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  1. 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
    Photograph: Courtesy 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
  2. 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
    Photograph: Courtesy 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
  3. Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan | 愛奴 (1972)
    Photograph: Courtesy Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan | 愛奴 (1972)

Hong Kong’s top 12 sexiest movies

Feeling frisky? We count down the raunchiest X-rated Hong Kong films

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong

While you might associate the best Hong Kong films with acclaimed directors such as Wong Kar-wai and John Woo, Hong Kong filmmakers have never shied away from producing raunchier flicks (though they have nothing on what really happens in Hong Kong’s BDSM scene).

First appearing in the 1960s, Hong Kong’s X-rated films peaked in popularity during the 1990s (following the establishment of the notorious Category III rating). While the 2000s saw Hongkongers gain an unparalleled level of access to adult material online (see: How Hongkongers use Pornhub), notable erotic films have kept coming, including ‘the world’s first 3D erotic movie’, 3D Sex and Zen, and more. With so many to choose from, here’s our pick for Hong Kong’s top 12 sexiest movies.

RECOMMENDED: Want more steamy flicks? Check out this list of Asian erotic films, or if it’s romance you’re after, check out Hong Kong’s best romcoms or these romantic films on Netflix.

Hong Kong’s top 12 sexy movies

1. Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan | 愛奴 (1972)

Controversial on its release in 1972 due to its lesbian and exploitation themes, director Chor Yuen’s rape-revenge epic – mixing wuxia swordplay with moments of period erotica – still arrests the senses with the sheer intensity of its tale, which sees a defiant beauty (Lily Ho) exacting vicious retribution on her tormentors years after being abducted into a high-class brothel. The erotic moments might seem a little tame by later standards but they were particularly daring back in the day.

2. The Golden Lotus | 金瓶雙艷 (1974)

Written and directed by acclaimed director Li Han-hsiang, produced by Sir Run Run Shaw and the film debut for one Jackie Chan, The Golden Lotus surely has one of the strongest lineups of all-time for any sex film. This seductive tale focuses on the licentious sex life of a merchant and references The Plum in the Golden Vase, a classic piece of erotic literature from the Ming Dynasty. This is a truly timeless piece of antique cinema that’s as much about action and storyline as it is naughty bits.


3. Erotic Ghost Story | 聊齋艷譚 (1990)

A Hong Kong take on Hollywood’s The Witches of Eastwick spliced together with a classic Chinese fairy tale may sound a bizarre concept, but this film was a breakthrough for leading actress Amy Yip, who would go on to star in a number of local classics like Sex and ZenTo Be Number One and She Shoots Straight. Yip’s assets certainly carry the light-hearted erotic fantasy but the film isn’t all smut. It could be said to have quite a feminist sensibility, acknowledging women’s intelligence and agency as well as their sexuality.

4. Sex and Zen (1991)

Loosely based on the (in)famous 17th-century erotic novel The Carnal Prayer Mat, this sex comedy follows Mei Yeung-sheng (played by Lawrence Ng), a randy scholar who spurns the teachings of a monk trying to keep him on the straight and narrow, in favour of marrying the most beautiful virgin in town (played by Amy Yip). What happens next is nothing less than a lust-filled rampage, with Mei seducing a score of married women, driving his wife to have her own affair that leads to a nasty end. Keep your eyes peeled for when Mei finds a doctor to graft a horse penis onto his own appendage.

5. Pretty Woman | 卿本佳人 (1991)

Completely unlike the romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, Hong Kong’s Pretty Woman is dark. Directed by Yeung Chi-gin, the storyline is pretty grim (rape, murder and general violence – is it a surprise Yeung would later direct a movie based on the Hello Kitty murder?), but Veronica Yip’s performance as the female lead captivated many. The movie boosted her popularity, and her rise to fame paved ways for other mainstream actresses to dabble with the soft-porn market, most notably award-winning actress Shu Qi.

6. Cash on Delivery | 與鴨共舞 (1992)

Veronica Yip (her again) plays a married woman who hires a gigolo (played by Simon Yam) to get her pregnant, so her impotent husband can receive his family’s money. The plot transgresses into jealously, lust and murder in this fairly soft-core film, but the sex scenes are perfectly executed and the duo beautifully captured. Yam has starred in other gigolo roles – Gigolo and Whore, Friday GigoloHong Kong Gigolo, take your pick – but this is probably his best.


7. Naked Killer | 赤裸羔羊 (1992)

Chingmy Yau stars as the deadly assassin in this delirious cult classic. While being investigated by an infatuated cop (Simon Yam, again), she falls in love with a fellow female killer, who targets rapists and psychos. The film’s combination of kick-ass action and lesbian entanglement attracted a significant following and resulted in Yau being nominated for Best Actress at the 1993 Hong Kong Film Awards.

8. Crazy Love | 蜜桃成熟時 (1993)

Directed by Roman Cheung, this film is less about any sort of plot and more a chance to see Loletta Lee’s energetic and erotic performance in various states of undress. The story centres on a girl in search of different sexual partners as she looks to get revenge on her cheating boyfriend. In contrast to the coarse production, it’s Lee’s angelic face, heartwarming smile and frequent shower scenes that explain why people are mad about Crazy Love.


9. Ancient Chinese Whorehouse | 青樓十二房 (1994)

This somewhat dubious classic focuses on the relationships that blossom at a local brothel. Yvonne Yung, Hong Kong’s Miss World 1989 entry, plays the whorehouse Madame in this erotic masterpiece. Although there are questionable scenes of torture (involving eels), amid all the sex and awe, there are touching moments, while the smut and generally lighthearted side of Ancient Chinese Whorehouse was characteristic of many Category III films of this ilk.

10. Viva Erotica | 色情男女 (1996)

This sex-comedy, directed by Derek Yee and starring Leslie Cheung and Karen Mok, is a satirical portrayal of the struggles of Category III filmmakers, and the plight of the Hong Kong movie industry in general. Taiwanese sex symbol Shu Qi rose to fame on the back of this film, winning Best Supporting Actress and Best New Performer at the 16th Hong Kong Film Awards, while the movie itself received a Best Picture nomination.

11. Whispers and Moans (2007)

Based on a book of the same name, which investigates the sex trade in Hong Kong, Yan Ng stars as Elsie, a social worker who is interested in the rights of sex workers. Among the people that she meets are Coco (Athena Chu), a mama-san in charge of a brothel; sisters Nana (Mandy Chiang) and Aida (Monie Tung), who are underaged and working in an underground venue; a trans woman Jo (Don Li), who needs money for gender-affirming surgery; and Jo’s boyfriend Tony (Patrick Tang), who is a male prostitute. Sex for hire, drug abuse, and triad violence run amok in this movie, which is why it has earned a Category III rating.

12. 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy | 3D 肉蒲團之極樂寶鑑 (2011)

Claiming to be the world’s first 3D erotic film (actually, that honour belongs to The Stewardesses in 1969), the film is the most recent sequel to 1991’s Sex and Zen, adapted from The Carnal Prayer Mat, a Chinese erotic novel about a Ming Dynasty scholar’s lust and sexual exploits. Although the film was banned in mainland China, it raked in more than $40m at the local box office – the highest total ever for its genre.

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