The Motion Picture Production Code and US law restricted real, unsimulated sex in movies until the 1960s, when mainstream cinemas began pushing boundaries in terms of what was presented on screen. Though most graphic sex acts depicted in movies are simulated, sometimes actors actually perform the real deeds. According to Wikipedia, “the difference between these films and pornography is that, while such scenes might be considered erotic, the intent of these films is not solely pornographic.” Here are some notable real-life sex scenes that left many a movie-goer’s glasses steamed over.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
This film was notable because it featured a real sex act by a major Hollywood star. Chloë Sevigny’s character performs oral sex on real-life boyfriend Vincent Gallo, which caused an absolute uproar. She later told Playboy that she experienced “a lot of emotions [about the scene]. I’ll probably have to go to therapy at some point.“
Film critic Roger Ebert called The Brown Bunny the worst film in the history of Cannes, although after viewing a re-edited version of the film later gave the film his signature “thumbs up.”
Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song (1971)
Decades after the film premiered, star Melvin Van Peebles confessed that not only did he have real sex in the groundbreaking blaxploitation film, he contracted gonorrhea during filming. Yikes!
Even more disturbing, the film’s opening scene depicts 13-year-old Sweetback, played by Van Peebles’ son Mario, losing his virginity. Mario later said that he was forced to take part in the scene by his father, who simply wanted to complete his film.
Starring Al Pacino, this film was widely dismissed for being homophobic. The story of a serial killer who targets gay men, Cruising features murder scenes that are cut with actual footage of men having sex.
The film’s sets were also liberally peppered with phallic symbols: d*cks, d*cks everywhere.
All About Anna (2005)
The Danish film All About Anna is billed as a film about sexual relationships, which means it’s chock-full of erotic scenes. In response to public outcry over unsimulated intercourse and masturbation, director Jessica Nilsson defended the film by saying “without the sex scenes, the film’s drama would fall apart.”
All About Anna was billed as a romantic comedy for women that just happens to feature plenty of real, unsimulated sex.
Nothing is left to the imagination in director Gaspar Noé’s new film, which is remarkable for being released in 3-D. One reviewer, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, wrote that “There’s a difference between being naked before an audience and showing them your [johnson], and Noé does the latter—very literally, in close-up and 3-D.” Half the film takes place in bed, with unblinking, extended takes. The director gets up close and personal in order to express the deeper mysteries of relationships. The director faced a lot of criticism, namely because his previous films had received such high acclaim in the film scene. People had high hopes that he would break boundaries and redefine acting and cinema with Love.
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
Based on a true story of insatiable sexual desire, In the Realm of the Senses director Nagisa Oshima created one of the most controversial films of all time. The film also contains many gruesome scenes which were, luckily, re-enactments though all the sex was real.
Slate said that “In the Realm of the Senses is a film like no other, a magical fusion of art and pornography that somehow renders debates about the distinction between those two categories boringly beside the point. Asking if this film is porn is like asking if prehistoric cave paintings showing men with erections are porn. They’re porn, they’re art, they’re elemental and beautiful; it doesn’t matter.”
Lie with Me (2005)
When audiences commented that the action between Lauren Lee Smith and Eric Balfour looked very real, everyone on set admitted that it was. Actress Lauren Lee Smith said of the film, “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, …side. Taking the role wasn’t about the ‘naked chick’ quality – it’s about showing strong, …women.” Lauren can also be seen in “The L Word”, “The Listener”, and “CSI”.
Caligula was based on the real life exploits of the notoriously insane and lustful Roman Emperor and featured plenty of group sex, including penetration, fellatio and ejaculation.
The film is called one of the most obscene mainstream movies ever, and IMDb’s Parental Guide states that “No child should ever watch it, and several adults will have trouble with it. The film’s sexual content is considered pornographic in nature, with several hardcore inserts intended to sexually arouse, but really turn out to be quite disturbing.”
Intimacy follows two strangers who engage in weekly anonymous sex and gradually develop feelings for each other. The many sex scenes between stars Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox are all completely unsimulated.
Fox later said she has no regrets about performing the sex scenes, and that she’s proud of the film as one of her finest ever.
Ken Park (2002)
Ken Park is a 2002 drama-erotic film based around the lives of several California teenagers.
One of the characters has an ongoing sexual relationship with his girlfriend’s mother. He continues to socialize with her family, who, including his girlfriend, are completely unaware of the affair. The sex scenes in this film are all awkward, all real, and all completely unsimulated.
The French title Baise-moi is an ambiguous one. Baiser is a French verb meaning “to f*ck”, but it also means “a kiss” when used as a noun. Baise-moi would be translated as “F*ck me”.
Baise-moi, in this film, can be loosely translated to Kiss Me, F*ck Me, or Rape Me, so it’s not surprising that the film is chock-full of graphic, and usually violent, unsimulated sex.
A political candidate suddenly finds himself threatened by a criminal who presents footage of a steamy encounter between himself, his high-society fiancée, and a Hungarian prostitute. The politician and his fiancée find themselves venturing into a sordid world of pornography and sex work. All of the sex scenes are completely unsimulated.