Do you remember the first time you were sexually excited by an image on a screen? (We do!) (Here too!) It might’ve been a music video to a teen-pop bop, or a particularly mushy episode of Buffy. Most likely, it was a movie of the PG-13 persuasion, which you snuck a viewing of far from the eyes of your parents when you were nowhere near the age of 13. Looking back, those scenes were cute. Harmless. Nowhere near the sex scenes you’ve seen in movies since you branched out into the R-rated category and beyond.
Sex scenes are nearly as old as movies themselves. In fact, one of the first films to be screened for the public debuted in 1896 and was called The Kiss. It was quite steamy for its time, featuring a full-on brushing of the lips, which, let us tell you, really riled up the modest-minded folks of the late 19th century. But these days, a movie sex scene has to accomplish a lot more to be memorable—especially when we’ve been so impressed by the earth-shattering sex scenes appearing in television shows of late (see: Normal People and Sex/Life). It has to be downright crazy.
“Crazy” can be broadly interpreted in the realm of onscreen sex. There’s the hot stuff that begs for repeated watchings. There are downright hilarious sexual interactions that involve comedic timing, musical numbers, awkward improv, and/or puppets. There are scenes from horror movies that make us recoil in disgust, and boundary-pushing vignettes that inspire a trove of thought pieces. There’s most of what Micky Rourke touched in the ’80s. Here’s a selection of 65 such movie sex scenes, from the classics to recent releases, each one seemingly steamier than the next.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
The Last Temptation of Christ
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Actors: Willem Dafoe and Barbara Hershey
Fun fact: Audiences lost their minds when Jesus had sex with Mary Magdalene and fathered a child, but the film ultimately got away with it because it was technically during a hallucination that occurs as Jesus is nailed to the cross.
Do the Right Thing
Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Actors: Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome
Fun fact: It was the first time either actor had ever filmed a sex scene, and the film almost lost Best Picture at the Oscars to La La Land simply because presenter Faye Dunaway was given Emma Stone’s Best Actress card to read by mistake.
God’s Own Country
Directed by: Julia Ducournau
Actors: Agathe Rousselle and a Cadillac
Fun fact: In all 11 drafts Ducournau wrote for Titane, the sex scene between Rousselle and a classic muscle car remained the same in each version of the script.
Directed by: Ramin Bahrani
Actors: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, and Adarsh Gourav
Fun fact: Chopra Jonas is so famous in India that to facilitate the film’s shooting, most of her scenes (much like this voyeuristic one) take place inside a car instead of out in public settings.
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Actors: Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling
Fun fact: This film was originally slapped with an NC-17 rating because of its realistic oral sex scene, giving some interesting insight into how female pleasure on screen is critiqued. Gosling’s response: “You shouldn’t be penalized for doing a good job.”
Directed by: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Actor: Jess Weixler
Fun fact: This film, about a woman whose vagina bares teeth to horrifying mid-sex results, has a shocking 80 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Directed by: Joe Wright
Actors: Keira Knightley and James McAvoy
Fun fact: Though the library sex scene is now considered iconic, it is somewhat overshadowed by the downright legendary green dress Knightley wears in it.
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Actors: Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa
Fun fact: The basic premise of this film as that two women attempt to have sex once an hour for 24 straight hours.
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Actors: Kim Tae-ri and Kim Min-hee
Fun fact: To shoot the lesbian sex scene in a way that made his leads feel comfortable, Park gave the male crew members the day off, hired a female boom operator, and filmed the encounter with a remote controlled camera.
Call Me By Your Name
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Actors: Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer
Fun fact: In the first and only rehearsal for this film, Guadagnino had his actors immediately act out the scene where they make out furiously. (This is also the film that launched a thousand peach memes.)
Directed by: Marc Forster
Actors: Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton
Fun fact: Halle Berry became the first Black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for this movie. Twenty years later, she remains the only Black woman to have won it.
