Actor Saara Kotkaniemi made an extensive study of the experiences of Finnish actors in making sex scenes. Kotkaniemi’s Guidelines for Making Intimate Scenes in Camera Work are based on a survey conducted on the basis of interviews with 40 actors and 20 directors. The guidelines and report are published by the Finnish Film Foundation.

Intimate seizures refer to seizures that involve sexual activity, nudity, or partial nudity. Most audiovisual professionals encounter them in their careers, but so far the scenes involved in making scenes have been learned mainly through practical work.

– During the Me too conversation, I went through my own career and stated that my most disgusting experiences with camera work were related to intimate scenes, Kotkaniemi says.

– Most of the authors learn to make intimate scenes, so to speak, through the heel and it can be unsafe and confusing, especially for actors. I hope that the guidelines will make working conditions safer for all.

In the publication, 40 actors and 20 directors share their experiences anonymously. Kotkaniemi lists all interviewees at the beginning of the study: Milka Ahlroth, AJ Annila, Laura Birn, Saara Cantell, Samuli Edelmann, Tommi Eronen, Mi Grönlund, Alli Haapasalo, Minna Haapkylä, Kristiina Halkola, Ulla Heikkilä, Matti Ijäs, Jonna Järnefelt, Inka Kallén, Elina Knihtilä, Tommi Korpela, Krista Kosonen, Mikko Kouki, Mika Kurvinen, Matleena Kuusniemi, Iina Kuustonen, Maarit Lalli, Elena Leeve, Mikko Leppilampi, Heidi Lindén, Tiina Lymi, Laura Malmivaara, Malla Malmivaara, Taru Mäkelä, Inari Niemi, Jarkko Niemi, Teemu Nikki, Mikko Nousiainen, Lauri Nurkse, Miikko Oikkonen, Matti Onnismaa, Marja Pyykkö, Saara Saarela, Joonas Saartamo, Aleksi Salmenperä, Esko Salminen, JP Hedgehog, Anu Sinisalo, Oskari Sipola, Petteri Summanen, Martti Rahvalo, Lauri Tanskanen, Ville Tiihonen, Lauri Tilkanen, Pamela Tola, Alina Tomnikov, Kai vaine, Samuli Valkama, Jussi Vatanen, Samuli Vauramo, Pihla Viitala, Ilkka Villi, Ville Virtanen, Johanna Vuoksenmaa and Maria Ylipää.

– Most of the interviewees’ unpleasant experiences were related to poor communication between the perpetrators. All too often, intimate scenes have been set in motion without proper discussion and it has been assumed that things will resolve themselves, says Kotkaniemi.

– I believe that intimate encounters will be better if the discussion is more in-depth and all parties are aware of what is being done.

The actors say in the report that there is not enough discussion about making sex scenes.

– There are such boundaries in sex scenes and intimate scenes because they are never properly agreed upon. You don’t know how you can surrender to this, whether you’re being sucked in here all the time or whether you’re showing these kisses. In that situation, a little goes and disappears and black feels like you don’t always feel like that, you “can’t do that, it’s ok.” They are always a little vague, says a 40-50-year-old male actor interviewed.

– You teased on behalf of those colleagues that you “how they now have to do that”. You can see it then only by your colleagues and think about how they have done it here, says a 40-50 year old female actress.

The situations have sometimes been confusing, according to the actors.

– There was a love scene, after which the director told me you couldn’t consider a career as a porn actress. It was certainly a compliment, not everyone else had shit but this had gone well, says a female actress under 40.

– There was a scene in the movie where my person comes into the room where I am put in and I went in without knowing how the situation has been resolved. I stepped into the room from behind a closed door and the following sight opened in front of me: the actress was naked in her container on the bed and behind her was raging an amateur actress. Both were completely naked and the genitals of the amateur actress swung against the genitals of the female actress, with the man “putting in full” from behind. There were no shelters. The vision did not differ from the porn movie in any other way than that the bodies did not nest. The instructions only came to an amateur man who experienced his sweaty role to the fullest. The situation was allowed to continue for a very long time. After the scene, the director asked the team to give big applause to the man laying from behind. It’s one of the worst situations I’ve been in, a male actor under 40 describes.

Negative experiences have been remembered, although some actors have also experienced having sex scenes as a neutral or positive experience.

– The co-actress smelled terribly bad, describes the female actress under 40 in the report.

– The Hangover Actors, who have been just a damn the night before, and they tremble when they embrace the mouth, and you’re afraid you won’t fall apart when you catch them. It’s quite a horrible experience, says a 50-year-old female actress.

– At the beginning of my career, I made a TV series in which my person was really sexually active. I found it really distressing, not doing it but when it was released. I found it somehow ridiculous for the whole thing and I remember you didn’t embarrass it. It had so many of those sex scenes yet, you weren’t black really distressing. I was such a novice still and had a lot of different partners, says a 40-50 year old male actor.

Instructions for making intimate scenes in camera work can be freely downloaded from the Finnish Film Foundation’s website in Finnish, Swedish and English. The Film Foundation provides a printed guide in Finnish to production companies and educational institutions in the field. The study is also freely available on the Finnish Film Foundation’s website, and a printed version will be sent to educational institutions in the field.

The completion of the study and guidelines has been supported by the Finnish Film Foundation, AVEK and the Helsinki Feminist Secret Society (with a grant from the Kone Foundation).

In October, podcast services will also publish a podcast series Intimate Conversations, in which Kotkaniemi discusses making intimate scenes with changing guests.