Showrunner Ronald D. Moore on How ‘Outlander’ Avoids Formulaic Sex Scenes

Another great interview Variety had with Ron D. Moore.

Moore says he’s heartened that his show has been praised for its sensitive — and, ultimately, sensual — approach to sex, but adds that it’s all just a byproduct of trying to be realistic about what adults want and need from each other in intimate moments.

The showrunner maintains that the reason “Outlander” is getting so much credit for prioritizing a woman’s point of view is because that POV has been so marginalized. “When you actually restore it, people go, ‘Whoa, this is a radical thing you’re doing! You’re blazing new ground!’ Where I’m not really trying to blaze new ground. I’m just trying to tell the truth and be honest about how these characters relate.”

We could probably do a half an hour just on our pet peeves about sex scenes.

Oh, easily. Easily. The curtain drives me berserk. In fact, I specifically talked about the things we weren’t going to do when we were approaching the sex scenes.

That reminds me of the show bible that you wrote for “Battlestar Galactica,” which was partly about, “No to this and this.”

Yeah, “We’re not doing this.”

Do you have a similar document for “Outlander”?

I didn’t write one down, but I had the talk with all the directors, and we went through a chapter and verse. All this crap. I said we’re not doing TV sex. TV sex is not real sex. I would say to them, “This is not how you and I have sex. No one has sex like that.” And they would all kind of laugh and say, “Yeah, that’s true. So what do you want to do?” I said, “Just do it like the real deal.”

A lot of it was also giving time for the actors to rehearse, carving out that little space to let them actually experiment and play around and find the natural chemistry between the two of them, as opposed to what you could script or talk about in prep. That informed how we shot those scenes, because it was so much about chemistry and being in the moment, and how two people could actually come together.


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