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The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

by The Playlist Staff
February 14, 2013 1:12 PM
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As with "The Room," laying into "Gigli" makes us feel bad; it's a legendary disaster of a film that came close to ending the careers of its two leads, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (then still a real life couple; the former's bounced back in a huge way thanks to his directing work, the latter... not so much), and did end the career of its writer-director, Martin Brest, who hasn't worked since. But again, there is a reason for that, not least in its notorious and interminable sex scene. Affleck plays a junior mobster, who kidnaps the mentally-challenged younger brother (Justin Bartha) of a prosecutor in order to gain leverage for his boss, only to find that his employer has also hired a woman, Ricki (Lopez), to aid him with the task. About two-thirds of the way through, the pair sleep together, and it's awful and offensive as an idea on its own. Why? You see, Lopez's character is a lesbian, "turned" by Affleck's dim-witted charms, and only a few moments after her girlfriend has attempted suicide, no less. And between Brest's endless, sub-Tarantino dialogue, the complete lack of chemistry between the pair, and Lopez's command "It's turkey time, gobble gobble,"  it's hard to imagine how the execution could be any worse.

The Man Who Fell To Earth
"The Man Who Fell To Earth"
Nicolas Roeg might have been responsible for arguably the best sex scene in screen history with "Don't Look Now" (along with other memorable moments in "Performance" and "Walkabout," among others), but the director couldn't pull it off every time. His otherwise strong sci-fi "The Man Who Fell To Earth," starring David Bowie at his most Tilda Swinton-ish, features a number of questionable romps between Bowie's visitor from another world, Newton, and hotel employee Mary-Lou ("American Graffiti" star Candy Clark). It doesn't help that Clark is miscast, and Roeg shoots her in a way that feels ickily exploitative, but it reaches its nadir as Newton reveals his alien form to her, complete with dissolves/intercuts to what appears to be a bukkake-like alien mating ritual. It's a film from a different time, obviously, and one has to forgive it a certain amount, and for much of the film, it's less of a problem. But there's a limit, and we can't imagine these scenes being particularly involving even at the time.

Wild Things
"Wild Things"
Chances are some of you probably think the lesbian/pool/make-out scene in John McNaughton's maybe-satirical erotic comedy thriller "Wild Things" is pretty hot given that it's two chicks playing tonsil hockey in a pool all wet and wild. But it is really the frattiest of fratboy sex scenes, and borderline repulsive for several reasons. For one, since the two actors (Denise Richards and Neve Campbell) can't act for shit, it's in no way believable and therefore isn't sexy -- Campbell kisses as if Richards tastes like an ashtray full of beer and buttholes, and her wincing face makes the scene all the more grotesque (the fact that Campbell out-acts Richards at being horrible is another feat therein). And Denise Richards is all shallow, empty "hotness" with pretty obviously fake boobs. The scene is the height of manufactured hotness, a cheap male fantasy that is so artificial that it's just superficially sexy at best (tone wise, the scuzzy movie is just this side of "Showgirls," which doesn't help). The same goes for the three-way sex scene in the film with Matt Dillon later on, which makes us totally queasy every time because of Campbell's face, which looks like she's going to hurl whenever her hands go near Richards' rubbery Barbie chest. We're all for on-screen sapphism, but for more effective results try "Bound," "Henry And June," "Mulholland Drive" and many many more.

Louis Malle's penultimate film sounds good and hot on paper. It stars Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche as a pair that breaks their vows to have a torrid love affair with one another. Malle, Binoche, Irons, adulterous lovers. What's not to lust? The problem is that every sex scene is like a SNL parody sketch of two lovers that want each other so bad they'll break the imagined glass between them to fuck. Imagine serious thesps Binoche and Irons butt naked and licking, pawing and whimpering like wild oversexed hyenas in heat and you'll get an idea of how overwrought and overdone each sex scene is. I had the ignominy of watching this movie with my Dad when I was a teenager (these were the days you went to the video store and picked up a VHS without knowing much more than the actors that starred) and as much as there were painful, uncomfortable silences, they were often broken by loud laughs of recognition that we were watching some of the most absurd and silly sex scenes we had ever seen.


Steven Spielberg's brilliant "Munich" is nothing if not ballsy. From the opening sequence recounting the hostage scenario at the Munich Olympic Games to the revenge plot hatched by the Israel government to seek out those that were responsible and systematically eliminate them, the film is Spielberg at his most fearless and virtuosic. Except, at a key juncture, when it all goes to shit. It's towards the end of the film when we're watching our main spy (Eric Bana) have sex with his lovely wife (Ayelet Zurer), and while he's on top of her, thrusting away, he has violent flashbacks to the Munich hostage situation. This is weird for a number of reasons: one, when you fantasize while having sex with your wife, aren't you supposed to think about...well, anything but the Munich Olympic Games? Two, why would he be having sweaty sex flashbacks to an event that he was never actually at? We get it: the trauma of the mission has infected every part of his life, leaving him to drown in a swampy, morally gray soup. But Jesus. Spielberg shot and edited the scene with the kind of no-holds-barred approach he applied to the rest of the movie, which means glistening beads of sweat dripping off Bana's body in slow motion, but it tips the movie into dangerously silly territory, and both times we saw it theatrically it elicited nervous giggles from the paying audience. Sometimes bold moves result in equally bold miscalculations.

Thoughts? You must have your own favorites, and we assume you can't always agree with us. -- Oliver Lyttelton, Drew Taylor, Rodrigo Perez

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  • 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. :)

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