Weirdest, Wildest, and Most Shocking Sex Scenes in Movies


‘Society’ | Wild Street Pictures

‘Society’ | Wild Street Pictures

At some point in the last 20 years, Hollywood lost its mojo. Whether you’re consulting the data or pursuing the New Yorker‘s website, there’s widespread agreement that the on-screen sex scene, a fixture of the moviegoing experience for much of the taboo-breaking ’70s and into the erotic thriller-filled ’90s, has begun to fade. (At least we have Blonde to look forward to.) You can point to any number of causes: the rise of chaste PG-13 superhero blockbusters, the decline of the mid-budget adult drama, or the availability of pornography on the internet. But it’s hard to make a case that we’re living in a moment of abundant cinematic passion.

That makes it even more important to celebrate some of the hottest, wildest, strangest, and most shocking sex scenes the movies do offer. The list you’re about to read is hardly comprehensive—with such an open-ended topic, how could it be?—but instead seeks to shine a light on some sexual encounters that have stuck with us long after the lights turn back on and you file out of the theater.

Angel Heart
TriStar Pictures

Angel Heart (1987)

Alan Parker’s twist-filled New Orleans-based neo-noir Angel Heart is one of the sweatiest movies ever made. As world-weary private investigator Harry Angel, Mickey Rourke moves through the script’s tangled web of mystery with a raw intensity and grizzled charisma that makes him one of the most watchable hard-boiled antiheroes of the ’80s. When he has blood-soaked, hallucinatory sex with Lisa Bonet’s Epiphany in a scene that had to be cut down by Parker to stop the MPAA from giving the movie an “X” rating, the movie moves into an even more tremulous register. Even in its edited form, the scene retains the power to shock. —Dan Jackson


IFC Films

Antichrist (2009)

In 2009, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier was no stranger to controversy, but his psychological horror film Antichrist found the director embracing the role of provocateur to an even greater degree. The movie, which was inspired by von Trier’s own bouts of depression, opens with a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) having sex as their unattended young son climbs up a window and falls to his tragic death. Perhaps even more memorable than the talking fox or the genital mutilation that follows, the prologue, shot in black and white, remains singularly jarring, the work of a director looking to unnerve and horrify right from the jump. Though the movie slows down in other sections, the violence only builds and builds as von Trier pushes his characters to the brink. —DJ

Universal Pictures

Atonement (2007)

In an interview with Vulture, Kiera Knightly said, “The best sex scene I’ve done onscreen is the one in Atonement, on the bookshelf.” She called it “both the best sex scene, but also [the best] to shoot” because of how much director Joe Wright choreographed it. At first, the encounter between her character Cecilia and James McAvoy’s Robbie is extremely tense, unfolding after she learns just how much her housekeeper has been longing for her, having received a letter that vulgarly details his affections. But they give into each other in swift, small movements—just a kiss, unflinching eye contact, and a nod to give her consent—then suddenly their secrete passion culminates and her body is pressed against the bookcase. It’s one of the most gorgeous intimate scenes, with shots highlighting Knightly’s stunning green satin gown. (But as it’s rare to see green on screen, it foreshadows the remainder of the drama’s jealousy-fueled events that begin when an unsuspecting witness walks in on the two pressed against the library.) —Sadie Bell

Basic Instinct
TriStar Pictures

Basic Instinct (1992)

There’s a reason why the films of Paul Verhoeven have a strong presence on this list. He’s a guy who is fascinated by carnality, but also the performance of that carnality. Basic Instinct opens with a man getting stabbed mid-coitus with an ice pick, but it’s the centerpiece sex scene where Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone go at it. It’s one of the most animalistic sequences ever released in a studio movie. She’s Catherine Trammell, the novelist who may or may not have committed a murder. He’s Nick Curran, the detective investigating her. He meets her at a club where she is making out with her lesbian lover who watches on in jealousy. But it’s Nick and Catherine who end up in bed together. They go down on one another, bite at each other’s skin, and it all culminates with her tying his hands to the bed posts. Are they about to kill each other? Possibly, and that’s what makes this moment so thrilling. —Esther Zuckerman

Boogie Nights
New Line Cinema

Boogie Nights (1997)

The best part of Dirk Diggler’s cinematic debut in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights is not actually the sex itself. It’s the way Anderson films the room of porn makers watching the sex, quietly and in awe. Anderson waits almost an hour into his epic to give us the moment that Dirk (Mark Wahlberg) officially becomes a porn star, and he leans into the awkwardness of the moment. Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) is sweet and motherly toward her scene partner as they get ready to shoot on a brightly lit, dingy set. But as soon as Dirk starts pumping away you can’t tell there’s something magical at play. Anderson’s leans into the silence, letting us hear the moans alongside the clicking of the cameras. And when it’s over but they didn’t get the shot, Dirk’s ready to go again immediately. —EZ

