I’m often asked “Which intimacy certification program I would recommend?”.

First, I would ask if you need certification, or are you looking to get qualifications. There’s a debate in the field as to what the industry needs more. I’ll just leave these here for you to read:

My short answer is to quote something I heard a fellow intimacy professional say: “safety shouldn’t be a privilege”. There are merits to both seeking qualifications and certification. Message me if you’d like access to my list of qualifications.

For those who seek certification:

Since each person’s interests and existing skill sets will align uniquely with each of the several certification programs available, the answer will be different for each person. Plus, I haven’t taken each course, nor have I studied them in detail, so I’m not actually a good reference for recommending a program.

What I can do, though, is offer people some guidance to help with their own assessments of which program might be a good fit.

And by the way, how exciting it is to be investigating new passions! To start the process of finding your program, fully consider what you want, and what is current in your local industry. This gives you better clarity on what you’re looking for in a program. Once you have a few candidates, you can further assess if the program is a good fit for you, and if the people in it are in alignment with your purposes.

Investigate what you want and need out of a training program

What kind of training are you looking for?

Your interests 

Is this a career switch, or are you actually looking for support for your current field?

Do you want to transition fully to Intimacy Professional? Or are you a director, dance choreographer, fight director, acting coach, educator looking for training that supports you in your current and continuing profession. For the latter, a full certification may not be necessary. You may be looking for a program which offers you tools for approaching intimacy material, which may not be the same as certification for becoming an intimacy professional. There are a variety of training programs which would support your existing skills.

Do you want to be an intimacy professional, or a professional in a related field?

Are you interested in supporting the choreograph of scenes and moments of intimacy, including the work environment that supports this work? Or are you more interested in the workspace without the choreography? Some people mistakenly pursue intimacy choreography, when what they’re truly interested in supporting the development of the workspace through specialties such as Respectful Workspaces support (may include room agreements, positive conflict facilitation) or cultural competence consultation (supporting people as they navigate their growth towards increasing their compassionate, sensitive and effective interaction with people of different cultures)? While it’s important for Intimacy Professionals to have skill in respectful workspaces, and cultural competency, they’re not necessarily interchangeable. 

Assess if your interest actually includes coaching simulations of intercourse and other choreography of intimate physical contact, or if your primary interest lies in the related fields.

Which workspace are you already familiar with?

Do you already have more expertise in theatre/opera/dance? film/tv? You may be better able to navigate the workspaces you’re already familiar with. That said, if you are moving into a new workspace, just be sure to include getting to know that new workspace in your training.

More detail about your interest

This is a continuation of the two above questions. The work tasks of live performance spaces are different from those of recorded media. There are absolutely tasks that cross over, and every project needs something different. But it’s fair to say that generally, the bulk of the work varies between live and recorded media. If you’re excited about choreographing intimacy, you’re more likely to do that in theater and other live performance. For work on film/tv, 80% to 90% of your time is spent in preparation (script breakdowns, phone and email communication, paperwork, …). The remaining time is on set. Of that on set time, only a small portion of that might be spent choreographing: you may have entire projects where you don’t choreograph at all. 

Your skills

What skills do you come in with ? What skills and info do you need?

I don’t have details of each program, but I have come to understand that each program has its own balance of topics. See if you can get information about the curriculum to see if it suits your needs. As an example, each course may have a different balance of focus on preparation, workplace protocols, communication, consent, script analysis, movement direction practice, and business management. I recommend assessing your current skill sets, and determining what you may need to round out your abilities. 

SIDEBAR: This is also an opportunity to start considering additional specialties in your approach to Intimacy work.  A project may require an Intimacy Professional with additional skill in fight choreography, in birth, in nursing, in care of newborns, in medical procedures, in acting coaching, in BDSM and many, many others.

Your access

Be sure to consider how you’ll access the training. There are some areas that do not have training available locally, or the program that best suits your needs may not be close by. If the in-person work (and I would suggest that the most effective training includes some manner of in-person work with performers) is hard on the time or money budget, is the program willing and able to help you access the in-person portions? Are any online trainings included in the program, or are there additional modules you’ll need to take from 3rd-party providers?

Investigate your industry, locally

Your local industry (associations, engagers, producers) may have specific requirements. For instance, if you’re in Canada and you certify with a program outside of Canada, you may be missing information and practices that are essential to working here, such as laws unique to Canada and thorough exploration of CAEA, ACTRA, U d’A, and UBCP agreements. Depending on your location, it would also be beneficial to read up on agreements from other places, such as SAG-AFTRA, as those agreements are sometimes in effect for artists who are working here. You may also be missing indigenous cultural inclusion, Best Practices for your area, and base rates relevant to your local economy.

