‘It’s not easy for me to get my kit off’ Ruth Wilson on avoiding gratuity in The Affair’s sex scenes

If there's one drama that caught our attention and triggered binge-watching this year, it's the Golden Globe-winning new series The Affair, starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson.

The pair play a diner waitress and a teacher who embark on an extramarital relationship one summer. Naturally sex is big part of the narrative and the British acting heavyweights say they didn't approach it lightly. 

“Dominic and I would really ask ourselves what was necessary from all the sex scenes," said Wilson, 33, in a new interview with Vogue. “Neither of us wanted to do things that were gratuitous.”

West, 45, added that they wanted to steer clear of the explicit nudity which frequently occupies popular shows such as Game of Thrones. "Recently there are so many shows where actresses are required to get naked. And it's just tits and sex everywhere. We didn't want it to be like that and we fought hard to make sure everything we did counted for something.”

“It's not easy for me to get my kit off,” said Wilson on the topic of going naked in front of the camera. “I am self-conscious about my body just like any other woman would be with a camera on it. On top of which, the producers didn't provide trainers for us during the five months of shooting so it was up to me to keep in shape.”

Wilson also insisted that both actors share simulated-sex duties: “We used to say that if we were doing sex scenes we needed to do equal orgasm faces.”

The Affair still

Earlier this year Wilson voiced her concerns about the treatment of actresses during sex scenes. 

“Women have to provide the titillation because penises can’t be seen on screen but breasts can,” she told The Edit magazine in January. “It’s assumed that women will get their breasts out and have to get their breasts out and I balk at that. It’s unnecessary and unfair.”

The star also argued that men’s ‘orgasm face’ should appear in films more often. “I kept insisting, ‘Why have I always got to do the orgasm face? There should be a male orgasm face. Why is it always the woman who’s orgasming? Let’s analyse the male orgasm,’” she said.

The Affair stills

Both Wilson and West have been praised for the way they've captured the emotional and psychological effects of infidelity, and while Wilson doesn't condone affairs, she says she isn't in a position to judge.

“I don't judge their actions,” said the actress who is currently single. “I'm 33 and haven't been in a situation where I have had to make their choices.”

“But I do think America is so moralistic and so judgemental that what takes place in the show seems to be shocking.”

Speaking about the popularity of the show, Wilson added, “When I read the script it was one of the best things I read all year, the conceit was really interesting. I get to play these different sides of the character.”

Share this article

Related Posts