Sydney Sweeney: Guys get praised for sex scenes, when a girl does it, it’s different

Euphoria season two dropped on HBO on January 9th. Star Zendaya and series creator Sam Levinson have already warned that the show is for mature audiences. Star Sydney Sweeney has been talking about her character arc. In an appearance on the Drew Barrymore show earlier this week, she said she forgot to warn her father and grandmother about her sex scenes. Sydney received a phone call from her father who was in shock. In an interview with The Independent Sydney opened up more about being nude on screen. She said she felt comfortable with those scenes because Sam Levinson accepted when she said no. There is also an intimacy coach on set. Sydney added that men get praised for doing sex scenes and win awards but when a woman does it they’re treated differently. Here are a few highlights via Just Jared:

Sydney has had some bad experiences with nude scenes in the past, but Euphoria has an intimacy coordinator on set for those scenes.

“I’ve had experiences where I want to go home and scrub myself completely raw because I feel disgusting,” she said. “I didn’t feel comfortable with my castmate or the crew, and I just didn’t feel like my character would be doing it.”

Sydney added, “I’m very proud of my work in Euphoria. I thought it was a great performance. But no one talks about it because I got naked. I do The White Lotus and all of a sudden critics are paying attention. People are loving me. They’re going, ‘Oh my God, what’s she doing next?’ I was like, ‘Did you not see that in Euphoria? Did you not see that in The Handmaid’s Tale?’ This is something that has bothered me for a while.”

“When a guy has a sex scene or shows his body, he still wins awards and gets praise. But the moment a girl does it, it’s completely different,” she added.

[From The Independent via Just Jared]

I have yet to start watching season two of Euphoria and, after seeing everyone’s warnings, I am a bit nervous. I am not sure if I can handle the brutality of the show. Sydney’s character, Cassie, has one of the most heartbreaking character arcs. She has a way of pulling you into her pain and confusion. I agree with Sydney that men are praised for doing nude and sex scenes while women are criticized. There is so much public policing of women’s bodies and sexual autonomy. This is definitely a symptom of patriarchy.

I laughed so hard when I watched Sydney’s segment on the Drew Barrymore Show. Drew’s facial expression when Sydney said that she forgot to warn her dad was priceless. That story reminds me so much of Rege Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor’s stories about their family members not receiving the warnings about their sex scenes in Bridgerton. I am glad the young Euphoria actors have an intimacy coach on set and that they feel comfortable and safe. I have so much respect for Sam Levinson for listening to his cast and allowing them the space to say no. I am looking forward to seeing Euphoria this season and may wait until all the episodes have aired to binge watch it. I know it will be difficult to avoid spoilers, but I still prefer to wait.

Sydney’s appearance on the Drew Barrymore show:

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35 Responses to “Sydney Sweeney: Guys get praised for sex scenes, when a girl does it, it’s different”

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  1. Silver Charm says:

    Sam Levinson sounds kinda creepy. Like, there were MORE nude scenes??? Something doesn’t seem right with him.

    • MayDay says:

      RIGHT!!! Apparently they even had him reduce the number of nude scenes. I really hate the concept of this show. Why is a grown adult man writing what essentially seems like soft core p*rn about teenagers. They – HE – could of easily aged up the characters to make them college aged students but of course the creeps of Hollywood wouldn’t do that.

    • Sof says:

      That scene of her naked on top of the bear said it all, right? She is to be used.

      • kerfuffles says:

        What? That scene of her naked (only her backside was shown) on top of a bear was a fantasy from the mind’s of Cassie and Nate demonstrating his twisted concept of love and her twisted concept of what it means to be loved. It was entirely intentional and not some attempt by Sam Levinson to show that Cassie indeed deserves to just be “used,” much less used by Sam Levinson.

        These are adult actors playing complex characters and their sexuality is a big part of that, as it is for most human beings. While it can be tough to watch sometimes (the violence bothers me far more than any nudity) I don’t understand how it means that Levinson is “creep” or it constitutes “p*rn.” It’s art and I think he is a great artist who has created some fascinating characters and stories on this how.

      • Sof says:

        That’s why I mentioned it! with that image alone he made a great point as opposed to the other unnecesary scenes.
        But please enlighten me, showing Nate suck on her breasts explicitly adds something to the plot or was it just for the w*nkers who watch the show? Because that is the vibe I’m getting this season, Sydney’s body on display constantly with the excuse that Cassie only knows to be loved by being sexualized. Jules is still his obsession and we never see Hunter that way.

  2. A.Key says:

    She’s right. Guys not only get praised for their sex scenes, they brag about them and are proud of them. Women on the other hand are shamed for making them. But Hollywood being a mysognistic shitshow of a place is nothing new I guess.

    Also, haven’t seen the sex scenes in Euphoria, but if they’re like most Hollywood sex scenes, it’ll be all wham bam thank you m’am with the woman immediately coming and a lot of male pleasing.

    • Turtledove says:


      “Women on the other hand are shamed for making them.”

