On-screen sex can be all sorts of hot, even though most of what we see on TV and in film is of the heterosexual variety. There’s a craft involved in making the finished product seem to drip off the screen, and good sex scenes can be masterful storytelling.
But it’s another story entirely for the actors and actresses shooting the scenes. It’s almost reminiscent of first-time experiences — awkward, fumbling, uncomfortable.
Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite actors discussing getting down during a hard day’s work:
Jamie Dornan on the upcoming 50 Shades of Gray
Your dignity is intact as much as it’s all tucked away in a little flesh-coloured bag… As a guy you put all your essentials in a little bag and you tie it up like a little bag of grapes and it’s tucked away.
Neil Patrick Harris on Gone Girl
We had to rehearse the sex scene with David [Fincher], like every inch of it — ‘Then you put your mouth on his dick here, and then this number of thrusts, and then you ejaculate.’ He doesn’t want a lot of reinterpretation once you start rolling.
Daniel Radcliffe on Kill Your Darlings
I was talked through it by the director [John Krokidas]. He would be telling me what I would be feeling in each take. Basically, gay sex, especially for the first time, is really fucking painful. And he said that he had never seen that portrayed accurately on film before. He wanted it to look like an authentic loss of virginity.
It’s actually kind of annoying, you’re there for 12 hours, it’s exhausting.
Jon Hamm on Bridesmaids
It’s like running in the rain. There’s a certain point when you go, ‘Fuck it, I’m already wet. I’m not going to get any less wet, so I might as well just enjoy how this feels.’ I mean, sure, there’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress.
Anna Paquin on True Blood
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.
Michael Douglass on Behind The Candelabra
The hardest thing about sex scenes is that everybody is a judge. I don’t know the last time you murdered somebody or blew anyone’s brains out, but everyone has had sex and probably this morning, which means everyone has an opinion on how it should be done.
Dave Franco on Neighbors
It was my first real sex scene where I show my butt. You’re not going to have that reaction when you see it on the big screen. It was nerve-wracking. I was pretty nervous. I met the girl the day before, and she was beautiful and very sweet. But it’s awkward. You meet each other and then you’re grinding. You don’t even know her name … barely.
Jake Gyllenhaal on Love and Other Drugs
I’ve had a pretty illustrious career at this point, but the hardest thing has been pretending to be turned on by Anne Hathaway. And I pride myself on really having pulled it off.
Bradley Cooper on Wet Hot American Summer
I remember saying, ‘What if we wear tube socks, and I’ll go up on the wall, and you’ll come from behind me.’ And I said in the scene, ‘Say my name,’ and Michael says, ‘Ben!’ And I say, ‘No! Say my Christian name,’ and he whispers, ‘Benjamin,’ and that’s when I came.