We are living in puritanical times. If you’ve followed the ongoing debate over sex scenes that’s carried out on social media over the last few years – and if you haven’t, well, congratulations – then you’ll know the one thing that unites progressive-minded zoomers and pearl-clutching conservatives is an aversion to cinematic boning. The argument goes that sex scenes rarely add anything to the plot of a movie, nor develop characters, and exist simply to gratify the perv in the director’s chair and make the prudes in the audience squirm in their chairs. It’s a flawed viewpoint, but in fairness, given Hollywood’s general shift away from showing sexuality on screen, it’s entirely possible that younger folks have simply never seen a good sex scene.
Well, allow us to offer a counterpoint – 101 of them, to be exact. On this list of cinema’s greatest sex scenes, you’ll find multiple examples where a roll in the hay is meant to convey more than just mere titillation – it’s part of the story itself. In some cases, sex is a punchline. In others, it’s downright horrifying. Sometimes it’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. And sometimes, yes, it exists to be arousing. But there’s value in that, too.
So turn off the lights, light a candle, and let’s get it on.
Written by Dave Calhoun, Joshua Rothkopf, Cath Clarke, David Ehrlich, Phil de Semlyen, Daniel Walber, Trevor Johnston, Andy Kryza, Daniel Walber and Matthew Singer
🕯️ The 35 steamiest erotic thrillers ever made
🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time
❤ The 100 best romantic films of all-time
😬 The 50 most controversial movies ever made
💪 The 100 best feminist films of all-time