Cinema has been around for over a century. During the course of that time, filmmakers have explored the vast, infinite terrain of human sexuality and all the hangups that with it. They can be harrowing, steamy, funny. They can take place in hot tubs, sex rooms, or cars, can involve saddles, handcuffs, multiple people, or blood. Here are some of the kinkiest, most insane sex scenes that will forever push boundaries and stand the test of time.
Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader demonstrated the possibility of a sex-positive relationship between a dominant and a submissive long before 50 Shades made BDSM palatable (ahem) to mainstream culture. Consider, for instance, the part where Gyllenhaal dons a saddle.
It’s a cannibal movie that caused people to faint a French film festival, and as such is more feminist-horror-gore than anything else; yet protagonist Justine’s taste for human flesh does coincide with her sexual awakening, transforming her into a literal man-eater. Tasty.
9. Black Swan
Sure, it was just one scene in a thrilling Oscar-winning masterpiece, but it’s Mila Kunis going down on Natalie Portman, and it may just be the hottest lesbian sex scene in cinematic history.
8. Eyes Wide Shut
No “sexy movie” list would be complete without Stanley Kubrick’s final film. Aside from exploring the themes of jealousy and sexual frustration within a committed relationship, we see 1999 Tom Cruise (at the height of his fame and hotness) adventuring inside a freaky mansion while watching countless people go at it sexual positions many never even expected to see onscreen.
7. In The Cut
The erotic thriller combines Mark Ruffalo as a mysterious, intense cop and Meg Ryan as a frazzled teacher in all sorts of positions. Also included: feet-sucking, finger-licking, and handcuffs.
6. The Dreamers
This NC-17 Bertolucci joint drops beautiful man Michael Pitt in 1960s Paris. Specifically, in an apartment with no-longer-conjoined-twins, the beautiful Louis Garrel and Eva Green. What ensues is incest orgies, erotic baths, forced masturbation, homoeroticism, and other visuals that must be seen to be believed.
5. 9 1/2 Weeks
Kim Basinger’s Elizabeth meets Mickey Rourke’s John, and the two have a rapidly escalating sado-masochistic affair that lasts…you guessed it! Over the course of 9 1/2 weeks, Elizabeth is the object of sexual obsession, sexual domination, and sexual degradation, all told through a series of games spiraling further and further out of control.
According to director Adrian Lyne, the scenes between Basinger and Rourke got so intense that “people watching the shooting…sometimes became disturbed at the intensity of the emotions the actress and director displayed – from rage to despair – as they worked together.”
The Wachowskis film about the steamy, homoerotic affair between Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and Corky (Gina Gershon). There’s a reason the various sex scenes in the film feel so authentic—The directors hired feminist Susie Bright on as a “sex consultant” to choreograph the sex scenes so that they wouldn’t be filming a lesbian sex scene from a male gaze. Needless to say, it worked so well they almost got hit with an NC-17 rating.
Based on a 1973 novel of the same name, David Cronenberg’s 1996 film Crash follows a film producer who, after nearly dying in a car wreck, enters the world of car accident survivors who get off—literally— on recreating fatal crashes. James Spader and Holly Hunter only have sex in cars, elevating what could be considered straight raunch into a sort of artform.
2. Wild Things
Not so much fetish as delightful threesome between three very good looking people: Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, and Matt Dillon, which also happens to incorporate a creative use of champagne.
1. Fifty Shades
Oh fine, we’ll allow it. It makes little sense to pull a specific scene, considering the entire premise of the Fifty Shades franchise explores (at depth) the relationship between dominant Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and innocent/virginal/submissive Anastasia (Dakota Johnson), who comes around pretty quickly. Though if we had to pick, her first experience in the Red Room of Pain is arguably the steamiest moment of all the films.