Henry Cavill Is Anti-Sex Scenes in Movies

world premiere of 'argylle' in london
Henry Cavill Is Anti-Sex Scenes in MoviesAnadolu - Getty Images

HE MIGHT BE one of the most sought-after heartthrobs in Hollywood right now, with fans swooning over his square jaw and muscular physique, but Henry Cavill has some reservations when it comes to portraying sex on screen.

The 40-year-old actor, currently starring in Matthew Vaughn's Argylle as the titular super-spy, declared that he is "not a fan" of filming sex scenes during a recent conversation on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

'I don’t understand them,' he said. 'There are circumstances where a sex scene actually is beneficial to a movie, rather than just the audience, but I think sometimes they’re overused these days... It's when you have a sense where you’re going, "Is this really necessary or is it just people with less clothing on?" And 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."'

'Sex scenes can be great in a movie... [they] can really help with the storytelling,' he added. 'Most of the time the human imagination is going to trump it. 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."'

world premiere of 'argylle' in london
Anadolu - Getty Images

It is worth noting that for an actor, the process of filming sex scenes can be an awkward, difficult, even traumatic experience, albeit one that the industry is working to ameliorate through the use of intimacy coordinators. But that doesn't seem to be the point Cavill is getting at here. He seems to be implying that sex scenes only serve to provide titillation, rather than to inform the story in their own right.

Cavill isn't the only person adopting this point of view. Every few months or so on social media, the debate is reignited as to whether sex scenes are necessary in film and TV in order to move the plot along. Of course, writers and directors may choose to include all kinds of human moments in their stories that help to set mood, illuminate character, create a connection with the audience, or fulfil all kinds of purposes that have nothing to do with plot.

To view art as something that should be solely designed to convey information while avoiding any hint of eroticism or sexuality is to strip the work of a hugely significant facet of the human experience. Which in itself has become something of a trend in big-budget movies of late: in the essay Everyone Is Beautiful and No One Is Horny, RS Benedict highlights how superhero movies in particular make a point of glorifying the male form while simultaneously desexualising it, writing how "those perfect bodies exist only for the purpose of inflicting violence upon others," with no room for sexual desire in the same narratives.

All of which is bad, sad news for thirsty Cavill fans.

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