Erotic Cinema


Sex is associated with desire, passion and physical pleasure that ignites the senses.

Lukasz Budnik

18 May 2023

Filmmakers often manage to capture this on the screen, transferring to the viewer at least a part of the atmosphere created in a given scene. Unfortunately, just as often the sex scene, instead of being exciting or electrifying, becomes embarrassing. A few such infamous cases of sex scenes (or foreplay) are presented below.

The Room

the room sex scene tommy wiseau

We’re starting literally from the top. I’ve seen Tommy Wiseau’s film several times (I say that without shame!) and each time I’ve wondered at which scene the viewers at the premiere screenings realized that nothing good would probably happen to them during the screening. A long opening credit with shots of San Francisco is bearable. The opening dialogue scene with Johnny, Lisa and Denny will survive. More consternation is caused by the moment when the latter falls into the couple’s bed and everyone starts to hit each other with pillows, but it is not yet the moment when you want to run away from the cinema. The shock comes a moment later when Johnny and Lisa are left alone – then a cheesy song begins and the couple indulge in physical pleasures, which in turn are an extremely painful experience for the viewer. There’s as much passion there as Tommy Wiseau’s talent for writing dialogue, and the whole scene looks like it was made by a person who knows sex only from terrible low-end romances. Only a few minutes pass, and the image of Wiseau’s naked ass pretending to penetrate the partner’s belly button area is permanently burned into the brain. As if that wasn’t enough, soon after Wiseau serves up a second, equally long sex scene, using the same material.


watchmen sex scene patrick wilson malin ackerman

Zack Snyder gained my sympathy after 300, and it was Watchmen that sealed it, even though he decided to weave into his adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic book an absolutely awkward sex scene between Laurie and Dan on Archie’s ship. There’s no passion here that would let me get through the moment without flinching, additionally there’s Leonard Cohen’s Hallellujah in the background, which fits like a fist to the nose with a sweaty superhero sex scene (although on its own it is in a class of its own). And finally (pun intended) the very subtle synchronization of the orgasm with the jet of fire from the vehicle’s nozzles – which was taken from the comic book, but is not an excuse.

Warsaw '44

warsaw '44 sex scene

I tried to like Jan Komasa’s ideas introduced in Warsaw ’44 and even somehow managed to swallow the famous bullets swirling around the characters intertwined in a kiss. I felt real discomfort only during the sex scene, which is intertwined with shots of insurgents breaking through the sewers and is illustrated with dubstep. I don’t mind having sex during the Uprising, nor do I treat it as something iconoclastic. The problem is the location of this scene in the film and the terrible choice of music. Snapshots from the sewers, where the insurgents in slow motion make their way through water and fire,  just beg for development – it could have been a really great sequence, which unfortunately is ruined by constantly returning to the heroes having sex. Untapped potential – just like the whole movie, but that’s another topic.


gigli sex scene ben affleck jennifer lopez

The creators of Gigli must still have nightmares about this film’s IMDb rating (2.7/10) and box office-to-budget ratio (about $7 million and over $50 million in costs). Viewers are probably dreaming too – terrible nightmares when they remember the scene where Jennifer Lopez suggests to Ben Affleck that they have sex. I have to give Howard the Duck that even the flirting between the girl and the duck had more panache than what Lopez is saying in this scene. “Turkey time,” the girl says, then adds “gobble gobble” to imitate the sound the birds make. The deep emptiness in Affleck’s eyes perfectly expresses how any man would react to hearing his partner compare his own vagina to a turkey. Only the eyes of the viewers who have to deal with this fragment are emptier.


showgirls kyle maclachlan elizabeth berkley

The idea of a sex scene in a swimming pool is not a bad thing in itself, of course, it’s worse if its execution looks like in Paul Verhoven’s not particularly popular 1995 film. The heroes played by Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan indulge in pleasures immersed in water, far from going towards intimate, delicate sex, but rather intense and wild. Unfortunately, what would look good (or better) on a bed in a bedroom creates a comical effect in the water. Berkley darts left and right, water splashes everywhere, and MacLachlan looks more like he’s about to pull a particularly annoying fish ashore than enjoying the act. Similarly in the case of the viewer – there is more consternation than excitement.


damage sex scene jeremy irons juliette binoche

Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons in a sex scene that lasts about four minutes and takes place in several different locations. Their intercourse is chaotic and unbridled, though perhaps that sounds better in theory than it looks in the film itself. Instead of thrilling the viewer with unquenchable lust, Binoche and Irons roll around in different places as if they were trying to stay upright after a booze party and didn’t quite know what to do with their limbs in the meantime. To make matters worse, for the first part of the scene, there is no music playing in the background, and complete silence combined with this struggle creates an atmosphere of exceptional awkwardness.


munich sex scene eric bana

In Warsaw ’44, we watched a sex scene interspersed with shots of insurgents crossing the sewers, in Steven Spielberg’s Munich we watch the nude alternately with flashbacks of the protagonist Eric Bana, whose thoughts revolve around traumatic experiences from the past, including taking the lives of other people. The lion’s share of the scene is these unpleasant memories, interrupted from time to time by Bana’s face contorted by a scream, and the icing on the cake is the shot in which sweat is dripping from his hair, and which looks as if it was cut for 3D screenings. I don’t like the execution of this sequence – the dramatic music, the difficult killing scenes and the grimace of the man having sex seem to me a bit cheesy combination that, instead of taking over and letting you empathize with him, throws you off balance with this strange cocktail.

Matrix Reloaded

matrix reloaded sex scene keanu reeves carrie ann moss

I don’t know what the main attraction of this scene is – Trinity and Neo having sex or a freak party going on in Zion. Both of these aspects seem to be equally important for the Wachowskis, because they stubbornly show the close-ups of the mentioned heroes as well as the partygoers dancing to electronic, monotonous music. It’s hard to get lost in an intimate moment between Neo and Trinity when the camera occasionally focuses on sweaty people rubbing against each other. After a while, the whole thing gets tiresome, although it lasts only a few minutes – as long as a standard music video, to which this bizarre sequence resembles more than a fragment of a film.

BONUS: Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck sex scene lea thompson

Returning to the scene quoted here after many years turned out to be quite a shock, because the last time I watched Howard the Duck was in my early childhood on the occasion of one of the television broadcasts, so the memories have faded after many years (looking at the reception of this film after the premiere and now – very well). Among the clips from the film shared on YouTube, there is one that makes a particularly bad impression, namely the flirtation of the titular duck and singer Beverly played by Lea Thompson. While there is no sex here, there are plenty of allusions (“I’ve got a headache,” says Howard, to which Beverly replies that he has an aspirin), unbuttoning of the shirt, and a form of duck erection in the form of the feathers on Howard’s head floating upwards when Beverly puts her hand on it. I think such crude dialogue and general clumsiness would twist your guts even if there were two people in the scene, so it doesn’t help that Howard is an artificial, dubious drake. This anti-erotic moment ends with a kiss.

We can breathe a sigh of relief and relax after this dose of awkwardness served to us by the creators of the above-mentioned films. If you want to add something from yourself, feel free to comment (or maybe you disagree with me on any of the scenes). In the meantime, remember – it’s time for turkey. Gobble gobble.

Łukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

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