The Good Thing About The Americans' Graphic Sex Scenes, According To Keri Russell

Actors pretty much universally talk about the sex scenes they have to film in less than positive terms. It's cold, you're half naked in front of a, generally unfortunate, number of people, and you have to do body smooshing things with people you frequently barely know and may have no physical attraction to at all. But, for Keri Russell of The Americans, the experience isn't quite so bad upon further inspection.

No one wakes up on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. and is [excited to be] like, 'Hey! Nice to meet ya! OK, here we go, whoooo!' with 50 of our friends watching. But I will say I sort of love the use of it on our show because, at least in my experience being a woman, you usually have to do the most sexy, the most in love, the most romantic version. In our show, I'm in a place of power: it's to get information from that person or to make that person feel a certain way. And that can be empowering.

Keri Russell and her Americans co-star Matthew Rhys spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the show recently, and Russell revealed that while the scenes are pretty much always awkward, she can at least find something positive in the motivation behind them. Russell finds that the sex scenes on The Americans, which have a reputation for being super graphic and have led to a lot of those scenes being labeled "sexpionage," are actually meaningful in a different way from the standard love scenes that we get in TV or movies, even when those scenes are graphic. Instead of sex on The Americans being used as a mostly romantic or, even, purely sexual, moment of the show, it's almost always more about power. Specifically, Russell's character, Elizabeth, using sex to convince people to give her needed information that she can use as a very undercover Soviet spy. Russell said that she finds that use of the show's sex scenes to be "empowering" for her as an actor.

Well, when you talk about sex in a show like The Americans, it's totally fitting that a basic human desire like that will be used as a power play. There's no way that real life spies don't use anything and everything they can to dig up the secrets they need to get their hands on, and we all know that sex can be a good way to get people to do silly or even dangerously irresponsible things. You know, like telling someone where the plans for that new stealth aircraft are being held.

I say, if you're going to take your clothes off for, potentially, all the world to see, then you better feel pretty good about why you're doing it. And, if Keri Russell feels empowered by having fake sexy times in The Americans, then good for her. You can catch up on all the spyriffic body bumping when The Americans returns to FX for Season 5 in 2017.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.