Sex scenes are incredibly common in films and on TV today. As a result, plenty of actors and actresses are asked to bare it all in front of the camera. Many actors have done these kinds of sex scenes, and most of them have come to regret it. The common perception around sex scenes is that they're pretty terrible for the actors involved. They're awkward, and often involve long hours.
Of course, not every actor feels that way about sex scenes. In fact, some of them have suggested that they enjoy it. It's true that this group is a minority, but it's worth noting that not all actors hate filming sex scenes. While most find it awkward, there are others who are willing to simply let go and enjoy the ride. Here are 15 actors who hate sex scenes, and 5 who love them!
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As a young actress, Shailene Woodley has lost her virginity on screen numerous times. As Shailene tells it, that makes for some awkward moments. "It's always an awkward situation when you have to pretend to be intimate with someone that you're not actually intimate with," she told Page Six. "I think the awkwardness probably lends itself to these great virginity scenes."
Interestingly, Woodley argues that because things are really awkward on set, the moment itself can reflect that awkwardness. It may be an uncomfortable experience for the actors, but it helps sell the moment to audiences, which I guess makes it a little better.
For Twilight star Kristen Stewart, sex scenes can be a lot to live up to. That's especially true when they're written to be life-changing events. "On Twilight we had to do the most epic sex scene of all time," Kristen told Harper's Bazaar. "It had to be transcendent and otherworldly, inhuman, better sex than you can possibly ever imagine, and we were like, ‘How do we live up to that?’ It was agony. Which sucks, because I wanted it to be so good."
No actor could live up to that kind of pressure, which explains why Kristen felt so unworthy, even though she was filming it with her boyfriend at the time and certified hottie Robert Pattinson.
When filming sex scenes for several of her films, Mila Kunis suggested that filming the scenes was never easy. "It’s hard to have a sex scene, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a male, a female. You’re with 100-something crew members, lighting you, re-positioning you," Mila explained to The Huffington Post. "There’s no comfort whatsoever."
Mila certainly paints a vivid picture there, suggesting that there's really no way to be comfortable filming a sex scene. The idea of doing them is inherently uncomfortable. That's unfortunate, considering how common they are in romantic films — comedies or dramas.
When discussing her sex scene with Ben Affleck in The Town, Blake Lively pointed out the strange difference between experiences on red carpets and those on set. "We stand on these red carpets and pose in these dresses, but we're all only so confident," Blake told The Today Show. "It doesn't mean we think we're great looking or anything. It's all a facade. But the sex scene was really awkward. It was my first day, so thank you for that. I guess it was good to break the ice."
That's probably not the easiest way to meet new co-workers.
For her part, Kristen Bell has never even considered doing a sex scene. "I don't show my crack," Bell told Women's Health. "All the Mr. Skins of the world are like, 'Ooh, Kristen get naked!' I'm like, 'Dream on!"
It is strange that we expect actors to be willing to get nude in order to get roles. Not wanting to reveal yourself is a totally valid position. Actors shouldn't be expected to do things they're uncomfortable with. The Good Place has made a career of playing smart, confident women. She doesn't need to get naked to earn our praise.
Even though he brought sexy back, Justin Timberlake wasn't exactly over the moon about filming sex scenes for Friends With Benefits. "It’s actually kind of annoying. You’re there for 12 hours; it’s exhausting," he told BBC. "All those scenes revolve around the dialogue and physical humor is so tiring."
Justin's comments get at the idea that filming a sex scene is rarely a particularly sexy affair. Most of the time, it means long hours and a lot of physical work. It's not just about memorizing your lines. You have to position your body just so for hours on end. That sounds tiring.
For comedian Amy Schumer, nudity wasn't really the issue with doing sex scenes, it was how vulnerable she was. "In our house, nudity wasn’t a big deal, so that was never an issue for me," Amy told The New York Times. "It was about the crew. The sex scenes that are funny, I don’t care, but the ones that are actually sexual, it’s like these people are seeing me be really vulnerable."
That's true for many actors. It's hard to open yourself up like that in front of other people. Sex is a pretty intimate thing, so to simulate it for a crew must be tough.
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Hugh Grant may seem like a prototypical lady's man, but even he struggles with making sex scenes feel real. "Love scenes are extremely difficult," Hugh told W Magazine. "You’re always within a millimeter of sentimentality and yuck."
Basically, Hugh always worries that it won't feel the way it feels when two people actually have sex. After all, many movies romanticize the act in a way that isn't realistic. Sex can be a great, intimate activity, but it can also be messy and awkward. That's doubly true when you're trying to film it for cameras, even if you're a great actor.
For Passengers, Jennifer Lawrence was concerned about what a sex scene with a married man (Chris Pratt) would be like. "It was just very vulnerable," Jennifer told The Hollywood Reporter. "And you don’t know what’s too much. You want to do it real, you want everything to be real, but then... That was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been.”
Jennifer knew it was her job to deliver a good performance, but she also worried about the morality of kissing a married man. She knew it was all for the role, but she felt icky about it anyway, which is totally understandable.
