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Defining Consent: FRIES

Freely given. Reversible. Informed. Enthusiastic. Specific.


Planned Parenthood coined the acronym F.R.I.E.S. as a means of sexual education. This is how we apply it to Intimacy Coordination:


The aspect of 'Enthusiastic' consent also encounters challenges. Performing intimacy is an act of courage and vulnerability, and while some individuals may approach it with enthusiasm, most people I've spoken to describe feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. There are numerous questions and details to address before reaching anything resembling enthusiasm. In some instances, actors may provide consent with a sense of determined obligation rather than genuine enthusiasm. Real-life intimacy should ideally be characterized by enthusiasm, joy, and personal fulfillment, but in the context of performance, this isn't always a requirement for actors to wholeheartedly commit to their roles.


Freely given: Actors performing intimacy are in a much different position than someone consenting to sex. An actor is an employee navigating complex power dynamics in regards to maintaining a role or advancing their career. Consent should never be given by means of coercion or manipulation.


Reversible: An actor will give consent well before filming an intimate scene. It's important for these actors and their employers to know that this consent can be descended at any point before that scene is filmed.


Informed: Actors need to know that scope of what they are consenting to and with enough time to consider the circumstances. This begins in the audition process.


Enthusiastic: The term "enthusiastic" doesn't quite translate from the privacy of personal intimate encounter to one that is meant for storytelling. The nature of film in television is such that entertainment is meant to be seen. This is the one of many things that might make an actor apprehensive to film an intimate scene. It is important for actors have the opportunity to participate in these scenes, and tell the story in the way that they have interpreted then as artists.


Specific: This is where we get into choreography and desexualizing language. This is necessary for the repetitive nature of capturing performances on camera and keeping actors comfortable in these conditions.


If you're interested in learning more about these applications in our course, click here and register today!


To reiterate, consent should be:

  • Freely given: A choice made without coercion, manipulation, or the influence of substances.

  • Reversible: Anyone can change their mind at any time, even if they've consented before or find themselves in an intimate situation.

  • Informed: Consent requires complete information. If someone agrees to something based on certain conditions (e.g., condom use) and those conditions change, it's no longer valid consent.

  • Enthusiastic: In matters of sex, one should only engage in activities they genuinely want to, not those they feel obliged to do.

  • Specific: Consenting to one aspect of intimacy (e.g., making out in the bedroom) doesn't automatically imply consent to others (e.g., engaging in sexual intercourse).

Remember, you always have the final say over what happens with your body. Consent is never implied by past actions, attire, or location. Sexual consent must always be explicitly communicated; silence should never be interpreted as consent. This principle applies not only during initial encounters but also in established relationships—consent remains an ongoing and indispensable aspect of any sexual interaction.


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