There are literally hundreds of sites to choose from if you’re looking for steamy scenes in the movies Hollywood has offered over the years. Everything from subtle seduction to blatant pornography and every variation imaginable – even by the most imaginative – has been filmed, and most everything has found an appreciative audience
Some movies, some scenes and some actors and actresses, however, have made a lasting impression on huge numbers of movie-goers. These are quite varied and the depth and longevity of the impression made also varies, depending to a large extent on whether you’re a fan of Playboy or of Cosmopolitan. Even that distinction is pretty vague; what it comes down to is what turns us on from Hollywood’s mainstream movies.
As a rather classic example of erotic fantasy, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999) is definitely made for adults, but it’s far from any definition of pornography. In fact the main character, Tom Cruise as Dr. William Harford, never actually ‘gets it on’ in person, though he rubs up against the edges of many and varied opportunities. Other characters in the atmospheric drama do indeed get it on, but with artfully veiled body parts that strongly suggest rather than graphically display sexual actions.
The scenes involving Cruise and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) are both sexually and emotionally intense, in a way setting us up for the quite enthralling intensity of the entire production. The movie’s R rating in the US has been scorched by leading critics, partly because the momentous orgy scene was digitally edited to allow a larger-audience rating. Eyes Wide Shut is a voyage in the beautiful but always dangerous seas of human sexuality and fantasy; not a cruise for the casual weekend sailor.
For a not-so-classic example of movie-from-book to remake of movie-from-book that unfortunately loses quite a bit in the translation, Endless Love with Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1981) really lives up to billing as a romantic drama; it is extremely romantic and the drama is subtle but more effective for that.
Most of the smoldering sensuality of this film is lost in the 2014 remake, so stick with the first one.
Never to be confused with Walk of Shame, which is basically a comedy, Shame is a dark and disturbing look at the other side of human sexual relations. In the case of Michael Fassbender as Brandon in the 2011 film directed by Steve McQueen, it’s about a man who is obsessively driven to the physical relief of orgasm, however derived, at the expense of any real human contact.
Fassbender won serious acclaim for his performance; there is nothing lighthearted about his various sexual encounters but that only enhances the emotional (and sensual) impact. Carey Mulligan as Brandon’s equally but differently damaged sister Sissy is also very impressive. Overall Shame is an unforgettable movie; the general consensus is that you can only stand to watch it once.
If Nymphomaniac Part I doesn’t get your attention don’t bother watching Part 11, but that’s an unlikely scenario. “I am a nymphomaniac and I love my filthy dirty lust,” declares Joe to a meeting of Sex Addicts Anonymous. Her actions. as portrayed by Stacy Martin from age 15 through 31 and by Charlotte Gainsbourg from age 35 to 50, certainly bear this out as she falls or dives into numerous and often violent sexual encounters.
Directed by Lars von Trier, the film follows Joe’s adventures in sadomasochism – her addiction to sex extends to the dominating ‘K’ (Jamie Bell); she has lost the ability to feel physical pleasure but a severe beating with a cat o nine tails administered by K brings her to orgasm again. That’s only a minor taste of the two part, four hour odyssey of sex, guilt and general aberration, as described to the elderly and mostly asexual Seligman, played by Stellan Skarsgard.
Hard to believe that when Last Tango in Paris first came out in 1972 it was rated X, but that’s only if you’re comparing it to more recent films. In ’72 – and still today – the infamous butter scene with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider will send chills up your back and elsewhere. As Paul, a cynical widower who insists his relationship with the young Parisian Jeanne (Maria) is to be strictly for sex, Brando does the dark macho man almost too well.
The film was cited by many as director Bernardo Bertolucci’s masterpiece, though at the time of its presentation many others complained about its lack of moral fiber – or words to that effect. The film was quite controversial in its day, tame by today’s ‘standards’ but powerfully erotic.
The very short synopsis of Bound tells you it’s about a woman who falls for a younger man, is introduced to B&D and S&M, an education that enables her to ‘take control of her life’. So: the 2015 film directed by Jared Cohn, starring Charisma Carpenter as the novitiate Michelle and Daniel Baldwin as Ryan the instructor has enough steamy scenes to heat up the most blasé blood in the audience.
Depending on your point of view, all that sadistic and masochistic acting out may be just the ticket, or you may get off even more on the role reversal that takes place as Michelle eventually turns on her BDSM boyfriend after realizing that he’s really just a jerk with behavior issues. Bound has often been described as a ‘mockbuster’ of Fifty Shades of Grey, but see them both and decide for yourself.