It’s fair to say that Rob and Kristen’s love story was one of the biggest talking points after the movie’s premiere in March. While many were happy to see two iconic leading men in a relationship, others were skeptical about whether or not the couple, who play Bruce and Kathy on screen, would be able to make a real relationship work.

But the press didn’t stop there: After the couple made their red-carpet debut as a couple in May, multiple news organizations delved into their personal lives, speculating about what their sex life was like.

Here we’ll explore the facts behind Rob and Kristen’s supposed steamy sex life, including whether or not it’s been physically real, as well as what they have said about it.

Is It Real Or Fantasy?

The trailer for Captain Marvel set the scene perfectly for the much-discussed steamy sex scene between the film’s two main characters:

The moment Brie Larson’s character, Carol, bursts into Nick Fearing’s office, she shouts that she’s discovered “the perfect man” to complete her team. As she walks over to him, the camera cuts away from Nick to give us a slightly voyeuristic glimpse of Carol and the Captain (the name given to the character by his sidekick, Quicksilver).

Standing in front of a sea of colorful pins, Carol places one hand on her hip and turns to face Nick, as if to say: “Look at me. I’m the perfect woman. Aren’t I?”

It’s a beautiful, yet awkward scene, in which Carol is clearly turned on by Nick’s “brawn” and “raw power.” Seeing him in physical form is certainly appealing, as he is chiseled physically and doesn’t seem the least bit discomfited by the display of affection.

But what happens next is what really makes this encounter memorable: Without warning, Nick pulls Carol in for a passionate kiss, breaking one of the fundamental rules of office flirtation: Never rush the romance.

From that moment on, it’s clear that Nick sees Carol as more than just a coworker and a mission statement, and she feels the same way: While Nick has a girlfriend (whose name we never hear), Carol sees a perfect companion in her. As Carol says in the trailer: “I want to share my life with someone, I want to spend my life with someone. I want to have a family. I want to be married…I want a perfect life.”

It’s quite an adorable, albeit ballsy, moment, and it served as the perfect prelude to Carol and Nick’s (premiere) bedroom scene – or rather, their attempt at having sex for the first time. The camera cuts away from the romantic duo as Nick helps Carol take off her jacket, preparing her for a night of passionate kissing and eventual love-making. And, as if to remind us of their on-screen chemistry, the scene is interspersed with shots of Carol and Nick laughing together as they work.

As the trailer indicates, this is not your typical office romance. Instead of a PG-13 feel-good movie, we are presented with a sensual, and – at times – even violent affair. For many, the sex scenes between Brie Larson and Nick Fearing were a welcome throwback to the 1970s, when sexual liberation and the feminist movement were on the rise.

But does this all add up to real steamy sex or is this just an elaborate publicity stunt?

Is It Strictly For Show?

While there’s no question that the sex scenes between Nick and Carol were a highlight of Captain Marvel, it’s also important to note that they were only there to serve the story. Specifically, the scene was included in order to humanize Nick Fearing, as he is very rarely seen without his work shirt. But aside from its narrative purpose, the sex scene was more or less a shot-for-shot remake of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with a few minor tweaks.

As in Shakespeare’s famous play, there is a love triangle at the center of this story, but instead of involving two young people, Carol and Nick’s affair is more of an adult encounter between two alpha-males. When asked about the scene by reporters, co-star Samuel L. Jackson said: “I think it’s something that’s between them. I think it’s a really powerful moment. I think it’s a powerful scene, actually. It’s something that should be looked into and experienced rather than described.”

Aside from their on-screen chemistry, Carol and Nick have an established off-screen relationship that spans years; she was even his roommate in college. This connection is presumably what drew Nick to make the journey from New York to Los Angeles in the first place, but it’s also what makes him such a perfect match for Carol. While Nick might be her mentor and vice-principal at the high school she teaches at, he is also someone she can explore her newfound sexuality with, and it is clear that he finds this facet of her personality intriguing. As she says in the trailer: “I think it’s exciting to explore your feelings and what you want. It’s not always what your parents, or your teachers, or your community thinks you should want…I think it’s important to listen to your instincts.”

On the other hand, Carol’s best friend, Pepper (played by Janelle Monáe), suspects that Nick is more than just a “dumb jock” and has a funny, if slightly jealous, reaction to their flirting: “Do you have some kind of disease? Are you trying to infect me?” she asks, as the two exchange a knowing glance.

While this flirtation is somewhat playful on Pepper’s part, she is clearly not comfortable with the idea of two grown men kissing; a problem that she tries to solve by force-feeding Nick a giant order of fries after their first date. Of course, it doesn’t work, and their relationship continues to flirt with disaster.

The Importance Of Perspective

It is also important to keep in mind that, from a certain point of view, the sex scenes in Captain Marvel almost seem to epitomize what is wrong with Hollywood today. Specifically, it seems to us that these scenes – which were roundly praised by both audiences and critics – have been completely removed from many of today’s cinema reviews. While it’s tempting to think that this was just a coincidence, it is more likely that these reviews were written by individuals who have a personal agenda against LGBT films and those with a feminist slant (such as Carol).

Similarly, many “mainstream” news organizations, perhaps fearful of offending their audience with too much “tokening,” have played down the couple’s sexuality, as well. While it is certainly true that their personal lives are none of our business, it is important to remember that the press has the ability to influence the discourse around intimate partner violence, LGBT issues, and other controversial topics – all of which are relevant to their portrayal on screen.

In other words, it’s important to remain skeptical of any news story that involves the Rob and Kristen’s sexuality, especially since it’s often an indication of how a journalist may feel about certain political and social causes.

But is it really about the politics, or are LGBT writers and activists just trying to push an agenda? Well, maybe a little bit of both. But mostly, we think that it is important to question the motives of writers and journalists who would seek to sensationalize, rather than inform, our culture.

On The Subject Of ‘Fantasy’

With so much attention on their personal life, it’s only fair to wonder: Does the existence of the “perfect” Nick and Carol make us question the existence of “true” romantic love? Or is their love just a product of the screen? Does it exist outside of the story they are telling us, or do their actions on-screen simply reflect the kind of relationship they actually have in real life?

There are clearly a lot of questions here, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask: Is it really about the story, or are we just happy that they are “clicking” on screen?

Ultimately, whether or not the couple will end up as husband and wife remains to be seen. But for now, they live in a dream world…