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  1. Basic Instinct

    The lovers: Machiavellian thriller writer Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) and glowering cop-on-the-edge Nick Curran (Michael Douglas).

    The foreplay: Having brought murder suspect Sharon to the brink of white-hot desire by frugging dad-style in a cardigan, Mike heads back to her place for some risky nookie.

    The horror: For those of us who grew up in the era of the ’90s 'erotic thriller' (a movement for which this movie was largely responsible), the sight of Michael Douglas’s wrinkly bonce bobbing up and down between Sharon Stone’s thighs was enough to put us off the whole idea of sex for life.

    Dirty talk: ‘Have you ever fucked on cocaine, Nick? It’s nice.’

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  2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno

    The lovers: Best pals Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) who decide to… well, read the title.

    The foreplay: It’s a big-time production, as these friends-with-imminent-benefits hire a cameraman and a warehouse space before getting down to business.

    The horror: The thought of paunchy Rogen and pinchy Banks doing the ol’ hunka-chunka is like imagining sex between a potato and a chip. Add to this an unfunny, naggingly awkward screenplay and the result is Cringe City, USA.

    Dirty talk: ‘I’m gonna fuck you with my penis!’

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  3. Watchmen

    The lovers: Semi-retired superheroes Dan Dreiberg aka Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman).

    The foreplay: Alan Moore’s original comic smartly explores the links between sex and violence as our heroes brutally pound a gang of street thugs before repairing to the Owl Ship for some rubberised hanky-panky.

    The horror: Zack Snyder’s movie doesn’t strike quite the same intellectual balance: Akerman’s costume is unironically skimpy; Wilson’s torso is unexpectedly rippling; and it’s all scored to the overfamiliar drone of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.

    Dirty talk: ‘I used to be a masked avenger too. I’m used to getting up at three in the morning and doing something stupid.’

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  4. Eyes Wide Shut

    The lovers: An entire mansion-full of athletically toned aristocrats and one very puzzled-looking Tom Cruise.

    The foreplay: Fleeing the emotional wreck of his marriage to Nicole Kidman, the Cruiser sets out into the mean streets of Manhattan in search of thrills. He finds them at a remote country party out on Long Island.

    The horror: Stanley Kubrick’s swansong is an austere, aloof film, and its shagathon set-piece feels more like spying on the robots at a sausage-stuffing factory than watching an actual human orgy. Plus Tom Cruise is there, which is bound to put anyone off.

    Dirty talk: ‘Remove your clothes... Or would you like us to do it for you?’

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  5. Her

    The lovers: Hipster sad-sack Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and his sultry, hyper-intelligent operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson).

    The foreplay: Fed up of moping around the future in a variety of high-waisted slacks, lonely Theodore invests in a new, self-improving OS and finds himself falling in love with the come-hither voice emanating from his Mac speakers.

    The horror: Well, it’s basically a guy masturbating over his computer, which isn’t exactly a turn-on. Director Spike Jonze’s (ahem) hands-off style makes the whole thing feel weirdly clinical and voyeuristic.

    Dirty talk: ‘I feel like I can be anything with you.’

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  6. Avatar

    The lovers: Nine-foot blue-skinned Na’vi princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and her alien-suited earthling paramour Jake (Sam Worthington).

    The foreplay: Jacking directly into his alien ‘avatar’, ex-marine Jake has gone rogue on the planet Pandora and shacked up with a tribe of noble natives. One sultry night, Neytiri leads him to the Tree of Souls to have her wicked way with him…

    The horror: It’s the ultimate dreadlock holiday as Saldana and Worthington link plaits and engage in a kind of psychedelic non-contact hippie ‘soul-sharing’. Chakras are almost certainly involved.

    Dirty talk: ‘I see you.’

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  7. In the Cut

    The lovers: Sexually inquisitive schoolteacher Frannie (Meg Ryan) and gruff, rapey-eyed cop Malloy (Mark Ruffalo).

    The foreplay: Having witnessed a dirty back-room blow job, heard about a brutal sex murder and been attacked on her way home, Meg is naturally in the mood to lure Mark into her perky clutches. She’s shameless in Seattle! She’s got male! Etc.

    The horror: Fed up of her cutesy, America’s sweetheart image, Meg Ryan was attempting to muddy the waters by the most direct means available: rough sex with Mark Ruffalo. The result is an object lesson in the value of sticking to what you do best.

    Dirty talk: ‘You know what your problem is? You’re fucking exhausting.’

