13 Actresses Reveal What It’s Really Like to Shoot a Steamy Sex Scene

They’re not nearly as sexy as you imagine.


Everyone loves a good movie sex scene, right? Wrong: the actors and actresses who end up stripping down and getting busy for our viewing pleasure don’t always have the steamy time that we see in the final cut. Here’s how a handful of beautiful women describe the awkward intimacy that comes with shooting eye-candy for theatergoing audiences.

Jennifer Lawrence had to get ‘really drunk.’ The Hunger Games starlet was so nervous she had to get liquored up to shoot her first sex scene ever with Chris Pratt for the upcoming sci-fi drama Passengers:

I got really really drunk. But then that led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, ‘What have I done? I don’t know’ … It was just very vulnerable. And you don’t know what’s too much. You want to do it real, you want everything to be real, but then … That was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been.

So did Lizzy Caplan. Here’s what she told Chelsea Handler about shooting Masters of Sex:

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.

Same with Keira Knightly. Here’s what she said about shooting A Dangerous Method:

[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!


Emma Stone had an asthma attack. While filming Easy A, the then-20-year-old actress flipped out while shooting a fake sex scene for the teen drama:

Oh, for the love, I can’t even simulate sex without dying! I had a little asthma attack, without any prior knowledge that I had asthma, during the scene where we had to jump up and down for hours and hours screaming and yelling on the bed.

[It] was humiliating, because it was the second day of shooting. Here’s what it’s going to be like the whole movie, as I’m breathing into an oxygen tank. The crew was like, ‘She’s going to be a real blast. Wow. Amazing. A 20-year-old having an asthma attack’.”

Reese Witherspoon panicked during her three-way sex scene. The blonde starlet played a heroin and sex addict in the acclaimed film Wild, which means shooting a sex scene with two male actors — something she was not keen on:

There were small descriptions in the script, but when he started describing what we were going to do, that’s when I started to panic,” she reveals. “That’s, like, three per cent of the movie, but it took up a tremendous amount of fear in my mind because it’s daunting … Sometimes I was just terrified. Like a cat on a raft… ‘You can’t make me do it.’

I would have fired myself a couple of times during rehearsals because I was so scared, oh my God. I got my s*it together, but it took me a while.

Mila Kunis’ dalliance with Natalie Portman was ‘awkward.’ Kunis and Portman were already close friends prior to joining the cast of Black Swan, which made their intense entanglement as competing ballerinas even more uncomfortable — not to mention the presence of the crew: 

It’s hard to have a sex scene, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a male, a female. You’re with 100-something crew members, lighting you, repositioning you, there’s no comfort whatsoever.

Kate Winslet is not a fan of “nut sacks.” We’ll let the Titanic star take it from here:  

You can literally be tangled in sheets and you turn to the other actor and say, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ Dear Mum, at work today I had so-and-so’s left nut sack pressed against my cheek. It’s sort of unethical if you think about it in those terms.

Rosamund Pike couldn’t stop thinking of the other spouses. The English beauty had to shoot a sex scene with Neil Patrick Harris for Gone Girl, something she considered especially uncomfortable because they both had husbands: 

You’re alone with a man who’s not your husband who also has a husband … he’s in his underwear, you’re in your underwear, and you’re sort of dry humping on a bed.

Sarah Silverman could feel everything. What actually happens under the sheets? Even with protection, things can get super intimate super fast, according to the comedian:

He is completely naked except for not even the thickness of a sock. I can completely feel his boner. He’s not even a real actor, he’s an extra. And he’s smashing me and fucking the shit out of me in the scene. I did [put on panties] but you couldn’t see. It felt very violating. 

Anne Hathaway had “fun,” with the right mindset. To shoot her scene with Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs, Hathaway had to force herself to concentrate on the movie as her first priority to get over her immediate anxiety over disrobing in front of dozens of strangers:

There is that revoltingly embarrassing moment when you have to take your clothes off in front of strangers. I mean, I don’t go to the beach in a bikini for a reason. So I thought, OK, I’m going to be in control. I’m going to do everything properly, disrobe at the last minute, and in between shots get the clothes back on. But then I found that every time I put my robe back on, it rubbed all the body makeup off, and that added 20 minutes to filming. As with all things in life, the second you stop making it about you and you make it about everyone else, it just got, dare I say, fun.

Vanessa Hudgens will never shoot one again. Probably because it was with James Franco for Spring Breakers:

It was very nerve-wracking for me. I told my agent I never want to ever do it again.

Laura Prepon’s steamy shower scene only worked because of trust. Here’s how she described shooting her now-famous shower scene with Taylor Schilling in Orange Is the New Black

One of the first scenes we had to do, we were in a shower together. But the cool thing is, we’re so comfortable with each other, so that’s really great. We totally trust each other, which is awesome.

Olivia Wilde would have preferred the crew not be so hairy. Like Kunis, Wilde was distracted by the film crew shooting her every move — and not just because of their presence:

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 …

Not to self: Sex scenes are rather awful — unless they’re from Team America: World Police