Here's the thing. People have sex. Movies have sex scenes. Wouldn't it be intriguing if a movie featured two actors having actual, consensual sex, instead of just mimicking sex in a way that looks great onscreen but is almost certainly very, very awkward in real life? Yes, obviously, we're aware that porn exists, but we are not talking about porn here. No, we're talking about actual, mainstream (or, at very least, as the level of "mainstream" achieved by arthouse foreign films and indies) movies with actual plots that also happen to feature actual humans engaging in actual sex acts. Don't roll your eyes—these movies exist. And, not only do they exist, but there are, honestly, way more of them out there than you probably realize—and we're just highlighting 40 of our favorites.
You read that correctly: This list contains 40 full movies that have answered your prayers and made all of your sex-obsessed dreams come true. They all feature plenty of sex, and, unlike most of the sex you see onscreen, the moments of hotness in these movies is all completely, totally, and one hundred percent real. It's intense and kind of hot to see people have sex in a movie and know it's actually real, and that's what you'll get with these movies. As you might expect, a lot of these movies are indies and foreign films—realms where pushing the envelope, especially in the realm of carnal pleasures, is more accepted. But, some of them feature fully mainstream stars and Oscar winners like Al Pacino, Mark Rylance, and even Dame Helen Mirren.
Based on the 2008 novel of the same name, Wetlands (known in German as Feuchtgebiete) is your classic, brutally honest coming-of-age movie. The movie deals with a lot of big themes, like feminism and sexuality, but its 18-year-old protagonist is also the kind of girl who masturbates with vegetables and ends up in the hospital after an anal hair shaving experiment gone awry, so there's that.
Much Loved (also known as Zin Li Fik) is known for more than its unsimulated sex scenes. The 2015 French-Moroccan drama was one of the first movies to ever address the issue of prostitution in Morocco (where the movie is banned, FYI, over objections to its content).
The movie focuses on the stories of four female sex workers, and addresses serious issues like the exploitation of prostitutes, the way sex workers are treated by pimps, and police corruption.
Stranger by the Lake (or, as it's known in French, L'Inconnu du lac) is a bona fide critical darling. The 2013 French drama-thriller premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where its director, Alain Guiraudie, won Best Director. As if that weren't critical cred enough, the movie also won the Queer Palm award and earned a place on several top ten lists in 2014.
The movie focuses on Franck, a regular at a nude beach known as a cruising spot for gay men, who becomes infatuated with the handsome Michel—even after he witnesses Michel murdering another man in the lake.
Sexual Chronicles of a French Family is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The 2012 French comedy-drama film centers on a family who gather to open up about their sexual experiences when the youngest son in the family is caught filming himself masturbating in class. There are two versions of the movie: the Sensual version (which is softcore) and the Sexual version (yep, hardcore).
We Are the Flesh, aka by its Spanish title, Somos la Carne, is a 2016 Mexican-French horror film that focuses on two siblings forced to take extraordinary measures (of the Cersei and Jaime Lannister-esque variety) to survive in a scary AF, post-apocalyptic world.
In 2014's Pasolini, Willem Dafoe portrays Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini. The movie focuses on the final days of the director's life and his relationship with a boy from the suburbs of Rome, named Pino Pelosi, who, along with some of his friends eventually attacks and kills Pasolini.
The love scenes in Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which opens on an extended, 10-minute sex scene, are undeniably captivating. That's fitting, considering how impossible it is not to get sucked in to the relationship the film depicts between Adèle and Emma.
I Want Your Love is the title of both a 2010 short film and a 2012 full-length film, both written and directed by Travis Matthews. Both movies focus on Jesse Metzger, a gay man who has to leave San Francisco and move back to his hometown because of financial struggles. In both versions of the story, the actors use their own names and incorporate elements of their real lives into the plot. The movies are also known for their graphic depictions of sex—which isn't shocking when you know that they were both produced, in part, by NakedSword, a studio that produces gay porn.
Paradise: Faith is the second movie in Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy. The movie focuses on Anna Maria, a devout Catholic woman, who is thrown into conflict when her estranged Muslim husband, who is partially-paralyzed returns home and demands her love. The movie made waves for including unsimulated scenes of masturbation and fellatio.
Don't let the title fool you: This 2005 movie is not a sequel to 1999's 8mm. In fact, the movie's original title was The Velvet Side of Hell. Still, it features lots of unsimulated and pornographic scenes, if that's what you're looking for.
This 2004 French erotic drama explores the darker sides of sexuality, complete with unsimulated sex scenes. The movie tells the story of a lonely woman who pays a gay man to spend four days locked away with her in an isolated house to explore all aspects of sexuality.
Another Bruce LaBruce entry on the list, Otto; or, Up with Dead People is a queer cinema horror film about a zombie who ends up in an underground filmmaker's zombie porno film. The sex is real, the gore, thankfully, is not.
