Actors are constantly being asked about what it’s like to film sex scenes, as anyone who’s read a newspaper knows. (This glowing screen you’re looking at is a “newspaper,” right?) Sometimes their responses are diplomatic generalizations about how acting is work, just like being an assistant to a magazine editor or founding a fashion start-up or whatever jobs normal people/Anne Hathaway movie characters do. And sometimes, like in these 11 quotes, things get juicy. (If you thought this list was safe for work, you’re on your own.)
1. Lena Dunham on how everyone at work has seen her vagina.
I stopped wearing the nude patch after the first season of Girls. There’s not one guy who works on that show who hasn’t seen the inside of my vagina…This patch—you glue it over your vagina. It gets sweaty and always falls off. My male co-stars, at the end of the day, don’t care.
2. Henry Cavill (aka Man of Steel, sorry) on accidentally getting a boner while filming a sex scene.
It’s only happened to me once, and it was very embarrassing. A girl had to be on top of me, she had spectacular breasts, and I hadn’t rearranged my—stuff into a harmless position. She’s basically rubbing herself all over me and, um, it got a bit hard. I had to apologize profusely afterward. It’s not great when you’re in a professional acting environment and somebody gets a boner, is it? No, not acceptable.
3. Bradley Cooper on his steamy Wet Hot American Summer tool shed meet-up with Michael Ian Black.
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.
4. Mindy Kaling in a chapter of her book, Why Not Me?, aptly entitled “I Love Sex Scenes!”
I’ve had the privilege of making out with dozens of actors on camera. Once I had to do a particularly involved make-out with an actor who happens to be a married acquaintance of mine. The shot was complicated and the director spent hours shooting it over and over. The sheer number of takes made me feel self-conscious about my ability to make out in an authentically sexy way. Between takes, in a moment of insecurity, I turned to my scene partner and whispered: “God, this is taking forever. Am I doing this terribly?” He looked me in the eye, took my hand, and gently guided it to the front of his pants where I felt the unmistakable presence of an erection. My jaw dropped. He winked at me, said, “I think you’re doing just fine,” and dropped my hand. We never spoke of it again. It is, to this day, the sexiest thing that has ever happened to me.
5. Lizzy Caplan on pre-gaming her first sex scene with vodka at 7 a.m.
On True Blood, I’ve never told anybody this, but 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 them like, ”You got a boner! You do! You’ve got one.’
6. Amy Schumer on her preference of eating pie to filming Trainwreck‘s sex scenes.
[The scenes] totally serve the story; they belong there. As to whether I would rather just be sitting in a dialogue with someone in a diner versus having them thrusting in my thigh — yeah, I’ll take the diner and get a piece of coconut cream pie. [But] I’m glad we did it.
7. Allison Williams on the Girls scene in which—well, you know which scene it’s going to be.
I had a couple of days talking to wardrobe and makeup to get ready to rig the thing that I wore for the ass motorboating. It was an engineering achievement! I would manufacture it if more than one person a year needed it. [Laughs] It was so elaborate—it involved Spanx that we cut away and glued down and involved menstrual pads and two of those weird thongs. I’ve had to do scenes like this twice now.
8. Actress Diane Farr on orgasm choreography.
The director tells you exactly when and where you will get off. “Get here and then orgasm” is always a strange note to take. After they’re given their mark, actors can pick their own “orgasm action and sound.” Maybe a back arch, or a grab on his ass while I bury my head in his chest. You’re rarely crotch to crotch at climax time — you’re mostly crotch to leg. It’s a grindless, thankless come. Like sex in college basically.
9. Jon Hamm using a weather metaphor to explain his infamous Bridesmaids sex montage.
It’s like running in the rain. There’s a certain point where you go, “Fuck it, I’m already wet. I’m not going to get any less wet so I might as well enjoy how this feels.” I mean, sure, there’s an awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. And I am not a small human being. I weigh at least 200 pounds and I’m six-foot-two. And Wiig is a twig; she’s a skinny little thing. I told her, “Just punch me in the side if I’m hurting you.” It’s weird and uncomfortable at first but then all the awkwardness melts away and you think, “All right, we’re doing this, so let’s have fun with it.”
10. Anna Paquin on how it’s totally normal to film sex scenes with her actual husband.
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.
11. Kate Winslet saying “nut sack.”
Its a profoundly bizarre thing to do. As actors you talk about it all the time. You can literally be tangled in sheets, and you turn to the other actor and say ‘What the f*ck 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.