Conversely, your location may not have formalized requirements. If you can, connect with local Intimacy Professionals who are already working to see what they recommend. There might also be benefit from connecting with the associations, engagers, producers to find out what they need. 

If you suspect you are the first in your area, find out if there are associations in your country that are supporting Intimacy work and get their recommendations. This can also help you with engaging with a support network, which will be the best way to support the intimacy movement in your local area, and will be helpful for you personally as your career continues.

Find the programs

Now that you know what you want to do in the work, you can start looking for options.

Since intimacy choreography became more widely recognized (around 2017), many certification programs have opened. I don’t have a complete list myself; you’ll have to do some searching. I recommend:

  • Contact your local unions/associations and see if there is a preferred intimacy association in your area. That association may be able to recommend a training program
  • Find programs through local Intimacy Professionals, by checking the person’s website and looking for an indication of their training there. Need help finding local Intimacy Professionals? Here are some ideas to start: Check IMDB for projects in your area and look for intimacy coordinators in the credits. Check theater credits by looking at their websites or by calling the theaters. The bonus here is that you start to connect to the existing intimacy network this way.
  • Google.

Get several options if you can. Don’t restrict your options to the first few that come up. 

Research the program

Do a deeper dive into your several options. Check the program’s website to see what information they offer there. Read what they’ve posted first. After that, you might reach out to someone within the organization to get more nuanced answers. 


  • Does the program teach Intimacy coordination for recorded media, or intimacy direction for live performance. Last I knew, programs generally offer one or the other. A few programs will teach both early on, and then they may require you to select one in which you will be certified.

Local Requirements

  • Does the program fulfill the requirements for your industry, locally? If not, are you able to supplement the program with outside training?

Do they offer what skills you’re missing?

  • Refer back to what skills you have and what you need. Does this program provide what you need? If it doesn’t, are you able to get those skills elsewhere? For instance, if the program offers no acting coaching, are there coaches that you can study with in your area?

Are you eligible for their program?

  • Do they only accept people with a particular background? If this program is otherwise ideal for you, you might consider getting that background and then applying for the program. 

Where are they located, are you willing and able to go to them for in-person training?

  • Will you be able to travel to the training location? If not, Is there an option to bring the mentor to you, or to meet with a mentor somewhere that is more budget-friendly?

Research individuals connected with the program:

Do a deeper dive into graduates of the program to get sense of the outcomes of the training. Find these graduates by looking at the program’s webpage, as many programs have lists of their graduates. 

When researching the programs you may have made note of specific Intimacy Professionals. Reaching out to those individuals might be an option. They might have additional recommendations for programs and approaches that are most suited to the needs of your area.

Impacts within the industry

If you discover that graduates and/or the program are consistently well-thought-of and/or are consistently working, that may convey positive things about the program. If you have friends and colleagues that have worked with Intimacy Professionals, they might be able to offer some insight.

Alignment and mindset

To me, one of the most important skills as an intimacy professional is working with people in a collaborative creative workplace. The Intimacy Professional should help facilitate this work environment, where all involved can feel supported, and the project’s creativity is maximized. A communicative, trusting and respectful workspace is essential for the creative and vulnerable work of performing arts. 

My approach to intimacy and fight direction is “here’s some practices for our communication and for how we create movement that can help to support us all as we do creative work.” In my experience, this is the approach best suited to fostering a collaborative creative workplace. Some folks are more into a “here’s where potential problems and harms will happen”. IMHO, the latter can create a tone of judgment and fear which, one might suggest, is the opposite of the kind of mindset that best supports the creative process.

An Intimacy Professional has the same responsibility to create and uphold the tone of the workspace as any other person in the room, though the Intimacy Professional often has increased leadership in this capacity. This is why some awareness of respectful workspaces practices and mental health coordination is helpful as an Intimacy Professional. A mentor can help you to refine your approach to the work space during classes, mock rehearsals, and in the field, which is why the in-person portions are so essential in training. If you are absolutely unable to do in-person training, consider creating your own opportunities to workshop your skills (example: setting up mock rehearsals or scene work), before you are hired.

So, does the program you’re interested in align with your approach to the work and your reasons for becoming an intimacy professional?

Wrapping up

You made it to the end! I hope this has been helpful, and that it helps you to find a program that suits you and your needs. As with so many things, I can’t share absolutely everything here, but I’ve tried to include details that would be helpful.

Best regards,