Natalie Portman's no big fan of steamy movie love scenes, but the actress says she had her reasons for getting hot and heavy in the new movie Where the Heart Is.

"There is a love scene in this film but it wasn't explicit or exploitative at all and I thought it was very necessary for the character," the 18-year-old beauty tells TV Guide Online. "It really shows a shift from a relationship where she's been degraded and not treated as a human being to a very mutual, loving relationship."

Portman, whose career shot into the stratosphere with Star Wars: Episode I ? The Phantom Menace, says she has tried her best to steer clear of overtly sexual scenes in order to protect her private side. "When you do things on-screen, lots of people see them and most people are fine and normal. But there is a small percentage of people who are not fine and normal, and will see that and get strange, strange thoughts... stranger than they might have normally had."

The actress says today's filmmakers could actually learn a thing or two about love scenes by studying the movies of yesteryear. "I kind of appreciate that in older films you [didn't] have to show everything. It feels better, I think, if people like your movie and you don't cover it with sex and violence. You know, people are really liking it and they're not just getting the adrenaline rush from those images that would cause them to be excited even if they saw it in a magazine or a book or something."