Skip To Content

    12 Famous Actors Describe What It's Really Like Filming Sex Scenes, And Their Experiences Are Eye-Opening

    "I'm doing something private in public. My nerves and feelings are a part of Annalise Keating." —Viola Davis

    1. Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite (2020)

    Saoirse Ronan about to kiss Kate Winslet in "Ammonite"
    Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in August 2020, Kate Winslet revealed what it was like to film ~that~ intimate sex scene with her costar, Saoirse Ronan. Winslet said: "Saoirse and I choreographed the scene ourselves. It's definitely not like eating a sandwich. [Our director] was naturally very nervous, and I said to him: 'Listen — let us work it out.' And we did."

    Winslet went into detail how she and Ronan planned out every beat for this beautifully moving sex scene: "'We'll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.' We marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative."

    She went on and told Entertainment Weekly that she purposefully moved the shooting day to Ronan's 26th birthday so that she'd have "a great memory in her film life, regardless of how the scene played out" because "the experience would be very equal" between the two actors.

    2. Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in Bridesmaids (2011)

    Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm laughing while having sex in the opening scene of "Bridesmaids"
    Universal Pictures

    Bridesmaids: you know it, you love it, and you certainly can't forget the hilarious sex scene between Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm because it's literally the first thing we see in the movie. While promoting the iconic comedy back in 2011, Wiig and Hamm talked to Access Hollywood about what it was like shooting this memorable scene together, and how awkward it was for both of them.

    Because Wiig and Hamm have a sibling-like relationship, she said it was super embarrassing to pretend to have sex: "[Jon] is like my brother. He really is! I mean, it's so silly. It was more funny than anything."

    Apparently, they shot their sex scene on the last day of filming Bridesmaids, and it took 12 hours to wrap everything up. Hamm reminisced about filming with his good pal, telling AH: "It’s not a lot of fun rolling around in front of 30 or 40 crew members in a flesh-colored thong, but we did have a lot of fun. We had a lot of jokes and a lot of laughs."

    3. Viola Davis and Billy Brown in How to Get Away with Murder (2014—2020)

    Viola Davis and Billy Brown having sex against the wall in "How to Get Away with Murder"
    ABC

    Viola Davis landed the role of professor and defense attorney Annalise Keating in the Shonda Rhimes hit How to Get Away with Murder in 2014 — her dynamic character would lead to Davis's first Emmy win in 2015 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

    Davis participated in the Hollywood Reporter's roundtable series for lead actresses in a drama series in 2015. She was open about her experience filming that Season 1 sex scene with Billy Brown for HTGAWM (you know the one), and how she tried to honor her craft as an actor as much as possible in that moment. "I just allowed myself to be uncomfortable," Davis said. "I'm not gonna talk myself out of it — if I stand in front of the mirror looking at my body, then Viola will kick in and go: 'My titties are sagging, and my stretch marks...'"

    She described the complexity of separating herself from her character while shooting this sex scene, especially since it's a very intimate act for everyone to see. Davis said: "I'm just a human being at the end of the day — and I'm doing something very private in public. The nerves and the insecurities and [everything] I feel is a part of Annalise. I cannot will her to be made of Teflon before she dives on top of a very hot-looking guy!"

    4. Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aviva Baumann in Superbad (2007)

    Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aviva Baumann dancing together in "Superbad"
    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Because Christopher Mintz-Plasse was under the age of 18 while filming the legendary coming-of-age movie Superbad, his mom had to be on set when he shot his sex scene with Aviva Baumann.

    On Chelsea Lately in 2011, Mintz-Plasse revealed: "I was the one who had to tell her [she had to be] on set, and she was, like, so down to come! She ran down and was just watching video footage while eating popcorn and chatting it up with the producers when I was fake-boning a girl." Luckily that was the only awkward moment of Mintz-Plasse's experience on set, but still!!!

    5. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim (2019)

    Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith having sex in a car in "Queen & Slim"
    Universal Pictures

    There's no denying that the sex scene between Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim is one of the most beautiful movie scenes to come out of 2020 (and probably ever). Lena Waithe wrote an intimate script about two characters on a very personal journey together, and in this particular scene, that depth really shines through.

