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In bedrooms and on couches. Late at night and in the early hours of the morning. Strangers, acquaintances and casual flings open up to each other – revealing some of the most private, occasionally uplifting, sometimes shameful parts of themselves in the fleeting intimacy after a sexual encounter.

Skin to Skin is an experimental documentary exploring the beautifully messy relationship between intimacy and LGBTQ+ hook-up culture. Directed by award-winning filmmaking duo Luna, the film is a dreamy, kaleidoscopic journey into the real lives and stories of Ireland’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community.

Director’s Vision

For some people, the NSA thing – the no strings thing – implies something impersonal. No emotions. No real intimacy involved. But some of my most intimate experiences have been with casual hook-ups. With strangers even.

There’s something about that calmness that comes after the sex – and, maybe, I don’t know, the fact that you probably won’t ever see each other again – that really allows you to let your guard down. To be vulnerable with each other, I suppose.

Adopting a formally innovative doc/fiction hybrid approach to its subject matter, Skin to Skin captures the emotionally complex nuances and contradictions of hook-up culture. These are real stories, as remembered and re-created by our interview subject, which have been interpreted in a visually inventive way. The stories it recounts are raw, funny, insightful, heartbreaking, uplifting, sexy – often all at the same time.

By exploring these stories in all their richness, authenticity and raw emotion, we wanted to capture something that we feel often gets overlooked about LGBT hook-up culture. We wanted to show how hook-up culture allows alienated people to connect emotionally with others. How it allows individuals to experience a sense of intimacy and community. Not only that, however, but also how this world allows individuals to acknowledge aspects of themselves they might usually keep hidden.

In the media and in popular culture, LGBT hook-up culture is often presented as one-dimensional. LGBT hook-up culture is often depicted as hedonistic, impersonal, and – in some instances – risky, sordid or dysfunctional. As a member of the LGBT community myself, I wanted to challenge these lazy stereotypes and lazy cultural narratives.

The real encounters re-created in the film touch on how hook-up culture creates a sense of community and kinship among people. The film also shows how hook-up culture is a way for many people to alleviate their loneliness, trauma and shame.

This, we feel strongly, is a valuable perspective to share.