This is how the sex scenes were filmed on Netflix's Sex Education

16 January 2019, 13:20

Katie Louise-Smith

By Katie Louise-Smith

Sex Education used an 'intimacy director' to choreograph all the sex scenes you see on screen.

Netflix's new coming-of-age comedy-drama series Sex Education has already been praised for its honest, open, hilarious and often moving takes on teenage sex, LGBTQ+ relationships, slut-shaming, masturbation, revenge porn and abortion and now it's being praised for the way in which all the sex scenes were actually shot.

For those that have already binge-watched the show, you'll know that it features a lot of nudity (some of it is full frontal, just a heads up if you're planning on tuning in) and plenty of sex scenes but with such a young cast, you wouldn't be alone in wondering how it was all shot, and how comfortable everyone felt doing it.

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Well, the cast have now revealed how they got through those scenes and it turns out that they were choreographed by an 'intimacy director' based on what the actors felt comfortable with. And to be honest, it's a thing that should be used in every single sex scene going forward.

This is how Sex Education filmed all those sex scenes
This is how Sex Education filmed all those sex scenes. Picture: Netflix

Speaking to Digital Spy, Emma Mackey (who plays Maeve Wiley) revealed that the scenes were actually choreographed by an 'intimacy director' who told the cast exactly how many seconds they had to act for.

"For Kedar [Williams-Stirling] and my sex scenes, we had literal choreography. We timed it," said Mackey. "'You do this for seven seconds. You do this...' So it was like a dance. It's really interesting to have it like that. It just automatically debunks... It gets rid of all the fear. So it was great."

Aimee-Lou Wood (Aimee), whose nude sex scene with Connor Swindells (Adam) is literally the first thing viewers see in episode one, added: "It actually makes it easier, rather than worrying like, 'Does this look real?' It's been confirmed by someone that, 'This works. We'll do it fully clothed. Let's rehearse it fully clothed a few times, go through it, eight thrusts, do this, do that...'

And as for Asa Butterfield and his masturbation scenes? "It's weird because it's a very personal thing, and it's strange to re-enact that with a whole crew around you, and people with monitors, watching it," Asa explained. "The first couple of times are awkward, and it's like, 'I can't believe that I'm doing this'. But after a while, it does become run of the mill."

"[With] the final wank scene – the most epic of them all – I wasn't quite getting there. My hand kept coming up, but they needed to keep my hand down. So what they did was, they gave me a fake penis to poke through my flies, and we started doing it, and I grabbed this fake penis, and immediately was like, 'No!' It was so much easier pretending than trying to wank a cold, rubber penis. That was my experience."

So, what's an intimacy director then? Ita O'Brien, who worked closely with the cast, told Mashable that she choreographs and rehearses sex scenes as if they were fight scenes and makes sure that everyone is comfortable with what's going on.

"I give a structure and process to get through sex scenes. So instead of a director saying: 'this is what I want, get on with it', or 'you two go away and work it out yourselves' ... I'm there to help them choreograph it clearly, ensuring everyone was okay with both the physicality and the nudity. You agree the scene step-by-step, including where people have consented to be touched, so they can be freer to tell the story and further their character through the scene."

Honestly, every production should have an intimacy director. Go off, Sex Education! You're doing amazing, sweetie!