Erotic Cinema

No taboos. The most GROUNDBREAKING SEX SCENES in movie history

Which sex scenes are or will be the most groundbreaking?

Maja Budka

10 May 2023

groundbreaking sex scenes

Film sex scenes have a rich and varied tradition. Exciting, shocking, repulsive or unnecessary – it doesn’t matter. It is important that in the history of cinema they have played a significant role. The entire history of cinema can be shown through the prism of sex scenes, whether those breaking taboos, pushing the boundaries of controversy and good taste, or penetrating new ways of expressing intimacy. Some of the scenes below are groundbreaking moments in the history of cinema.

The Shape of Water

shape of water sex scene

Guillermo del Toro’s erotic cross-species romance is another film that deals with the love affair between a misfit and a monster. A mute cleaning lady falls in love with a man-fish who wants to protect himself from the experiments of the US government. However, the Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water is distinguished by one thing – we have a scene of consummation of the relationship between a woman and a monster from the deep. The director, however, treated the subject with great lightness. The scene of the emerging tension between the characters, the bodily excitement that ends in a shared bath, probably made many feel uncomfortable and awkward. Viewers did not know what to feel when Eliza threw off her nightgown and hid behind the shower curtain. The sex scene, while arousing, was, for obvious reasons, an easy joke. However, as an important element of the story of acceptance and empathy, it has power.

in the realm of the senses sex scene

Nagisa Ōshima’s controversial film has become a historic example of unsimulated sex for film. Sada pleases Kichizo in a thousand ways. However, oral sex is of the greatest importance to her, because her lover’s penis is like a totem for her, which she wants to possess forever. So it was impossible to shoot this film without graphic or even pornographic greedy shots. The Japanese film, however, is mainly a film about obsession. It quickly turns into a thriller and horror, being at the same time a sensual erotic exploring the topic of carnal fascination. Ōshima showed all directors how far obscenity can be pushed. That you can show in a BDSM movie, smothering, pissing, eating eggs in a sauce of female secretions, while making a beautiful sex movie.

The Last Temptation of Christ

the last temptation of christ sex scene barbara hershey

The film directed by Martin Scorsese caused huge controversy and a wave of criticism. There was no surprise in that. The vision of Christ, with the face of William Dafoe, who chooses an earthly, “normal”, bodily life instead of a martyr’s death on the cross must have aroused indignation among the believing part of the public. Especially that the film featured a scene, admittedly short, but still, showing Jesus Christ having sex with his wife, Mary Magdalene, whom he impregnates. The fact that it was just a vision, an image of the main character, did not lessen the anger of some viewers. Martin Scorsese very bluntly compared the figure of Christ to a man with typically human desires.

Don't Look Now

Don't Look Now sex scene

Sex scenes are not always symbols of fulfillment, passion. Sometimes they are acts of desperation and sadness. The close-up scene of a married couple from Nicolas Roeg’s film went down in history not only because of the spectators’ loud speculations that actors Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie had unsimulated sex. Speculation circulated for years, but resurfaced in 2011, when producer Peter Bart described in his book that the actors “were not just pretending, they were fucking on camera.” However, this is not what makes the scene unusual, completely different from all others. Don’t Look Now tells the story of a married couple experiencing an extremely painful loss. In Venice, however, they meet sisters who tell them that one of them sees their dead daughter. The married couple is in shock, and recurring sadness, disbelief, but also excitement mix in an intense sex scene. There is not only passion and realism in it. The couple is in deep mourning, and the desperation and strength with which they sink into each other is ambiguously poignant. As if they have to throw out the baggage of condensed emotions and they do it in the form of unrestrained sex.


titane naked girl on cadillac

The scene where a woman with murderous tendencies has sex with a Cadillac with flames painted on it couldn’t be missed. The woman’s relationship with cars seems extremely perverse. It all started with an accident that happened when she was still a child. Then a titanium plate implanted in her head saved her life. That’s where it started. Gradually, she began to move away from everything human and warm. The cold of metal and flesh drew her. In the close-up scene, there is no penetration – perhaps the woman has an orgasm, feeling only the bouncing of the half-dead car. But if so, where did fertilization and pregnancy come from? Director Julia Ducournau does not even try to answer this question. It is not necessary. Titane evokes memories of Cronenber’s Crash, in which the crushing car body and sharp metal melting into soft flesh sent shivers of excitement.

