Sex scenes may look hot and passionate on-screen in television shows and movies, but shooting the intimate moments aren’t exactly what they appear to be. Celebrities like Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet, Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor and more have spilled behind-the-scenes secrets about what it’s really like.
Some directors and crews take painstaking efforts to assure their actors are comfortable on set during shooting. Phoebe explained that preparation with intimacy coach Lizzy Talbot before her sex scenes with costar Regé-Jean Page made everyone feel that much more comfortable.
“We felt super safe,” the Netflix star said, adding it was like “shooting a stunt,” during an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “It just meant that when we got on set, we already knew exactly what we’re doing. We’d blocked it all so specifically. I knew exactly where his hand was going to go at what point. So, it just meant that there wasn’t any room for a director to go, ‘Oh, I want to see this now.’”
Some actors actually prefer to work out the details of their sex scenes with their on-screen partners. Kate Winslet shared how she and Saoirse Ronan “marked out the beats of the scene” for their intimate encounters for the film Ammonite.
“I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe,” the Titanic actress told The Hollywood Reporter. “[Director] Francis [Lee] was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’”
That being said, there’s a consensus that shooting intimate moments on camera can be awkward. Jake Gyllenhaal recalled how he felt doing sex scenes with his “crush” Jennifer Aniston in 2002’s The Good Girl.
“[Filming the sex scenes] was torture, yes it was, but it was also not torture. I mean, come on, it was like a mix of both,” the Nightcrawler star said on The Howard Stern Show. “Weirdly, love scenes are awkward, because there are maybe 30, 50 people watching it? That doesn’t turn me on.”
However, the “choreographed” scenes ended up being “oddly mechanical,” and the actors used “the pillow technique.”
“That was just pre-emptive and used generally always when actually in a horizontal place in that movie,” the Donnie Darko actor explained. “I think that was actually a Jennifer suggestion … She was very kind to suggest it before we began. She was like, ‘I’m putting a pillow here.’”
Keep scrolling to see celebrities dish more behind-the-scenes secrets about sex scenes!