Checklists, Safe Words, and Interrupted Orgasms: How Directors Are Navigating Consent During ‘Rough’ Porn Shoots by Tracy Clark-Flory

Marlowe admits that “in the heat of the moment, things can happen.” Sometimes a performer gets carried away and pushes or forgets a stated boundary—but she says it’s the director’s job to immediately call out the transgression and address it. “If someone didn’t want spit in their face and then the other actor spits in their face, I stop the scene,” she says. “I remind the actor about the other actor’s limits.” It’s then up to the performer whose limits were crossed to decided whether they want to take a break or stop the scene entirely. If a performer crosses a hard limit, there is no warning. “The scene stops and they will be escorted off my set immediately,” she says.

Performers always have safe words, like “red,” that will bring the scene to a screeching halt, but sometimes Marlowe intervenes on their behalf if it looks like things have gotten too rough. “I can often see it coming before they even say something,” she says. “Often they are in a deeply intense head space and it can be hard [for them] to call it.” There have been times where she’s had to suddenly call off a scene entirely. “It’s important that you learn the signs of when you need to call the shoot, even if the actor gets mad at you,” she says. “Most actors will come to you later, sometimes years later, and thank you.”

In fact, in response to Raven’s and Nixon’s video, Marlowe unleashed a series of tweets calling on directors to “actively engage with your talent in a respectful way and be able to read them when they are deep in the throws of rough sex and take that shit seriously.” She wrote, “Be prepared to recognize when you need to call shoots, even if the main talent is not able to do it themselves. BECAUSE IT’S YOUR FUCKING JOB.” In response, a performer she had worked with in the past wrote, “Yep. You called it once during my very first scene when I didnt know any better and because of that I was able to finish my scene with a smile on my face and was able to conquer other scenes and even have a better idea of my own limits going forward in my career.”