As one of the most basic tenets of consent, “no means no” is an inherent safety principle everywhere from the bedroom to the workplace. This is especially true, as You star Penn Badgley points out in a new episode of his Podcrushed podcast, when the bedroom is your workplace.
According to Badgley, ahead of You’s newest season, he requested that his character Joe—a suave, bookish creep with an exceedingly unhealthy relationship with the various women he falls for—have fewer, well, compromising scenes. (Read: if you’ve seen You, you’ve seen Badgley’s butt more than a few times.)
“I asked [series co-creator] Sera Gamble can I just do no more intimacy scenes,” he tells his co-host Nava Kavelin in the episode. “This is actually a decision I made before I took the show. I don’t think I have ever mentioned it publicly. One of the main things was, do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m always playing the romantic lead?”
The choice to forgo more romantic scenes also came down to Badgley’s personal value system, which he says involves “fidelity in every relationship, including my marriage [to wife Domino Kirke].” How does that affect Badgley’s ability to simulate sex on screen? As he puts it: “It’s got to the point where I don’t want to do that.”
Badgley continues: “So I said to Sera, ‘my desire would be zero, to go from 100 to zero.’ But I signed this contract. I signed up for this show. I know what I did. You can’t take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept. So how much less can you make it, was my question to them.”
To Gamble’s credit, Badgley says, “she didn’t even bat an eye” at his request, and swiftly got to work on paring the intercourse down where she could.
“She was really glad that I was that honest,” Badgley recalls. “She was sort of almost, I want to say empowered, it had a really positive response. They came back with a phenomenal reduction.”
The first installment of the fourth season of You is available to stream on Netflix now—the second part will be released on March 9.