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How has cinema approached sex? Leave your inhibitions at the door and find out.

This collection includes films with sexually explicit scenes.

Good sex scenes in cinema are few and far between, and rare is the film that dares to take sex seriously. From silly sex comedies in the 70s to the glut of steamy thrillers of the 80s and 90s, the act of sex has often been reduced to mere titillation.

Not so with these explorations of the erotic, which veer from Britain’s first sex movie (Her Private Hell), a Palme d’Or-winning lesbian love story (Blue is the Warmest Colour), a work from Lars von Trier at his most provocative (Nymphomaniac) and a tale of lusty and murderous obsession at a French gay cruising ground (Stranger by the Lake).

triangle triangle
View I Promise You Anarchy
I Promise You Anarchy
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I Promise You Anarchy 2015 18

A pair of teenage skateboarders find themselves drawn into a murky criminal underworld in this distinctive and erotic thriller.

88 mins Mexico Director. Julio Hernández Cordón

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Trap for Cinderella
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Trap for Cinderella 2011 15

Emilia Fox delves into Tuppence Middleton’s repressed childhood memories, in Iain Softley’s erotic and elaborate psycho-thriller.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Iain Softley

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Secret Rites
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Secret Rites 1971 18

'King of the Witches' Alex Sanders initiates doe-eyed Penny into the ways of his coven.

47 mins United Kingdom Director. Derek Ford

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Théo and Hugo
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Théo and Hugo 2016 18

A brief encounter at a naked sex club in Paris seems to be going well for Theo and Hugo, but a sudden realisation changes everything.

97 mins France Director. Jacques Martineau, Olivier Ducastel

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The Chambermaid Lynn
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The Chambermaid Lynn 2014 18

An obsessive-compulsive hotel cleaner who harbours a fetishistic fascination with her hotel's guests meets an enigmatic dominatrix who changes her world.

105 mins Germany Director. Ingo Haeb

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Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
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Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures 2016 18

An unflinching and sometimes graphic account of the life, art and legacy of the legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

108 mins USA Director. Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey

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Donkey Punch
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Donkey Punch 2007 18

Nichola Burley and Jamie Winstone star in the yacht-set shocker, in which a teen sex party turns into a deadly fight for survival.

99 mins United Kingdom Director. Olly Blackburn

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The Duke of Burgundy
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The Duke of Burgundy 2014 18

Peter Strickland’s visually and aurally intoxicating tale of sadomasochistic power-play is a daringly erotic sensory feast.

104 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter Strickland

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Chemsex 2015 18

A hard-hitting and often graphic documentary about the 'chemsex' sub-scene in London’s gay community.

83 mins USA Director. Max Gogarty, William Fairman

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Everlasting Love
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Everlasting Love 2014 18

A thrilling and disturbing exploration of the perils of illicit sexual encounters, beginning when a teacher initiates a tryst with one of his pupils.

69 mins Spain Director. Marçal Forés

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You and the Night
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You and the Night 2013 18

Eric Cantona and Beatrice Dalle star in an outrageous erotic fever dream about a couple who invite four diverse guests to their midnight orgy.

98 mins France Director. Yann Gonzalez

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Shame 2011 18

A sex addict struggles to hide his habits from his equally troubled sister. With Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Steve McQueen

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Permissive 1970 18

When Suzy arrives in London to visit an old school friend, she is unwittingly plunged into the ruthless world of the ‘groupie’.

89 mins United Kingdom Director. Lindsay Shonteff

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Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers)
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Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers) 1932 Not Rated

Stuffed-shirt party pooper Sir Hector infiltrates a sunbathing camp full of scantily clad jazz-swingers in this 1930s comedy

36 mins United Kingdom Director. Norman Lee

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Lovelace 2013 18

Porn star Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) finds herself abused by the industry and her maniacal husband– so she sets off to embrace feminism and, vitally, herself.

92 mins USA Director. Robert Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

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Jeune & jolie
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Jeune & jolie 2013 18

Francois Ozon’s sly and seductive account of teenage girl’s dalliance with high-class prostitution.

95 mins France Director. François Ozon

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The Rainbow
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The Rainbow 1988 15

Ken Russell returns to D. H. Lawrence for the story of a young girl’s sexual awakening and immersion in a love triangle with both a man and a woman.

113 mins United Kingdom Director. Ken Russell

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Blue is the Warmest Colour
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Blue is the Warmest Colour 2013 18

The epic, passionate and strikingly naturalistic Palme d'Or-winning romance.

179 mins France Director. Abdel Kechiche

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Nymphomaniac Vol. I
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Nymphomaniac Vol. I 2013 18

Volume 1 of Lars von Trier’s explicit, controversial film about a woman recounting the history of her sexuality in episodic style.

117 mins Denmark Director. Lars von Trier

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Stranger by the Lake
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Stranger by the Lake 2013 18

A young man witnesses a violent crime at a gay cruising ground and becomes obsessed with the killer in Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed mystery-thriller.

100 mins France Director. Alain Guiraudie

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Fidelio, Alice's Journey
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Fidelio, Alice's Journey 2014 15

When Alice takes a job as a ship’s engineer her fidelity towards her shore-bound fiancé is tested when she discovers a former lover is the ship’s captain.

95 mins France Director. Lucie Borleteau

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La Bête (The Beast)
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La Bête (The Beast) 1975 18

An outrageous classic of erotic cinema, Walerian Borowczyk’s playful and subversive fantasy finds a horny heiress courting the ravenous desires of a wild beast.

93 mins France Director. Walerian Borowczyk

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That Kind of Girl
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That Kind of Girl 1963 12

A cautionary tale about VD and the dangers of free-love set against a backdrop of smoky jazz clubs and evocative London locations.

77 mins United Kingdom Director. Gerry O'Hara

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American Translation
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American Translation 2010 18

A sexually ambiguous Frenchman tours his native countryside with his naive American lover in pursuit of the ultimate thrill.

115 mins France Director. Pascal Ascandes Arnold, Jean-Marc Barr

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Sebastiane 1976 18

A distinctly bold and sensual reclaiming of gay history, Jarman here tells the sexually intense story of the 4th-century martyr.

85 mins United Kingdom Director. Derek Jarman

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Keep the Lights on
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Keep the Lights on 2012 18

A filmmaker escapes the pain of a break-up through casual sex and meets a closeted lawyer in this deeply personal work from Ira Sachs.

102 mins USA

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Swimming Pool
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Swimming Pool 2002 15

A crime novelist seeks peace but gets a dangerous muse in this twisted bilingual thriller from François Ozon.

102 mins France Director. François Ozon

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Goltzius and the Pelican Company
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Goltzius and the Pelican Company 2014 18

An artist stages a series of erotic dramatisations illustrating sexual taboos from the Old Testament, in this startling and shocking return from director Peter Greenaway.

128 mins Netherlands Director. Peter Greenaway

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Over Exposed
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Over Exposed 1977 18

Aye aye, Captain! Sex comedy hijinks on the Thames near Twickenham in this forgotten saga of a switched-on snapper

38 mins United Kingdom Director. David Grant, Dennis London

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