The Sex Scenes In These 30 Films Were Actually REAL
Nudity and sexually explicit scenes have been included in movies since the advent of the moving picture. Silent films quickly advanced from clips of moving trains to skin flicks like the French film Le Coucher de la Mariee starring Louise Willy performing a striptease of sorts in 1899.
Yes, our great-great-great-grandfathers wasted no time figuring out how to use an innovative new technology for porn.
By the time films with sound and intricate narratives started coming out, directors wanted to portray the scenes with as much realism as possible without getting into the category of pornography. This caused a bit of a problem, because where do you draw the line?
On November 1, 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America answered that question when it instituted its film rating system whereby three different organizations monitor the content and adult themes in a film and assign it a designated rating. The system is completely voluntary, but a rating in the R category (or beyond) is going to limit a film’s marketability, and thus, the amount of money it can make.
Filmmakers have to delicately tread that line of art and exploitation. Using carefully crafted camera angles, directors can skirt the ratings system by obscuring sexual acts and (ahem) body parts, earning their flick a solid, box office friendly PG-13.
But other filmmakers push the limits for the sake of art and create scenes that are almost too real to believe. And while most graphic sex scenes in mainstream or independent films are simulated, there are a few where the actors are actually doing the dirty.
Here are 30 non-pornographic films in which the actors are actually performing unsimulated sexual acts on camera. Most of these flicks are very niche, but if you ever came across one on IFC late at night and thought that sex act looked a little too real, chances are good it really was.
Parental guidance is suggested.
30. Ken Park (2002)
One of the characters in this erotic film about rambunctious California teens gets into a forbidden relationship with his girlfriend’s mother. The relationship continues to heat up as he continues to hang around her family as if nothing is going on between the two. Also, every sexual scene in the film is completely real.
29. Love (2015)
Half of Gaspar Noé’s 2015 film takes place in a bed, so you can imagine where that inevitably leads. One critic said, “There’s a difference between being naked before an audience and showing them your [private part], and Noé does the latter.” Love brings it to you in 3-D.
28. Caligula (1979)
Caligula pushed the limits when it came to portraying the real-life Roman Emperor, and included group sex, penetration, and (ahem again) climax. IMDb’s parental guide clearly states, “No child should ever watch it, and several adults will have trouble with it. The film’s risque content is considered pornographic in nature, with several hardcore inserts intended to sensually arouse, but really turn out to be quite disturbing.”
27. The Brown Bunny (2003)
In this obscure film featured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, Chloë Sevigny’s character performs oral sex on her real-life boyfriend and screen partner Vincent Gallo. Infamous film critic Roger Ebert called it the worst film in Cannes history, but gave it a thumbs up once he saw a re-edited version.
26. A Real Young Girl (1976)
Even though every actor in this film is of legal age, the scenes can get rather uncomfortable, especially knowing that they are really happening on set during filming. This coming-of-age story about a girl named Alice might be a little too uncomfortable to watch for the average viewer.
25. Lie With Me (2005)
If Lauren Lee Smith’s character seemed too close to her co-star Eric Balfour in Lie With Me, it is probably because they really were. Said Smith, “It’s controversial, but it’s also something everyone will understand. It’s about a woman who is not so comfortable with the emotional side of relationships but is so good with the physical.
24. Intimacy (2001)
This film follows the weekly exploits of two strangers who gradually develop stronger feelings for each other. Many of the contentious scenes between Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox are 100% real. Fox has no regrets when it comes her role in the film, and believes it to be one of the finest performances of her career.
23. Baise-Moi (2000)
Leave it to the French to push the limits of filmmaking in this suspenseful thriller from the turn of the century. The film’s title can be translated a few different ways, from “kiss me” to something a lot more graphic and violent. This is definitely not a film for everybody.
22. Anatomy Of Hell (2004)
Catherine Breillat directed this Italian project that includes scenes that may be a little too graphic and promiscuous to most people. Still, it has received critical acclaim. The film stars Italian adult film star Rocco Siffredi, so you know he used his acting talents to give the sexually explicit scenes all he’s got.
21. 8MM2 (2005)
As if the first installment of this film (which starred Nicolas Cage) wasn’t intense enough. 8MM2 follows the exploits of a politician, his wife, and a Hungarian prostitute after a man threatens to expose his sexual deviancy. Every sexual scene in this film about the underground world of pornography and high society is absolutely unsimulated
20. The Idiots (1998)
The Idiots is about a group of adults who attempt to escape societal norms by discovering their “inner idiots” while living in their suburban home by engaging in multiple sexual relationships with each other. Director Lars von Trier is known for filming real-life sex scenes in otherwise mainstream films, and this flick is no different.
19. Wetlands (2013)
Some unknowing viewer might be browsing for a random movie and eventually come across Wetlands. Its IMDb page states the film is about “the adventures of an eccentric girl who has strange attitudes towards hygiene and sensuality longs for the reunion of her divorced parents.” It doesn’t mention the real scene of a group of men adding their own “toppings” onto a pizza
18. O Fantasma (2000)
This film follows a homosexual garbage collector who lives alone with his canine companion and leads a healthy sexual life. The movie is quite popular within the gay community, and won best feature film at the New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and the Entrevues Film Festival. Star Ricardo Meneses was also nominated for his unadulterated performance.
