Skip to main content

Boy Meets World Star Maitland Ward Opens Up About What Hollywood Could Learn From Porn When It Comes To Filming Intimate Scenes

Rachel on TGIF's Boy Meets World Season 6 episode.
(Image credit: Disney)

Maitland Ward, most known for playing Rachel on the TGIF hit Boy Meets World, has been open in recent years about her switch from mainstream acting to work in the porn industry. She’s been candid about making more money via OnlyFans and other platforms than she did acting in Hollywood, but her (fairly) unique experience with both businesses has led her to be an expert of sorts when it comes to intimacy onscreen. Now, she’s opening up about what Hollywood could learn from the porn industry when it comes to filming sex scenes. 

In an essay Maitland Ward wrote for The Daily Beast, the famous redhead spoke out about her experiences in Hollywood early on. She noted directions she was given for any scenes involving intimacy included things like “rub under the covers” and “don’t use tongue,” before going on to explain what she feels is “the core problem” with intimacy scenes on television and in mainstream movies. 

The core problem is that mainstream by and large doesn’t know how to film sex. They know how to make shots look aesthetically beautiful and moody and mysterious, but porn brings something raw and untethered to the screen that I have rarely seen in film and television, and I truly believe it’s been sorely missing.

Beyond this, in mainstream intimacy scenes, there are a lot of takes from a lot of different angles that come into play and make scenes lengthy and tedious to finish, made even more awkward by the fact that actors are "sweaty" and stuck in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time. (Titanic's Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio could definitely confirm the sweat aspect.) According to Maitland Ward, this is actually something that porn works around in order to make scenes feel as real as possible.

Most sex in porn is shot in one fluid take, or with as few breaks as possible, while, in turn, mainstream scenes are a constant suffering of stopping and starting with lengthy breaks in between, probably for those lunchtime sandwiches (porn waits until after the scene to eat). To be naked and sweaty and in and out of the act all day can be miserable. And there’s no way to achieve a true passionate encounter if it’s broken up every few minutes to stop and wait to get a different take. It can begin to feel stilted and lose its fire. It becomes something that isn’t real. And I know that the sex in mainstream isn’t real, but it should certainly feel that way. Especially to the audience.

Her solution? Bring people in from the porn industry to advise on Hollywood sets. What she described actually sounds a bit like an intimacy coordinator, but with additional experience. 

In recent years, Hollywood has tried to make sex scenes or any scenes where intimacy is required more comfortable for the actors involved. Intimacy coordinators can often be found on sets these days for a wide range of shows and movies from Bridgerton to No Time To Die. Even filming wet shirt scenes and similar moments could use a level of outside support and supervision, and intimacy coordinators help provide that. From what Ward is arguing though, there may be other ways that Hollywood could improve the way sex scenes and other intimate moments are filmed on sets. Though, to be fair, she says there's plenty the porn industry can learn from Hollywood, too. 

Jessica Rawden
Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.