Penn Badgley explains why ‘You’ has fewer kissing and sex scenes this season

 A man in black with dark hair and facial hair gestures with one hand while speaking into a microphone.
Actor Penn Badgley, seen in 2020, says he requested fewer intimacy scenes in Season 4 of “You.”
(Jim Spellman / Getty Images)

Fans of the fourth and most recent season of “You” might notice there are fewer kissing and sex scenes involving the Netflix show’s main character, Joe Goldberg.

That’s because the show’s lead, Penn Badgley, wanted it that way.

Badgley made the request directly to the psychological thriller’s creator before the filming of Season 4, which began streaming its first half on Thursday.

New updates to Netflix’s password-sharing policies are getting rolled out in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. The U.S. could be next.

Feb. 8, 2023

“I asked Sarah Gamble, creator of the show, can I just do no more intimacy scenes,” Badgley said on Thursday’s episode of Podcrushed,” the podcast he co-hosts with friends Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari.


Badgley admitted that his concern around shooting intimate scenes and being pigeonholed into romantic leads had been on his mind since he started on the show in 2018.

“One of the main things is, do I want to put myself on a career path where I’m always just a romantic lead,” he said. Bagdley is also a “Gossip Girl” alum, where he played heartthrob whiz-kid Dan Humphrey, the show’s main romantic lead, alongside Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen.

Season 2 of ‘You,’ on Netflix, shifts the action to Los Angeles — and sends up a number of stereotypes about the city along the way.

Dec. 27, 2019

His relationship with Domino Kirke, who he married in 2017, also contributed to his reservations.

“Fidelity in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me, and it just got to a point where I don’t want to do that,” Badgley said, expressing further hesitation about being an actor whose characters are always kissing their co-stars.

Although Badgley told showrunner Gamble that he had “zero” desire to continue doing intimate scenes on the show, he acknowledged that lust is built into the main character’s DNA. Whether it’s the real deal or a part of Joe’s fantasies with his latest stalking obsession, Badgley’s character had plenty of sex on screen in the show’s first three seasons.

Penn Badgley spoke about actor and comedian Chris D’Elia’s alleged sexual improprieties on The Times’ TV podcast, “Can’t Stop Watching.”

June 23, 2020

“So, ‘How much less can you make it,’ was my question to them,” he shared from his conversation with Gamble. “And she didn’t even bat an eye ... She appreciated my directness and that I was being reasonable and practical, and they came back with a phenomenal reduction.”


Podcast co-host Kavelin followed up Badgley’s story by talking about actor Neal McDonough, who has made similar requests throughout his career. McDonough, who has starred in “Desperate Housewives,” said in a 2019 Closer Weekly interview that he tells producers that due to his devout Catholic faith, he cannot kiss a woman other than his wife.

Since her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Christina Applegate doesn’t anticipate joining a new series anytime soon. That’s why her SAG nomination — and her loving friendship with Linda Cardellini — mean so much.

Feb. 7, 2023

The boundary had gotten the “Band of Brothers” actor fired from the ABC series “Scoundrels” in 2010 and made it difficult to find work because people thought he was “this religious zealot.” Since then, he has found work in a number of shows including “Justified,” “Arrow,” “Suits,” and “Yellowstone.”

“I think it takes courage to have a conversation like that when it’s not the culture and it’s the norm and people face consequences for doing it,” Kavelin said, giving kudos to both McDonough and Badgley.

The second part of “You” Season 4 is expected to stream in March.