There’s no denying that movies have changed over the years. A key issue has been the presentation of sex. It was once never discussed openly and of course never even shown but the 1960s brought about a lot of change in that regard. It addressed sex in a real manner, open about what was once ignored and drove plenty of major hits over the years. It also kick-started the adult entertainment industry that remains a major cash cow today even with the advent of the Internet.
However, Hollywood isn’t backing down and in some cases, trying to top the adult film industry if they can. There have been slews of amazing sex scenes in mainstream films over the years, some funny, some gritty, a few letdowns but others quite thrilling. To pick the best of the best seems impossible but here are 15 of the most notable. These are scenes that may not be as utterly graphic as in adult films but are still incredibly hot, erotic and amazing that still get attention.
15. Wild Things
The plotline of this 1998 thriller looks straightforward: accused of assaulting a student (Denise Richards), a teacher (Matt Dillon) is put on trial before another supposed victim (Neve Campbell) admits the story was made up. Dillion wins a huge settlement and it then turns out all three were working this con together. From that point, the movie leaps into so many twists, turns, double and triple crosses that it’s not until all the way through the credits that you realize who was scamming whom. What is more famous are the sex scenes as Dillion, Campbell and Richards go at it in a great threesome in bed, Richards showing off her ample breasts as they get into it with differing scales of passion. Better is the scene where Campbell and Richards fight in a pool before making out topless, so hot together you expect the water to turn into steam. The plot is fun but it’s the way the movie pushes boundaries in sex scenes that makes it a favorite today with three leads going at it nicely.
14. The Thomas Crown Affair
The 1968 film pushed some hot sexual subtext between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. However, the 1999 remake brilliantly turned that into just pure text. Rene Russo is the insurance investigator convinced that millionaire Crown (Pierce Brosnan) stole an expensive painting just for the thrill and is out to bust him. She confronts him at a nightclub, clearly topless under her sheer gown and their dance is practically a sex scene in itself. It just gets better as they get to his place, going at it on the stairs, in his office, falling off his desk, Russo pouring champagne on herself, it’s sheer action in a way few other films have dared to touch. Russo is unabashed showing her body in that and other scenes at an island, both knowing the game but willing to play it for the benefits. And we all benefit from some sex scenes that turn this remake into a great achievement on its own.
13. Requiem For a Dream
Calling this 2000 movie dark is an understatement. It’s incredible in how it showcases the brutal effects of drug use but also a powerful drama, highlighted by a terrific turn by Ellen Bursntyn. However, the big pull is Jennifer Connelly showing herself off in some of the wildest and hottest sex scenes you can imagine. From hookups with a lover to the now-infamous “dual rear” action with another woman at a club, it’s a crazy time but damned if it doesn’t work thanks to Connelly’s stunning body, the direction of Darren Aronofsky and the sheer push of the scenes to come off erotic as hell even if disturbing.
12. Eyes Wide Shut
Stanley Kubrick’s final film has a baffling plot but the sex scenes are quite notable. It kicks right off with then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman going at it, pure and realistic but of course, it’s more notable for the masked ball sequences. From the masked topless women to the mass orgies, it’s just screaming a bizarre tone that somehow works. Kubrick makes it all art, the way it’s all shot with moody lighting, the music and angles, it becomes something more than just erotic but primal and highlighting how he was a true master of his craft, no matter the subject. Of course, it helps having Kidman and Cruise pushing the sex appeal but the way it treats sex as something worth worshipping is what truly makes this movie a modern classic.
From the moment she walks down the street in Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 crime drama, Salma Hayek is a born star. She breaks out big as the bookstore owner who helps out Antonio Banderas’ gunman, patching him up after a fight and soon bonding. When they get together, it’s literally scorching with candles burning about, both sweaty and grinding with touches like spurs up Hayek’s rear and fantastic shots of her body. It’s just beautifully done and no wonder Hayek became an instant star as she and Banderas combined for a scene exploding with pure raw sex appeal.
10. A History of Violence
This 2005 crime drama doesn’t hold back from its brutal side which includes plenty of violence. Viggo Mortensen is a man living a quiet life in a small town until his stopping a robbery reveals his past as a mobster. What’s more notable is his marriage to Maria Bello, the two not holding back in keeping their marriage alive. The first scene has her in a cheerleader outfit as they go at it like teenagers, grinding and dirty as only David Cronenberg could direct it. The second scene comes later when Bello has discovered her husband’s dark secret, a fight on the stairs turning into even hotter sex with the idea that Bello finds this darkness a new turn-on. Both scenes are excellent and show off Bello’s great body while fitting in this gritty drama and the hint how a dark side just makes sex all the better.
