While the vast majority of films rely on body doubles and camerawork to accomplish the illusion of actual sex acts between characters, there are a handful of movies that skip the smoke and mirrors entirely. These movies all contain real sex scenes between their actors. Some of them are extremely explicit and others more subtle. But all of them are unsimulated.
Lie with me (2005)
The 2005 movie Lie With Me, based on the novel by Tamara Berger, follows a man and a woman in Toronto who initiate an intense affair. The sex scenes are extremely graphic and also real.
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The Brown Bunny (2003)
Alt darlings Vincent Gallo and Chloë Sevigny made a big splash with the 2003 film The Brown Bunny. The movie is about a motorcycle racer who reminisces about one of his old lovers. The movie ends with an extended scene of Sevigny performing oral sex on Gallo. Brown Bunny had a disastrous premier at the Cannes Film Festival. The audience rejected it violently, most of them walking out of the theater and the rest of them booing. On his way out, Roger Ebert said it was “the worst film in the history of the festival.”
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Another movie from the art house (or warped, some might say) imagination of Lars Von Trier, this epic journey through the sexual adventures of a nymphomaniac sees lead actress Charlotte Gainsbourg having unsimulated romps with all manner of co-stars. While all actors willingly stripped off for real-life sex scenes to give the movie a, erm, penetrative edge, their climaxes were shot using body doubles.
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The Lover (1992)
This movie about a young French woman embarking on a steamy fling with a rich, older Chinese man sparked widespread controversy upon its release. Speculation was rife that racy scenes featuring stars Jane March and Tony Ka Fai Leung were not simulated – and the film pushed the limits of what the acceptable age is to see a young girl engaging in such acts on screen should be.
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Little Ashes (2008)
No doubt Robert Pattinson was left with little rashes after Little Ashes. Eager to distance himself from the candy-coated Twilight series, the movie follows the young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca – and R-Patz later admitted he masturbated for real in one scene, because faking it “just doesn’t work”.
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Pink Flamingos (1972)
Pink Flamingos is a 1972 American black comedy exploitation film written, produced, scored, shot, edited, narrated, and directed by John Waters. When the film was initially released, it caused a huge degree of controversy due to the wide range of perverse acts performed in explicit detail. It did make a star out of the drag queen actor Divine. John Waters’ cult film Pink Flamingos is now the stuff of legend. Even 44 years later, it’s just as transgressive and at times hard to watch as it was when it was released. The film has a litany of shocks so long that it would be more economical to list the scenes that don’t contain something bizarre, horrifying and graphically sexual. In one scene, a man kills a chicken while raping (simulated) a girl. In another, the protagonist, played by a drag queen named Divine, gives oral sex to her character’s son.
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“Baise moi” can translate as “kiss me” or “f*ck me.” It was previously marketed as “Rape Me” in some countries but the filmmakers rejected it as a mistranslation. You will be shocked to learn that the movie contains a number of real sex scenes. The movie is based on a novel by Despentes, published the year before. It follows a prostitute named Nadine and a slacker named Manu, who go on a crime spree together after they are both gang raped.
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All about Anna (2005)
All About Anna is a Danish movie that was meant to be just a normal romcom for women, except with graphic, real sex scenes. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, co-produce by Lars von Trier’s Zentropa Productions. It’s the third in a Zentropa trilogy of sex movies made for women, along with Constance and Pink Prison. The movie is about a woman named Anna, played by Gry Bay, who embarks on a series of loveless sexual relationships after being dumped by her boyfriend Johan. The movie straddles the line between pornography and narrative film.
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Caligula had all the markings of a great film. Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren and Peter O’Toole were all cast members. The original draft of the screenplay was penned by Gore Vidal. And critically acclaimed avant-garde Italian filmmaker Tinto Brass was set to direct. And then the whole thing fell apart. Caligula is now synonymous with “cinema disaster.” The film is truly difficult to watch, and never quite managed to achieve its aim of rising above the status of pornography to make an “erotic drama.” The movie is essentially pornography, featuring extreme sex acts as well as simulated depictions of incest and bestiality. It holds the distinction of being one of only films Roger Ebert ever walked out on.
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