The Counselor
20th Century Fox

The Counselor (2013)

Plenty of movies have explored the erotic connection between the human and the automobile—Julia Ducournau’s arthouse horror conversation-starter Titane and David Cronenberg’s brilliant J.G. Ballard adaptation Crash come to mind—but Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, which features a dense script by Pulitzer-winner Cormac McCarthy, might have the most memorable bit of car-sex we’ve ever seen. Yes, we’re talking about the scene, narrated in hyper-descriptive detail by Javier Bardem’s spiky-haired fixer Reiner, where Cameron Diaz’s character Malkina has sex with the windshield of a Ferrari. As Reiner says at one point in the sequence, “You see a thing like that, it changes you.” —DJ

Bleecker Street Media

Disobedience (2017)

Spit. in. mouth. Unlike many films on this list, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience is not, at first glance, scandalous. It’s the story of photographer Ronit (Rachel Weisz), who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community in London after leaving, and is reunited with Esti (Rachel McAdams), the woman with whom she was in love who is now married to her rabbi father’s mentee (Alessandro Nivola). Disobedience is largely about faith and community and the restrictions within those confines, but when Ronit and Esti consummate their affections it’s an extraordinary burst of erotic energy. Specifically, Weisz spits into McAdams’ open, wanting mouth. Shocking and shockingly intimate. —EZ

Eyes Wide Shut
Warner Bros. Pictures

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Really all I need to say is the word “fidelio” and you have an image of masked, naked bodies humping as Tom Cruise walks through this sex mansion titillated and somewhat confused. The strange thing about Stanley Kubrick’s erotic masterpiece Eyes Wide Shut is that while the sex is prominent, it’s also chilly and disconnected. Cruise’s Dr. Bill Harford doesn’t participate in the orgy, but he watches, which makes the proceedings all the more sinister, a feeling which is enhanced by the mysterious messages he gets from one naked woman who warns him of impending danger. —EZ

Warner Bros. Pictures

Excalibur (1981)

John Boorman’s medieval epic Excalibur is surprisingly, and sometimes awkwardly, sexy, devoting much of its time to exploring the more sordid aspects of King Arthur’s Court. But the most outrageous of these scenes occurs right at the beginning, when the wizard Merlin aids Arthur’s conception by disguising the warlord Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) as his enemy Cornwall (Corin Redgrave) so that he can have sex with Cornwall’s wife Igrayne (Katrine Boorman) while Cornwall dies in battle. We can’t decide which is weirder: the way Uther keeps his full suit of spiky armor on while Igrayne is completely nude, or the way Igrayne’s daughter Morgana is just there?? Watching them?? Sexy, no. Unforgettable, yes. —Emma Stefansky

Gone Girl
20th Century Fox

Gone Girl (2014)

At this point in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl, you know exactly who Amy Dunne (a superb Rosamund Pike) is. She’s capable of literally almost everything including framing her own husband for her murder to get back at him for cheating with his young college student. Even before Amy gets that late movie razor sharp bob, it’s easy to see that poor creep Desi Collings is truly her last resort when she shows up on his doorstep after parts of her plan have been foiled. So, when Amy puts on that white negligee, finally giving Desi what he’s truly wanted—her—you know he’s a goner. And right after Amy puts the sexy moves on him and right before he gets there, Amy has slit his throat, making him an even bigger pawn in her twisted chess game. He never had a chance. —Kerensa Cadenas

Hand of God

The Hand of God (2021)

This one involves a bat, a hairbrush, and a classy septuagenarian who wants to teach the 17-year-old protagonist a thing or two about pleasing a woman. It is, put simply, very European. The Hand of God, Italian maestro Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale that recently earned an Oscar nomination for Best International Film, follows a budding artist (Filippo Scotti) through a tragicomic period in his youth. At one point, his upstairs neighbor (Betty Pedrazzi) asks him to retrieve a bat that has flown into her erotically lit apartment. Wearing a nightgown, she then invites him into her bedroom, asks him to brush her “slit,” and coaches him through his first intercourse. None of it would fly in a mainstream American film; even art-house films might shy away from the vast age difference and general strangeness. And yet there’s something sweet, maternal, and oddly delightful about the whole thing, which is less an exercise in peculiar sex than it is a formative experience for a character aching to break out of his shell. —Matthew Jacobs

Universal Pictures

MacGruber (2010)

Given how important excess is to the comedy of MacGruber, the movie adaptation of Will Forte’s long-running SNL sketch, it makes sense that the film boats two equally hilarious sex scenes. As absurd and perfect as the one featuring Forte and Kristen Wiig is, culminating in Forte’s bizarre orgasmic cries, we simply must celebrate the sequence that finds our hero having sex with the ghost of his ex-wife Casey (Maya Rudolph) on her gravestone. As Forte later revealed in an interview about the scene with Vulture, the making of this supernatural tryst was about as bizarre as you might imagine. “Maya Rudolph was maybe eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, so I’m just thrusting into this baby bump!” he said. “I feel so bad for that child.” —DJ