In the Realm of Senses
Directed by: Nagisa Ōshima
Actors: Eiko Matsuda and Tatsuya Fuji
Fun fact: This erotic film featured unsimulated (a.k.a. very real) sex scenes between its actors, and thus kicked up a lot of controversy in 1976.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Directed by: Nicholas Stroller
Actors: Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Russell Brand
Fun fact: To promote the film, billboards were placed around big cities attacking the fictional Sarah Marshall. That bothered some real-life Sarah Marshalls.
Directed by: Peter Berg
Actors: Will Smith and Hayley Marie Norman
Fun fact: Hancock, an alcoholic superhero stuck in the modern day with severe amnesia and sexual frustrations, is supposedly the Greek god Zeus, and his love interest/sister, played by Charlize Theron, is supposedly the Greek goddess Hera.
Directed by: Ari Aster
Actors: Jack Reynor, Isabelle Grill, and a lot of extras
Fun fact: It took two grueling weeks to film this nudity-filled, crazy-yet-terrifying ritualistic sex scene.
Directed by: Justin Kelly
Actors: Garrett Clayton, Christian Slater, Keegan Allen, and James Franco
Fun fact: This film was based on a real-life murder plot within the gay porn industry.
Directed by: Alan Parker
Actors: Lisa Bonet and Mickey Rourke
Fun fact: A combination of rough sex, spurting blood, and Rourke’s buttocks got this horror movie an X rating, before the scene was trimmed to appeal to the MPAA.
Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy
Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson; James Foley
Actors: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan
Fun fact: This soft-core take on BDSM pulled in over $1 billion at the box office across all three movies. The books they was based on were actually fan-fic for the Twilight tween series.
Directed by: Bryan Buckley
Actors: Melissa Rauch and Sebastian Stan
Fun fact: Rauch used a body double for this movie’s acrobatic sex scene, but Stan did not. That’s flexibility.
Directed by: James Cameron
Actors: Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana
Fun fact: Cameron is planning to make four Avatar sequels. No word yet if any will feature CGI tail sex, though.
Sorry to Bother You
Directed by: Boots Riley
Actors: Lakeith Stanfield and Armie Hammer
Fun fact: It wouldn’t be a movie about soulless corporate ladder-climbing without coke-fueled orgies. Stanfield said he wanted to go nude, but his character’s nudity was eventually cut from the script.
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
Directed by: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam
Actor: John Cleese
Fun fact: The Monty Python troupe wrote a rousing musical number called “Every Sperm Is Sacred,” along with this live sex ed demonstration.
Directed by: Doug McHenry
Actors: Jada Pinkett Smith and Allen Payne
Fun fact: The sex scenes in this movie had to be cut down to avoid an NC-17 rating.
Directed by: Roger Vadim
Actors: Jane Fonda
Fun fact: The evil scientist Durand-Durand who puts Barbarella through the Excessive Machine was the inspiration behind the band Duran Duran’s name.
Directed by: Victor Levin
Actors: Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves
Fun fact: The non-stop, high-velocity banter between Ryder and Reeves throughout Destination Wedding does not let up during this awkward sex scene.
The Piano Teacher
Directed by: Michael Haneke
Actors: Isabelle Huppert and Benoît Magimel
Fun fact: The Piano Teacher explores themes of sadomasochism and sexuality in a way that makes Fifty Shades look like Saturday morning cartoons.
Under the Skin
Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Actors: Scarlett Johansson
Fun fact: Glazer hired people off the street, not actors, to portray the men who succumb to Johansson’s alien allure and ultimately die in bizarre, mesmerizing ways.
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Actors: Julianne Moore and Mark Wahlberg
Fun fact: Originally, Mark Wahlberg’s prosthetic penis was 12 inches long, but because that looked ridiculous, it was shortened to seven inches.
Basic Instinct 2
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Actors: Sharon Stone
Fun Fact: Two scenes, one of them a threesome, had to be cut from this film for it to avoid an NC-17 rating. The orgy scene and this masturbation scene remained, making the sequel that much crazier than the already-crazy first Basic Instinct.
