Sex has been depicted in film and television differently over the ages, developing new and dynamic portrayals with crafty camera angles and strategically placed bed sheets. While we may have initially averted our eyes, our intrigue inevitably overcomes our timidity and we can’t seem to look away. Here are some of the best and worst sex scenes to grace the screen.
1. “A History of Violence” — The 2005 crime thriller starring Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello features not just one, but two great sex scenes. One of them features what director David Cronenberg called “the classic American sexual fantasy,” where Edie (Bello) dons a cheerleader uniform before doing it. This scene is also the first time that the “69” is in a mainstream film. Furthermore, after Edie discovers that Tom (Mortensen) may not be who he says he is, they have perhaps one of the most heated sex scenes ever, as Edie is simultaneously repelled by and attracted to Tom as they do it on the stairs. Both actors were said to have asked for “sex padding” for the filming. Google it. It’s pretty real.
2. “The Piano” — The 1993 film about the mute pianist, played by Holly Hunter, and her daughter, played by Anna Paquin, who both took home Oscars for their roles, also happens to have one of the most romantic sex scenes that you can’t help but fawn over. Ada (Hunter) communicates through her music, her love for her piano only trumped by the love she has for her daughter and for her lover, Baines (Harvey Keitel). As Baines helps Ada recover her beloved piano, he becomes entranced by her playing and strikes a deal with her, letting her buy back her piano only if she agrees to let him “do what he wish” with her.
3. “Mulholland Drive” — Director David Lynch certainly had some crazy ideas in mind when he was filming this 2001 flick about amnesiac actress Rita (Laura Harring) and wannabe actress Betty (Naomi Watts), who tries to help her remember. A goodnight kiss on the head turns into them groping and kissing one another. “You drive me wild,” says Rita, before she tells Betty that they should quit it. On top, Betty refuses, saying “Don’t ever say that again” with ferocious intensity as she continues. This scene will drive you wild.
4. “True Blood” — This erotic HBO show is known for its slightly over-the-top yet immensely satisfying sex scenes. Protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) gets romanced by two of the most brooding and sexy vampires ever to grace the silver screen. First she loses her virginity to the southern gentle-vampire Bill Compton (played by her real-life husband, Stephen Moyer). We watched as she came into womanhood, Bill biting her on the neck, the blood gushing as she experienced her first orgasm. She has since moved on from Bill to the strapping and devilish Nordic god that is vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard). They’ve done it in the woods, on the floor, on the couch, in the snow and pretty much any place you can think of. Additionally, Sookie’s brother, Jason, has slept with nearly every woman in the town!
5. “Game of Thrones” — The freedom of HBO lets “Thrones” get away with lots of gore and lots of sex. When Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally has her way with Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), you can’t help but feel a bit tingly. “Tonight I will look upon your face,” she says in that mysterious Dothraki tongue, as she mounts him and establishes her dominance. And what about Cersei and Jaime Lannister (Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)? Yes, that’s right — these golden lions are siblings, but that doesn’t stop them from doing the deed.
1. “Girls” — Yet another HBO cult crowdpleaser, but creator Lena Dunham takes it too far when Adam (Adam Driver) tries to romance a girl out of his league (Shiri Appleby), only to have him succumb to his sadistic ways and “squirt out” all over her chest even after she told him not to. Sometimes you have to sacrifice “realistic” for what is necessary for viewers, and this was just not necessary.
2. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestseller sends chills down spines, but not for the right reason. The brutal rape scene is disturbing to watch, as Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is handcuffed, tied down and coerced into performing sexual deeds for her court-ordered guardian. It’s a total turnoff.
3. “Game of Thrones” — Yup, it made both lists. As appealing as sex may be, it can be equally unappealing when you watch naked brothel girls performing “sexual favors” for men triple their size. Tyrannical boy ruler Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) makes prostitutes beat each other savagely as he stands by and grins. And what about Theon (Alfie Allen) and that weird girl on that ship? Ew.
1. “Team America: World Police” — Anything with Trey Parker’s name behind it is bound to have some hilariously uncomfortable moments in it. Just because the puppets don’t have physical body parts doesn’t mean that watching dolls have sex onscreen is any less disturbing.