Best Movie Sex Scenes - Featured Image - StudioBinder

Ah yes, we’ve arrived back at the most carnal of all storytelling devices: the sex scene. Writers, artists and filmmakers have used sex to evoke a multitude of different emotions to the audience, like love, hate, confusion, lust, among many, many more. But every one of the best movie sex scenes of all time adds something essential to a story, whether it be comedic, dramatic, or stylistic.

In this article, we’re going to rank movie sex scenes by looking at a few crucial criteria: Visuals, Impact and Acting. The scenes on this list are ranked by their importance to the narrative of a story, not by how sexy they are. With that note out of the way, let’s jump in!

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Movies With Good Sex Scenes

13. Anchorman (2004)

Famous Movie Sex Scenes - Anchorman

This sex scene from Anchorman is just truly, truly ridiculous. There’s no nudity nor any explicit sexual acts; instead the film uses a fantastical world called “pleasure town” to simulate the euphoria of sex.

Pleasure town is full of bonkers imagery like animated cupids, mountains in the moonlight, and colorful unicorns.

75%
Visuals
60%
Impact
80%
Acting
71%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Wild Visuals
  • Comedic Impact
  • Subversive
  • A Bit Coy
  • Lack of Passion
  • N/A

Top Movie Sex Scenes

Conclusion

Anchorman’s pleasure town subverts the traditional sex scene with exaggerated visuals and comedy.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

12. Gone Girl (2004)

Sex scenes in movies - Gone Girl

Spoilers beware: this sex scene from Gone Girl is anything but sexy. Most sex scenes act as a climax to the tension between characters, and this example from Gone Girl is no different. However, the climax here isn’t sexual pleasure, it’s murder.

Gone Girl does a great job of using the “sex scene” format in an untraditional way, ultimately creating an unsettling effect on the viewer.
80%
Visuals
90%
Impact
80%
Acting
83%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Subversive
  • Tonal Impact
  • Original
  • Visually Restrained
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Look to Gone Girl for instruction on how to build a fascinating mystery between two lovers whose love has gone awry.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

11. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Anatomy of a Scene - Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color made waves upon release for its graphic depictions of sex. The most famous and iconic of these sex scenes is nearly eight minutes long and involves Emma (Léa Seydoux) and Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos).

Among the sex scenes on this list, this is certainly the most pornographic. But for what the scene lacks in subtext and narrative nuance, it makes up for in passion and visual style.

85%
Visuals
80%
Impact
85%
Acting
83%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Passion
  • Sensual and Sexual
  • Expressive
  • Impact Lost in Length
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Blue is the Warmest Color pushes the boundaries of sex in cinema with an unabashed vision of two lovers.

Movies With Good Sex Scenes

10. Boogie Nights (2004)

Sex scenes in movies - PTA on Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights is a film about the porn-industry, as such you’d be right in thinking there are more than a few sex scenes. Paul Thomas Anderson’s early great-work follows the highs and lows of the hedonistic lifestyle, as told through the vantage of porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg).

There are some sexy sex scenes in Boogie Nights and then there are some tragic sex scenes in Boogie Nights. The best of these scenes belongs to the former group, when Dirk shoots his first professional porn scene for Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) with “Amber Waves” (Julianne Moore).
80%
Visuals
90%
Impact
85%
Acting
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Sets the Tone
  • Establishes Character
  • Wahlberg and Moore
  • Jump Cuts
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

This sex scene from Boogie Nights does a great job of establishing character dynamics, a voyeuristic theme and a complex tone.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

9. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Eyes Wide Shut - Video Essay

For better or worse, there’s no movie like Eyes Wide Shut. Part thriller, part drama, but mostly pornography, Stanley Kubrick’s indomitable picture is an other-wordly vision of sexual intimacy and sexual fantasy.

The best sex scene in the film is near the beginning and involves Bill (Tom Cruise) and Alice (Nicole Kidman) who share discreet details of their fantasies while engaging in foreplay. But when Alice reveals that she once considered leaving him due to an infatuation with another man, Bill spirals into a sexual hysteria.

85%
Visuals
90%
Impact
80%
Acting
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Dynamic Filmmaking
  • Story Impact
  • Builds Theme
  • Acting
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Eyes Wide Shut has lots of nudity and sex, but the film is more about unfulfilled desire than acting on lust.

Movies With Good Sex Scenes

8. Bridesmaids (2011)

Famous Movie Sex Scenes - Bridesmaids

Sex scenes work well when they match the tone of a story. This is especially true in Bridesmaids, which is riotously funny throughout. The sex scene between Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Ted (Jon Hamm) matches the comedic tone of the film and works well as a result.

It also helps when a sex scene communicates something essential about a relationship, whether that be due to passion or lack of passion. In this case, the latter holds true as Annie and Ted simply don’t click together.

80%
Visuals
90%
Impact
90%
Acting
87%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Comedic
  • Establishes Relationship
  • Wiig and Hamm
  • Lackluster Visuals
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Bridesmaids uses exaggerated comedy to create a noteworthy and iconic sex scene.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

7. Blue Valentine (2010)

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams Dissect Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine is perhaps most well-known for receiving an NC-17 rating from the MPAA for a sex scene involving man-on-woman oral sex. The rating was later reversed after Gosling challenged the MPAA on the grounds of sexism, citing that other movies which featured woman-on-man oral sex had received R ratings from the board.

