The great thing about sex scenes in movies is that, unlike porn, they’re part of a larger story which means that there is a level of emotional and physical intimacy. From tender first love to steamy lust, here’s our pick of cinematic love-making that every woman should watch at least once in her life. These scenes will transport you, make you uncomfortable, teach you something… or simply turn you on!

Atonement (2007)

Atonement’s love scene, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as Cecilia and Robbie, initiates the central conflict in the film. The plot tension heightens the sexual tension, making the scene sexy, emotional and complicated, even though it’s so short.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple with a tumultuous but passionate relationship. The scene is significant because it shows oral sex being performed on a woman something few films dare to broach. It was given an NC-17-rating (the highest rating in the US)  in American cinemas, but Ryan Gosling led the appeal to change it to R-rated (one level below NC-17), saying that it was a sexist decision: ‘There’s plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it’s a man receiving it from a woman  and they’re R-rated. Ours is reversed and somehow it’s perceived as pornographic.’


The Dreamers (2003)

Set in Paris during the 1960s student riots, The Dreamers follows an American student, Matthew (Michael Pitt), who meets a twin brother and sister, Theo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green). Matthew soon realises that the pair are extremely, and slightly uncomfortably, sexually liberal. He becomes Isabelle’s lover but also gets entwined in their messy sibling relationship. The film is an enchanting look at sexual discovery and young love.

Lust, Caution (2007)

The sex scenes from Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution were so racy that the film was given an NC-17-rating. The story follows an actress, Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei), who goes undercover for the Japanese government and helps them with a plot to assassinate a Chinese special agent, Mr Yee. But she ultimately falls in love with him, resulting in passionate but conflicted sexual encounters.


The To Do List (2014)

The To Do List is a hilarious and endearing film about an awkward teenager, Brandy Klark (Audrey Plaza) who has a sexual awakening during her last year at high school. The best scene is her masturbation scene, which captures the frustrating feelings of teenage sexual urges and experimentation. An added bonus is that Brandy approaches masturbation with extreme determination, mumbling ‘I am not a quitter!’ throughout.

aubrey plaza

Gif via Reddit

Related: 

5 Sex Toys For Classy Women

You Can Make Anyone Fall In Love With You. This Is How

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

This Mexican road trip movie follows two teenage boys (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) who go on holiday with a woman in her twenties. The film is known for its explicit sex and drug-use scenes, but the threesome has become particularly celebrated as it is one of a few films in mainstream cinema that features a female-centred ménage à trois.

Top Gun (1986)

Top Gun, although iconic, is not the greatest movie ever but the sex scene between Tom Cruise as the macho ‘Maverick’ and Kelly McGillis as Charlie is a classic.

Titanic (1997)

This one doesn’t really need an explanation. Jack (Leo DiCaprio), Rose (Kate Winslet) and that hand print on the steamy car window make for one of the most memorable movie sex scenes ever.

Her (2013)

In Spike Jonze’s Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely man who develops a romantic relationship with his computer’s operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson – a little left of field but also not so far from possible future reality? They have an extremely intimate sexual conversation, and we never see Scarlett, just hear her voice, but the scene is still incredibly hot!

The Notebook (2004)

Everyone in the MC office was unanimous about the inclusion of this one on the list. The love-making that ensues when Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) are reunited is definitely one of the highlights in the history of sex scenes.

Cruel Intentions (1999)

The Cruel Intentions scene between Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe’s characters is tender, loving and intimate – basically just how you’d want a first-time experience to play out (probably a little unrealistic, but fun to watch).

Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013)

Blue Is The Warmest Colour is the critically acclaimed love story of two young French girls, Emma (Léa Seydoux) and Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Adele is an introverted teenager who is confused about her sexual orientation and Emma is an openly gay, confident college student who befriends her. Adele has her first lesbian experience with Emma and the two fall in love. The film looks at lesbian love and sex in an unexploitative and tender way, making it a departure from the usual ‘hot lesbian sex scenes’ mostly depicted in film.

Blue-Is-The-Warmest-Color-2