Hollywood’s Top Ten Realistic Sex Scenes on Film

What makes a Hollywood movie sex scene realistic? Is it the titillation caused by the actors’ beauty and how much skin they show? Is it the actors’ perceived on or off screen chemistry? Is it a combination of the sensuous and erotic which allows you to willingly suspend disbelief about their fake orgasms? Or is it just a matter of knowing it when you see it? The following list of “Hollywood’s Top Ten Realistic Sex Scenes on Film” will attempt to answer some if not all of those questions.

  1. Don’t Look Now (1973)

This sex scene caused considerable controversy by being unusually graphic for the period. With no prior examples or role models in mainstream films, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie found the scene very difficult to film, and basically, just responded to director Nicolas Roeg shouting instructions at them. With censors advising the director about exactly what could and could not be shown, nine frames were ultimately cut from the fragmented style which ironically added more to the intimacy of the relationship than they could hide. By filling in the blanks in their own minds, many viewers erroneously believed that the love-making was authentic.

  1. Basic Instinct (1992)

Although Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is sure that Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is guilty of murdering her lover, it doesn’t stop the pair of them from giving each other tantalizing sexual signals and come-ons before the inevitable happens and they finally give into their carnal desires at Catherine’s apartment. Despite containing some of the most unrealistic situations in any Hollywood thriller, the somewhat athletic sex scene between Douglas and Stone really does look like two real people engaging in a mutually beneficial activity.

  1. A History of Violence (2005)

Don’t let the title of David Cronenberg’s movie put you off, this is a very sexy movie in places. The playful role-playing scene between mild-mannered Tom (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Edie (Maria Bello) is universally considered to be one of the most intimate and hottest scenes of the 21st century. Whether or not Bello dressing up as a cheerleader works for you is not as important as the fact that it clearly delights Mortensen’s character. Slightly kinky, perhaps, but it’s the kind of realistic activity that a long-time married couple just might indulge in at this point in their relationship.

  1. Blue Valentine (2010)

This sexy dorm room scene is famous for causing this movie to be given an NC-17 rating. Unable to keep their hands off each other at the beginning of their relationship, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) stare into each other eyes as they demonstrate how equally obsessed they are with pleasing the other. As the remain fully clothed, this is far from being pornographic. It’s just a whole lot of love.

  1. Jason’s Lyric (1994)

In this tragic love story, what begins as a fairly innocent and cheesy softcore sex scene turns into something very realistic and passionate between Jason (Allen Payne) and Lyric (Jada Pinkett Smith). Set in broad daylight, the couple have a slow, loving, and extremely hot sex scene among red and purple flowers which wouldn’t look out of place in a movie dedicated to such erotica.

  1. Angel Heart (1987)

In an attempt to shake off her innocent character from The Cosby Show, Lisa Bonet shows a wilder side to her which was nothing but wish-fulfillment for a lot of her fans at the time, Ignoring the context of the horror-thriller’s storyline to just concentrate on the scene itself is probably the best thing, especially as the epitome of ’80s masculinity Mickey Rourke matches his partner with his somewhat sleazy but raw and animal-like passion. This scene is convincing enough for many to believe that Rourke and Bonet are truly having sex.

  1. Jungle Fever (1991)

With a title like that, it’s not difficult to imagine that there will be some sexy action somewhere in Spike Lee’s once controversial movie about interracial relationships in New York City. Successful architect Flipper (Wesley Snipes) finally gives into his attraction for his office temp Angie (Annabella Sciorra) in some brief but symbolic desk-based affair. Although both actors remain fully-clothed throughout, it’s about as realistic and hot as can be achieved with an office sex scene.

  1. Monster’s Ball (2001)

With a sad story of loneliness, depression, and pain underpinning their characters’ relationship, Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton provide one of the most primal and stress relieving sex scenes in cinema history. Medicinal sex it may well be, but as in real life not everything is sugar-coated or surrounded by fairytale romance, this is one of the most realistic sex scenes of them all.

  1. Top Gun (1986)

With a hard-bodied stud such as the young Tom Cruise and the archetypal beach babe Kelly McGillis providing the love interest, you would be forgiven if you thought that the sensuous scene would also be nothing but fantasy, but you’d be wrong. The famous coupling may be set to Berlin’s overpowering pop-rock classic “Take My Breath Away”, but making love with loud music playing in the background is about as real as it gets for some people.

  1. Last Tango In Paris (1972)

Bernardo Bertolucci’s erotic classic has become synonymous with its lack of pretense. Featuring a strictly sexual May-December relationship, middle-aged widower Paul (Marlon Brando) and 20-year-old Jeanne (Maria Schneider) give into their primal lust with a “quickie” sex scene. Without any smalltalk, flirting, or coy smiling, the couple just get right down to business, ripping their clothes, and engaging in probably the most passionate few seconds ever filmed before rolling away from each other satisfied and exhausted.

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