Hold Your Horny Heart — Here’s How Love Island Australia’s Approaching Consent This Year

Image courtesy of Channel 9
While reality TV may not need intimacy coordinators for scripted sex scenes like a Hollywood movie, many reality shows are still taking measures to ensure contestants feel safe and consent to sex when they get frisky between the sheets.
Love Island Australia has introduced a special sex button this year, which contestants can push to alert the villa's control room that they consent to the sexual activity they're engaging in at that very moment.
Dubbed the 'button of love' or 'horny heart', this button replaces the Channel Nine show's previous method of confirming consent, which involved cast members pausing their hot and heavy action to yell out 'I consent' to the camera.
There have also been some awkward situations in the past where producers have had to interrupt contestants in order to obtain proof that all parties involved consent to the sexual activity.
"Once they go under the covers they are out of our view,” Love Island Australia’s executive producer Alex Mavroidakis told Herald Sun.
“We have (in previous seasons) had producers creeping into the bedroom at night time tapping them (islanders) on the shoulder and saying ‘you have to say I consent’, which is incredibly embarrassing for the producer and certainly for the islander. To alleviate that we designed the consent button or the horny heart."
Audiences are not made aware when the sex button is pushed, and Mavroidakis says the show doesn't actually film contestants having sex. Once producers are aware that the contestants involved are "both mutually consenting", they leave them to it.
Jessie Wynter, who starred in Season 2 of Love Island Australia back in 2019, previously opened up about how consent was made explicit when she was on the show.
"If you were, like, doing it, you have to look at the camera and say 'I give consent'," she told reality TV podcast, So Dramatic!.
"If you were starting to do something and you have not said to the camera that you consent, it would be (via the villa's PA system), 'Jessie, do you consent?'."
The reality TV star also explained that alcohol wasn't as free flowing as some viewers may expect, with her season's cast given only two glasses of wine per night with a producer present at all times.
Sex and consent are things reality TV producers across the genre have to deal with, especially when it comes to dating shows. The US version of Bachelor In Paradise made headlines in 2017 when production was paused after a 'sex scandal' between cast members Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. At the time, it was reported that a producer allegedly witnessed a drunken sexual encounter between the two contestants.
"The show absolutely values the primacy of consent, and this instance it appears as though conduct allegedly occurred without the proper consent having been given," an alleged source close to the show claimed to People magazine at the time.
Almost 10 days later, the show's production company Warner Bros announced that the investigation was complete, and that filming would resume as no evidence of misconduct was found.
Circling back to Love Island, this year marks the fourth season of the reality TV show's Aussie version. Hosted by Sophie in a beachside villa in Mallorca, Spain, there's a group of singles who must couple up and try to stay together while resisting the temptations of new cast members called 'bombshells'.
The cast includes Claudia, Stella, Holly, Jessica, Layla, Phoebe, Phoebe H, Maddy, Vakoo, Tak, Austen, Mitchell, Jordan, Conor, Andre, Callum and Married At First Sight's Al Perkins.
Love Island Australia airs Monday to Thursday, with new episodes dropping at 6pm on 9Now.
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