Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

by The Playlist Staff
February 14, 2013 1:12 PM
  • |

The Worst

Much of Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" adaptation (based on the classic comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons) is tone-deaf and wildly misguided, as is the case with this unintentionally goofy sex scene between two rubber-suited superheroes – the Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) and the Night Owl (Patrick Wilson). Everything about the scene is clumsy and awkward, including the faux "Batman & Robin" costumes that have to be fumbled off with all the grace of a middle school boy unhooking his first bra. There's also the fact that they are attempting to have passionate sex while trapped inside a giant, hovering Owl-shaped space ship. Hot! The unintentionally funny cherry on top of this awful sex scene sundae though has got to be Snyder's music choice – Leonard Cohen's mournful "Hallelujah." Not only has it been overused in everything (especially the Jeff Buckley version) but that song has got to be one of the all-time boner killers. The "Hallelujah" choice took a laughably bad sex scene into "painfully sad" territory, which is where no sex scene outside of a Todd Solondz movie should ever go.

Like any musical number worth its salt, sex scenes should also serve the narrative – either advancing the plot forward or delivering a key bit of information about a character. In the case of "Showgirls," the sex scene between Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan, which takes place in the Las Vegas porno version of a Disney World swimming pool (complete with "lifelike" waterfall), gave us the insight that Berkley's character was epileptic and suffered from violent seizures. How else to explain the "caught in an electrical fence" writhing that goes on while she straddles future Portland Mayor McLaughlin, with every muscle in her body seeming to spasm in a different direction. A lot of what "Showgirls" director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas thought was "hot" was, in fact, laughably ludicrous. By the end of it you don't know whether Berkley has reached orgasm or if she should be rushed to the nearest emergency room. Kyle MacLachlan, for his part, just looks sort of bewildered, although his upper body strength is impressive and his amazing hair never seems to falter.

"The Matrix Reloaded"
There are many, many sins in "The Matrix Reloaded," the wildly disappointing 2003 sequel to The Wachowskis' game-changing sci-fi actioner. It buries the film in nonsensical philosophy, introduces a host of dull new characters, and has to sideline its central character because he's become too powerful (though it is, at least, better than the even-worse threequel, "The Matrix Revolutions"). But among the worst individual moments is the centerpiece sex scene, which sees Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss) chastely copping off in a side room while some kind of ludicrous techno rave/orgy kicks off among the people of Zion. The Wachowskis' commitment to the more transgressive side of progressive is admirable, and can lead to some pretty effective results (see their debut, "Bound"), but here it just feels like an extended and expensive shampoo commercial.

"Killing Me Softly"
"Secretary" might have legitimized the more bondage-y side of on-screen sex in the middle of the '00s, but a few years later, the same thing had been attempted with the disastrous "erotic thriller" (and honestly, not enough inverted commas have been invented for this film) "Killing Me Softly." Not to be confused with Andrew Dominik's excellent crime thriller of last year ("Killing Them Softly"), it's the ill-advised English-language debut of "Farewell My Concubine" director Chen Kaige, and makes the fatal (but not uncommon, at the turn of the 21st century) mistake of assuming that Heather Graham is able to act. The "Boogie Nights" star plays an American woman who begins an affair with, and soon marries, a mysterious mountain climber (Joseph Fiennes), who may or may not be a murderer. The only thing more ridiculous in the film than the acting, the characters and the plot, are the "erotic moments," which start with Fiennes and Graham banging their way across an apartment floor, watched by a cat, and which peak with Graham trussed up with silk ropes like a marionette. Not a bad idea in theory, but completely ridiculous in execution, as you'll see below. Still, as one of the stupidest films in history, there's still a degree of car-crash appeal to be found.


"The Room"
So yeah, picking on "The Room," a film that's become a cult favorite thanks to its sheer awfulness and incompetence at every single level (and, if it was only 10% less irredeemably shitty, would never have been heard of), might seem slightly unfair. And indeed, we were tempted not to include them, but then we watched them again, and decided we really had no option. Director/star Tommy Wiseau shoots and blocks every sex scene in exactly the same manner -- like an excerpt from an early 1990s Lover's Guide-type tape. Awful R&B soundtracks it, the guys all have the same moves, the girls pretty much just lay there, and Wiseau never saw a silk curtain that he couldn't stick in front of his camera. And then it's all topped by the extraordinary expressions of the guy in the second clip below, who 1) appears to be reacting before the act itself actually takes place, and 2) has the single most off-putting orgasm face in history. Ah, what would we do without "The Room"?

  • |

More: Features

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • no | April 15, 2014 9:51 PMReply

    hilariously bad list. reads like a typical woman's fantasy list. calling wild thing's sex scene threesome as "laughable" then calling broke back mountain's terrible sex scene as arousing. you're also a bad writer

  • NO ONE CARES | July 22, 2014 1:30 AM


  • Ryan george | February 5, 2014 7:32 PMReply

    i love t thank

  • Mark | November 17, 2013 8:04 AMReply

    Monster's Ball should be somewhere on either of these lists, it at least deserves a mention.

  • Seth | April 8, 2014 1:43 AM

    I'm actually surprised that the Monster's Ball scene isn't here. It was a really good one.

  • khlel72 | September 28, 2013 4:05 AMReply


  • Goose | August 17, 2013 11:32 PMReply

    Bound should have been on here, beautifully done with Jennifer Tilly's seductive voice. It would be enough to get straight men and women going, better then a lot on here/

  • KHAN | May 23, 2013 11:32 PMReply

    Stupid Vedios I want full fuck with pussy

  • dumm | June 25, 2013 8:35 AM


  • NMH | April 13, 2013 2:30 PMReply none from Unfaithful at all? Despite the fact that the bathroom scene and the hallway scene are damn near what the movie is known for?