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  8. Blade Runner

    The lovers: Definitely-a-robot Rachel (Sean Young) and very-possibly-a-robot Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

    The foreplay: It’s that old story: guy interrogates robot. Guy accuses robot of being a lesbian. Robot turns up at guy’s apartment in the middle of the night for some reason. Guy forces himself on robot. Robot loves it…

    The horror: It’s an exercise in mechanical discomfort, which is appropriate for the film as a whole but does render the scene itself somewhat unbearable. Hey, Han Solo, we know you’re a scoundrel but do you really need to be that rough?

    Dirty talk: ‘Say kiss me. Say it.’

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  9. The Return of Swamp Thing

    The lovers: Improbably named leggy lovely Abby Arcane (Heather Locklear) and her half-man, half-plant handsome prince Swamp Thing (Dick Durock).

    The foreplay: Fleeing her psychotic scientist stepfather and his army of amphibious mutants, Abby shacks up with the heroic Thing for a night of humid, slime-drenched arboreal amour.

    The horror: It’s not so much horror as total befuddlement: unable to satisfy Heather with his leafy appendages, the Thing feeds her a bit of himself, sending her on a hallucinatory erotic vision quest. To no one’s surprise, Locklear would nab a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress.

    Dirty talk: ‘Was it real?’

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  10. Colour of Night

    The lovers: Colour-blind psychiatrist Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) and his troubled teenage patient Rose (Jane March).

    The foreplay: What, you thought therapists weren’t supposed to do the wild thing with their patients? Especially when they’re 20 years younger and clearly disturbed? Those rules are for ordinary schmucks, not Bruce Goddamn Willis. Now shut up and get on the couch.

    The horror: Bruce, ass-up in a hot tub. Need we say more? Didn’t think so.

    Dirty talk: ‘I’m more screwed up than you people are.’

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  11. The Room

    The lovers: Affable, sensitive, bizarrely accented Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) and his improbably hateful fiancée Lisa (Juliette Danielle).

    The foreplay: Foreplay would suggest a level of subtlety that writer-director-producer-‘actor’ Wiseau’s notoriously inept opus lacks.

    The horror: The camera clings at terrifying length to Wiseau’s worryingly, er, vascular chest and arse as he paws poor Lisa like a sad, horny circus bear.

    Dirty talk: ‘I keep thinking about your strong hands around my body. It excites me so much.’

  12. Nymphomaniac

    The lovers: We’re not sure ‘lovers’ is the right term. Teen proto-sex addict Joe (Stacy Martin) prowls a suburban train looking for strangers to have sex with in Lars von Trier’s epic, two-part film. Joe finds her holy grail when she, er, comes across a lone middle-aged male commuter returning home to his wife.

    The foreplay: This mainly involves said-commuter weakly trying to resist while pleading that he has a wife who’s currently ovulating. Meanwhile, Joe makes light work of his zip.

    The horror: Well, most right-thinking people would find the sight of a dolled-up schoolgirl tucking into an older stranger’s genitals pretty horrific.

    Dirty talk: Joe can’t say much with her mouth full. He says little more than ‘Please don’t.’ Not very convincingly.

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  13. Lisztomania

    The lovers: Classical composer Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey), a bunch of courtly hussies and one ten-foot penis.

    The foreplay: In the film’s most notorious scene, Franz has a dream in which he seduces a crowd of girls with his music, causing him to grow a giant, maypole-sized erection which they all dance around before attempting to chop it off in a guillotine. God bless the ’70s.

    The horror: He may personify the adjective ‘priapic’, but no one really needs to see The Who frontman swinging anything other than a microphone.

    Dirty talk: ‘Piss off, Brahms!’

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  14. Kingpin

    The lovers: One-handed ex-bowler Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) and his grimy, grotesque pay-me-in-kind landlady (Lin Shaye).

    The foreplay: Down on his luck and with no place else to go, Woody is forced to work hard for his room and board. But a day on a chain gang would be a picnic next to this…

    The horror: Mercifully, we don’t get to see the act itself, just the aftermath. But just a momentary flicker of Shaye’s tongue is more disturbing than a hundred body-horror movies.

    Dirty talk: What is it about good sex that makes me have to crap? I guess it’s all that pumpin’. Pump and dump. You really jarred something loose, tiger.’

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  15. Pink Flamingos

    The lovers: Backwoods delinquent Crackers (Danny Mills), black-market baby smuggler Cookie (Cookie Mueller) and several doomed chickens.

    The foreplay: ‘Crushing’ is a documented fetish whereby one partner gains sexual gratification from watching the other flatten foodstuffs, packaging or even small animals and insects. Trust trash-master John Waters to take it to the next level.

    The horror: It’s an unsimulated sex scene between two filthy redneck non-actors, during which a number of live chickens are squeezed between the participants’ bodies. If you need us to tell you why that’s nasty, it may be best to seek professional help.

