Sensual, Emotional, & Titillating: 3 Ways to Shoot a Sex Scene
There's more than one way to shoot a sex scene.
There's more to shooting a sex scene than just T&A—and D&MB (MB is for "Man Butt"). The way you shoot depends on the kind of sex scene you're wanting to capture in your film and what you're trying to achieve with it. In this video by The Film Theorists, we get to take a look at common camera techniques some of the greatest filmmakers have used for these kinds of steamy scenes, which may help you out when it comes time to do your own.
Close-ups of bodies
This is the most used shot in sex scenes for several reasons. For one, it's censor-friendly. Not all of us can get away with capturing seven minutes of butt slapping in copious long shots like Abdellatif Kechiche did in Blue is the Warmest Color, so we have to get in close in an attempt to obscure the dramatized sexual act, making the scene more of an implication of sex rather than a clear depiction of it.
However, the close-up is also used as a POV shot, which gives the viewer not only the opportunity to understand the sexual nature of the scene, but to also be enticed by it. As the video points out, these kinds of shots relates to the Male Gaze, the belief that most films take on a hetero/male point of view. The female body is fragmented into separate parts—legs, arms, neck, etc.—and is rarely shown as a whole.
Close-ups of faces
Now, if you want to highlight the emotional aspects of a sex scene, you might want to tilt your camera up toward your characters' faces. This takes the focus off of the sensuality of the act and puts it on the emotionality instead. It's especially effective when the emotion you're trying to communicate to your audience is a non-sexual one, like boredom, embarrassment, or discomfort.
Because so many sex scenes are captured in close-ups, camera movement isn't often talked about within this context. However, moving the camera can communicate the same things to your audience in a sex scene that it does in others. For instance, moving the camera toward your characters can signify an increase of intimacy, while moving it away can signify a decrease.
These are only a few techniques you can utilize when shooting sex scenes. What are some others that'll help add dimension and complexity to these sexy shots? Let us know down in the comments!