Sausage party

The Sausage party became famous when parents, unaware of anything, took their children to the cinema to watch a fairy tale about live sausages and rolls from the supermarket. However, they quickly learned that this is not a film for children. So few made it to the spiciest climactic scene. This unruly adult animation culminates in a really promiscuous, several-minute-long orgy scene involving groceries. The sausages go inside the buns. A slice of bacon rubs the crotch of blue cheese. And many many more food references to vaginal, anal, oral sex. There’s a reason Thrillist magazine dubbed it The ‘Eyes Wide Shut of an animated food movie.”

The Brown Bunny

brown bunny vincent gallo chloe sevigny

Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny made this list because of the very realistic oral sex scene, and that’s because it wasn’t faked. Admittedly, this was not the first such scene in the history of cinema. It is important, however, what outrage she caused, although looking at the film, her presence is justified. The movie just needed a scene like this. Crotch close-ups are very vulgar. They could be taken out alive from any pornographic film, including amateur ones. While the woman passionately sucks the penis, the man, and the director of the film in the same person, asks several times: “Aren’t you going to blow anyone else again?”. Afterwards, he says, “You’re just a whore.” The film became infamous when it premiered at Cannes. Some argue that Gallo has crossed the line of vulgarity and obscenity accepted in the cinema, which has revived the discussion on where to draw the line. And should it even be.

Brokeback Mountain

bokeback mountain jake gylenhaal heath ledger

The 2005 film is unanimously recognized as a symbol of queer cinema. He deserved a place on this list, because sex in the cinema has long ceased to be only straight. In fact, gay and lesbian sex existed in film much earlier, when cinema was in its infancy, which is worth realizing. Brokeback Mountain however, brought gay romance into the mainstream. Director Ang Lee intended to confront his audience with the realities of gay sex. And although, according to some, it deserves criticism for its unrealistic and exaggerated way of showing sex between men, it cannot be said that the film is not memorable. And his task was to confront viewers with a subject they stubbornly try to avoid. It worked even more because the stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were cast in the main roles. A similar discussion on non-heterosexual sex was initiated anew by Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Life of Adela and Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaid.

And Your Mother Too

and your mother too

The film was both famous and infamous, combining the theme of reaching emotional and sexual maturity with the romance of young guys with an older, experienced woman. In the sexual initiation scenes, she convinces Tenoch to show her his naked member, and Julio not to worry too much and look at her face during sex. However, the boys start a rivalry, claiming exclusive rights to Luisa. However, she reconciles the friends in a scene of dancing together, after which the three of them go to bed. When they are in a hotel room, the woman undoes their pants, giving them oral sex, and the boys embrace and kiss each other. The threesome scene, as well as the other sex scenes, are unique mainly because sex, although very clear and prominent, is only in Alfonso Cuaron’s story a pretext for a story about growing up and getting to know yourself.

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut orgy scene

Stanley Kubrick’s film became a clear representative of the erotic thriller mainly thanks to the sophisticated sequence of ritual orgy, in which masked film extras take part. The journey between rooms where intercourse takes place, accompanied by deadly serious viewers, the accompanying long static shots are almost hypnotic. This is not the only reason why Eyes Wide Shut gained the title of a breakthrough in this matter. It’s also about the duo of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. The casting of one of the most famous celebrity couples in the history of cinema in an enigmatic erotic drama about a sect was already drawing attention in itself. Although the couple does not cross certain boundaries, the scenes with their participation, including the scene in front of the mirror, were brave enough to stay in the collective memory of viewers and in the history of sex in the cinema for a long time.


kids sex scene

The 1995 film Kids breaks many taboo topics, telling about the promiscuity of American street teenagers. To this day, it is considered one of the most important films of the 1990s, although it aroused much controversy after its premiere. Especially considering the fact that the film featured extremely young actors, which was unheard of at the time, and the sexual intercourse scene was played by a 17-year-old with a 13-year-old. Larry Clark’s film has even been labeled child pornography by some. The discussion around the film grew to such proportions that Kids became one of the most important works about sex, including the role of sex in the era of HIV and AIDS.

Maja Budka

Maja Budka

I write about film and art with a cat on the keyboard. I like animation and films lined with gentle absurdity.

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