Midsommar (2019)

As Ari Aster’s bright Swedish horror ramps up to its fiery conclusion, Jack Reynor’s very bad boyfriend Christian is offered the chance to get with the young woman from Swedish cult Hårga that has been pursuing him as he’s been ignoring the needs of his girlfriend Dani (Florence Pugh). The courtship starts out weird: I mean she bakes him a pube pie and spikes his drink with her period blood. When they do have sex, he’s tripping balls and she’s surrounded by the older women of the community who chant as he thrusts. “The sex scene for me was something that I looked at on the page and was like, ‘Okay, this is something I have to do because I’m probably not going to get an opportunity to do something like this again in my career,'” Reynor told Thrillist. That’s certainly true. —EZ

Multiple Maniacs
Janus Films

Multiple Maniacs (1970)

We weren’t going to make it through this list without at least one John Waters scene. Multiple Maniacs alone has a few options, including a murderous Divine being seduced in a church pew while Mink Stole talks about the Stations of the Cross. In the final moments, having exhausted what seems like every limit of ethical human behavior, Divine sinks onto a couch in a fit of deranged glee and shrieks at the sight of a nightmarishly large lobster inching toward her. “What can I say?” Waters told Entertainment Weekly in 2016 when Maniacs got a Criterion Collection release. “Divine gets raped by a lobster. Rape is never funny, but it’s kinda a little bit funny with a lobster.” The scene lasts nearly 90 seconds, which feels like a lifetime for something so flagrantly demented, especially when you remember that it segues into the sounds of “America the Beautiful.” —MJ


Possession (1981)

When Andrzej Żuławski’s French-German film Possession was released stateside in the ’80s, audiences saw a heavily edited version. The body horror movie was deemed as too grotesque and generally too out there at the time—its climactic sex scene being one part that gained it that reputation. In part an allegory for divorce and critique of spouses’ expectations of one another, Isabelle Adjani’s lonely housewife Anna disappears to mysterious locations throughout the film, much to the frustration of her husband Mark (Sam Neill). Eventually, after Mark discovers where she’s been hiding and realizes multiple men in search of her have gone missing, he discovers what she’s been up to. Like any sexually unsatisfied woman is one to do: She is found to have cut up various men to build her own new and improved “husband,” or a tentacled creature, rather, that will give her pleasure like no one else ever could. Seriously, no creature feature will give you as much of a shock to the system until you see that thing on top of Adjani, who is bewitching as she’s writhing in ecstasy. —SB

Sausage Party
Columbia Pictures

Sausage Party (2016)

I can’t recall a time I heard more uproarious, gut-busting laughter in a movie theater than I did during the out-of-left-field, sexually charged final scene of Sausage Party. While there was a lot of sexual tension between many of the R-rated CG film’s animated characters such as Frank the Hot Dog (Seth Rogen), Brenda the Bun (Kristen Wiig), and Teresa the Taco (Salma Hayek), what starts out as a wiener inserting himself into a bun erupts into a gleefully over-the-top food orgy. You’ll see everything from a bagel and pita bread mutually masturbating, a flamboyant Twinkie receiving anal sex, a lesbian taco eating out a bun, a box of grits engaging in acts that redefine “kiss my grits,” a mushroom performing oral on a radish, a lime stroking a banana—it’s a full-on grocery store gang bang. Sausage Party brings a whole new meaning to food porn, that’s for sure. —Gil Macias

The Shining
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Shining (1980)

The windswept, snow-covered hellscape of The Shining probably doesn’t exactly lend itself to streamy sex scenes, but it wouldn’t be a ’70s/’80s Stephen King adaptation without some unsettling psycho-sexual component. As Shelley Duvall’s Wendy makes her way through the Overlook Hotel’s long hallways with a knife in her hand, she comes across a man receiving a blowjob from another man in a bear suit. The two look at Wendy with penetrating glares, and she runs away. As with all things related to Kubrick’s masterpiece, the moment has inspired countless bits of analysis and interpretation, but, as an image, it still retains a mysterious, potent power. —DJ

United Artists

Showgirls (1995)

In a film that’s already littered with insane moments (that’s Paul Verhoeven for you, I guess!), Showgirls manages to up the insanity levels when Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) seduces Zack (Kyle MacLachlan) at his tacky Las Vegas mansion over Cristal (sadly, not Gina Gershon). For something that’s supposed to be about dancing and movement, the sex between Nomi and Zack might have too much movement. The pair comically thrash around in the pool to fruition in perhaps one of the most unbelievable sex scenes in film history. Unrealistic yes, unintentionally hilarious, absolutely. —KC

