Ever wonder what Brad Pitt is thinking about when he watches Angelina Jolie make out with another actor for a movie?
Of course you have.
Fortunately, Q&A site Quora exists, and there, the question has been asked and an actor – not quite Brad Pitt, perhaps – has answered the question "How do actors' spouses feel about love scenes in film and TV?"
I answered almost this exact same question once before. I wish I could find a link to it.
I'm a theatre director (with a tiny amount of experience in television), but I don't imagine the dynamics are much different in theatre than in film or television. Of course, different people feel differently, and there probably are some who get jealous. What I write here is based on my own experience and the experiences of the many couples I've worked with over the years.
My wife is an actress. I have watched her make out on stage many times. Some of those have been plays that I've directed, and I've had the odd experience (which doesn't feel odd to me, but I can see how it would seem odd to an outsider) of directing her to kiss another actor more passionately.
It's simply not a big deal, and I don't feel jealous. I remember feeling funny the first time, but the 900th time, in rehearsal, you watch a kiss, it ceased to be very meaningful.
There are a lot of factors that tend to make this stuff no-big-deal. First of all, everyone in the business understands, going in, that it's part of the business. It's not a surprise or anything. I work with an ensemble of actors, and I think, by now, most of them have played sex scenes together. No one cares. We joke about it.
Second, it's almost never sexy. It's choreographed. You simply can't tell two actors to "go at it" and let them improvise. No one in the audience would see anything. Heads would be in the way, etc. It's even less romantic in the film world, where there are camera men in track suits and mics stuck all over the place. Even if the spouse wasn't there during rehearsal, he would know -- just from being married to the actor -- how un sexy this stuff is.
(Once, when I was acting -- long before I was married -- I got to make out with an actress I was very attracted to. I was excited beforehand, but in the end it turned out to be totally un-titillating. It was by-the-numbers. Turn head, count to three, press lips together....)
Added to this, most people in the business, if they stay in the business, are very professional and have a good sense of humor about this stuff. It's rare for anyone to "pull anything" or to try to take advantage of a sex scene. Actors do their work and then quit.
Which is not to say there isn't a fantasy element to it. If you're playing a bad guy, part of the fun is ... getting to be the bad guy. To get to pretend you're blowing up the White House and have a blast doing it. And part of the fun of a sex scene is ... making out with someone.
I am sure my wife has enjoyed making out with some of her costars (and I know that she's suffered through others). That's human nature, and it doesn't make me jealous or uncomfortable. It would be odd if she hated every minute of it, would it?
The final piece of the puzzle is that theatre and film folks tend to be very liberal and pretty easy-going about sexual matters. That isn't a coded way of saying "we're all swingers." We're not. But we're very far from being prudes, we're very touchy feely in general, and very used to make believe. Someone uncomfortable with this stuff isn't likely to go into acting or be married to an actor.
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