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Why Penn Badgley Asked to Have ‘Zero’ Sex Scenes for ‘You’ Season 4: ‘I Don’t Want to Do That’

“Fidelity in every relationship — especially in a marriage — is important to me,” said the actor, who’s married to singer Domino Kirke-Badgley

Breaking down his experience filming “You” Season 4 in a bonus Thursday episode of his podcast “Podcrushed,” star and producer Penn Badgley revealed that he asked to have “zero” intimacy scenes ahead of filming for Netflix.

“I asked Sera Gamble, [the] creator, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?'” he told co-hosts Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari. “This was actually a decision I had made before I took the show. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is: Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m always [the] romantic lead?”

For Season 4 of “You,” Joe (Badgley) is back, this time he’s headed overseas to London and working under the radar while disguised as a university literature professor. While Joe may be a playboy in the series, Badgley is very much a married man. He tied the knot with singer Domino Kirke in 2017, and mentioned on the “Podcrushed” episode that staying faithful is key for him, whether he’s acting or not. 

“Fidelity in every relationship — especially in a marriage — is important to me,” he explained.  “It got to a point where [I thought], ‘I don’t want to do that.’ So I said to Sera, like, ‘My desire would be zero [intimate scenes], to go from 100 to zero.’”

“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,” Penn continued. “‘So how much less can you make it?’ was my question to them.”

But it turns out, there was very little push back at all. Viewers might notice hat Season 4 of “You” is quite a bit less raunchy than previous seasons. Season 3, for instance, featured several sex scenes, including one where Joe and his onscreen wife Love (Victoria Pedretti) have a foursome.

“She was really glad that I was that honest,” Badgely remembered of his conversation with Gamble. “She was sort of almost, I want to say empowered, she had a really positive response. They came back with a phenomenal reduction.”

Part 1 of Season 4 of “You” premiered on Netflix Thursday.