    Dirty talk: Chickens, all these chickens, these fuckin’ chickens hurt! These fuckin’ things HURT!’

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  16. Last Tango in Paris

    The lovers: Grief-stricken American ex-pat Paul (Marlon Brando) and disaffected young Parisian Jeanne (Maria Schneider).

    The foreplay: There really isn’t any. He just flips her over and whips out the butter…

    The horror: On its release in 1972, Bernardo Bertolucci’s confrontational ‘erotic drama’ was seen as terribly modern and exciting. Now, it just looks like a mess: Brando’s a lump, Schneider has barely anything to do but spread her legs and the whole affair feels cheap, grimy and crude. Still, if that’s your thing…

    Dirty talk: ‘In 15 years you're going to be playing soccer with your tits. What do you think of that?’

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  17. Showgirls

    The lovers: Budding Las Vegas erotic artiste Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) and bum-chinned, chisel-bummed entertainments entrepreneur Zack (Kyle MacLachlan).

    The foreplay: Desperate to fight her way to the top rank of Vegas dancers, Nomi arranges to meet the powerful Zack at his plush pad even though he’s supposed to be dating her arch-rival.

    The horror: Starting off as a fairly straightforward swimming pool seduction scene, things go hilariously off-message when Berkley, in the throes of watery passion, starts thrashing about like a demented sea lion.

    Dirty talk: ‘You’re a fantastic fuck.’

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  18. Sabotage

    The lovers: Rugged, only mildly corrupt drugs-law enforcer and bruiser John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and sassy, no-bullshit local cop Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams).

    The foreplay: While investigating him for fraud and possibly homicide, Olivia becomes inexorably drawn to Big Arn’s brawny charms. But she’s not about to do anything about it, she’s a professional. Oh, please God, say she’s not going to do anything about it.

    The horror: Remember Olivia Williams in ‘Rushmore’? Remember how lovable she was, how sweet and demure and sparky? Now imagine her being crushed to death by a 900-pound meatball dipped in fake tan and varnish.

    Dirty talk: ‘I’ve known some cops in my time, but your people don’t seem like cops.’

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  19. The Brown Bunny

    The lovers: Troubled wanderer Bud Clay (played by the film’s writer-director Vincent Gallo) and his former girlfriend Daisy (Chloë Sevigny), another troubled soul.

    The foreplay: Most of the film features Bud travelling around, mourning his past relationship with Daisy and having meaningless encounters with other women. Once Bud and Daisy meet again, very soon it’s straight down to business in the region of grungy Bud’s groin area.

    The horror: That’s surely the combination of Vincent Gallo’s mumbling, grunting, near-orgasmic chat, his sweaty face, his dirty hair and the sight of the whopping great prosthetic penis he whips out of his pants for the benefit of Sevigny. Please God, tell us it’s a prosthetic… French director Claire Denis seemed to confirm the penis wasn’t real when she suggested it was a prop stolen from the set of her film ‘Trouble Every Day’, in which Gallo also starred.

    Dirty talk: ‘Do you want to suck it, yeah?’

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  20. Howard the Duck

    The lovers: Feisty teen-punk tearaway Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson) and life-loving wiseass Howard (Chip Zien). Oh, he’s also a duck from space.

    The foreplay: After rescuing Beverly from muggers using his patented ‘quack-fu’ technique, stranded alien Howard inveigles his way into her life and, ultimately, into her bed.

    The horror: Ever heard the expression ‘fuck a duck’? Well, so has Beverly Switzler. Is the scene supposed to be funny, cute, outrageous, charming, or all of the above? Either way, the actual outcome is pure disgust, as Thompson romps about in figure-hugging underwear and Howard comes over all creepy uncle (if your uncle was three-foot tall with feathers and a huge plastic bill). The scene pretty much single-handedly ended Lea Thompson’s promising career, which seems slightly unfair. Still, she did read the script.

    Dirty talk: ‘Sex appeal. Some guys got it, and some guys don’t.’

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The 20 movie sex scenes we never, ever wanted to see

Put it away! We count down the 20 most excruciating movie sex scenes

Written by
Tom Huddleston

This week, ropey new comedy ‘Sex Tape’ casts Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple trying to track down the candid flick they shot together. Now, maybe you find the idea of Hollywood plastics Segel and Diaz engaged in a bit of suburban nookie a real turn-on, but we’d imagine you’re in a minority. But it got us thinking – how many times have we been subjected to explicit scenes that we never asked for? And what are the most egregious examples? Here, for your skin-crawling entertainment, are the 20 movie sex scenes we really could have lived without.


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