Penn Badgley requested “no more intimacy scenes” in You season 4 (here’s why)

You. (L to R) Charlotte Ritchie as Kate, Penn Badgley as Joe in episode 405 of You. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
You. (L to R) Charlotte Ritchie as Kate, Penn Badgley as Joe in episode 405 of You. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

While you were streaming the latest season of You this weekend, you may have noticed a few aspects that were much different from previous seasons.

Firstly, the new season’s cast was filled with tons of new faces, as Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) ditched the United States and opted for a life in Europe. Not only did we get to see a few familiar faces, but we also got to meet some new actors and actresses who we’re dying to know more about. Additionally, the vibe of season 4 was especially different since, this time, Goldberg is the one who has to stay on his toes; a nice switch-up for a protagonist who is used to having everything go his way.

But aside from the vibe, location, and cast, one thing that was brand-new to fans of the Netflix original series was the lack of sex scenes, as Joe Goldberg didn’t seem to be as ravenous as he was before. Turns out, Penn Badgley is the mastermind behind this shift in direction. Here’s his reasoning.

Why Penn Badgley wanted fewer sex scenes in You season 4

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Penn Badgley proposed fewer sex scenes in You season 4 because he wants to honor his wife, Domino Kirke.

Prior to season 4 production, Badgley expressed his concerns to showrunner Sera Gamble, asking for “no more intimacy scenes.” When asked why, Badgley told the media outlet:

"This is actually a decision I’d made before I took the show. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is like, ‘Do I wanna put myself back on a career path where I’m just always a romantic lead?’It’s really important to me … Fidelity in every relationship — and especially my marriage — is important to me, and it just got to a point where I didn’t wanna do that. Then, of course, before I took the show is there a question of, ‘Do I have a career if I don’t?’ I mean, you know, think about every male lead you’ve loved. Are they kissing someone? Are they doing a lot more than that? It’s really not my desire to."

Fortunately, Gamble was receptive to Badgley’s concerns and assisted him in a way that honored Badgley but also kept the DNA of Joe Goldberg intact. Goldberg is often promiscuous, and changing his desires for romance will change his character entirely. Even so, Gamble eventually found a way to portray intimacy outside of sex.

“[Gamble] was really glad that I was that honest, and she was sort of, I wanna say almost empowered,” Badgley continued. “She had a really positive response. She appreciated my directness, and she appreciated that I was also being reasonable and practical, and they came back with a phenomenal reduction.”

Will there be more sex scenes in You season 5?

As for season 5, well, Gamble and Badgley are keeping pretty tight-lipped on this topic. However, it’s probably best to anticipate the end of Joe Goldberg’s story pretty soon, as all things must come to an end. Gamble expressed:

"We have an idea for season five that we’re excited about. It was never anyone’s intention to run this one into the ground. When we’re done, we’ll be done. And we’ll pack it up. Even in the early conversations with Penn, the idea was not to crank out episodes forever; it’s to feel like we have told the complete story."

Stream You season 4 only on Netflix! Don’t forget to stay tuned with Netflix Life for more updates on the Netflix original series!

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