Henry Cavill Has Entered The Sex Scenes Discourse
“It can be a little bit of a cop-out.”
Social media is filled with hot takes, and one never-ending discourse has exploded even more recently: Are sex scenes necessary in movies and TV shows? Some people believe these intimate shots aren’t needed to drive a plot; meanwhile, there are others who feel those vulnerable moments are pivotal — even if they are odd (ahem, Saltburn and The Idol). Then, there’s also the group that will argue sex scenes in certain projects aren’t steamy enough. Nonetheless, it’s a juicy topic that nearly everyone has weighed in on, including actors such as Henry Cavill.
During his Feb. 5 appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Cavill and his Argylle director Matthew Vaughn shared their thoughts on the controversial topic. Vaughn revealed he “doesn’t understand” the process of creating a steamy scene, and Cavill echoed a similar stance.
“I don’t understand them. I’m not a fan,” Cavill said. “There are circumstances where a sex scene actually is beneficial to a movie, rather than just the audience, but I think sometimes they’re overused these days.”
The actor continued, adding that some sex scenes feel watered down and might drag down the potential of a certain film. “It’s when you have a sense where you’re going, ‘Is this really necessary or is it just people with less clothing on?’ And that’s when you start to get more uncomfortable and you’re thinking, ‘There’s not a performance here. There’s not a piece which is going to carry through to the rest of the movie.’”
This isn’t the first time Cavill — who’s done several sex scenes on HBO’s 2007 series, The Tudors, and Netflix’s The Witcher — has spoken about this topic. In 2015, the Man of Steel actor revealed in an interview with Men’s Fitness that he once got aroused while filming a graphic scene for the HBO series.
“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, um, it got a bit hard,” he said at the time, recalling the incident as “embarrassing.” “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.”
While Cavill seems to question the use of sex scenes in cinema, Penn Badgley brought a new perspective to the table last year. In February 2023, the You actor revealed he wanted to slow down the intimacy in the series’ fourth season to honor the sanctity of his relationship with fellow actor Domino Kirke. They’ve been married since 2017.
“I asked Sera Gamble, [the show’s] creator, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’” Badgley recalled at the time. “‘How much less can you make it?’ was my question to them. They came back with a phenomenal reduction. Fidelity in every relationship, including my marriage, is important to me, and it just got to a point where I don’t want to do that.”
His stance ruffled some feathers online, though many agreed that the lack of sex scenes helped his character thrive at being, well, a methodical villian. Now, with Cavill’s latest comment, the sex scene discourse is once again plaguing social media.