'I've never acted in something this racy': How the stars of 'Long Time No Sex' embraced taboo

A poster of the recent Tving series "Long Time No Sex" featuring actors Ahn Jae-hong, left, and Esom [TVING]

Sex is a taboo conversation topic everywhere in Korea, and television is no exception. Tving's “Long Time No Sex,” however, isn’t shy on the subject.

The six-part show, which unveiled its final two episodes on Thursday, has been showered with positive reviews for its hyper-realistic yet satirical depiction of Korea's modern-day relationships, despite its culturally subversive nature. Its first four episodes were also the most watched original content on Tving last week, the streaming platform said Wednesday.

Jointly helmed by directors Jeon Go-woon and Lim Dae-hyung, “Long Time No Sex” is about a young sexless couple who, facing financial struggles, turn to catching rich strangers committing adultery and then blackmailing them for money.

A scene from Tving's "Long Time No Sex" [TVING]

Esom plays Woo-jin, a hotel receptionist and the breadwinner of the family. Ahn Jae-hong plays a failed entrepreneur and taxi driver named Samuel.

The two actors, who sat down with reporters on Thursday, both had reservations about the graphic nature of the show but were able to let go of them once they'd read the whole script.

“I’ve never acted in something that was this racy,” Esom said, “but it was also very funny, and had I been embarrassed or shy acting those lines, it would have affected the good writing. So, I really just let everything go for this series and even suggested that we take the scenes further. Sometimes the directors had to tell me to slow down.”

Esom plays Woo-jin, a hotel receptionist and the breadwinner of the family, in Tving's "Long Time No Sex" series. [TVING]

“It’s such an edgy script, and as an actor, I didn’t want to do anything that would take power away from that writing,” Ahn also said. “I really wanted to deliver these cheeky scenes with vibrancy.

“It is a story that keeps people on their toes, I think, because it veers from the audience’s expectation,” Ahn said. “It starts off as a quotidian story that morphs into various genres.”

The drama indeed takes a significant turn during its last couple of episodes, leaving the audience with food for thought about relationships.

“I especially found the debate about the differing definitions of adultery between Woo-jin and Samuel interesting,” said Ahn. Samuel believes that mentally falling in love with someone is worse than physically sleeping with that person, while Woo-jin argues otherwise.

“I can’t choose which is worse, but I certainly learned that marriage is about giving each other continuous encouragement and constantly communicating,” he said.

Ahn Jae-hong plays a failed entrepreneur and taxi driver named Samuel in Tving's "Long Time No Sex." [TVING]

Esom’s take-away from the series was that she should to be extra careful when choosing her future partner.

“I already had mixed feelings about marriage, but indirectly experiencing its realities through the show made me have more complicated thoughts about the subject, I think,” she said. “It’s certainly different from dating and takes lots of deliberation.”

“Long Time No Sex” marks the third time Ahn and Esom have acted in the same project following the films “Microhabitat” (2018) and “High Surf Expected” (2020). Previous work experiences made it easier to act through some of the show’s intimate scenes, the two actors said.

Esom as Woo-jin in "Long Time No Sex" [TVING]

“We were acting as a couple married for five years in ‘Long Time No Sex,’ so we needed to be comfortable with each other, and luckily, we already were, because we had worked together in the past,” Esom said. “Those intimate scenes required a lot of teamwork. Ahn Jae-hong and I took them on as if they were basically action scenes.”

“I was very glad and thankful to have worked with Esom for the third time, and it was still a refreshing experience acting with her, especially because this was the first time that we were playing a couple,” Ahn said. “I think I am now starting to know what kind of an actor Esom is.”

Esom felt similarly.

“Through ‘Long Time No Sex,’ I really got to know Ahn Jae-hong, and he is such a sensitive and detailed actor who cherishes the feeling of being alive and knows how to deliver that on screen.

“Maybe next time, we could meet again on set as brother and sister!”

To find out more about Esom and Ahn Jae-hong, visit Celeb Confirmed!