Netflix’s You has fewer sex scenes in season 4 – and it’s all because of Penn Badgley

You season 4

Netflix’s smash hit psychological thriller You returns to screens for season 4 this week, but fans might notice that lead character Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) isn’t quite as horny this time around.

The first three seasons of You, while focusing mainly on Joe’s obsession with love interests Beck (Elizabeth Lail), Love (Victoria Pedretti) and Marienne (Tati Gabrielle), also feature plenty of sex scenes, often helmed by Joe himself.

Season four, however, shifts gears a bit, with a marked focus on mystery. The season follows Joe as he relocates to London under the name Professor Jonathan Moore — but this time around, he’s become someone else’s obsession.

Interestingly, the decision to cut down the sex scenes actually came directly from Badgley, as he wanted to protect his career path and put his family first.

Speaking on the Podcrushed podcast, which Badgley hosts alongside Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansar, the 36-year-old said: “I asked Sera Gamble, the creator, ‘can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’ This is actually a decision I had made before I took the show.

“I don’t think I had ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is like, do I want to put myself back in a career path where I’m just always a romantic lead?,” he said.

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Badgley is known for his starring roles as Todd in sex comedy Easy A and Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl.

The actor, who is married to actress and singer Domino Kirke, with whom he shares a son, also explained how his family life dissuaded him from wanting to continue with Joe’s antics.

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“Like, fidelity, in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me. And it just got to that point where I don’t want to do that,” he said.

Fortunately, You creator Gamble was responsive to the request. While he ideally wanted to take part in “zero” sex scenes, he knew when “signing the contract” that Joe would at least have to enjoy some intimacy.

“You can’t take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept,” he continued, adding that he asked how much intimacy they could take out of the final season. 

“[Gamble] didn’t even bat an eyelid. She was glad that I was that honest, and she had a really positive response. They came back with a phenomenal reduction.”

You season four is available to stream on Netflix now.

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