Ultimately, Blue Valentine’s famous sex scene is more than just a cinematic milestone, it’s an intimate moment in the relationship between two doomed lovers.
80%
Visuals
90%
Impact
90%
Acting
87%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Williams and Gosling
  • Subtext
  • Strong Impact
  • Visually Bland
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling’s natural chemistry make Blue Valentine a great, yet tragic love story.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

6. Her (2010)

Sex scenes in movies - Her

I can not express this enough: watching this scene from Her is in the top ten of the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been. But that’s a good thing. Science-fiction is supposed to push our minds beyond the boundary of what we know today, whether that’s through astronomy, biology, or the human condition.

In Her, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with, and has sex with an Operating System. It’s weird- and uncomfortable, very, very uncomfortable. But after it’s over, we’re left to wonder, what was uncomfortable about that? Why is it weird? These questions are ultimately the reason why the scene works so well.
85%
Visuals
95%
Impact
90%
Acting
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Phoenix Performance
  • Johansson V.O.
  • Strong Impact
  • "Blank Screen"
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Her is more than the film where Joaquin Phoenix has phone sex with his operating system, it’s a movie not to be missed.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

5. The Disaster Artist (2017)

James Franco on recreating Sex Scenes in The Disaster Artist

How does one create a great sex scene? How about starting backwards by recreating one of the worst sex scenes ever made? That’s exactly what director James Franco does in The Disaster Artist by exposing what supposedly happened “behind the scenes” during the iconic sex scene from The Room.

This scene from The Disaster Artist shows exactly what not to do when making a sex scene, which consequently serves as instruction on how to do it right.
85%
Visuals
85%
Impact
95%
Acting
88%
OVERALL SCORE
  • James Franco
  • Instructional
  • Funny
  • A Bit Too Frenetic
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Whether or not The Room writer, director, star Tommy Wiseau ever said “I need to show my ass to sell this movie” like Franco does in The Disaster Artist remains unclear. But the sentiment shows fundamentally how not to approach a sex scene.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

4. Burning (2018)

Sex scenes in movies - Burning

Burning is one of the best films in recent years, and it also has one of the most awkward sex scenes ever made. As many great filmmakers have said over the years, “story is created out of conflict.”

Burning takes this sentiment to heart and applies it in every scene, sexual encounters included.

We’ve talked about why it’s important that a sex scene adds something to a movie, but not whether a not a movie could survive without it. Burning simply wouldn’t achieve its end result without its cringeworthy sex scene, which speaks volumes to the scene’s importance.
85%
Visuals
95%
Impact
90%
Acting
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Lays Foundation
  • Effortlessly Strange
  • Law of Attraction
  • Some Shot Choices
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

In many ways, Burning is all about the fallout of this one awkward sexual encounter.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

3. Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)

Famous Movie Sex Scenes - Blade Runner: 2049

Although not quite as uncomfortable as the operating system sex in Her, this scene from Blade Runner: 2049 is definitely an unnerving look at what some sex could look like in the not so distant future.

In a world where deepfakes are already transplanting the faces of people onto other people’s bodies, it’s terrifying to imagine how far the technology will progress in the next thirty years. 

In this scene, we see how that technology may be used when Officer K (Ryan Gosling) has sex with a prostitute, who assumes the identity of his AI girlfriend with the help of holographics. It’s truly insane — and yes maybe just as unsettling as the scene in Her.

95%
Visuals
85%
Impact
90%
Acting
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Purposeful Lack of Passion
  • Visual Technique
  • Rich Metaphor
  • Impact Not Immediate
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

Blade Runner: 2049 is a dystopian nightmare that exudes artificiality in every facet of the story, including the sex scene.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

2. City of Women (1980)

City of Women - Trailer

Federico Fellini’s stirring nightmare of a man’s (Marcello Mastroianni) lustful quest for sex in a world with only women is transfixing, visually stunning and thought-provoking.

Although there’s overt sexuality throughout, the best sex scene is when the man named Snaporaz attempts to have sex with two beautiful young women. However, he’s interrupted by his ex-wife who snuggles into bed with him.

90%
Visuals
90%
Impact
90%
Acting
90%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Costuming
  • Mastroianni
  • Interjection of Ex
  • No Act of "Sex"
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

City of Women expertly creates a surrealist world that’s dominated by male obsession and feminine empowerment.

Best Movie Sex Scenes

1. Angel Heart (1987)

Angel Heart - Establishing Relationship

First and foremost, Angel Heart is an awesome movie. It’s also host to an unabashed vision of morality, violence and lust. The sex scene between Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) and Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) was initially responsible for the film receiving an X-rating from the MPAA. 

Eventually, ten seconds of the scene were removed and the picture was re-rated to R.

95%
Visuals
90%
Impact
90%
Acting
92%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Visually Expressive
  • Passionate
  • Story Turning Point
  • Overwhelming "Blood"
  • N/A
  • N/A

TOP MOVIE SEX SCENES

Conclusion

​This sex scene from Angel Heart displays passion between characters, unsettles the audience with expressive visuals and is massively important to the story; three things that make it essential to the film.

Up Next

How to Write and Direct Sex Scenes

Now that we’ve looked at some of the best sex scenes in movies, perhaps you’re considering working one into your own production. If that’s the case, make sure to check out our instructional guide on how to write and direct sex scenes with industry standard formatting.  

Up Next: How to Make Sex Scenes →
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