  • dodo | April 12, 2013 7:23 PMReply

    very nice

  • sozial | June 25, 2013 8:36 AM

    Fuck you bitsches

  • yuri | May 27, 2013 2:39 PM

    Want to watch

  • Isla | April 8, 2013 11:07 PMReply

    One of the best sex scenes I have ever seen is from Late Marriage (2001).

  • Isla | April 8, 2013 11:06 PMReply

    One of the best sex scenes I have ever seen is from Late Marriage (2001).

  • mohamed | June 28, 2014 9:04 PM

    grand film

  • jman | November 25, 2013 10:40 PM

    loved it! one of the best sex scene ever

  • Bella | September 24, 2013 5:05 PM

    ISLA can you send it to me baby?

  • Isla | April 8, 2013 11:06 PMReply

    One of the best sex scenes I have ever seen is from Late Marriage (2001).

  • Just wondering | September 19, 2013 7:39 PM

    Has anybody ever seen Late Marriage (2001)?

  • Zoe | April 5, 2013 10:21 PMReply

    I think one of the worst has to be Matthew Broderick's character furiously thrusting while having sex with his wife and imagining he is fucking a younger pupil of his in "Election" (1990). The camera angles for all the sex scenes in that film are intentionally painfully awkward, but then being a bleak political satire that's often the point.

  • Mohd Razali | March 15, 2013 2:22 AMReply

    I want to watch first,and then I will sent you my comments

  • sangit | March 10, 2013 3:33 PMReply

    So hard sex

  • Kanerwa | February 20, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    The best sex scene directed by Cronenberg is from Cosmopolis.Packer with Kendra are portrayed as equel lovers and camera is focus on both of them(not only on actress,like in most movies).And this scene was filming in one take.

  • BEF | February 19, 2013 11:06 AMReply

    I think this list (with the exception of the second History of Violence scene, but not the first) is that The Playlist prefers making love to fucking.

  • BEF | February 19, 2013 11:07 AM

    And when they like fucking, they like it with inanimate objects.

  • Glass | February 19, 2013 1:13 AMReply

    I beat off to the Wild Things sex scene so many times when I was a kid, real talk

  • Ian | February 18, 2013 5:57 PMReply

    Kathleen Turner, William Hurt and the ice cream in Body Heat. Hot. Intentionally funny and unlikely scene is the one between Emma Thompson and Jeff Goldblum in The Tall Guy. The dusty orgy in Zabriskie Point should have some kind of special WTF award.

  • sarfee | February 18, 2013 7:14 AMReply


  • nightgoat72 | February 17, 2013 11:18 PMReply

    Oh, and MacGruber clearly has the best sex scenes of all time.

  • nightgoat72 | February 17, 2013 11:14 PMReply

    I love the sex scene in Watchmen. It's easily my favorite part of the movie. It's hilarious. I think it's purposely played for laughs in a subtle way.

  • Zoe | April 5, 2013 10:25 PM

    I agree, I think the point of that scene is to ridicule the characters to an extent. Pity the excellent opening sequence of Watchmen far surpasses the rest of the film though (in my opinion, at least...)

  • Jordan Hoffman | February 17, 2013 9:59 AMReply

    Dittos on MUNICH. Re-edit that one scene and you may have a perfect film. As is, embarrassment.

    Suggestion from the peanut gallery: it isn't a good or even memorable movie, but Laura Linney & Topher Grace in P.S. pull off a rather realistic and erotic love scene.

    Similar to Damage - Kathleen Turner & Jack Nicholson rolling off the bed and continuing their activity in PRIZZI'S HONOR.

  • Jinky | February 15, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    Betty Blue's opening scene is pretty close to the real deal. Some say it is.

  • PyroSikTh | February 15, 2013 2:38 PMReply

    Someone didn't understand Watchmen...

  • MichaelHaneline | March 10, 2013 1:27 AM

    I thought Watchmen was trying to make the sex intentionally awkward, to make it more realistic. I can't think of how the scene could have been any more realistic, especially for that character.

    Sex is awkward, stop pretending it isn't.

  • MichaelHaneline | March 10, 2013 1:26 AM

    I thought Watchmen was trying to make the sex intentionally awkward, to make it more realistic. I can't think of how the scene could have been any more realistic, especially for that character.

    Sex is awkward, stop pretending it isn't.

  • Fran | February 17, 2013 9:41 AM

    Glad Watchmen is on here. It's hilarious, retarded, etc. I spittook in theaters.

  • Jamie | February 14, 2013 4:36 PMReply

    Sometimes the best scenes are the ones where you see nothing. Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham when all you see is her hand grabbing the leg of the wildly shaking dresser.

  • Karen | February 14, 2013 4:02 PMReply


  • Frank | February 14, 2013 2:01 PMReply

    Amen on Wild Things. Thanks for putting it in its place.

  • blue | February 14, 2013 1:41 PMReply

    what about Hoffman and Tomei in 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead'?

  • wes | February 14, 2013 1:35 PMReply

    Also, L'atalante should be on here for best, and John Malkovich in Antonioni's Beyond the Clouds should be on here for worst.

  • Wes | February 14, 2013 1:25 PMReply

    I agree with most, but I remember the History of Violence and the Brokeback Mountain scenes being too violent for my taste. Good films, but those scenes bothered me. Also, Matrix Reloaded is a bad film with a great sex scene. I don't understand why people don't like that scene.

  • wes | February 14, 2013 1:29 PM

    So, no, I don't think Cronenberg pulls that one scene off. But the other scenes are good. :)

Email Updates