Normal People's intimacy coach reveals actors never touched genitals

Normal People’s intimacy coach reveals lead actors ‘never touched genitals’ and used ‘safewords’ in sex scenes… after it was dubbed the BBC’s raunchiest EVER show

  • Drama series has taken over from past BBC shows Versailles and Wanderlust
  • The second episode alone features 11 minutes of sex between stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal
  • The 12-part drama, based on Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel about the turbulent relationship between two students, has been praised for its unflinching take on sexuality
  • The series has been downloaded over 23 million times 

BBC Three’s Normal People had a total of 41 minutes of sex scenes, yet it was so well carefully choreographed, the lead actors never touched genitals. 

Moreover, an intimacy coach gave actors Daisy Edgar-Jones, 21, and Paul Mescal, 24, safewords to use during filming during scenes which feature full-frontal nudity.

The series has been adapted from Sally Rooney’s novel and tells the story of a first love between two people from completely different walks of life.

Carefully done: Normal People’s intimacy coach has revealed Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal ‘never touched genitals’ and used safewords in sex scenes

Intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien has confirmed the stars were coached throughout their ‘sex’ sessions and used special tricks to ‘stay safe’.

She told RTE’s Brendan O’Connor Show: ‘Before the role of the intimacy co-ordinator there wasn’t the sense that actually we need to bring a skill and choreography to the intimate content, and there wasn’t a sense that we had to do a risk assessment.

‘Actors were left to their own devices. Directors might have spoken really clearly about what they wanted from the intimate content, but there wasn’t that stage of making sure everywhere the actors were going to be touched or the sexual content they might be doing – or the degree of nudity.

‘There was no agreement or consent in place and there was certainly no choreography.

Important: Intimacy coach Ita O’Brien also said that she was there to empower the young actors and give them the confidence to halt the scenes if one had felt uncomfortable

‘So for example, 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.’

Ita also said that she was there to empower the young actors and give them the confidence to halt the scenes if one had felt uncomfortable.

She continued: ‘What we have in place is the actors are empowered and they have the autonomy to halt the action when filming an intimate scene.

‘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.’ 

Sexy: Normal People – which is shown on BBC Three – features over 41 minutes of amorous action across its 12 episodes

Normal People has become the network’s sauciest show, thanks to its eye-watering number of sex scenes.

The corporation’s past shows Versailles and Wanderlust held the record for being the raunchiest series to date, until the current hit show landed on TV screens.

Normal People features over 41 minutes of amorous action across its 12 episodes.

Calculated by The Sun, the publication catagorises these scenes as ‘sex, kissing or foreplay’, claiming that 12 percent of the show features these. 

The second episode of the show features 11 minutes of sex between stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal.

The 12-part drama, based on Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel about the turbulent relationship between working-class Connell [Mescal] and well-heeled Marianne Sheridan [Edgar-Jones], has been praised for its unflinching take on sexuality.  

The series has been downloaded over 23 million times.

A source said: ‘The writers wanted to stay true to the book and that featured a lot of sex. They didn’t want to portray it gratuitously though.

‘But there’s no denying there’s a lot of nakedness and lots of sex — it’s probably not one to watch with the parents!’

Heart-throb Mescal has recently revealed that he had to overcome crippling stage fright before he was able to follow the career which is now making his name.

‘I had this affliction, whenever I’d get nervous, that I would stand really straight and sort of lock my knees,’ the Irishman revealed. ‘But because the shake seemed to be coming from my knees… my whole body would start to vibrate. 


Overtook: The corporation’s past shows [L-R] Versailles and Wanderlust held the record for being the raunchiest series to date, until the current hit show landed on TV screens

‘That would stop when I’d sing in front of three or four people after a time and I thought I had got over it.

‘Unfortunately, I got a rude awakening when I went out on stage in front of 600, 700 people and it came back with a vengeance.’ 

Despite his reluctance to face the crowds, he was quickly bitten by the acting bug. 

‘It is a very sexy thing at 16 to be able to express the things that these characters are feeling,’ he told the Irishman Abroad podcast. ‘Getting to do that [at school] on stage I found incredibly intoxicating and then, coming out and bowing at the end and hearing a roar from the people in your community like they are at a Rolling Stones concert… I remember coming home and [thinking] I adored that.’ 

Love affair: The 12-part drama, based on Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel about the turbulent relationship between working-class Connell [Mescal] and well-heeled Marianne Sheridan [Edgar-Jones], has been praised for its unflinching take on sexuality

He studied at the Lir Academy drama school in Dublin, and three years ago he was cast as the lead in a stage production of The Great Gatsby. Several other theatre jobs followed, although Normal People is his first TV role. 

It is set to make Paul a star both sides of the Atlantic, as it is also being carried on the American streaming service Hulu. 

Social media is humming with positive comments about his acting and looks, with some fans tipping him as a future James Bond. 

Such is the success of the show that a cheap Argos chain Connell wears around his neck has acquired its own Instagram page – with 60,000 followers. 

Watch Normal People on BBC Three, or on Stan in Australia. 

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