Will our fave shows on Netflix remain sexy after COVID-19?
Will we ever see sexy shows on Netflix now that the world is overrun with pestilence & disease?! One thing’s for sure: melodrama will never get old. But the issue of sex & intimacy onset is a relevant problem now that productions have to follow strict rules concerning health & safety – and some places aren’t taking any chances.
Sex in film is not pivotal to telling stories and there are plenty of narratives that don’t need to show skin to entertain. However, to do away with sex entirely would take away a piece of the human story we’re not quite ready to part with. There are many ways film sets can get creative with their sexy scenes – if there’s one thing the movies excel in, it’s resourcefulness.
While it may be a while before we see any actors getting hot & heavy, we’re sure sexy shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms are not a thing of the past. Here’s how the film industry is looking to rework sex & intimacy for the time of corona.
Code of conduct
In the UK, measures have already been taken to ensure there are filming guidelines for intimate scenes. A new guidance titled “Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19” was published by the professional association of UK screen directors.
These intimacy guidelines are meant to accompany the general protocol already in place for the day-to-day health & safety of the cast & crew.
The guidelines suggest that the director, producer, and writer of the film, collaborate to decide whether the intimate scene is essential to the story and must remain intact or with some alterations. In some cases, the guidelines encourage delaying intimacy to build more tension and bank on the sexiness of emotional intimacy.
Just when it was getting good
The UK guidelines invoke the protocols of days past in the Golden Age of Cinema when the Hays Code was in effect. This code prohibited sexual acts to take place onscreen and so, to include any “sex scenes”, filmmakers had to get creative.
Most of the intimate parts of the storyline were merely referenced or just before a couple went at it, the camera would then pan to a nice scenic view of the ocean, accompanied by swells of romantic music.
It seems old-fashioned but it might be a useful strategy for some projects. A sex scene is not really about the sex, after all, it is about the intimacy, the emotional arc shared between the two (or more) partners. Yet, in a time when physical touch of any sort comes off as virtually taboo, we’re craving intimate, sexy shows on Netflix more than ever.
Another way filmmakers have been debating the use of sex & intimacy within their projects involves the writers. With more content being made about the pandemic, it could be in vogue to write in scenarios that prohibit close physical encounters, making the lack of intimacy structural to the story.
Screenwriter Sheila R. Lawrence, who’s written for shows like Ugly Betty & Gilmore Girls, lamented the fact intimacy is off the books but addressed the issue of incorporating it into the story. Lawrence mused, “That would seem very sad to me if there could be no contact even in our entertainment. But I think we have to acknowledge it and make it part of the story.”
Creators get creative
The most likely route filmmakers will take creatively is to show intimacy without so much physical touch. Sensual undressing, silhouettes & shadows, and clever camera angles, techniques that have all been used many times before, will create the illusion of sex and might be able to satisfy some lusty viewers.
As for practical measures, intimacy coordinators will have an even more important role going forward to ensure the performers are as comfortable & protected as possible. More attention in special effects & editing might also help to build a sex scene in which the actors did very little touching in real-life.
No matter what, intimacy in films is not going anywhere and productions are looking forward to the time when the restrictions are lifted. Writer Jen Kirkman noted it often takes years to go from the screenplay to production, mentioning, “So by that time, the pandemic will (hopefully) not be top of mind anymore.”