These Actors Got Candid About What It's Really Like to Film Sex Scenes

Yes, they’re as awkward as you would imagine!

Sex scenes may seem hot and steamy on screen, but on set, it’s quite the opposite. The final result that viewers get to watch is the product of preparation, hard work, and a lot of awkward moments for both the film’s cast and crew.

Many actors, like Margot Robbie and Kirsten Dunst, say they just want to get sex scenes over with as soon as possible. With a full film crew watching their every move, it’s understandable.

But thankfully, things seem to be taking a turn. While it’s still pretty cumbersome getting up close and personal with co-stars, directors like Olivia Wilde are working to make a change. Plus, the introduction of intimacy coaches, like they used on the set of “Bridgerton,” is making the process a lot easier.

Find out what these actors had to say about filming sex scenes…

1. Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley says she has become so uncomfortable filming sex scenes, that she no longer wishes to take part in them if a male director is involved.

“It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze. I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze. I don’t want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I’m not interested in doing that,” Keira said on the “Chanel Connects” podcast.

She added, “I’d just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked. If I was making a story that was about that journey of motherhood and body [acceptance] I feel like, I’m sorry, but that would have to be with a female filmmaker. I don’t have an absolute ban, but I kind of do with men.”

2. Phoebe Dynevor

“Bridgerton” star Phoebe Dynevor has nothing but praise for the way sex scenes were filmed on the show, explaining that she always felt comfortable thanks to their on set intimacy coach, Lizzy Talbot.

“We did the intimate scenes like stunts — we blocked them out, so you have yoga balls in between you and all sorts of things that never make you feel exposed in any way. You always feel safe. I’d rehearse with Regé [-Jean Page] so much that we both knew what we were doing. It felt very practical,” Phoebe told Glamour.

She added, “If we didn’t have an intimacy coordinator, it would be our director, who was a male, coming up to me and telling me what to do. That would have been awkward. I felt so safe in the knowledge that Lizzy was there, so that if something went wrong or the director wanted something different, he could speak to her first. I think it would have been a very difficult experience if Lizzy hadn’t been on set protecting me and looking after me.”

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3. Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam admits that sex scenes gross him out because he’s been a germophobe all of his life. He also finds them difficult because he’s in a long term relationship and doesn’t want to disrespect his partner.

“I try to be sensitive to the fact that we’re doing something intimate, but also keep a clear boundary. Because I’m in a very committed relationship, and I’m also cognizant that it’s not my girlfriend’s favorite part of my job. It’s a delicate balance to strike. I’m also a germaphobe. I’ve been profoundly germophobic since I was a young child. I don’t want to kiss anyone but my girlfriend for my whole life,” Charlie told Elle.

4. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman says that filming a sex scene with someone you consider a friend is almost more uncomfortable than with someone you’re not well acquainted with. For Natalie, her friendship with Mila Kunis made their “Black Swan” scene more awkward.

“I didn’t really think through the fact that I was going to have to have sex with her in the movie. It was pretty awkward. I almost feel like it would be easier to do it with someone you didn’t know. But, having said that, it was great to have a friend there who, we could laugh and make jokes and get over it together,” she told MTV News.

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5. Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde shared that one of the most uncomfortable parts of filming a sex scene is having the film crew working nearby, who sometimes have to get a little too close for comfort in order to get the right shot.

“People imagine it’s this really glamorous and sexy thing, but I always laugh because in reality there are 50 people in the room. You are stopping and starting. There is someone yelling, like, ‘Can you move your hand, can you just put your shoulder down, OK, good, more, more!'” Olivia once said.

Since becoming a director, Olivia is now working to change the standard for filming those kinds of scenes, ensuring that a set is truly closed and that only the necessary actors and crew were present.

6. Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway says she was extremely anxious about stripping down to film her sex scene in “Love and Other Drugs” but once she relaxed, she was able to almost enjoy the experience.

