The romantic partnership between Pray Tell (Billy Porter) and Ricky (Dyllon Burnside) on Pose season two was one few saw coming, but as a rare depiction of two Black, gay, HIV-positive men getting down to it, it has become one of the most powerful images of the show’s sophomore season.
While Pray and Ricky’s sex scene in season two, episode eight was tender, passionate, and, let’s face it, sexy as hell, Billy Porter has admitted filming his first ever sex scene was “the most difficult thing to do”.
The reasons are a damning indictment on the industry and the roles Black, queer men are still given.
Appearing on Entertainment Weekly’s The Awardist podcast, Emmy winner Porter, 50, admitted he’s never been required to get intimate with another actor on screen.
“I would say that was probably the hardest and most difficult thing for me to do because as a Black queer man who has lived in a space for 30 years of being the magical fairy on the side, of never, ever being the object of anyone’s affection in anything in my entire career, ever…” he said.
“I’ve not had a kiss in anything. Not on stage, not on nothing. I haven’t been the object of anyone’s affection.”
While Porter goes on to admit he did share an onstage kiss with a woman during his time in Dreamgirls, he says he felt “detached” from it as a gay man.
Pray Tell and Ricky’s night of passion may have gone down as one of TV’s most memorable LGBTQ sex scenes, but it seems viewers’ enjoyment is not shared by Porter himself, who is still adjusting to seeing himself portrayed as an object of desire for the first time on screen.
“I can’t even watch it,” he said. “Not because of what I look like, just because I’m still trying to find a space where I can be comfortable watching myself have sex on-screen.It is not easy to watch. I watched it with my husband the first time and we were both like… [grimaces]. We squealed!”
Pose is available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the UK and on Netflix in the US.