How Much Freedom Outlander's Cast Has When It Comes To Those Sex Scenes

Outlander is known for many things after three full seasons, and one of those things is the steamy sex scenes. Jamie and Claire have one of the most passionate romances on television, and Outlander airing on Starz means that a whole lot of skin can be shown. While the love scenes between Claire and Jamie come across as rough-and-tumble -- sometimes literally -- they were obviously scripted for Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan to act out. Balfe recently weighed in on how much freedom the cast has for sex scenes:

We do not have carte blanche at all. There's scripts and you have to follow what's in the script, but there's always a discussion.

When it comes to sex out Outlander -- which Caitriona Balfe has said is some of the best on TV for a fun reason -- the actors do what's on the page, and it's definitely not improv. The good news is that Balfe was clear in her chat with EW that there are conversations between the cast and producers when it comes to sex scenes, so the actors aren't just thrown into a scene with a coworker and no questions asked.

That's very good news for Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, whose characters have hit the sheets (and pretty much any flat surface whenever the mood struck them) a great many times over the years on the show. Even if Starz hasn't necessarily gone the HBO route of changing how sex scenes are filmed, it sounds like they're handled in a way that can keep everybody as comfortable as possible. A tight script and discussions so everybody knows what to do and not to do can only be a good thing.

Season 3 proved that age and distance did nothing to put out the flames between Claire and Jamie, and there were plenty of intimate scenes after the two reunited. Footage from Season 4 indicates that more is on the way, even if one famous sex scene from the fourth novel in the Outlander book series will have to be changed. Hey, these two lovebirds need to christen their new world some way, and they might not have the time or inclination for such shenanigans once trouble starts brewing.

Now, as much as the Outlander sex scenes get talked about, the show is not all about sex. The characters goes through complex journeys, and the 18th century really isn't all that amorous all the time. Caitriona Balfe said this about the purpose of sex scenes on Outlander:

One of the biggest discussions we all have going into sex scenes is how can we make it have a point and a purpose. We have that all the time with the writers and the producers because, believe it or not, this is not softcore porn. We're making a TV show, so if there's going to be sex, it has to be there for a reason; it has to tell you something about where the character's at or move forward the story in some meaningful way and we always have those discussions. I think if we stopped having those discussions our show wouldn't be as good as it is.

On Outlander, the sex scenes can range from steamy to silly to just about everything in between, and that has everything to do with the story. Jaime and Claire were different together after their long separation than they were before Culloden, and that was shown in the bedroom as well as in all their other actions. Luckily, Caitriona Balfe's comments indicate that there's still a lot of thought going into Outlander sex scenes, so there should be meaning to them in Season 4 and beyond.

Season 4 of Outlander premieres on Sunday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. If you're not up on everybody who will be on board for the new episodes, check out our rundown of the finalized cast for the fourth season.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).