Russell applauds the sex scenes on the FX hit because they put her character "in a place of power"

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Credit: Eric Ryan Anderson/The Hollywood Reporter

When actors have to film love scenes, it’s always uncomfortable, but The Americans costars–turned–real-life partners Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys admit that their off-screen relationship raises the stakes.

“I get a little protective,” Rhys shares in a rare joint interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

After all the technicalities are worked out and the scenes are filmed, the 41-year-old Welsh actor admits, “I’m like, ‘Can someone get her a f—in’ robe, please?! She’s standing there naked, we’ve cut for five seconds, Jesus Christ.’

After a laugh, he continues, “And they’re like, ‘Dude, this is the fourth season.’ ”

” ‘We’ve seen it,’ ” chimes in Russell, 40.

The pair – who’ve had a banner year, including welcoming 8-week-old son, Sam, and earning two long-awaited Emmy nominations for their performances as husband and wife spies on the FX drama – admit their romance comes in handy as they film scenes.

Says Rhys, “There’s that immediate thing where, like, physically you’re comfortable together.”

For her part, Russell enjoys the different approach the series takes towards it sexuality: “I sort of love the use of it on our show because, at least in my experience being a woman, you usually have to do the most sexy, the most in love, the most romantic version. In our show, I’m in a place of power: it’s to get information from that person or to make that person feel a certain way. And that can be empowering.”

And the lithe actress, who got her big break in 1998 as a lovelorn college student on The WB’s Felicity, says it’s a nice change of pace from the roles she’s previously played.

“I know you might find it surprising,” she says, “but people don’t cast me for my voluptuous body all the time. ‘We’re looking for a woman with a 13-year-old boy’s body. Who can we get? Yes, you!'”

Rhys interjects with a laugh: “Don’t say that because what does that say about me?”