I may be a total naif here, but I’m not sure I realized precisely how totally naked actors and actresses got during sex scenes until I read this Vulture conversation with two actresses and an actor whose names were changed to protect their privacy. It covers everything from psychological prep for filming a sex scene for the first time to on-set arousal. And I thought their perspectives on whether men or women are more vulnerable during nude scenes was, if you’ll pardon the pun, revealing:
Betty: I dunno. Men are sometimes as freaked having to go shirtless as women are getting naked altogether. For me, once I was down to my undies, or a string bikini, I might as well go for broke. What’s a nipple or two between friends? Several times I’d be in some flesh-colored bodysuit or G-string, but they’d keep catching the edge of it on-camera, so I’d just take it off to expedite the filming process. Since I never did an X-rated movie, I trusted that whatever body parts they caught on film that they didn’t want, they’d deal with in editing. But unfair? Probably, but there are so many unfair things about being a woman in film — and other industries — what’s one more?
Veronica: No, I guess not. Let’s face it, for male nudity to be anything meaningful they have to show their dick. A woman doesn’t have to go all the way for it to be a big deal. Guys have so much at stake: “Is it big enough, is it shaped well, is it all shrunk up?” It is harder for a guy to be aesthetically pleasing when naked, in my opinion.
Archie: I don’t think it’s unfair that women show more nudity in movies at all. As a dude, the truth is that a man’s package is way more, well, visible. You’re never going to see much more than a bit of muff from a woman in a scene, and that is really little more than the coming attraction for what really lies beneath. On the other hand, once you see an actor’s dong, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the kind of firepower he’s packing.
Or it could be that women are expected to be naked and visually available in way that men aren’t, so actresses have to get over that expectation or lock themselves out of certain kinds of work while men are allowed to treat their naughty bits as if they’re delicate flowers that will wilt if exposed to the light, and millions of viewers. It’s why Jason Segel and Michael Fassbender get credit for going full-frontal while Sarah Jessica Parker gets treated like she’s a prude for not wanting to go topless in Sex and the City.