    While promoting Queen & Slim in 2020, Kaluuya did an interview with Marie Claire and talked about shooting with Turner-Smith on a closed set. He felt lucky he "had someone like Jodie who is so cool, chill, and really caring in the moment." Kaluuya went into further detail about the intimacy and meaning behind Queen and Slim's first time in the car, saying: "We had to treat it like any other scene, and sex is the language and dialogue of that scene. If we're not telling the story, then it's just indulgent and showing people 'having it off.'"

    In a joint interview on Extra, Turner-Smith felt proud to have filmed this intimate moment with Kaluuya because of how it juxtaposed with the intense plot, and for that, it spoke "to the Black experience."

    After joking around that they had to stop shooting because her leg was stuck in the car dashboard, Turner-Smith continued to explain the importance of this particular scene. "I felt proud of it — as a Black woman, you're often depicted in this animalistic and hyper-sexual way, [but] it was just so gentle and elegant."

    6. Kaitlyn Dever and Diana Silvers in Booksmart (2019)

    Kaitlyn Dever and Diana Silvers about to have sex in the bathroom in "Booksmart"
    United Artists Releasing

    In Olivia Wilde's coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, she hit the nail on the head with a whole lot of things — from casting to music to comedic moments — that a lot of people felt like they could relate to. When it came down to the talked-about sex scene between Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Hope (Diana Silvers) in the bathroom, there were some who questioned its reality, while there were others who felt it was realistic for its awkward nature.

    When it came down to filming Amy and Hope's sex scene, Silvers described how nervous she and Dever were at first. But regardless of their initial nerves, Silvers revealed the two eventually became extremely comfortable and couldn't stop laughing between takes.

    "We both agreed that we weren't going to kiss until the cameras were rolling," Silvers told Vulture in 2019. "We figured out all the positions and all the timing, and when we were going to move onto the rug. Every time they called 'cut,' we would just break down laughing." Silvers felt excited while filming because to her, it captured the true teenage hookup experience.

    In a 2019 interview with BuzzFeed News, Devers addressed the awkwardness rooted in the Booksmart sex scene, and how it was important for them to leave that element in the movie. She said: "In hookup scenes that I've seen in movies, they make it look, like, pretty seamless and easy. But it really isn't. We wanted to keep in all of those awkward moments that you have when you're hooking up with someone for the first time."

    7. Taraji P. Henson and Michael Ealy in Think Like a Man (2012)

    Taraji P. Henson and Michael Ealy about to kiss in "Think Like a Man"
    Screen Gems / Courtesy Everett Collection

    If you've ever seen or heard of Think Like a Man, you know it's a classic 2010s movie filled with an incredibly stacked cast, featuring Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, and Steve Harvey. And, if you've ever seen the movie, you're probably familiar with the memorable sex scene between Taraji P. Henson and Michael Ealy because, well...it's something.

    While promoting the rom-com on Sway in the Morning in 2012, Henson described how excited she was to work with Ealy, and how they shot their sex scene early in production. She told Sway: "The first day on set was the scene where he's putting chocolate on my thigh — that was the first day! [And] he licked it off — I was like, 'I need another take!'"

    Joking aside, Henson described how professional Ealy was while filming the scene, despite the pressure that their first scene together was a sex scene. "He asked 'What's off limits? What can I touch, what can we not do?' and I was like, 'You know what? Go for it,' — in the most professional way possible." And those Michael Ealy kisses you know, love, and have watched on YouTube at least 50 times? "We were kissing for real," Henson said. "Real kisses."

    8. Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton (2020—present)

    Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in bed after having sex in "Bridgerton"
    Netflix

    It's no secret that Shonda Rhimes' new Netflix show Bridgerton is beloved by 99.999999% of people. It's filled with dramatic plots, amazing characters, cool-as-heck costumes, and a lot of sex scenes.

    In a recent interview with E!, actors Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor — who play the Duke and Daphne on the show — discussed the deep thought and planning that went into filming these talked-about sex scenes. There were intimacy coordinators on the set to help the actors prepare for every small detail, movement, and moment between the characters.

    Dynevor said: "I'm really proud of those scenes — we worked really hard at making them feel real. I felt very safe with Regé and the intimacy coordinator — we blocked them out like they were intricate stunts."

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, it took months of preparation to nail everything down in its perfect place. Intimacy coordinator Lizzy Talbot told THR: "There's nothing worse than having to decide in the moment what your boundaries are." So, yes, planning sex scenes beat by beat was a key part of Bridgerton.