      THIS and what is worse, if they don’t do the scene, they get labelled as difficult and lose out on jobs. I read that she asked for some scenes to be cut, and they were, which is great. I haven’t seen S2 yet, so I am unaware of how much nudity she ultimately did, but it sounds like despite some getting cut, there is still A LOT. I am glad that she was in a position to feel empowered to ask for the cuts AND be listened to. Not all actors are in the same position.

  3. FHMom says:

    I’m glad Sydney is comfortable with the nude scenes, but TBH they all seem gratuitous. I have no interest in watching Season 2, but I feel like they add nothing to the story.

    • Rainbowkitty says:

      Agreed. Kinda like GOT. It got to the point that even one of the male leads was like this is too much, it’s taking from the story. I feel like in most cases nudity or sex can be implied without actually showing anything. Not a prude, I just don’t think we need to film people naked for no real reason.

    • teecee says:

      Let’s see what she says in 5-10 years. This show has backstage shadiness written all over it, and one day we’re all going to smugly talk about how “we all knew” but no one did anything.

      Just another young woman getting chewed up and spit out by Hollywood.

  4. Lucille says:

    I’m not sure what’s going on behind the scenes in Hollywood but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man get praised for sex scenes. I watched the first three episodes of season 2. For some reason there’s a strong focus on her character being naked and the sex scenes are very explicit. I was actually wondering why that is.

  5. tifzlan says:

    My unpopular opinion is that teen culture shows that are over/hypersexualized and hyperfixated on drugs and alcohol are extremely disturbing and borderline groom-y. Euphoria, Skins, etc. has always made me feel uncomfortable and grossed out to watch to be honest.

    • Steph says:

      I feel the same way. If it was set in college, it’d be a little easier to stomach albeit not much. But I could never stand seeing underage teens in adult scenarios even if the actors are over 18, moreso when I was a teen myself. I felt uncomfortable peer pressure at that age. Skins came out when I was a teen but I missed it because it was a UK show, but I had the misfortune of watching the movie Kids (1995) on tv and it traumatized me.

    • Lucille says:

      I don’t think Euphoria is for teens. It’s very much a show for adults. But I think it would’ve worked just as well if the characters were college students and it might’ve made it more realistic.

      • teecee says:

        But the fact that it’s for adults and depicting teens like this is disturbing. There’s something about this explicit “pretend” teenage nudity that attracts the audience and sorry, that’s gross. This is the prestige tv version of teen porn, and it has the same audience.

  6. Bettyrose says:

    I worry about her role on Euphoria. I love the show and she’s a talented actress but she is massively sexualized. Right at some point GoT was pushing the envelope with shock value in the use of nudity but Emilia Clarke emerged as the absolute badass who didn’t even wear sexy clothes in the final seasons. Sophie Turner never did nude scenes. I hope Sydney’s character gets to turn a corner and not have her body continue to be the show’s draw. Her sassiness absolutely rocked White Lotus. She can do so much more.

  7. Rural Juror says:

    Are they, though? I’m sure this was true years ago, but I can’t think of any men who have been praised for sex scenes recently.
    I don’t watch this show, but from the other comments here (and this is NOT a prudish group), it sounds like her character has a frequent explicit sex scenes and I can see how that, combined with the fact that she’s playing a teenager, would draw some criticism or make viewers uncomfortable.
    I’m not sure that she personally should bear the brunt of the criticism, though, since she’s just the actress and not the director. If she feels comfortable with filming that many sex scenes, I suppose that’s her prerogative and I don’t think it says anything about who she is a a person.

    • bettyrose says:

      I don’t know about praised, and I rarely see a nude man in a show and think “yummy.” Guys are much hotter with their clothes on, unless you’ve personally invited them to take their clothes off. But I do think she’s right that being known as the hot girl who does nude scenes is not healthy for her career, which is a shame because she’s a talented actress. But somehow she also has a hybrid look of sweet girl next store and porn star. I think Amanda Seyfried is comparable in having straddled that line, but Amanda transcended to doing blockbuster films, and I’d like to see that for Sydney. A few blockbusters that can then finance a lifetime of doing artsy work. I really did think she was great in White Lotus.

  8. Sof says:

    I have no issues watching nudity or sex scenes on tv but they are reeeeaaalllyyy exposing her this season to the point were it feels uncomfortable watching, hearing the director wanted her even more topless makes me sick. Sydney, he is not taking care of you at all.
    (and mild spoilers from chapter one: was that scene when *that character* puts her breasts in his mouth necessary?)

    • Gigi says:

      Women aren’t slammed more than men for sex and nude scenes. Men aren’t slammed at all because they rarely do them. Women are slammed because the nudity is often gratuitous and we’re exhausted by how actresses stripping their kit is viewed as a sign of their maturity as a performer–and that it’s practically a right of passage for getting major awards and attention (thinking back to the hoopla around Halle Berry finally going topless in Swordfish and then ramping up to an explicit sex scene in Monster’s Ball). Disgusting misogyny in Hollywood has young actresses convinced that they’re “brave” for baring it all. If it was so brave, mature, and empowering then Sydney would be getting attention for her acting and not constantly being asked about her nudity.

