And This Is How Hollywood Sex Scenes Are Made

And, of course, you wonder how Hollywood sex scenes are made.  Is it just improv acting, or is there one heck of a preparation?  Do they finish it off-cam with each other, or do they see each’s private parts (and smell it)?

But really, there is a lot more than just a room, a director, and a camera crew on the scene.  They really do work hard to give us hot (and sometimes not) scenes.  So here are ten facts about how sex scenes are made in Hollywood.

Dance choreographers are often called in to help.

It takes careful planning to make on-screen hookups appear both spontaneous and graceful—i.e., Nothing beats messy regular-person sex.  Tricia Brouk, a New York-based choreographer, has been hired to help map out scenes that include a lot of physical movement.  Her credits include the short-lived ABC series Black Box and the Off-Off-Broadway musical Tokyo Confidential.  She choreographs the stage with another dancer, then shows it to the actors and director as her “dance.”  She’ll then teach each actor the routine while playing the opposite role.  “Nothing is left to chance,” she says, “so that no one feels groped, which could make an actor feel unsafe and thus unable to be present in the scene.”

Privates are covered

While some actors and actresses are perfectly content to film naked, on-set costumer Sarah Basta says, “there are a few things we always have in our kit: the cock sock, the snatch patch.”  “A cock sock is a skin-colored pouch in which he puts all of his stuff; it has a drawstring. You put your junk in there in there, and then you double-knot it,” says Basta, whose credits include HBO’s and Netflix’s female wrestling series, G.L.O.W.  “Double knotting is everything.”

According to Basta, women wear a landing-stripe-like patch with “double-stick tape or this great product called Bikini Bite, which is a water-proof roll-on adhesive.”  She has assisted women in applying their coverings, but most men figure it out independently.  When she handed him his sock, she said, “one great actor asked me what goes in it.”  “I just had to say ‘all of the things.’  ‘What?’ ‘All.  Of.  The.  Things.  Put them all in there.'”

Shooting doesn’t stop because an actress is on her period

“Poor thing,” says Basta.  “There’s only so much we can do,”  she says, adding that the Bikini Bite can be put on and taken off if you need to change your tampon,  “but it’s an adhesive, so it kind of sucks.”

There are body doubles (sometimes)

Mainly when a sex scene necessitates hours of filming, which can be difficult with time constraints.  An actor (who did not want to be identified for this interview) stepped in for a certain Hollywood hunk to film a sex scene in an upcoming TV series.  “There were a lot of different Kama Sutra positions and such,” he says.  “It was about five or six hours of filming,” he says, “and I had skinned knees, bruises, and Band-Aids on my knees for days.”

It gets hard and sometimes it doesn’t (yup, boners)

The anonymous actor quoted above says his approach is to tell his acting partner, “Sorry if I do, sorry if I don’t, in terms of erections. That way, if it does pop up, she won’t be afraid that it’s going beyond acting. If it doesn’t, she won’t feel rejected.”  He has had no awkward situations thus far.

Attractive young woman looking up and scratching her head in confusion.

Makeup artists will apply full-body makeup

Viola Davis attributes this to helping her get through filming her romantic interludes on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.  It’s like having a second skin.  Brigette Myre Sharpe, a makeup artist who has worked on HBO’s True Blood and USA’s Colony, says she prefers applying makeup with spray tan.  “You feel like you’re wearing more clothes if you spray tan yourself to within an inch of your life,” she says.  Furthermore, a dried spray tan is less likely to rub off on bedding, furniture, or other actors than makeup.

Sweat can be applied.

“We can make [actors] look sweaty in a variety of ways,” says makeup artist Rocio Jahanbakhsh (Mischa Barton’s Deserted; the upcoming film Burn).  “It depends on whether the director wants dripping sweat or just the actors to look sweaty without saturation,” she explains.  “If it’s just the appearance of oily skin, I put Vaseline on their faces.  When it comes to the body…  I’ve used baby oil mixed with water.”  She also employs products such as Ultra Sweat, a body gel, and Mehron Sweat and Tears, which does exactly what it claims and is thus useful to have on hand for the more heartbreaking scenes.

Pubic hair is often fake

Merkins, the 18th-century prostitute’s crotch cover, never really went out of style in Hollywood, especially now that so many stars wax. Pubic hair of the pussy is equally attractive, so they arrange for it.  Sharpe, a makeup artist who calls merkins “pussy wigs,” has used them so many times that she had a sweatshirt made to commemorate this aspect of her work (it features a picture of a cat wearing a wig).  “I’ve definitely gotten up in people’s business,” she laughs.  “My top priority is to make the actors as comfortable as possible, which makes them feel more sexy.”

Sex toys are chosen carefully

They don’t really use giant dildos for network television.  According to Tom Cahill, a prop master currently working on the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, his department is in charge of determining which sex toys are appropriate for a show or movie’s audience.  “Because of Standards and Practices,” he says, “network television will have a large input in terms of the type of toys that can be seen on the screen.”  “I had a bachelorette party scene scripted for a television show once, and the girls were supposed to pull out various toys. I must have sent the S&P department 100 images of different vibrators before we came up with eight to ten that we could use, and none of them were the typical-looking dildo or vibrator.”

Actors don’t walk around naked after the director yells “cut!”

The costumer—or someone—is usually waiting in the wings with a robe and slippers, ready to wrap the stars up after a long day’s work.

See you on the next, folks!

Leave a Reply