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Fun Fact: JGL knew he wouldn’t get a big Hollywood studio to make his porn addiction movie, so he did it on his own.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Directed by: Tommy Wiseau
Actors: Tommy Wiseau and Juliette Danielle
Fun Fact: Wiseau claimed, “I have to show my ass or this movie won’t sell.” Show his ass he did.
Actors: Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader
Fun fact: This was one of few mainstream films to portray BDSM as sex positive, long before 50 Shades of Grey entered the scene.
Actors: Garance Marillier and Rabah Nait Oufella
Fun fact: People allegedly fainted while watching this gory, French cannibalism movie. Consider yourself warned.
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Actors: Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman
Fun Fact: This psychological thriller is one of just six horror films to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Actors: Cameron Diaz and a 2013 Ferrari California HS
Fun fact: Angelia Jolie turned down the role of Malkina. Wonder why?
9 1/2 Weeks
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Actors: Michael Fassbender and Amy Hargreaves
Fun fact: The Standard Hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District is notorious for couples having sex against the floor-to-ceiling windows, as one scene in this movie demonstrates.
Don’t Look Now
Directed by: Nicholas Roeg
Actors: Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie
Fun fact: The scene still seems so natural and real that rumors abound that Sutherland and Christie weren’t really acting.
Directed by: Gaspar Noé
Actors: Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, and Klara Kristin
Fun fact: The unsimulated sex scenes were arguably more exciting during the film’s 3D theatrical release.
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Actors: Nicole Kidman and John Cusack
Fun fact: This is the movie in which Nicole Kidman peed on Zac Efron. And yet that’s not the most shocking scene of the film.
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Actors: Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos
Fun fact: One of the multiple sex scenes in this film took ten days to shoot, and sparked intense conversations about a director’s responsibility to actors’ well-being on set.
Wet Hot American Summer
Directed by: David Fincher
Actors: Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris
Fun fact: Pike practiced this murderous sex scene using a Dora the Explorer doll. She also requested that she and Harris spend two hours alone on set preparing.
Directed by: John McNaughton
Actors: Denise Richards, Matt Dillon, and Neve Campbell
Fun fact: The crew found a dead body before filming a river scene. The police simply anchored the corpse to the shore out of site until filming was completed.
Y Tu Mamá También
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Actors: Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Ana López Mercado
Fun fact: Luna is not circumcised. That penis you see is pure prosthetic.
Team America: World Police
Directed by: Trey Parker
Actors: Two puppets voiced by Trey Parker and Kristen Miller
Fun fact: After showing an initial version of the film to the Motion Picture Association of America, the board gave it an NC-17 rating for the sex scene. After at least nine edits, the film finally got bumped down to an R rating.
The Green Knight
Directed by: David Lowery
Actors: Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander
Fun fact: Dev Patel’s character finishes all over a a magical girdle given to him by his mother that was supposed to keep him invulnerable.
Shoot ‘Em Up
Directed by: Paul Brickman
Actors: Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay
Fun fact: This movie, in which Cruise wears Ray-Ban Wayfarers, boosted sales of the model by 50 percent.
Directed by: Michael Mohan
Actors: Sydney Sweeney, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, and Natasha Liu Bordizzo
Fun fact: An actor is either shown nude or having sex every five minutes of The Voyeurs until it’s thrilling ending.
Directed by: Mary Harron
Actors: Cara Seymour, Guinevere Turner, and Christian Bale
Fun fact: Bale based his Patrick Bateman off Tom Cruise, as he called it “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes.”
Directed by: Jorma Taccone
Actors: Will Forte and Maya Rudolph
Fun fact: Rudolph was eight months pregnant while shooting her scenes.
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Actors: Andra Day and Trevante Rhodes
Fun fact: Lee Daniels was hesitant to cast Andra Day, but he became convinced after she sent him a clip taken on her iPhone.
Eyes Wide Shut
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Actors: Tom Cruise and a lot of naked people in scary masks
Fun fact: Many of the orgy guests were computer-generated figures that obscured the sex acts, allowing the film to get an R rating.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below