Sam Heughan is opening up about a behind-the-scenes dispute over onscreen nudity.
The Outlander star, 42, recounts an incident from the end of season 1 filming in his new memoir Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, explaining that he was made to do an "unnecessary" full frontal scene after his character Jamie Fraser was raped by Tobias Menzies' Frank Randall.
"This wasn't a moment where I felt that being naked would add to the horror of what Jamie undergoes in that castle dungeon as a form of punishment, subjugation and humiliation," Heughan writes.
He notes that although he was contractually required to do nudity and the Starz drama has "never turned away from sexual violence," those elements didn't complement each other in this particular scene.
"Times have changed. The c--k shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit," he explains. "We don't need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful."
"I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualized a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate. Creative conversations are a feature of all productions, good art is made by questioning the truth and we all want to get it right," Heughan adds.
Heughan and the creative team ultimately agreed to show his character nude only in the aftermath of the assault, leaving the explicit shots "on the cutting room floor."
Reps for Outlander and Heughan did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The actor, who starred in the series since it premiered in 2014, says that the situation "would have been handled differently" today.
Based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a WWII-era British Army nurse who finds herself transported to 1743. Out of survival, she chooses to marry Scots warrior Jamie. Production began on season 7 in April.
Heughan previously admitted he felt "just thrown in the deep end" on the show as he appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast in March, noting that after he and costar Balfe became producers on the show in 2019, he brought an intimacy coordinator onto the production.
"It's important that everyone is protected, but also we find a way to explore these scenes and actually maybe get something more out of them," Heughan said.
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Sam Heughan's Waypoints: My Scottish Journey is now available everywhere books are sold.