Seventeen Actresses on What They Really Think About Sex Scenes

The wonderfully awkward world of tube socks and vag pads

September 23, 2016 9:00 am

Much like real life first-timers, it appears filming sex scenes is mostly awkward and often times booze-laden.

Unless you’re Hugh Grant. His steaming-up-the-lens roster includes scenes from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary — and he enjoyed every second of making them.

“Love scenes are extremely difficult. You’re always within a millimetre of sentimentality and yuck,” he said in interview with W magazine. “But sex scenes are something else. The conventional response to sex scenes is that they’re horrible and not sexy and it’s all so unnatural. But I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on. I like the experience of being in a sexual position when you’re not supposed to be in one.”

Truly optimistic of you, Hugh.

Hollywood’s leading ladies, however, tend to sing a different tune. Here’s what 17 of them said about the art of doing the deed on set.

“There is always a particularly large and hairy man holding a boom wearing a crop top. I don’t know if they’re like, ‘Ooh, sex scene, where’s my crop top because I need to hover above Olivia, make sure my hairy belly is somewhere in the vicinity of her face.’ 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 Wilde

“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. And on top of that, my hands and legs were tied, and I was blindfolded, and I was being hit with this bizarre tool. It was emotionally taxing. At first I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is the worst thing ever,’ and then I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get on with it.’”
– Dakota Johnson, on Fifty Shades of Grey

“I never understand when people say, ‘Sex scenes are so mechanical; it doesn’t feel like anything.’ It feels like someone f***ing you! It’s confusing.”
– Lena Dunham

“I knew that there would be awkward sex scenes, but they were so wonderfully awkward. They were so specifically awkward … Everything was highly choreographed and planned out, so it wasn’t shocking. Ben [Stiller] is a great actor and such a gentleman and made sure that everything was OK with me.”
 Greta Gerwig, on Greenberg

“It was both of our first times having an onscreen [sex] scene. It was such a safe, comfortable environment and I am so grateful that it was with Miles, because he was such a gentleman and made me feel very comfortable and nurtured. And I think I made him feel very comfortable and nurtured. It was really sweet. We wanted it to just feel natural.”
– Shailene Woodley, on The Spectacular Now

“We shot the beginning of our relationship first, and it was fun and alive. Then we did the sex scenes and it was … toxic. Ryan and I had stopped relating to each other as Ryan and Michelle. Those scenes took forever. I had a long drive from set to home each night, and I would roll down all the windows and turn up the music as loud as I could and hang my head out the window like a dog and scream. It was my escape.”
– Michelle Williams, on Blue Valentine

“Maybe it should be weird, simulating sex with your husband in front of people? But it’s really not. When it’s a love scene with someone you actually love, there’s no feeling like, ‘Can I touch him here? Can I touch him there?’ You know what your boundaries are — or what they aren’t, I suppose.”
– Anna Paquin, on True Blood

“It’s just a part of the role. So I did it. I mean, you see everything.”
– Cameron Diaz, on Sex Tape

“There’s some good positions in there. Jon Hamm — pumpin’ away. He was making his money that day. There was nothing hot about that scene. We weren’t, like, looking into each other’s eyes.”
– Kristen Wiig, on Bridesmaids

“I’m pretty immature, so I get pretty embarrassed still. But yeah, you … I would, like, check out once in a while, certain shots to make sure I felt OK. Because sometimes once you see it, like, there was one of the panties coming off that we did, and after I watched it I was like, Oh that’s not bad, because it was really quick. It wasn’t like, lingering on anything that I felt, you know, modest about or anything. I checked a little. You do sort of go the opposite direction between takes. ‘Oh, what are you doing this weekend?’ Like, totally benign conversation between to make it a little normal.”
– Natalie Portman, on No Strings Attached

“It was so … awkward. And you can never destroy that awkwardness; it’s always going to be there — even when you’re with somebody for the first time in real life. It’s just strange.”
– Amanda Seyfried, on Chloe

“They are mortifying. You’ve got hundreds of people watching … I’m doing a real orgasm — not ‘real,’ but the way I know it sounds in real life, because I don’t know how to fake it … That’s embarrassing.” 
– Jemima Kirke, on Girls

“I was so nervous and then I was so drunk that after I shot the scene I was going up to the crew members — I had just met all these people the day before — and I was going up to all of them being like [imitates drunk self], ‘You gotta boner! You do! You got one!’ It was horrible.”
– Lizzy Caplan, on Masters of Sex

“The sex scene was really awkward. It was my first day… so I guess it was good to break the ice.”
– Blake Lively, on The Town

“[I did] a couple of shots of vodka — definitely — beforehand, and then a couple of glasses of champagne as a celebration of never having to do that again!”
– Keira Knightley, on A Dangerous Method

“I wanted it to be truthful, I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be real.”
– Reese Witherspoon, on Wild

“It’d be weird if he was like, ‘Ah, I’m cool with it, do whatever,’ you know? It’s never fun [shooting love scenes], but you just get really used to it, it’s weird. They [Channing and her male co-stars] are, like, really good friends, so it’s even more awkward. ‘Yeah, we have this love scene, but we were just hangin’ with our wives and husbands …’ It’s acting, you know — it’s weird.”
– Jenna Dewan-Tatum, on Witches of East End

via The Independent

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