Wild Street Pictures

Society (1989)

If you’ve seen the 1989 body horror oddity that is Society, odds are that its grand WTF finale left your mouth agape as you gazed (and gagged) at the screen, trying to decipher what bizarre madness was unfolding before your eyes. To put it simply, Society is about a cult of rich people who’ve evolved into a new breed of the human species due to years of upper-class breeding. Known as The Socialites, they engage in an orgiastic ritual known as the Shunting, which allows them to absorb and feed on the poor. When the sexually cannibalistic act finally goes down, you’ll cringe at the slurpy sounds as the group composed of men and women, both young and old, strip down and fuse together, latching themselves to whatever gooey orifice or appendage they can find. The Shunting is one of the ickiest and most disturbing orgies ever put on celluloid—a demented marvel of practical effects that will forever be etched in your brain. —GM

Team America
Paramount Pictures

Team America: World Police (2004)

In 1998, horror rom-com Bride of Chucky raised some eyebrows when the titular killer doll and his bride got it on in a honeymoon hotel. While there was some tongue action, glimpses of undress, and a visible silhouette of the two dolls bumping and grinding near a flickering fireplace, the film ultimately shied away from ever showing, as Chucky would say, their anatomically correct doll parts. Six years later, South Park co-creator Trey Parker more than one-upped that scene and totally went for it in his puppet action-comedy satire, Team America: World Police. In the hilariously gratuitous sex scene backed by a cheesy love song, the lead male and female puppets engage in some rather rambunctious fellatio and rumpy-pumpy action in various positions: doggy style, reverse cowgirl—even the upside-down wheelbarrow (Google it). The unrated version pushed it even further with kinks such as water sports and skat. One can only imagine the uncontrollable laughter of the production crew as they perversely played with their toys and filmed this infamous scene which, according to the LA Times, ruffled the feathers of the MPAA and nearly got them slapped with an NC-17 rating. —GM


Titane (2021)

Shortly after its buzzy premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or, Titane became known as “the movie where the girl has sex with a car.” Sounds fake, but it’s not! Early in the first act, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), a crash survivor with a titanium plate in her skull who moonlights as a showgirl at a motor show performs a sultry routine atop a flame-covered Cadillac, murders a fan who tries to assault her, and, while washing his death throes spittle from her body, is summoned back into the garage where the car has turned itself on. She enters the car naked and, somehow, has sex with it. The scene is equal parts horrifying, hilarious, and erotic, a depiction in brief of the movie’s themes of blurring gender and sexuality and the union between man and machine. The scene only cuts to Alexia as she climaxes—for most of it, all you see is the car comically bouncing up and down on its wheels. —ES

Universal Pictures

Trainwreck (2015)

As evidenced by a scene in the Amy Schumer rom-com Trainwreck, not everybody can get into dirty talk. She and John Cena, who plays her doofy boyfriend Steven, are in bed with one another and because she needs just a little something extra, she asks him to talk dirty. To him—an extremely buff himbo—that means talking about protein powder and pumping himself up with sports idioms like, “There’s no I in team.” To Amy, it couldn’t be any less hot, and she’s still nowhere close to coming. It’s cringe comedy that’ll take you right out of the mood. —SB

Universal Pictures

Videodrome (1983)

A paranoid techno-thriller that’s also a political sci-fi horror that’s also a nightmarish prophecy of humans and machines becoming ever closer as technology makes it easier to find and express our darkest desires, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome has something for everyone. A movie that presents playing a Betamax tape as akin to a sex act obviously has some freaky notions of human sexuality, and one of the freakiest scenes occurs early in the film, when, after flirting brazenly on television, sensationalist pirate TV programmer Max Renn (James Woods) and sadomasochistic radio host Nicki Brand (Debbie Harry) make love to each other after watching an episode of Videodrome, a subversive, porny show operating out of a mysterious unknown station. Max pierces Nicki’s ears with a pin while imagining them both on the floor of the Videodrome set, the forbidden mixture of pleasure and pain making its way deep under his skin. Who knew body horror could be sexy? —ES

Y tu mamá también
IFC Films

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Sexual tension courses through Alfonso Cuarón’s film about two wealthy teenagers who take off on a road trip across Mexico with a woman who, unbeknownst to them, is dying of cancer. While both Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) are attracted to Luisa (Maribel Verdú), who latches on to their youth and virility as she faces her own mortality, it’s the young men’s crackling, unspoken chemistry that Cuarón latches onto. As their journey comes to an end, they all drunkenly start to have a threesome, but then Luisa leaves, allowing Tenoch and Julio to explore one another’s bodies passionately. It’s, quite frankly, one of the hottest moments ever put to screen, but it also marks a breaking point in the friendship that makes the morning after a harsh pill to swallow. —EZ

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