    9. Emilia Clarke and Jason Momoa in Game of Thrones (2011—2019)

    Emilia Clarke and Jason Momoa having sex for the first time on "Game of Thrones"
    HBO

    I've personally never seen an episode of Game of Thrones (please don't yell!), but one thing I do know about this show without watching it is all of the countless sex scenes featured in the series. GoT stars Emilia Clarke and Jason Momoa filmed some pretty intense scenes for the series — their fictional relationship being controversial as a whole — the most memorable being from Season 1.

    In a 2019 Armchair Expert interview with Dax Shepard, Clarke described the frustration she felt while filming nude scenes for the series. Whenever she objected filming a certain scene nude, someone on set would tell her: "You don't wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans," and she'd respond with: "Fuck you."

    But when it came down to filming with Momoa, Clarke described how much of a relief it was. "Jason was an experienced actor who had done a bunch of stuff before coming onto Game of Thrones," Clarke said. Apparently before GoT hired an intimacy coordinator, sex scenes between actors weren't always planned out — Momoa approached it differently, though. He'd tell her: "This is how it's meant to be and how it's not meant to be. I'm going to make sure that’s not the case." Clarke also revealed when they'd stand on set between takes, Momoa would yell: "'Can we get her a robe? She's shivering!'"

    10. Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

    Timothée Chalamet staring at a peach in bed in "Call Me by Your Name"
    Sony Pictures Classics

    In a 2017 interview with MTV News, Chalamet discussed what it was like filming the infamous peach scene in Call Me by Your Name. He explained that director Luca Guadagnino approached filming the scene in a casual manner, and if it was tackled in a different way, Chalamet wouldn't have felt as comfortable with the material.

    He said: "By the time we got around to shooting it, it just felt like a scene with dialogue — or a breakfast scene. If he had treated it differently, I would've been shaking during that whole scene. It helped free us up sensually and sexually [because these moments aren't] salacious or exploitative — those moments serve the love story."

    11. Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in Monster's Ball (2001)

    Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton laughing on the couch together in "Monster's Ball"
    Lionsgate Films

    Halle Berry made history when she became the first Black woman to win a Best Actress Oscar in 2002 for her role as Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball. If you haven't seen this film, you probably still know it (or heard of it) not only for Berry's groundbreaking performance, but because of the steamy sex scene between her and Billy Bob Thornton.

    In a 2020 interview with Variety, Berry revealed how her team didn't want her to take the role of Leticia Musgrove and thought filming the sex scene with Thornton would ruin her career. "[The love scene] was explicit in the minds of some people, and I was getting paid nothing. They thought if you're going to do something like that, get a shitload of money."

    But after ignoring her team, Berry focused on the integrity of her character and the meaning behind filming her sex scene with Thornton: "[Money's] not why I'm doing it. I didn't feel it was exploitative. It was necessary for the character."

    12. And Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol (2015)

    Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara staring at each other in a mirror in "Carol"
    The Weinstein Company

    The romantic drama Carol — starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara — was released in 2015 to critical acclaim and sparked a big conversation on the importance of telling celebratory love stories between women. While promoting the movie, the two actors were constantly asked how they developed their dynamic onscreen chemistry — specifically for their sex scenes.

    At BFI London's Film Festival, Mara explained that chemistry isn't just something you can rehearse: "It was easy for me to feel chemistry towards Cate not only because, you know, she's Cate, but [because] my character spent much of the film in awe of this woman and enamored with her — that was very easy for me to embody." She went on to say that she immediately felt comfortable working with Blanchett while filming their sex scene in the hotel, and that "she's a very generous actor [who's] very alive and in the moment."

    Blanchett and Mara's sex scene was one of the first they filmed for Carol, and they spent two weeks rehearsing before laying everything out on set. Blanchett revealed in a Q&A once the two actors got on set, they learned there were bed bugs in the hotel room — so initially, it was a difficult day shooting in the nude. But, ultimately, Blanchett thought it was a moving experience. "The consummation of their relationship is really important," Blanchett told BFI London. "We talked about the scene, and there's a great sense of trust between Rooney and I."

    Blanchett went on to describe how powerful it was to film the love scene with Mara because of how isolated both of their characters were in the film leading up to the moment. She said: "They go through a lot of processing these volcanic feelings independent upon one another, so frankly, it was a relief to do these scenes with Rooney. It's like: 'Finally, we get to — you know — be together.'"

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form