All the secrets you’ve ever wanted to know about how TV sex scenes are filmed

From fake sweat to modesty patches and breath mints

Some of the best kept filming secrets in the TV world are all about how shows make sex scenes look so real and authentic. It’s not as straight forward as you might think, and there are people who are hired just to make sure these moments look as realistic as possible, and that actors feel safe and comfortable performing them.

Sex experts at MegaPleasure have looked into the process of filming sex scenes, analysing the behind the scenes tricks of the crew and directors. From trained intimacy coordinators to fake sweat spray, here are a range of insights into the production secrets of steamy TV sex scenes.

Behind the scenes and production secrets of how TV sex scenes are filmed

via Netflix

More takes than you may think

Although a sex scene may only last a minute or two on screen, the behind the scenes process often takes days to film properly. From makeup and touch-ups to lighting and a change in direction, the production process is not as simple as it may appear and the actors involved may have to redo the same sex scene dozens of times to get the perfect shot.

Agreed nudity contracts

Prior to casting, any nudity and simulated sex scenes are outlined in detail so the actors can review the needs of the role accordingly, only signing the contract if they are comfortable to go ahead. If the actor is not willing to participate in the sex scenes, there is potential to use body doubles and/or CGI to get the desired shots without having to recast.

Behind the scenes and production secrets of how TV sex scenes are filmed

via Netflix

Use of trained intimacy coordinators

To help actors feel more comfortable, the number of crew members on set is kept to a minimum so those involved can work on “closed sets” with added privacy. An intimacy coordinator will be around to specifically help with intimate scenes, making the process more comfortable and ensuring that all of the necessary safety precautions are taken.

Netballs to create distance

During season two of Bridgerton, half-deflated netballs were used to keep a distance between the two actors involved in the sex scene. This helps the actors maintain a sense of personal space yet is not apparent in the final cut, creating a realistic looking scene thanks to the clever angles used.

via Netflix

Modesty patches during filming

As much as it may appear that way, actors are unlikely to be fully naked when filming sex scenes as discreet coverings are used during filming for their modesty. Nipple daisies are used as a cover and you might notice only the side of the breast is visible during the final cut. Flesh coloured underwear is also commonly worn, being matched to the skin tone of the actor to make them practically invisible and being long enough to even cover the thigh.

Extra mints during kissing scenes

To make the experience as pleasant as possible for the actors involved in kissing scenes, they are provided with mints or chewing gum to freshen up their breath ready for the big moment. This is especially used if one of the actors has just taken a cigarette break, avoiding those awkward moments of bad breath as they get up close and personal!

Glycerine and water spray

To bring the vision of a hot and steamy night of passion to life, fake sweat is produced to make the scene as convincing as possible. A mixture of glycerin and water is made and sprayed onto the skin of the actors, creating the illusion of beads of sweat which is perfect for those vigorous sex scenes.

Behind the scenes and production secrets of how TV sex scenes are filmed

via Netflix

Heat pads to keep actors warm

With the scenes taking longer than they may appear to film, keeping the nude actors warm during filming is important for their comfort. Between takes, actors are given robes that have heat pads underneath to keep their bodies warm and minimise discomfort wherever possible.

Preventing genitalia from touching

Actors will be given a hibue or shibue to wear, which is a strapless thong that sticks to their pelvis. This acts as a barrier to prevent the genitalia from touching, maintaining privacy as well as aligning with health and safety requirements. The subtle design is held in place by a washable and reusable silicone gel adhesive which makes it virtually invisible during the filming process.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

These are officially the TV shows with the most minutes of sex in them

Ranked: These are officially the 11 sexiest TV shows there were in 2021

• These are the Netflix shows which lead to the most people shagging, apparently