The notoriously sexy Fifty Shades of Grey may be more excessive than most — with an estimated 20 minutes of onscreen intimacy, according to The Guardian. All that realistic bumping and grinding makes you wonder: What exactly is going on when your television screen depicts a session in the sack?
Things aren't always as hot as they seem. Often, it takes many hours, possibly even an entire day of filming to get a short sex scene just right. For only 15 seconds of onscreen sex, Cracked estimates six hours or more of filming due to changing angles and lighting. Add in demanding directors and curious onlookers, and sexual arousal doesn't always come easy.
Mostly, this takes place on a closed set, meaning only those necessary — think the director, assistant director, and cinematographer — are allowed to be present.
As for the nude part, check out a few accessories that help make the magic "happen" below.
Other than being a fun word to say, a merkin is a pubic wig from medieval times. According to The Guardian, pubic lice — a.k.a. a complete nightmare — ravaged women in 1450, forcing them to don fake hair down there. Prostitutes would also use the wig to cover evidence of sexually transmitted diseases.
But these days, some actors and actresses have worn a merkin for a different reason entirely. Certain directors have requested merkins to be used in sex scenes. According toThe Daily Beast, Kate Winslet wore one in The Reader, and one was used in Love and Other Drugs.
In the climax of a sex scene, it's hard to believe what's happening is most likely fake. We can thank modesty pouches, also known not-so-modestly as "cock socks." The male actor wraps his genitals in a cloth pouch shaped like, well, a sock. This way, privates are covered for public filming. According to True Blood's Anna Paquin, sometimes they're even tied with a bow.
Similar skimpy cover-ups are used for their female counterparts. Paquin disclosed that she wears, or more accurately, tapes a tan thong with the sides cut off (does this remind anyone of cutting out snowflakes in paper?). Cameras are angled just right, so everything looks seamless and steamy. Men can wear similar discreet bottoms as well, a Reddit AMA with an assistant art director reveals.
The pasty, or a small patch that covers the nipple, first appeared around the 1920s, worn by cabaret and burlesque dancers. But now actresses commonly wear pasties to cover their nipples while giving the illusion of an entire breast. And if you're Kate Mara fromHouse of Cards, the pasties might even jokingly feature Kevin Spacey's face, she toldPlayboy during an interview.
According to an interview with actor, writer and director John Turturro, while directing his 2005 film Romance and Cigarettes, he had Kate Winslet sit on a small exercise ball in order to simulate sex with her on top.
Near the end of filming, she actually slipped off the exercise ball and landed on a prop guy. Ouch.
Yes, there are body doubles à la Love Actually, but sometimes what you're seeing doesn't even belong to a real human. That's right — prosthetic genitalia. According to The Guardian, silicone pieces were fitted to actors in movies with more racy sex scenes, likeBlue is the Warmest Color and Nymphomaniac.
HBO's Girls is far from shy when it comes to explicit sex scenes. But in Season 4, actress Allison Williams was shown in a scene of anilingus. Other than strangely cut Spanx, Williams told Entertainment Weekly that a menstrual pad was taped to the back in order to cover herself and provide actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach with a place for his face.
Other than actors, well, acting, sometimes sex scenes are convincing because of the little details, like the sweat on their bodies.
According to The Independent, actors' torsos are sprayed with a rosewater and glycerin spray in between takes to mimic glistening sex sweat. The moisturizer is known for adding an oily layer to the skin.
Well, lights, camera, action.. Celebrity FAQs