17. The Raspberry Reich (2004)
Director Bruce LaBruce calls his film “terrorist chic” and the “innate radical potential of homosexual expression.” The film is chock-full of scenes that are too inappropriate to talk about, and many of them are absolutely, really happening. Be forewarned before choosing a film for your family’s movie night.
16. Stranger By The Lake (2013)
Once again, the French have pushed the boundaries of realism in filmmaking with Stranger by the Lake. Alain Guiraudie was recognized with several awards, including best director, for his “ballsy” filmmaking that features genitals in scenes that may be a little too up close and personal for the average movie fan.
15. Antichrist (2009)
Risque and limit-pushing director Lars von Trier appears on the list again with this graphic and violent film that included real intercourse. Even though body doubles were brought in for the graphic scenes between Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s characters, the action between the body doubles was anything but fake.
14. 9 Songs (2004)
Not only is this film about an American college student’s affair with a British glaciologist that features intimate scenes that were performed for real on the set, it also features live concert footage of Franz Ferdinand, The Dandy Warhols, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, so it’s kind of a win-win.
13. Pola X (1999)
Pola X is Leos Carax’s loose adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel Pierre: or, The Ambiguities and the Roman numeral “X” indicates the tenth version of the screenplay that they ended up using for the final draft. Although body doubles were used for Guillaume Depardieu and Yekaterina Golubeva’s scenes, they are totally doing it.
12. Scarlet Diva (2000)
This semi-autobiographical feature is on the life of trials of Italian movie star and director Asia Argento. The film contains many instances of drug use and sexual promiscuity. In order to drive the point home, many of the sensual scenes were absolutely real to lend an air of legitimacy to the flick.
11. Love Actually…Sucks! (2012)
The film’s name was taken from the American movie Love, Actually and gave it a whole new meaning. It was directed by Danny Cheng Wan-Cheung, also known by his screen name “Scud,” and was released in Hong Kong in 2012. The movie is about all kinds of complex relationships, many of which were really going on during filming.
10. Otto; Or Up With Dead People (2008)
Imagine if the creators of The Walking Dead decided to give the zombies emotions and the ability to act on their sexual and intimate desires. You will end up with Otto; Or Up with Dead People. Director Bruce LaBruce, known for his all-too-real sex scenes, is again responsible for pushing the limits.
9. Pasolini (2014)
Abel Ferrara’s gutsy film features male-on-male scenes that may be a little too much for the faint-of-heart faction of moviegoers to handle. The story dives deep into the life and times of Italian director Pier Paolo, which includes the graphic personal and sexually explicit life he led.
8. Nymphomaniac (2014)
Another Lars von Trier film gives the viewer the option to determine which sexually explicit scenes were authentic. Since the movie is only about sex, there are a lot of opportunities to make you guess. Some of the male actors in the film even had to be enhanced using CGI.
7. Wild Orchid (1990)
Wild Orchid is most likely one of the most well-known films of the 1990s for its sexually-charged plot and racy scenes. Co-stars Mickey Rourke and Carré Otis were dating during the filming of Wild Orchid, so you can imagine how real their on-screen sex scenes seemed
6. Last Tango In Paris (1972)
Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider star in this Italian erotic drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The film features graphic sexual violence and emotional distress that led the MPAA in the United States to cut the most graphic scene and give the film an X-rating. Some scenes were reshot, and the MPAA downgraded it to an NC-17 rating.
5. Through The Looking Glass (1976)
Be careful when watching Jonas Middleton’s Through The Looking Glass, because it has nothing to do with Alice In Wonderland. Catherine Erhardt portrays a bored socialite who decides to add some spice to her life when she comes across a magic mirror which reflects her deepest desires and passions.
4. All About Anna (2005)
Directed by Jessica Nilsson and produced by Lars von Trier (who seems to keep popping up on this list), All About Anna is basically a run-of-the-mill chick flick, but with pornographic sex scenes. When critics wanted the scenes cut out, the filmmakers responded, “Without the sex scenes, the film’s drama would fall apart.”
3. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
Direct Melvin Van Peebles gave himself a starring role in this 1970s exploitation film that shows him getting involved in multiple sexual relationships throughout its runtime. People questioned whether or not the scenes were real. In fact, Van Peebles contracted a sexually transmitted disease during production and even collected worker’s compensation.
2. Pink Flamingos (1972)
John Waters has defined a unique style with multiple films featuring exploitation schlock, and Pink Flamingos is at the top of the list. Famous drag queen Divine plays a disgusting, feces-eating nut job who is described as “the filthiest person alive” and has sexual relations with the character who is supposed to be her son. Ew.
1. Trainwreck (2015)
The comedic acting and screenwriting film debut of Amy Schumer goes somewhere that no one would have expected. The movie co-stars professional wrestler John Cena who plays a guy in love with a woman who is scared of committed relationships. Bill Hader, who also stars in the film, said Cena didn’t understand the concept of acting and that “he and Amy got intimate.”