As you can imagine, filming sex scenes can get pretty awkward. Stage, commercial, and film actors have shared their experiences and they’re quite fascinating.
I was in a theatre show where I had to sit next to a girl and feel her boob. The second I read it in the script I started feeling anxious about it. When I was talking to the actress about the scene she seemed totally cool with everything so for the whole two week run of the show she got her boob groped every day and twice on Wednesdays and Sundays.
What’s a nice niche to fit. I was shooting a short non explicit sex scene for a short film while being so freakin sick. I had to take breaks from shooting a film to go shot diarrhoea out of my futile weak body. Thankfully everyone was professional about it. The shooting itself was quite interesting, i was laying on my back, the other person sitting on me (both of us pants on), camera operator standing above us, so there were three layers of people on the bed. We were grinding – under the sheets – only when it was necessary, for couple of seconds, maybe three times. Then we were shooting details of our hands locking into one another, our faces, running fingers through hair and so.
The voice-over was the most fun part, we had a blast syncing our “aaaah”‘s and “oh god”‘s with the footage.
Actor here. It’s very not sexy. Instead it’s highly choreographed and rehearsed (I’m going to touch you here, you’ll move there, we kiss here) with hopefully an intimacy coordinator (non-Union films will not always have one, so it’s important to learn how to advocate for yourself to the director and your acting partner if ANYTHING feels uncomfortable). The goal is to have it completely down pat with your partner so that there is no improvisation. Usually it begins with both actors telling the other their no-fly zones. I always say, please don’t touch my groin, or touch between my butt cheeks. It’s awkward, but can be sort of a funny icebreaker. Once no fly zones are established, the intimacy coordinator works with the actors/director to establish what the choreo will be.
Theatre actor here, so a bit of a different perspective. The show that I was rehearsing for before the pandemic featured intimate moments, albeit not full-on sex scenes, and we had an intimacy coordinator. On one hand, they act like a fight choreographer, mapping out the moves so that way they are the same every time. No one drops any surprises on their partner. On the other, they act as sort Reps or liaisons for the actors. They will discuss with the director what their vision is for the scene and try to replicate that while maintaining their actors’ boundaries. So before any physical work starts, they lead conversations between partners about what their no-gos are and what is okay. They will also help establish a tap-in between partners, which is a little shared gesture, like a high-five or handshake, between actors that indicates that what they are about to be doing is work and separate from them as people.
Amateur actor. Have done exactly one of these. It was very awkward and quite cold, but it was a very small production, so I wasn’t pressured into anything I wasn’t comfortable with.
I’m an amateur actor (but legit enough to have an imdb page I didn’t set up myself), have done sex scenes: they are incredibly awkward and a tiny bit sexy. one time, the director was just off camera, reading out instructions line by line, which felt incredibly strange. like having a parent with you in the bedroom. a parent who had written a script for you and your girlfriend to follow, but didn’t trust the two of you could get it done without live instructions. another time, the dude the actress was dating placed himself in my eye line, so that i locked eyes with him every time i kissed her. had to tell him to go stand somewhere else. other than that, it’s like every other scene. hopefully you trust your director and can forget about the cameras for a moment.
Former actor and now director here: it’s only as awkward as the people involved are. Typically everyone is professional, mature, and understands that this is the behavior their character would engage in, so they want to portray it as best as they can. Most approach it very professionally. As a director I get rid of all non-essential people on set, but make sure that there are enough around that it doesn’t feel creepily empty. Anybody who I feel would make it weird isn’t allowed. Communication is key, I always let the actors set their own boundaries. I describe my ideal scenario, then let the actors agree to it or offer a compromise. I let them know that at any point they can change their mind.
There are tons of little skin colored pasties, adhesive panty strips, and cock socks for the actors to wear.
Sometimes people get turned on, it’s only natural, and in that case we takes breaks to chill out and then resume later.
Actor here, stage and film. There’s a certain awkwardness to get over with your partner at first, but an intimacy coach can help create a process that is safe and comfortable for all involved. The actual scenes themselves depend on what content is involved. I’ve done scenes with an a-shirt on and under sheets where it was actually a bit of a challenge because you have to make it look like you’re having sex – so there’s a lot more accentuating of movement to make it look realistic. I’ve not needed to do the super intense fully naked sex scenes, but camera angles help regardless of how clothed you are.
My first time kissing on stage (on rehearsal) i missed the coleagues FACE. Every day i pray to forget that moment.
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I’m not an actor, but have previously worked in the industry. I know actors who have performed sex scenes. The general consensus amongst them is that the scenes are anything but sexy. One guy said he was worried about getting an erection, but soon forgot about it as being in a room with 10 other people and two cameras took the sexy away. A 2 minute sex scene might take half a day to film. If the actress wants to be modest, they might have to do a couple takes in case something was caught on film that shouldn’t have been.
Actor here. I’m more of a “charactery” type, so intimate scenes for me are few and far between, but do still happen. Communication is really key, especially on some low-budget and TV shoots where you literally meet the person you’re about to be intimate with while they’re setting up the lights for the scene. One TV show in particular, I had to be in “the sock” (basically a flesh colored thong that covers Johnson & Co but little else) while my scene partner was topless w/ nipple covers and a flesh colored thong. We had little time to prep, so it was change, then hop into bed, block the scene with the director, and then talk through comfort amongst ourselves before the shot began.
I was very sure to make it clear that if my acting partner had any qualms or hiccups during the scene (she was relatively new) that she should stay STOP and that was that. Also, I talked through the choreography (because it’s important to not stray from what has been discussed for obvious reasons) beat by beat to make sure we were on the same page. This is just common courtesy, and for myself extremely important for my scene partner to know that I have their back as well as my own.
As for being enjoyable, if you think thrusting two tight thongs under covers close to each other while wondering how your pale pale backside is going to look on film, then I guess this is your kink.
I was reading this and suddenly remembered I had done this for a short film in college. It was literally the least erotic thing ever. There were at least five other people in the room (lights, sound, camera, director, the girl’s roommates etc), and you are just trying to remember what you are supposed to do–while acting naturally. Super, super awkward. This wasn’t a sex scene as much as an implied sex scene.
Theatre actor here. All I know is that there is a special intimacy training you have to take. If you get paired up with a person that may or may not like. You cannot express a non-professional gesture. Like saying, “yusss!” Also you have to protect yourself from directors. Not saying director’s are malice, but they tend over step what is comfortable for a actor. Oh and you need 24 or 48 notice prior to an performing an intimate act.
My cousins first every stage performance he had to kiss the main leading girl and then slap her on the arse and then ‘leave the house’ He kissed her and then slapped her on the arse as scripted and she farted and both of their personal mics picked it up and amplified it through the whole theatre
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