Given her role in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, Dakota Johnson likely knows more about sex scenes than most actors. During one scene in particular, Dakota described feeling more uncomfortable than aroused.
"There’s a scene in which Christian uses a flogger on Anastasia," she told Time Magazine. "Filming a sex scene is not a sensual or pleasurable environment. It’s really hot — not in a steamy, sexual way. It’s just sweaty and it’s not very comfortable." It really gives a you a different perspective on those movies. Maybe Christian Grey and his sex life isn't actually all it's cracked up to be.
James McAvoy doesn't particularly care for sex scenes either. On Wanted, he was supposed to get intimate with Angelina Jolie and he wasn't very interested in the prospect, believe it or not. "It’s sweaty and uncomfortable. My paranoia is, the girl I’m doing the sex scene with will think I’m getting off on her,
he told The Daily Record. "I have nightmares about that."
On Neighbors, Dave Franco had a fairly awkward experience with an actress he'd just met.
"I met the girl the day before and she was beautiful and very sweet, but it’s awkward," Dave said on Chelsea Lately. "You meet each other and then you’re grinding — you don’t even know her name, barely. You have 20 crew members who are also watching you do it. And then, of course, for me, I woke up that morning and I had a giant pimple on my ass... It sucks, right?" Butt pimples certainly seem like a worst case scenario if cameras are going to be examining your booty.
Kirsten Dunst was remarkably frank when explaining why she was so uncomfortable filming an alarming moment in The Beguiled. "I am on the floor and my clothes are being ripped," Kirsten explained to E! News. "I don’t like it. I don’t like it. To be honest, I’m like, ‘Let’s get this over with as fast as possible.’ At least [director Sofia Coppola] was like, ‘We’re going to get this done quick. We’re just gonna shoot it here, we’ll do three takes, be done.'"
Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez made it clear that sex scenes are almost never the most fun to do. "Those scenes are embarrassing," Jennifer told E! News. "They are uncomfortable, but your job as an actress or an actor is to make it believable."
For her film The Boy Next Door, J.Lo had to do quite a bit of steamy stuff. Even so, the actress insisted that that stuff was usually embarrassing to film, especially as a part of your job. Remember, you're not doing this with your closest friends. You're doing it with people you'd describe as colleagues.
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Rosamund Pike made her feelings about sex on screen abundantly clear during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers when discussing Gone Girl. "You are alone with a man who’s not your husband — who also has a husband (Neil Patrick Harris) — he’s in his underwear, you’re in your underwear, and you’re sort of dry humping on a bed," Rosamund told Seth.
For her, it seems the experience was primarily an awkward one, although she also mentioned that shooting on the day was fine. It was the rehearsal where things felt most uncomfortable because there was no camera to make it clear what they were there to do.
When it came time for Zac Efron to shoot his sex scene with Heather Graham in At Any Price, he was nervous. "I was nervous because I've been in love with her since I can remember," Zac told Vulture. "It was very surreal for me."
It sounds like, for Zac, the experience was more odd than bad. He got to ~get intimate~ (for the screen, at least)P with someone he'd long been in love with. That has to be an odd thing to go through, but it sounds like a positive experience. At the very least, he got to get to know her a little bit after years of distant admiration.
Jon Hamm's attitude about sex scenes is a little more in the moment than some of his colleagues. "It’s like running in the rain," Jon said of his sex scene with Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids in an interview with Playboy. "There’s a certain point where you go, 'F*ck it, I’m already wet. I'm not going to get any less wet so I might as well enjoy how this feels.'"
While Jon isn't saying he always enjoys sex scenes, he's willing to admit that they're more fun than many actors claim. If you're willing to go along for the ride, you may find yourself enjoying it.
Anne Hathaway made an entire movie about the difference between physical and emotional intimacy. "These are people who have no trouble taking their clothes off — in a way their bodies are their currency," she told Vogue about the character she played in Love and Other Drugs. “But they’re terrified of exposing their vulnerability — of becoming emotionally naked.”
It seems that, at least for Anne, the difference between the two is worth noting. If you can disconnect the emotional part of yourself from it, sex scenes might become a little more manageable. Of course, a little alcohol doesn't hurt either.
During a sex scene with Olivia Wilde for The Change-Up, Ryan Reynolds experienced something of a rebirth. "So, in the scene, she’s sitting there and I take her top off and the bra off, and she has those pasties on, but she’s drawn these adorable little smiley faces on them," the actor explained on The Tonight Show. "And I forget every line in the scene — not just from this movie but from every other movie I’ve done."
It seems that Ryan was left more than a little dumbstruck in the heat of the moment. Naturally, he was a total professional about it once he had recovered.
Throughout her long career, Julianne Moore has always been more than willing to bear it all for the camera. She has done so in films like Boogie Nights and The Big Lebowski, and even more recently in films like Don Jon. Although sex scenes aren't for every actor, Julianne seems to derive some empowerment from being able to own her image in front of the camera.
She knows that she's comfortable with her own body, and willing to do what it takes to make the films she appears in better. She's always been a great actress, whether she keeps her clothes on or not.