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The 12 Most Erotic Non-Sex Scenes in Movie History

29 September 2016 | Features, Other Lists | by Theo Prasidis

erotic-moments

From the birth of cinema, filmmakers have always tried to delve deep into our subconscious, overcoming restraints and taboos, in a constant search of discovering the most repressed aspects of the human psyche.

Among these aspect, human erotisism thematically dominated the seventh art. Major directors from every corner of the world pushed the limits of what’s socially (and cinematically) proper, imprinting their own well-concealed fantasies into their films and respectively affecting our very own sexuality.

Sex, as the ultimate human act, is varyingly captured on film, sometimes through heartbreaking truthfulness, sometimes through joyous kinkiness, sometimes through shockingly explicitness. There are however many occasions in movie history where directors managed to provoke our soaring libidos without having their character succumbing to actual sex. From lustful foot fetishes, to exotic sensual dances to mere erotic confessions, these are the hottest non-sex scenes in movies.

 

12. And God Created Woman / Brigitte Bardot’s exotic dance

and-god-created-woman-brigitte-bardots-exotic-dance

Two and a half minutes into And God Created Woman, viewers get to witness Brigitte Bardot’s shapely body in all its naked glory, under the sizzling southern French sun. This archetypal image of ethereal female beauty was enough to shake the puritanical American 1950s. Upon its US release, Roger Vadim’s directorial debut was met with remarkable controversy, with police forces blocking screenings of the already censored version of the film.

A master of provoking erotisism, Roger Vadim transformed the upcoming Bardot -also his wife at the time- into an international sex symbol. Telling the story of a passionate love triangle revolving around a 18-year-old, sexually liberated orphan woman, And God Created Woman might not have the tightest of plots, but remains an engaging erotic drama, due to Bardot’s electrifying presence.

In one of the most sensational scenes towards the film’s end, her character Juliette indulges in a delirious exotic dance, literary driving crazy the men around her. “That girl was made to destroy men”, says her elder contender Eric, aptly summarizing the essence of a femme fatale.

 

11. Secretary / Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first spanking moment

Secretary

Thirteen years before the commercially successful but deeply conservative in its core Fifty Shades of Grey, Steven Shainberg’s indie gem Secretary did by far a better job exploring the complications of a sadomasochistic relationship.

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, an emotionally unstable woman who after being released from a mental clinic, starts working as the secretary of the eccentric attorney E. Edward Grey (the right Grey), imposingly performed by James Spader.

The film deals with the complicated matter of BDSM with disarming honesty, with a sharp sense of humor and without criticizing or discriminating. In probably her best performance to date, Maggie Gyllenhaal illustrates a fascinating character who finds shelter and even remedy in these practices of domination and submission.

The first spanking scene is a typical example of non-sex erotisism done right. After the initial shock, expressed both by Holloway and the viewer, the young secretary allows herself to give in to the sometimes hedonistic effects of pain in a shared erotic experience. And that’s perfectly OK.

 

10. Holy Motors / Motion-capture sex

holy-motors-motion-capture-sex

Holy Motors is a two-hour dreamlike ride filled with enough WTF moments to satisfy even the most peculiar tasted cinephiles. Mixing many different styles and genres, from drama and fantasy to sci-fi and musical, but always through a surreal kaleidoscope, French enfant terrible Leos Carax creates a triumph of visual cinematic storytelling and a film that vibrantly showcases cinema’s inherent capability of being reproduced from its own mythology.

In a plot that words fall short to describe, an enigmatic man is undertaking various real-life roles, as he rides in his limousine during a day. One of those roles is to perform a motion-capture sex scene with a bendy female actress.

Digitally portraying two demon-like creatures, the couple indulges in a lascivious intercourse simulation with impossible sexual acrobatics, dressed in their fetishistically tight motion-capture uniforms. With the complete absence of music and nothing but the actor’s heavy sensual breathing on the soundtrack, the scene oozes mystifying arousal and psychedelic paroxysm.

 

9. Basic Instinct / Between Sharon Stone’s legs

basic-instinct

In his 1992 uber erotic thriller, Dutch cult director Paul Verhoeven suggested where Hitchcock would probably go, should the ethics of mid-20th century Hollywood allowed him. Pushing the boundaries of what is cinematically acceptable, Basic Instinct became one of the biggest box-office hits of the 1990s and established its sensual lead, Sharon Stone, as the absolute sex symbol of the decade.

Highly controversial at the time of its release, Basic Instinct divided critics and enraged gay rights activists for its portrayal of Stone’s homosexual character as a murdering psycho. Despite its narrative issues and the somewhat underwhelming finale, it is a provocative neo-noir that will be forever memorized for the infamous interrogation scene.

In a tour de force performance, Stone takes the femme fatale archetype to the next level. The moment she crosses her legs -reportedly the most paused one in film history- signifies a new era for Hollywood, altering the way erotisism is portrayed on-screen and engaging the fantasies of a whole generation of men.

 

8. Spider-man / Upside down kiss

spider-man-upside-down-kiss

Long before the frenzy of cinematic universes and avenging assemblages, Sam Raimi was the first one to adapt the famous web-slinger’s adventures to the big screen, largely establishing the direction and aesthetics of the modern superhero film. A product of a devoted fan’s pure love, Spider-man was approached tenderly towards its story and characters, with a handful of cheesy, but always heartwarming moments.

In the film’s most iconic scene, a typical damsel in distress rescued by a male hero occasion, Spider-man saves Mary Jane from a group of thugs. Ecstatic by Spidey’s heroics, Mary Jane thanks her prince charming with a fiery upside down kiss.

Kirsten Dunst’s naive attractiveness, with the pivotal input of the pouring rain -always an erotic element- that lustfully highlighted her erect nipples, made this moment every geek’s wet dream for years. The whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, currently running its third phase, hasn’t gone anywhere near the sexiness of that single scene.

 

7. Gilda / Rita Hayworth takes off her glove

gilda-rita-hayworth-takes-off-her-glove

Charles Vidor’s genre defining noir is also a quintessential film about female emancipation and sexual liberation. Led by the radiant Rita Hayworth in her most memorable role ever, Gilda blatantly bypassed the patriarchal 1950s ethics and defined the dominant dynamics of the cinematic femme fatale.

The film has been carved into our collective subconscious for that seminal moment when Rita Hayworth sang Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher’s “Put the Blame on Mame” in front of a choked male audience.

Dressed in that iconic strapless black dress, designed by Jean Loui, Hayworth’s voluptuous sways lead to the absolute most erotic striptease in film history. She didn’t have to go any further than removing her long satin glove to arouse men’s fantasies, doing absolute justice to the film’s tagline: “There never was a woman like Gilda”.

 

 

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  • Boom!

    Am I sick if I find Neon Demon to fit this list in most of the scenes?

  • Pingback: The 12 Most Erotic Non-Sex Scenes in Movie History | Roberto Cimatti()

  • Μιχάλης

    How about the lap dance by Vanessa Ferlito at Death Proof?

  • Tony

    Leaving Lauren Bacall’s “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and . . . blow.” off this list would indicate that the author either has never seen “To Have & Have Not” or doesn’t really understand his own premise. I wanted to get a time machine and shoot back to 1944 when I saw that scene.

  • Grace Skerp

    The Lady Eve. Barbara Stanwyck has Henry Fonda on his back, fiddling with his ear, talking as much trash as the Hays Code would allow. Fonda later intimated that after the shoot he needed a cold shower.

    • Llort Bew

      He rubbed one out?

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