    • bettyrose says:

      No, the nudity this season is over the top. I think last season she was only naked in the pilot (and that of course was to ensure the pilot got picked up). But this season, her character has room for serious story arcs. She has low self-esteem. Craves attention from a-list guys. But that bathroom scene (look that was several episodes ago, so I think it’s fine to discuss) was not okay. At all. Nudity was not even close to necessary to make it clear what two drunk teens were doing in a bathroom at a party. If anyone found that scene hard to interpret, maybe this isn’t the best teen show to learn about sex from. Start smaller.

  9. Trish says:

    I don’t have HBO so I can’t watch this, but I heard about some people online calling her a butterface and that it really got to her. I looked her up and idk why anyone would say that, because she’s obviously very pretty, but now thinking about how they write her character makes me feel something more sinister is behind it all. Like she’s used as a sexual object and looked at as a body, but not really a face or person and this stuff just seeps into the minds of young people, they don’t even realize it at the time, and it influences their view of women, especially boys.

    I hope her character has more layers or is allowed to and if not, I hope she goes on to land roles that allow her to be more than one dimensional.

  10. nikomikaelx says:

    About her sex scenes etc, people commenting about her character:

    Her characters whole point is that she is sexualized by all the men in her life, and that she uses sex to get acceptance and love, it is not glamorized, its made to be heartbreaking (wich it is).

    Thats just my two cents, i really like her, she’s been amazing in everything that I’ve seen her!

    all that being said, i too have had mixed feelings about the fact that they’re portraying teenagers.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ nikomikaelx : I agree she is amazing in everything. I recognized her from The Handmaid’s Tale where she played Nick Blaine’s econo-wife, a naive young girl who is used by everyone around her and is executed when she tries to run away with someone who loves her for herself. I don’t watch Euphoria because it doesn’t interest me but I would love to see more of her. Even in a small role, she really nails it.

  11. els says:

    I liked the first season. But the season 2… No spoilers but I didn’t like it. The sex scenes are way too much and sometimes not necessary, especially Cassie. I don’t mind sex scenes in general but It would be less awkward to watch porn at this point. It makes me feel weird considering they are portraying teenagers.

    As for her comment… I don’t see much men’s nudity than women. It’s usually women are more exposed than men in sex scenes. I don’t know tbh.

    • Silent Star says:

      I haven’t seen Euphoria, but I loved her in Handmaid’s Tale and The White Lotus. This interview with Drew was wonderful. I’m so glad she’s nerdy about school and has so many interests and skills! I hope she continues to be successful — I can picture her as an incredible Renaissance woman of the future, showing young women that they don’t have to do what is expected. I will be watching her!

  12. Angelina says:

    To be honest I never understand when actors say they’re comfortable with nudity as long as it is essential to the story. Is there really any instance where there needs to be nudity to get a point across? Nothing wrong with nudity, that reasoning just always feels like a copout

  13. drolf says:

    I am still trying to get over all the d*** shots (full frontal) in this show. They seem completely gratuitous and I wonder what the point is. Cassie’s plot line is consistent and heartbreaking. Sydney is a fantastic actress who is comfortable with the role. The acting on the show is spotty at best. Zendaya is overacting and hard to watch. I thought she was fantastic season one. Am I the only one? I hope the show gets it’s groove back because the first season seemed so much better although the whole point was teens dealing with sexuality and peer pressure and addiction.

    • Berlin says:

      @drolf No, you are not the only one re: Zendaya’s acting. She seems to have lost the plot on her acting as a character in an ensemble and seems to be acting like she is in another show by herself. I really like her too.

      • drolf says:

        @Berlin, thank you. Maybe it’s the director that isn’t doing her justice but it is jarring to see such a talented actress miss the mark so badly.

  14. tealily says:

    I’ve only ever seen her in White Lotus, but she was great in that.

    I can’t think of a time I’ve ever heard of a man being praised for his sex scenes. Is that a thing?

  15. Stef says:

    Can we please talk about all the male nudity in S2 Euphoria? I was shocked to see so much schlong in the first 3 episodes.

    That said, I’m really happy we are finally getting to see more male nudity in mainstream tv. For so long it was only female nudity and men’s naked butts, but it seems we are evolving into common full Monty for men and I’m here for it! Even AJLT had some full male nudity. What a time to be alive!

  16. candy says:

    Are there male nude scenes in hollywood? Genuinely asking because I have never seen one. It’s not empowering for women and it never will be. Those who think so are just kidding themselves.

  17. Ness says:

    Holy crap! That interview was so charming, and now I also am in love with her. Sydney Sweeney let’s be friiiieeeeends!

  18. Otaku fairy says:

    The female nudity may be more common (partially for male fantasies) but male nudity and sex scenes do happen.

    It would be nice if she were wrong about women getting treated differently for it than men, but she’s not. People tend to be given the most charitable assumptions for why they don’t care if a guy does it, but act like a woman is a bad role model, having something precious stolen from her, or choosing to abandon something more precious than life itself if she engages in the same behavior. Guys have the privilege of getting to do what they want with their bodies while still being seen for more than that. People choosing to be that way doesn’t make her wrong though. For some people not letting the negative reactions of others stop them is more important.