BBC's adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People is praised

From ‘shared breaths’ to ‘mutual admiration’, intimacy coach analyses THAT steamy scene in BBC’s Normal People to reveal why its the ‘perfect’ example of consensual sex on screen

  • Viewers praised adaption of Sally Rooney’s Normal People over steamy scenes 
  • In the second episode of the BBC show, Marianne loses her virginity to Connell 
  • Intimacy coach has analysed the scene and revealed how it is perfect sex scene 
  • Told FEMAIL that exchange of breaths and seeking of consent made the moment

Viewers have praised BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People for its perfect portrayal of consensus and safe sex scenes.    

In the second episode of the show, Marianne (played by Daisy Edgar Jones) loses her virginity to Connell (Paul Mescal), and the scene has been praised for it’s unusual portrayal of consensual and safe sex.

Connell tells Marianne: ‘If you want to stop or anything we can obviously stop, if it hurts or anything we can stop, it won’t be awkward, just say.’

And now an intimacy coach Duchess Iphie has analysed the moment and told FEMAIL how the seeking of consent, mutual nudity and eye contact made it such a good on screen sex scene.  

A sex and intimacy expert has revealed the different elements of BBC’s Normal People’s steamy scene which made it sexy and safe 


Duchess revealed: ‘Marianne and Connell had a conversation prior to having sex where Marianne was completely authentic about who she was and her limitations. 

‘Connell listened and accepted what she said but stopped her when she started to put herself down. 

‘It showed that they were getting comfortable and confident with being in such close proximity.’


The intimacy expert explained: ‘Connell showed vulnerability when talking about himself and that promotes an intimate feeling because Marianne was getting to see a side of Connell that others probably don’t see.’

Duchess Iphie revealed how Connell and Marianne’s frank conversation about contraception, as well as the seeking of consent, created a safe atmosphere for the youngsters 


Duchess went on: ‘During the process of undressing, there was tenderness and laughing which made the scene realistic and intimate because we don’t always look graceful when taking clothes off especially when something gets stuck.’


The sex expert continued: ‘Marianne was confident and comfortable enough to ask if this was what he did normally as she did want to feel as though she was a conquest and Connell was quick to reassure her that it wasn’t the case. 

‘There are so many of us who feel uncertain when it comes to sex that we like to know or feel that we are not being used for gratification.’


Duchess revealed: ‘There was a sense of intimacy when Marianne showed insecurity about her beauty and Connell provided assurance by being fully naked with her and actually looked at her body in admiration.’

Meanwhile she revealed how the shots of the couple as they exchanged breaths gave an appearance of closeness


The expert explained: ‘Increased closeness was created as they exchanged breaths and looking into each other’s eyes continually. I felt like I was intruding by watching.’


Duchess revealed: ‘Marianne asked if he had protection and he said yes. There was no feeling of accusation that he had planned to have sex but an acceptance that he was responsible and prepared for their encounter. 

‘He got the condom and put it on so that she could trust that he was keeping his word and thinking of both of them.’


She continued: ‘She was honest about being a virgin, that made Connell even more considerate, asking for consent before taking any action and confirming that he would stop should she say the word.’

Duchess went on to reveal how both teenagers offered assurance to one another throughout the experience, exchanging compliments


The sex expert went on: ‘Connell ensured throughout the act of sex that she was comfortable, happy to go on, asked if it hurts, seeking her reassurance and made sure it was slow and enjoyable for her.’

The show, which is based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling second novel, follows troubled lovers Connell and Marianne from their school days in Sligo to university at Trinity College Dublin. 

Meanwhile, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the show’s Intimacy Coach,  Ita O’Brian said: ‘The point of my job is to provide clear communication around the intimate content.

Then to put in place a structure that allows for agreement, and consent of touch, and then a process to choreograph the intimate content clearly.

In another part of the scene, after a discussion about protection, Connell goes to retrieve a condom 

She went on to say that this ensured ‘the writing is served and the director’s vision is served and actors are able to separate out their intimate selves and professional selves.’

‘The intimate content is a body dance – in the past there this wasn’t there – and there’s a risk in that – you need agreement and consent.’

‘In the past people were just embarrassed to talk about it and there wasn’t a professional structure – director would send the actors off – it’s not really able to serve character and unable to to be safe for the actors 

‘It’s about serving character and storytelling – we can still tell intimate stories through intention, by sculpting gaze and movement without touch – in Normal People, the first time they make love they’re sitting on the bed, and a huge amount of the scene in is the movement between the two.’

Duchess also praised Marianne’s honesty surrounding her virginity and discussion about her experience with Connell

Viewers have already labelled the series ‘perfect’ and praised the show for ‘capturing the atmosphere of the book’, something which can often be missed in novel adapted scripts.

The series has also been praised for showing ‘realistic’, ‘consensual’ and ‘communicative’ sex scenes between Connell and Marianne, again something which can be missing from TV shows.

One person said: ‘Safe, consensual and communicative sex should be included so much more in film and TV!! #NormalPeople #CovideoParty.’

While a different fan added: ‘There should be more awkward laughing in sex scenes #CovideoParty #Normalpeople.’ 

Viewers were wowed by the scene, with many heaping praise on the hot and steamy TV moment on Twitter 

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