This Is the First Sex Scene in Movie History

And it includes an on-screen female orgasm, so way to go, 1933.

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We may live in the era of Fifty Shades (opens in new tab), but Hollywood movies haven't always been so liberal when it comes to depicting sex. Still, for as long as there have been moving images, there have been directors pushing the proverbial envelope—and by 1933, the world of cinema had what's generally considered to be the first true movie sex scene (opens in new tab). Let's break it down, shall we?

The scene in question is in Ecstasy, a 1933 Czech film (because American filmmakers weren't ready to go there yet) starring legendary actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr.

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The Set-Up

In one of her first roles ever, Lamarr played a young woman who leaves her older, impotent husband for a lust-filled relationship with a sexy engineer. According to Vulture (opens in new tab), their love resulted in what seems to be cinema's first-ever sex scene.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Nudity

Although Ecstasy's sex scene itself didn't actually feature any nudity, the film did. Most famously, there was a long scene featuring Lamarr skinny-dipping, which was quite scandalous at the time.

The Orgasm

Finally, probably the most progressive thing about Ecstasy is that the sex scene depicted Lamarr's character achieving orgasm. Considering even many modern movies struggle with sex-positive portrayals of women, this deserves several 💯 emojis, printed out and sent back in time to 1933.


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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.