Henry Cavill reignites sex scenes discourse for 2024: 'They're overused these days'

  • Henry Cavill has weighed in on the debate surrounding the use of sex scenes in film and TV.

  • He criticized them for being "overused" and an excuse to show naked bodies on screen.

  • Cavill's opinions echo the sentiments of actors Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, and Jameela Jamil.

The discourse around the artistic merit of sex scenes in film and television has been reignited once again, and naysayers have an influential new ally in their corner: Henry Cavill, who said this week that he thinks they're "overused."

Appearing on the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast with "Argylle" director Matthew Vaughn, Cavill opened up about his dislike of sex scenes, not just the ones he's been asked to do.

"I don't understand them. I'm not a fan," Cavill said, agreeing with Vaughn, who said he "can't get my head around sex scenes."

The "Witcher" actor said there are occasions where he thinks sex scenes are "beneficial" to a film's narrative, "but I think sometimes they're overused these days."

Cavill's anti-sex scene stance likely originates from the fact that he appeared in several "Oh, naked person, great" scenes at the beginning of his career, including in the raunchy historical drama "The Tudors."

He's previously discussed the awkwardness of filming intimate scenes, particularly in regard to becoming aroused on set with costars.

"It's when you have a sense where you're going, 'Is this really necessary or is it just people with less clothing on?'" he told the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast.

"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,'" he said.

"So, it can be a little bit of a cop-out if a TV show or a movie is just filled with gyrating bodies, and you're going, 'Okay, but what is this doing for us apart from the idea of, oh, naked person, great,'" said Cavill.

While Vaughn suggested that the pair might just be "English prudes" for thinking the way they do, they're not alone. Actors like Penn BadgleyBlake LivelyNeal McDonough, and Jameela Jamil have all expressed anti-sex scene sentiments in the past, and there are plenty of actors who refuse to strip off on camera.

Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in "The Tudors."
Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in "The Tudors."Showtime

A debate about the necessity and purpose of sex scenes has been raging on X, formerly known as Twitter, for over a year, sparked in part by Badgley's reveal that a "phenomenal reduction" of intimate scenes was made for the fourth season of Netflix drama "You" at his request.

Explaining the online resistance to sex scenes, some have pointed to the fact that younger generations, millennials and Gen Zers, have different attitudes than older audiences. A study conducted by UCLA last year found that almost half of viewers between the ages of 13 and 24 want less sex on screen.

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