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Here's How Sex Scenes Actually Get Made

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Sex sells—that's the idea. It's certainly the idea in a lot of TV shows, movies and plays that use steamy sex scenes to create an *exciting* experience. But how exactly do they do it? How do they make these scenes so hot and convincing without anyone actually having sex? Refinery29 sat down with sex choreographer (which apparently is a thing) Yehuda Duenyas to get the dirty deets on how productions pull off great sex scenes.

Pre-Game

Like any scene, sex scenes involve planning ahead. Duenyas makes sure to separate the actor from the character. In these opening dialogues, he wants "to create a bumper between, 'Oh my god, I'm going to actually be naked on stage rubbing up against this other person,' as opposed to, 'I'm playing a role.'"

Comfort 

A lot of his process involves making the actors comfortable—because real sex can be awkward and fake sex can be even worse. Duenyas emphasizes that consent is incredibly important to creating a sex scene. Just like real sex, no one should have to do anything they didn't agree to. 

"I've seen [plays] where, you know, one actor is gung ho—and this could be male or female—and is just going for it. And it kind of blows through personal boundaries and makes the other person feel like it's going too fast, or uncomfortable. And if you get into that really uncomfortable place, it's actually a lot of work to unwind that," Duenyas says. 

Nudity can also sometimes be an obstacle to overcome. As Duenyas explains, in one play he was working on, "We actually all got naked together on stage and just hung out naked for five minutes [and] just got comfortable with the idea that we were going to be naked in front of other people."

Just chilling, naked, with your costar and "sex choreographer" doesn't sound very comfortable, but Duenyas points out it's a way to shed the shame we've become accustomed to associating with sexuality.

Logistics

Sex scenes actually involve an incredible amount of technicality. Before the actors even get naked, Duenyas has them do a mundane walk-through of how the scene will play out. 

Then, the scene we see on camera really begins to unfold. Duenyas says they move on to rehearsing naked, strategically placing pillows and blankets. Next up is the "real nuts-and-bolts stuff. Like, 'When you lie down, and she has to put her knee right in between your legs, and you need [to] make sure that your balls and your dick are up off the bed so she doesn't crush them, so you need to hold them with your hand.'" You know, the obvious concerns. 

Who knew so much planning went into making a sex scene look effortless? We'll def be watching way differently the next time our fave characters get down.


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