Baise-moi (English translation: "F*ck Me") is a 2000 French thriller about two women set out to get revenge on people who wronged them, including a group of men who gang rape one of them. The film has, understandably, been controversial since its release.
Although this movie was made in 1976, it was so controversial it wasn't released in theaters until 2000. The source of the controversy? The film's use of unsimulated sex as well as scenes in which the lead, Charlotte Alexandra, exposes her breasts and vulva. Although Alexandra was 20 when the movie was filmed, she was playing a 14-year-old character.
This 2015 era film features an insane amount of unsimulated sex, including a threesome and an orgy. The film—by director Gaspar Noé—is about a couple's dysfunctional relationship, and is told partially through flashbacks. Fun fact: Noé had chemistry tests done between the actors—which makes sense given the amount of on-screen sex. Other fun fact: the movie debuted at Cannes.
This 1999 art house film is about a woman whose boyfriend won't have sex with her, causing her to start looking elsewhere. And yes, it features unsimulated sex throughout. FYI, the movie was given an R rating in the states after significant edits, so you might have trouble finding the original cut.
This 2008 film is about a zombie in Berlin, and features plenty of erotic scenes thanks to the fact that one of the characters is making a documentary about porn. Apparently, the intimate moments are real—so if your interests include zombies and sex, get on it.
1979's Caligula is slightly controversial in its status as a "regular" film vs. a porn film—but the fact that it has A-list actors like Peter O'Toole and Helen Mirren certainly lends it some mainstream cred. The movie was produced by Penthouse Magazine, and featured unsimulated sex scenes that were added post-production (much to the chagrin of the director) and acted out by "Penthouse Pets."
Good ol' Shortbus! This 2006 comedy is one of the better-known movies of this particular subgenre, and for good reason: it's legit great. The film centers on the happenings at an artsy sexual salon in Brooklyn, and chronicles one woman's very explicit adventures in trying to achieve orgasm. (FYI, actress Sook-Yin Lee was almost fired from her radio gig because of this movie, but kept her job thanks to the support of A-listers like Gus Van Sant, Francis Ford Coppola, and Yoko Ono.)
If you like your unsimulated sex with a side of hipster angst, look no further than 2004's 9 Songs. The film is essentially about a couple who a) attend concerts by aughts bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Dandy Warhols, and b) have a ton of sex. And it's very, very real.
Remember when The Brown Bunny came out in 2003 and no one could stop talking about the oral sex scene between Vincent Gallo and Chloe Sevigny? It broke alllll kinds of boundaries (after all, Sevigny is a household name-level actress), and remains one of the most notable unsimulated moments in film.
Expect Lars von Trier's name to pop up several times on this list, starting with 1998's dramedy The Idiots, about a group of friends who release their inhibitions (feel the rain on their skin) and get their orgy on. The sex is mostly simulated by actors, but one scene features actual sex enacted by stand-ins from the porn industry.
This circa-1980 thriller by William Friedkin stars Al Pacino as a cop who's trying to find a serial killer targeting gay men. The film's original version featured footage of gay sex, and while some frames remain visible in the final cut, a lot was deleted to nab an R rating. (Upon its release, this movie caused quite a bit of drama, and was protested by gay rights activists who felt stigmatized.)
Intimacy is a 2001 British film about a man who falls in love with the woman he's having casual sex with—only to realize she's married and has no plans to leave her husband (sorry, that was definitely a spoiler). The sex is real, which is pretty rare for a mainstream movie that won Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
Lie with Me is a 2005 indie drama about a man and woman's affair—and stars two pretty well known actors: Eric Balfour (who plays Milo Pressman in 24) and Lauren Lee Smith (who plays Riley Adams in CSI). The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, but wasn't exactly a critical success.
Lars von Trier strikes again! The director's 2009 film Antichrist stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg—and while they reportedly used body doubles, the sex is most definitely unsimulated. (Note: This film was highly controversial for scenes of vaginal mutilation, but on the other hand Gainsbourg won Best Actress at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.)
Guys, LOL. Don't Look Now (a true gift from 1973) has a *very* intense, very *au natural* sex scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, and it was all kinds of controversial for a) featuring oral sex on a woman, and b) kinda-sorta-maybe being unsimulated. Basically some people say they did, some say they didn't, and no one will ever know the truth. What happens on the set of Don't Look Know stays on the set of Don't Look Now.
Yup, Lars von Trier is back at it. This 2013 film starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, and Willem Dafoe (among others) featured unsimulated sex per usual—but there's a catch. The actors simulated sex, and then body doubles had IRL sex, and their genital area was superimposed on the actors. #Normal. Also, apparently some prosthetic vaginas were floating around set.