The Problem With Shooting Zero Gravity Sex Scenes

When it comes to filming sex scenes in movies and on TV, the problems can sometimes be plentiful, from embarrassment to a lack of chemistry between actors to anything in between. And that’s just talking about scenes that take place on Earth where a lack of gravity isn’t an issue. When it comes to making cinematic love in outer space, the complications get even more numerous, and it has a lot to do with, well, gravity.

For the upcoming Syfy series The Expanse, the creative team didn’t want to leave out something as humanity-based as having sex, and they soon found out that putting it together meant bringing in wires, harnesses and a professional sex choreographer. Here’s how series lead Steven Strait, whom you might remember from Magic City, explained it to THR.

We tried to make [the show] as real as possible. But it’s humanity and we’re in space and people are still having sex. I was concerned when I read the script. I thought, how are we going to pull this off? I don’t want this to seem hokey. We actually had a choreographer, an Italian choreographer, who kept calling out ‘Throw your head back!’ Thanks Roberto. Think about it. The smallest little movement of going round, there’s no resistance. So it’s very delicate.

Don’t lie, the thought of a sex choreographer sounded mildly ludicrous until he mentioned that it was an Italian one, and then it became more believable.

It’s hard enough when movies have to film people flying, either from having superpowers or because an explosion has shot them through the air, but at least there’s some science behind the momentum in those cases. When it comes to sex, there are numerous ways that thrust enters into it, and without something stationary being used, it seems like one of the more difficult things one could do in space.

And that’s not to mention having harnesses attached to you that could make you move in ways that aren’t associated with sexual maneuvering. And then there’s the fact that one is usually naked at that time anyway. It helps that this is regular cable and nudity isn’t so widespread a thing.

When The Expanse isn’t about getting down and dirty, it’ll center on Strait’s former ice freighter captain James Holden and down on his luck detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), who team up in the hunt for a missing woman with ties to a vast conspiracy that threatens to unravel everything that humanity has achieved through colonizing Mars and the asteroid belt. The show also stars Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks, The Walking Dead’s Chad Coleman, British singer-songwriter Dominique Tipper, The Hunger Games franchise’s Wes Chatham and many more. Viewers can expect a two-night season premiere on Syfy starting Monday, December 14.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.