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).
Drama201594 minsDirector: Eva Husson
High-school students start a private orgy society in Eva Husson’s dazzlingly shot, no-holds-barred drama.
201490 minsDirector: Ingo Haeb
An obsessive-compulsive hotel cleaner who harbours a fetishistic fascination with her hotel's guests meets an enigmatic dominatrix who changes her world.
Drama201798 minsDirector: Eliza Hittman
Gripping account of repressed sexual desire in a hyper-masculine environment, with British newcomer Harris Dickinson as a virulently macho Brooklyn teen.
Documentary2016109 minsDirector: Fenton Bailey
An unflinching and sometimes graphic account of the life, art and legacy of the legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
Thriller200795 minsDirector: Olly Blackburn
Nichola Burley and Jamie Winstone star in the yacht-set shocker, in which a teen sex party turns into a deadly fight for survival.
Drama201679 minsDirector: Lisa Gornick
Lisa Gornick's funny and frank drama sketches the relationship between a sex-obsessed lesbian illustrator and a randy hetero author, who bond over their favourite subject.
2010115 minsDirector: Pascal Ascandes Arnold
A sexually ambiguous Frenchman tours his native countryside with his naive American lover in pursuit of the ultimate thrill.
Drama2012102 minsDirector: Ira Sachs
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.
Drama197090 minsDirector: Lindsay Shonteff
When Suzy arrives in London to visit an old school friend, she is unwittingly plunged into the ruthless world of the ‘groupie’.
Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers)Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers)
Comedy193235 minsDirector: Norman Lee
Stuffed-shirt party pooper Sir Hector infiltrates a sunbathing camp full of scantily clad jazz-swingers in this 1930s comedy
201586 minsDirector: Julio Hernández Cordón
A pair of teenage skateboarders find themselves drawn into a murky criminal underworld in this distinctive thriller.
Biopic201393 minsDirector: Jeffrey Friedman
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.
Drama201469 minsDirector: Marçal Forés
A thrilling and disturbing exploration of the perils of illicit sexual encounters, beginning when a teacher initiates a tryst with one of his pupils.
Drama1975142 minsDirector: Stephen Dwoskin
Five strangers explore their fantasies over a period of five days in Stephen Dwoskin's remarkable experimental film.
Drama2011100 minsDirector: Iain Softley
Emilia Fox delves into Tuppence Middleton’s repressed childhood memories, in Iain Softley’s erotic and elaborate psycho-thriller.
Drama1988106 minsDirector: Ken Russell
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.
Drama196377 minsDirector: Gerry O'Hara
A cautionary tale about VD and the dangers of free-love set against a backdrop of smoky jazz clubs and evocative London locations.