can stop at any time if you want to stop - it won't be awkward' this is what we LOVE TO SEE."

If you're yet to watch, you can catch Normal People on BBC iPlayer now.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Normal People, Entertainment News, TV News, TV Entertainment

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]