"Outlander has always been one of my favorite books - if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it! When Starz announced that it was turning it into a series in 2014 the book fans went wild. It was during the beginning of the first season when I discovered just how many Outlander fans there were, the Facebook groups were huge. It was also during those first few weeks of the show that I discovered the audience had absolutely no idea how simulated sex scenes were filmed. Fans were having heated discussions about the actors engaging in actual intercourse during the filming. I was absolutely appalled, but decided to use this as a teaching moment.
I began by creating a post that offered an explanation of how simulated sex is constructed for film or television. In less than an hour I had hundreds of replies and multiple requests to create a separate group where women could ask me some more intimate and delicate questions they had about sex on film, or about sex in general. Since that day, my secret Facebook group has been going strong and I have openly and honestly discussed my film experiences with the members.
In the early '90's when I began filming simulated sex scenes it was considered erotica, a somewhat taboo sub-genre of late night cable television programming. It was often advertised to look like pornography, and some refer to it as "Soft-porn". But let me tell you, there is a huge difference between simulated sex and actual pornography, and herein lies the problem with the audience's misconceptions. What was once a taboo sub-genre is now quite acceptable, seen frequently on television and often in the most popular shows, such as Outlander.
Simulated sex requires the actor to convincingly pretend to be having actual sex while their genitalia is covered (privacy patch or "cock-sock") and, ideally, not making direct contact at all. That was how it was supposed to be, but Hollywood inadvertently created a huge problem, no one was discussing HOW to do this! Actors were almost always left to their own devices and more often than not, asked to remove their coverings for the camera. This was not only emotionally damaging to actors, it was also physically dangerous. Pretending to have sex with no physical barrier to protect actors from bodily fluids or penetration became the norm, which eventually led to the horror stories coming out of Hollywood attached to the #metoo movement.
#metoo and the Intimacy Coordinator... to be continued.