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).

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Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)

Drama201594 minsDirector: Eva Husson

High-school students start a private orgy society in Eva Husson’s dazzlingly shot, no-holds-barred drama.

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The Chambermaid LynnThe Chambermaid Lynn

201490 minsDirector: Ingo Haeb

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

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Mapplethorpe: Look at the PicturesMapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Documentary2016109 minsDirector: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

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

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That Kind of GirlThat Kind of Girl

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.

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Donkey PunchDonkey Punch

Thriller200895 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.

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The Book of GabrielleThe Book of Gabrielle

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.

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Keep the Lights onKeep the Lights on

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.

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American TranslationAmerican Translation

2010115 minsDirector: Pascal Ascandes Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr

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

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Jeune & jolieJeune & jolie

Drama201393 mins

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

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Biopic201393 minsDirector: Jeffrey Friedman and Robert Epstein

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.

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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’.

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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

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I Promise You AnarchyI Promise You Anarchy

201586 minsDirector: Julio Hernández Cordón

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

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Over ExposedOver Exposed

Drama197736 minsDirector: Dennis London and David Grant

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

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Secret RitesSecret Rites

Documentary197147 minsDirector: Derek Ford

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

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The RainbowThe Rainbow

Drama1989106 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.

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Everlasting LoveEverlasting Love

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.

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Central BazaarCentral Bazaar

Drama1976142 minsDirector: Stephen Dwoskin

Five strangers explore their fantasies over a period of five days in Stephen Dwoskin's remarkable experimental film.

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Blue is the Warmest ColourBlue is the Warmest Colour

Romance2013180 minsDirector: Abdel Kechiche

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

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Trap for CinderellaTrap for Cinderella

Drama2013100 minsDirector: Iain Softley

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

More related films in our Subscription collection, Sex.

More related films in the Rentals collection, The Pleasure Principle.