Sam Heughan said he "didn't feel that supported" during sex scenes on season 1 of "Outlander."
"We were in a different environment," Heughan told Insider of filming early seasons of the drama.
The actor also said he thinks sex scenes in general are "always pretty uncomfortable" to do.
Historical drama "Outlander" has featured lots of onscreen sex throughout its six seasons and counting. But Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie on the Starz show, revealed to Insider in a new interview that filming some of these sexual moments during the first season wasn't an easy experience.
"On a personal note, they are always pretty uncomfortable. It's not the most natural thing," Heughan said of the show's sex scenes. "Certainly for my character, having to go through the the assault and rape at the end of the first season, was pretty tough."
At the end of the show's first season, Heughan's character, Jamie Fraser — an 18th-century Scottish warrior — is captured by Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall (Tobias Menzies), a cruel and sadistic British officer.
In exchange for letting Jamie's wife Claire (a time-traveling WWII nurse played by Caitriona Balfe) escape, Jamie submits to Randall's demands, and ends up being repeatedly tortured and sexually assaulted by Randall. Claire, with the help of Jamie's Highlander kin, eventually rescues her husband, and the two flee Scotland at the end of season one.
"I didn't feel that supported, looking back at it in hindsight," Heughan continued.
The actor went on to clarify that working on season one of the period drama, which first aired in 2014 and is based on the bestselling series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, was a "new" experience for everyone involved.
"We were making a new show, and I think... we were in a different environment," Heughan told Insider. "People were expecting more out out of the show. They wanted to see more."
"I think now, maybe less is more," he added.
For the sixth season of "Outlander," which premiered Sunday, Heughan, who is now also an executive producer on the long-running series, brought on intimacy coordinator Vanessa Coffey to help with the show's sex scenes.
"It's been fantastic having her on board," Heughan said of Coffey's involvement. "Not only to help facilitate those scenes, which can be kind of awkward and maybe even difficult, but actually, she's really helped to explore the relationship... and how do we take the audience on a journey and let them feel that they're getting a glimpse into a really intimate moment "
And the actor emphasized that sex and physical connection are integral to Jamie's relationship with Claire.
"It's a huge part of their relationship. It's how they reconnect with each other. And it's great to see a healthy relationship like that on screen," Heughan said.
The new season of "Outlander" premiered Sunday on Starz, and will see Jamie and Claire (now living in colonial America) coming face to face with an old enemy. You can watch the trailer below.