This Is How Bridgerton Actually Films Raunchy Sex Scenes Without That Much Touching
By now, everyone and their mother has tortured themselves with the tumultuous slow burn that was season two of Bridgerton. This season took us on a longer, slower journey that was rife with tension, angst, and sexual frustration. It was a gamble on the producers’ part, but one that paid off as critics are already claiming season two might just top season one. While Netflix’s rankings data isn’t out yet, the third-party streaming authority FlixPatrol reveals that Bridgeton is already the number one most viewed show in 82 countries. Let’s repeat that—it’s not just in the top ten, but topping the top ten in 82 Bridgerton-fanatic markets.
Bridgerton made its name on the raunchy—and charming—first season, where 10-minute long sex montages were the norm. It was pure delight and escapism for the pandemic-affected audiences, but season two took a new approach by building the tension to a brilliant, um, climax in the final episodes. The torturous slow burn was certainly worth the wait. And this brings us back to Bridgerton’s bread and butter—the intimate scenes.
In case you didn’t know, Hollywood introduced a new official role that’s become integral in dramas: intimacy coordinators. Believe it or not, the role was nonexistent 10 years ago. Intimacy coordinators are tasked with protecting the dignity of actors on set and coordinating intimate scenes for the screen. It’s Bridgerton’s returning intimacy coordinator Lizzy Talbot who we have to thank for those famous scenes from seasons one and two.
Before the introduction of intimacy coordinators, Hollywood had a strange way of doing sex scenes—by simply getting them over with and not always considering the consent and comfort of actors. Then intimacy coordinators arrived on the scene, and one of the first items they introduced was a barrier. In the two seasons of Bridgerton, couples have appeared to be compromisingly close, but here’s the rub: in the sex scenes, actors are divided by a physical boundary that you can’t see, and sometimes, it’s as large as a "half-inflated netball."
Season two leads Simone Ashley (Kate Sharma) and Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton) shared with Esquire Philippines how a physical boundary was put in place “like a safety object” to remind audiences that this was, in fact, a stunt.
“We are acting and we are simulating a sex scene,” said Ashley during a Netflix roundtable interview. “It’s for safety, for comfort—whether it’s a pillow… or a half-inflated netball.”
So while viewers might be seeing actors rolling around in passion on screen, the reality is a little more like a game of Twister with obstacles in the way. And while we might get closeups of all the touching going on, outside the shot are six degrees of separation. Essentially, there isn’t that much touching happening in these sex scenes at all.
“You have the rule of three [or] three barriers. You have two personal barriers, and then you have one in the middle. Something like a half-inflated netball makes sense because it's about movement as well. And it just means that everyone feels safe,” shared Bailey.
If you’ve ever encountered a netball, then you know it’s significantly larger than a tennis ball and floppy when not inflated. Now imagine rolling around with that between you and another person without getting a rib dislocated or accidentally dislodging the ball. Acting with that object between you and your partner would certainly remind you that this is, more than anything, a choreographed stunt.
Bailey calls the intimacy department's hacks a “box of tricks” that turn regular items into something pragmatic—and protective. We also ought to congratulate the actors for turning a decidedly unsexy situation into a steamy scene before our eyes. When you rewatch Bridgerton season two—because you certainly will—make sure to keep an eye on those sex scenes and take a moment to appreciate television magic.