Diane Lane won an Oscar nomination for this 2002 film as a bored housewife who finds herself in an affair with a younger man (Oliver Martinez). One scene is sheer art as Lane returns from her initial tryst on a train, remembering in flashbacks her incredible love-making with Martinez, the flashes intensifying the experience and Lane’s reactions from shame to glee showing her feelings on it. Lane gets into it majorly, no shame at all as her character comes alive via the affair, more confident and sexual and Lane shows how you don’t have to be young to be hot in sex and liven this movie up.
Before The Matrix, the Wachowskis rocked moviegoers with this terrific crime story. Gina Gershon is Corky, an ex-con turned supe for an apartment building. Jennifer Tilly is Violet, the moll for a rising gangster. It doesn’t take long for the two to give in to their mutual attraction as just twenty minutes into the movie, we are shown one of the single hottest girl-on-girl scenes in Hollywood history. The two grinding against each other hard and fast with the camera sweeping around, focusing on their bodies melding, both lost in passion, it is utterly stunning and you can’t help but get into it big time. The movie itself is good but that single scene makes it a classic for how great seeing two ladies go at it can be.
In her breakout role, Maggie Gyllenhaal is the assistant to James Spader, who doesn’t take long to realize the kinky side to his secretary. From crawling around like a dog to spanking, Gyllenhaal is soon into this unique side and while some might protest her submissive tendencies, it works in the film as they ramp things up. We soon get some wicked BDSM sequences and wilder elements as Gyllenhaal blossoms from meek to wild to match the always intense Spader. The fact that a true love soon exists gives the story a unique touch but it’s that wild sexual motif that makes this a landmark film and how some women do enjoy being dominated.
6. 50 Shades of Grey
Say what you will about the quality of the story but there is no denying just how intense the sex scenes of this adaptation of the best-selling novel is. The seven main sex scenes add up to about 20 minutes of screen time, a very hefty volume and it shows off Dakota Johnson’s body well. From pure sex to BDSM, tied up, whipping and numerous other turns, the movie pushes plenty of boundaries in ways that make some adult films look downright tame and tapped into a primal instinct of many viewers and showcased some of the most amazing sex scenes Hollywood has given us in quite a few years.
5. 9 ½ Weeks
This 1986 film truly pushed the ideas of how steamy things could be on film for the time. Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger play a couple who meet and have an affair in that title frame of title. Blindfolds were used along with plenty of play with fruit and foods and even Basinger made to pleasure herself at her workplace. It’s a psychological study to showcase how this new addiction to wild sex pushes Basinger to a dark place but the scenes of her and Rourke together are amazing, steamy, excellently shot and showcases how easily arousal can become obsession for a movie still steamy today.
4. Original Sin
Angelina Jolie is walking sex personified and paired with Antonio Banderas makes this 2001 film a scorcher. She plays a con artist out to bilk wealthy Banderas and their game of cat-and-mouse intensifies the sex scenes. Seeing Jolie in bed naked is always a sight but she goes all out here with an incredible love scene that is just amazing to watch, grinding hard with Banderas in bed and later a tub, sizzling hot and amazing in every way you can imagine. She may have slowed down a bit in motherhood and charity work but this movie showcases the way Jolie became a star and a heat in her scenes so few actresses can touch.
3. Blue Is The Warmest Color
This French drama is long but perfectly captures lesbian love better than any other film of its kind. Lea Sedouyx and Adele Exarchopoulos play two young women who meet and soon fall in love, the film wonderfully exploring the ins and outs of a lesbian relationship. The sex scenes are incredibly realistic, fully in the moment as you feel yourself growing closer to both character. That doesn’t kill the heat, however as they go at it in various ways and methods, so realistic and warm to make the film shine and far more than just “hot women go at it” for a terrific experience
2. Little Children
Kate Winslet has been regarded for her fantastic acting as well as her utter lack of shame showing off her stunning body. Over her career, she has managed numerous erotic scenes in the likes of Titanic and The Reader but this 2006 movie may be her best. She plays a married woman who soon falls for a neighbor (Patrick Wilson) and they begin a very hot affair. This includes a fantastic scene where they go at it right on top of a washing machine, rocking it hard and later in bed and the attic. Winslet is stunning as ever naked and pulls you into a scene raw yet intimate and very hot as hell.
1. Basic Instinct
The 1992 smash hit is always the movie Sharon Stone will be remembered for. As the author suspected of murder, her icy cool demeanor hides a wild sexual side that is unleashed big time. It starts with that infamous interrogation scene flashing her bush and only grows from there. The sex scenes with Michael Douglas are amazing, from a nightclub to bed, Stone riding him like a stallion while he gives back well going “down under” among other moves. The plot is good but it’s the unabashed appeal of showing skin and reveling in how great sex is that makes the movie still a stand-out 23 years later and how Stone can still be hot as hell with her appeal.