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Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Filming Sex Scenes

Updated April 6, 2020 384.8k views15 items

It takes a lot of movie magic romance to make it appear as though actors in a sex scene are actually in the throes of passion. Most famous movie sex scenes are choreographed right down to each passionate kiss and every gentle caress (although, in rare cases, actors actually did get intimate on camera). Ever wonder how sex scenes are filmed? Here are some intriguing details.

It’s best to think of an elaborate love scene like a choreographed dance, with the director acting as a cheerleader. Although it all looks intimate and exciting once the raw footage is edited, filming sex scenes is usually pretty awkward for the actors. Even on a closed set, there are still crew members present. And even if the final scene only runs for 30 seconds, it may take hours to film, while actors are in various states of undress. Thank goodness for flesh-colored privacy undergarments.

  • Details Are Worked Out During Contract Negotiations

    Before production begins on a film, an actor signs a contract. On a film with scenes of an intimate nature, that includes a nudity clause, which is a legally binding document.

    This clause includes all the specifics of what an actor will be asked to do, how the scene will be filmed, and who will be on set. These specific details are not in the script. Actors also usually meet with a director before shooting to discuss all the details of the scene (and obviously, a lot of other stuff about the project).

  • The Set Is Cleared To Only Essential Crew Members

    Usually, while filming love scenes, only essential crew members who absolutely have to be onset are present. This skeleton crew typically includes the director, camera operator, assistant camera if necessary, boom operator, and script supervisor.

    Once the director calls action, if possible, crew members turn their backs to the actors.

  • Alcohol Has Been Used To Help Actors Lower Their Inhibitions

    Just like in real life, movie stars use alcohol to lower their inhibitions. Fatal Attraction is known for its extremely R-rated scenes between Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.

    Adrian Lyne, who directed the film, said the actors were "loosened up with Champagne and margaritas."

  • Sometimes, You Just Gotta Keep The Mood Light

    The first two Fifty Shades movies are known for their explicit scenes. But that doesn't mean Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) was always in the mindset of his dark character.

    The Northern Irish actor revealed on The Graham Norton Show that he pranked his costar Dakota Johnson while filming one of the more intimate scenes in Fifty Shades Darker. "My temptation is always just to try to make Dakota laugh, so sometimes I'll do things like, when there's a moment where I'm meant to, you know, [climax], I'll be like, [makes the sports game organ 'Charge!' sound]," Dornan said.