14. The Story of O (Just Jaeckin, 1975)
O (Corinne Cléry) is a beautiful young woman who is taken by her boyfriend René (Udo Kier) to a mansion that doubles as the headquarters of a secret BDSM society, where she is trained in various sadomasochistic acts.
This is a well-known cult classic story dealing with the theme of submission. An adaptation of Pauline Reage’s novel of the same name, the film combines the kitsch aesthetics of the 70s with an exploration of BDSM.
O gives her full consent before being the subject of many painful and humiliating sexual acts, but it is unclear if this gives her any pleasure or if she is only doing it because she thinks it is the only way she will be loved by the men around her. However, Corinne Cléry’s beauty and sensuality on screen along with the decent cinematography make up for a great erotic film.
13. A Song for Love (Jean Genet, 1950)
In a French prison, the prisoners take out their sexual frustrations performing various masturbatory sexual acts while the guard takes pleasure in secretly watching them.
Jean Genet is famous for his plays, with most of them being considered as masterpieces of modern theatre. It would only be fitting for his first and only film to hold the controversial and pioneering feel of his other work. With no dialogue, only great music and atmospheric close-ups, he creates one unconventional love story mixing it with the themes of authority and voyeurism.
An ode to the male body and gay sexual relationships, this film has great artistic significance since it paved the road for the creation of queer cinema and the work of other great directors.
12. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
Madly jealous after his wife confesses that she’s fantasized about other men, Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) starts a less than successful sexual adventure in New York City that escalates from meeting up with prostitutes to entering a masked orgy of a mysterious cult-like society.
This is the last film from the great auteur. Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s ”Traumnovelle”, Kubrick delivers one slow, atmospheric, mysterious masterpiece. The film follows Bill as he fights through sexual needs, pure lust, and curiosity, taking a dive into his subconscious desires and fears and bringing them to the surface all around him.
With his distinctive use of music and great performances from Cruise and Nicole Kidman, this film will not keep you unbothered but will more likely make you question everything you know about relationships and sexual desires.
11. Room in Rome (Julio Medem, 2010)
In Rome, Spanish tourist Alba (Elena Anaya) meets a Russian woman named Natasha (Natasha Yarovenko) and invites her to her hotel room so they can spend their last night of vacation together.
Julio Medem, in his first English language film, continues to prove that he can film a sexy scene with great success. With its breathtaking cinematography and excellent use of music, the film puts its characters into the scenery, creating with them pictures which are reminiscent of the Renaissance paintings that decorate the hotel room.
The film is a great example of how to place characters in their environment in an organic way, making them so comfortable that sensuality and eroticism comes naturally when needed.
10. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1989)
Ricky (Antonio Banderas) has just been released from a mental institution. He tracks down Marina (Victoria Abril), an actress and former porn star, with whom he once spent the night and captures her with the great purpose of proving to her that he is in love with her and capable of being the perfect husband.
In true Almodóvar manner, the film is, at its core, a satire of how heterosexual relationships are basically a form of Stockholm Syndrome. With great humor and great performances from the performers, the result is an unconventional love story combining eroticism with madness.
One of the most noteworthy elements of the film is the explicit erotic scene. Feeding off of the good chemistry of the actors and the realism of its depiction, it is a beautiful and captivating scene.
9. The Man Who Loved Women (Francois Truffaut, 1977)
The film recounts the life story of Bertrand Morane (Charles Denner), specifically his obsession with women and his many love affairs.
With a fun yet emotional tone, we follow Bertrand into his many sexual escapades. While it would not be an exaggeration to call the character a nymphomaniac and note how his sexual life has had a huge impact on his personality and mental health, Francois Truffaut’s film is hugely entertaining.
The women of the movie are filmed in a clever and sensual way that does them justice. The audience learns to appreciate them just as the protagonist does. Their various quirks accompanied by the great performances make the erotic scenes worthwhile.
8. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)
Russell (Tom Cullen) meets Glen (Chris New) at a gay bar and the two spend the night together. It is clear they share a deep connection, but Russell soon finds out that Glen will be moving to the United States in two days. They choose to spend those last days together. Andrew Haigh has managed to deliver a very honest film about two gay characters. Beautifully edited, the film builds the tension in the great and realistic explicit scenes and the anticipation of what could have been if they’d stayed together.
The two actors shine in their performances, accompanied by the sensitive way their intimate moments were filmed, creating situations many viewers can relate to.