When Starz’s half-hour drama Vida returned for season two a few weeks ago, the opening scene’s sexual bravado – an orgy during which Lyn has a personal epiphany – all but confirmed that the show will continue to push the envelope when it comes to exploring sexuality. Creator and showrunner, Tanya Saracho, is changing the cultural conversation around Latinx and queer communities, and one of the ways she and her Latinx team of writers are breaking new ground is by capturing real intimate moments that are rarely seen on the small screen.

Because the show explores the journey of identity and sexuality so deeply, nudity and sex scenes are essential to propelling the story forward. But unlike the majority of explicit sex scenes we normally see on TV, viewers get to see a naturalistic and vulnerable take on sex shot from a female gaze. Additionally, queer viewers get to see an honest depiction of their world without an over dominating hetero gaze, as Saracho herself and many on the creative team identify as queer.

“There were so many females around during filming [of] the sex scenes and more intimate moments,” explains Saracho for an interview with Remezcla. “It was really exciting to feel like it was an inside hand molding this world.”

The nudity on the show is not a manufactured fantasy but rather realistic, showcasing an array of body types and masculine/feminine dynamics. It’s not set forth for shock value, but to respectfully let viewers in behind closed doors of characters whose lives may parallel their own.

Vida’s creative team is mindful not to showcase sex for sex’s sake. There is great care put into these NSFW moments, and they never overshadow the progression of the storyline or characters – in fact, they often serve to illuminate their emotional states. Carlos Miranda (Johnny) reveals, “It’s all part of the story. If it helps tell the story better, which it does, I’m all for it.” In fact, Vida served as the catalyst for many of the actors’ first nude and/or sex scenes. “We have a better comfort level this season than we had in season one,” says Miranda. “Tanya will talk to you and ask you what you’re comfortable with. You don’t feel exposed in a negative way.”

“Yeah, Tanya is very hands-on,” adds Chelsea Rendon (Mari). Indeed, it’s this hands-on approach and mission to faithfully tell the story in an authentic way that has helped build trust and confidence among the castmates. Mishel Prada (Emma) agrees, adding, “In season two, I’ve learned to be more communicative of my needs. I learned a lot about wanting to have more control of my body.”

Even from the pilot episode, when Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Johnny had an R-rated reunion at Vidalia’s funeral, the show was upfront and unapologetic in how it would explore sexuality. “The orgy scene [the opening scene in season two] was actually really comfortable because we were all naked and it felt like we were all in it together,” said Barrera. This approach, with all Latina directors and a mission not to marginalize the female perspective, has allowed the cast to be vulnerable with each other, leading to a camaraderie of sorts that extends beyond the set.

Vida season 2 is available to stream on the Starz app.