a couple feet in bed love, sex and partners

2015 was an interesting year for sex at the movies. There was heterosexual BDSM in mega-blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey followed by lesbian BDSM in the indie arthouse Euro-erotica homage The Duke of Burgundy. Superstars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara got down in Carol, and the star of the Cannes-nominated French flick Love was willing to get down with everybody (and with a 3D cum-shot as the, er, climax). Crimson Peak gave us a look at Tom Hiddleston’s butt, but the rest proved as erotic as noodle soup and made that Gothic romance wither on the vine. There were prosthetic dongs in The Overnight, but there were more giggles than boners from that. Naturally, some of the most romantic movies of year – Far from the Madding Crowd, Brooklyn, I’ll See You in My Dreams – didn’t feature any sex scenes at all, while there’s a certain irony in the year’s most realistic sex scene come from a movie with stop-motion animation puppets (Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa).

2016 gets off (ahem) with a bang (AHEM) thanks to The Bronze, which premiered at Sundance and is out early in the new year. It’s already famous for its opening gymnastic sex scene (they cast a Cirque du Soleil member as a body double!). So it got us thinking: What with it being winter and needing a warm up, why not look at the ten most famous, sexiest, raunchiest and most eye-popping sex scenes of all time? Might as well. (Admit it: you have nothing better to do.)

Body Heat

Did any actor in the history of cinema get thrust upon audiences as fully-formed as Kathleen Turner did in Body Heat? You’d never know that this 1981 erotic thriller was Turner’s first movie, considering how strong she comes on as a femme fatale in the truest sense of the words. Naturally, Body Heat is set during a heat wave, so clothing was already going to be optional, but pair two actors as sexy as Turner and William Hurt were at the time and a sex scene was going to be mandatory. Still, nothing can quite prepare for just how sexy their sex scene is, if mostly for the fact that everything she is doing is part of a wicked and murderous plan. He thinks he’s seducing her, but she is the one in charge. She knows how to get under a man’s skin.

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Blue is the Warmest Colour

When this three-hour French drama premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the film world exploded (ahem, not like that) with buzz over the prolonged sex sequences. Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux – she’d later go on to be a Bond girl in Spectre – were at the center of the scenes, and had to film up to ten days on a single scene. Seydoux labelled the experience “embarrassing.” and Exarchopoulos spoke of the director’s abusive tactics to elicit eroticism. The author of the original text that the film was based on decried the film as “a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and [made] me feel very ill at ease.” You should watch it just foe that reason.

Fish Tank

The way most people learn about sex is inherently voyeuristic. Whether we watch pornography or regular movies, people we know (accidentally or not) or the person we’re doing it with, we like to watch and see how others do it. That is the idea behind this scene in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, a film that had already sexualized its not-yet-famous lead Michael Fassbender by putting him in a particularly low-rising pair of jeans. In it, the inexperienced daughter of a sexually-active woman whose new boyfriend she has a crush on, watches as her first object of lust pounds her own parent. Skeevy, for sure, but when Fassbender glances over at her and continues going… phwoar. Every man wants to be Michael Fassbender (you’ve seen Shame, yes?), and every woman wants to have sex with him (you’ve seen Shame, yes?), and no better was his raw appeal to both sexes better shown off than in this otherwise hard-hitting British drama.

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Don’t Look Now

It is generally accepted that when filming sex scenes, actors have their bits covered up and they are merely doing what they do best – acting. The sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in this 1973 British thriller was so realistic, however, that the urban legend suggests it’s all 100% real. So real, in fact, that Warren Beatty – who was dating Christie at the time – reportedly flew to the set and demanded it be taken out of the movie. We may never know the real truth — although director Nicolas Roeg says it was simulated. It’s fitting that such a rumour exists where people don’t quite know what they’re seeing given the film itself is full of hallucinations. It’s just one more on top.

A History of Violence

It’s a fact that nobody has the best sex of their life when they’re losing their virginity. It’s probably true that most don’t have the best sex of their life in college either, or even their 20s. Sometimes the very best sex we’ll ever have is when we’re fully-fledged adults who are able to remove all of the baggage that comes with hoping to attract a mate and just get down to having dirty, animalistic sex with the person you’ve loved for over a decade. Such is the case in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence in which stars Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello go hog-wild on a staircase and make great use of a cheerleader outfit that will turn any heterosexual man on, whether they’re 16 or 86.

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In the Realm of the Senses

Famously sleazy website Mr. Skin put this Japanese film in the Hall of Fame for its sex and nudity content. Congratulations to acclaimed director Nagisa Oshima, I guess. There’s no denying that the sex in this erotic arthouse hit is exceptionally explicit, taboo-busting, and deliberately baiting to the censors of Oshima’s home- country. The scandalous biopic about a geisha who murdered her lover in a fit of passion was used as a poster child for the advancement of sex on screen, this film has been extensively debated since its release. And after watching its extensive sex scenes, who can blame them!

Atonement

A classical British adaptation of a literary classic might not be the place you would expect to find a ridiculously erotic sex scene, but then most prestigious books don’t feature overtly-sexualized use of the famous c-word, scattered across pages that once upon a time would have been labelled smut. In the film adaptation, impeccably beautiful and even more impeccably well-dressed James McAvoy (in a tuxedo) and Keira Knightley (in a famous green dress) have a seriously-sexy sexual rendezvous up against a library shelf. That they never take off a strip of clothing only makes it better.

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Y Tu Mama Tambien: This Mexican road trip movie is a far cry from what we now expect out of director Alfonso Cuaron and his technologically-boundary pushing works like Children of Men and Gravity. The entire film is one long stretch of foreplay as two young men, played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, battle for the affections of the stunningly beautiful Maribel Verdu. What they don’t expect is Verdu’s Luisa turning the tables on them and initiating a threesome that is impossible for either to ever forget. So much so that it destroys their friendship, but at least it went out with a literal and figurative bang.

Wild Things: Speaking of threesomes! This 1998 comic-thriller was sold predominantly on three things: 1) sex, 2) more twist endings than you can possibly imagine, and 3) sex. While many remember it for better or worse for being the film in which we see Kevin Bacon’s erection, there’s also a hilariously soap-opera-worthy catfight in the pool between Neve Campbell and Denise Richards that inevitably turns erotic, followed by a threesome between those two and Matt Dillon. Sex is everywhere in The Everglades and while it titillates, there’s also something ridiculously-thrilling about a Hollywood all-star movie being so deeply sexual. It’s virtually impossible to imagine it being made today.

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Unfaithful

Diane Lane sits on a New York City subway car. Her face reads both embarrassed and aroused as she recalls back to the sexual encounter she just had with a handsome French man. Despite being married with children, she goes back again and again, their sexual encounters becoming more risqué and daring. If nothing else, Unfaithful – from the director of the equally erotic Fatal Attraction – proved that at, age 38 (and still to this day, let’s be honest), Diane Lane could get it. Like I said earlier: sometimes the best sex happens when we’re a bit older and a bit wiser and know better what our bodies want.

Team America: World Police, Showgirls and Basic Instinct

Three movies that otherwise wouldn’t go together, but they ought to be mentioned for how hilariously gymnastic their sex scenes are. The boys from South Park’s obviously intentional display of multi-jointed puppet sex is famous for a reason, but nobody’s going to get a boner from that! Meanwhile, the two Paul Verhoeven films, famous for their acrobatic sex, are far funnier than they likely ever intended to be. While there’s much so-bad-it’s-good enjoyment to be had out of Elizabeth Berkley thrashing about with Kyle McLachlan under a dolphin fountain, they don’t exactly make the blood pump in the way they perhaps intended.

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