“There is that revoltingly embarrassing moment when you have to take your clothes off in front of strangers. I mean, I don’t go to the beach in a bikini for a reason. So I thought, OK, I’m going to be in control. I’m going to do everything properly, disrobe at the last minute, and in between shots get the clothes back on. But then I found that every time I put my robe back on, it rubbed all the body makeup off, and that added 20 minutes to filming. As with all things in life, the second you stop making it about you and you make it about everyone else, it just got, dare I say, fun,” Anne told EW.

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7. Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson had to film plenty of intimate scenes in the “Fifty Shades” series and said they never got any easier. She explained that it wasn’t casual or fun, partially due to the undergarments she had to wear, which were glued to her body.

“I had these sort of strapless thongs that had glue on them. It’s not glue, but it’s sticky. They’re, like, basically if it were a nipple pastie, but underwear. But it’s only sticky at the top, it’s not sticky the whole way. It would also come off because the adhesive would wear out, so then they would superglue it to my body so that it wouldn’t fall off. And I would wear two of them,” Dakota told Marie Claire.

8. Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm knows that sex scenes can be awkward so he tries to enjoy the hilarity of it all to make it a little easier.

“Sure, there’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. I am not a small human being. I weigh at least 200 pounds and I’m six-foot-two…It’s weird and uncomfortable at first, but then all the awkwardness melts away and you think, ‘All right, we’re doing this, so let’s have fun with it.’ You know what I mean? You’re in that moment and it’s happening and it’s not going to get any better, so you might as well enjoy it,” Jon said of his scene with Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids.”

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9. Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman didn’t have a pleasant experience filming scenes for “Big Little Lies,” where she had to portray a woman who engaged in rough sexual acts in order to please her abusive husband.

“I felt very exposed and vulnerable and deeply humiliated at times,” Nicole told W magazine, adding, “I remember lying on the floor in the bathroom at the very end when we were doing the scenes in episode 7, and I was lying on the floor and I just wouldn’t get up in-between takes. I was just lying there, sort of broken and crying, and I remember at one point [director] Jean-Marc coming over and just sort of placing a towel over me because I was just lying there in half-torn underwear and just basically on the ground with nothing on and I was just, like [gasps].”

10. Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart doesn’t mind sex scenes but finds them “grotesquely uncomfortable” when they’re “contrived.” She also noted that despite her lax feelings towards filming, she had a difficult time during the iconic sex scene in “Twilight” because she wanted to make it perfect.

“On ‘Twilight’ we had to do the most epic sex scene of all time. 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,” Kristen told Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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11. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt explained that he makes it through sex scenes by having strict boundaries on set and trying to make his co-star as comfortable as possible. At the end of the day, it’s still a strange and awkward situation.

“I don’t want to make generalizations based on gender, but I feel the responsibility falls on me and I’ve been in that situation a couple times. Essentially it’s your job to just minimize the discomfort by, you know, making sure there’s nobody else on set than is required, having a closed set, periodically checking in, and just doing everything you can to assure the person you’re with that they’re okay. For all the sense of anxiety that comes leading up to a scene like this, you get into it and you realize there’s really nothing sexy about it at all. It’s just really awkward. But you know, it’s part of the gig and you just do what you can to check in with the other person and try to minimize any discomfort that they feel,” Chris said during a SiriusXM Town Hall.

12. Kirsten Dunst

While Kirsten Dunst was filming an intense love scene for “The Beguiled,” she says she just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.

“I am on the floor and my clothes are being ripped. 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’s like, ‘We’re going to get this done quick, we’re just gonna shoot it here, we’ll do three takes, be done,'” Kristen told E! News.

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13. Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie says filming sex scenes are awkward, no matter who they’re with. “Tons of people are watching you. There isn’t an option. It’s just like, this is what you need to do – get on with it. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can stop doing it. It’s so awkward,” Margot said to Vanity Fair.

14. Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis wasn’t comfortable with how many people were on sex while filming her sex scene in “Black Swan,” even though she was with her friend Natalie Portman.

“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, repositioning you, there’s no comfort whatsoever,” Mila told Huffington Post.

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