The 40 Best Sex Movies

In terms of classification, it’s difficult separating the “romantic movie” from the “sex movie.” While so many films about “love” feature the venereal, just because a storyline includes sex doesn’t mean the movie is about the act. And while everything, to some extent, may be about sex, we have to create some boundaries—or else we’ll just be making a list of the best movies of all time.

Here’s what we’re not talking about. It should be obvious, but we’re not talking about nonconsensual sex. That’s not sex. That’s a crime. And so those movies are movies about sex crimes. (While there are plenty of films that walk the line for thematic and extratextual purposes—think

Promising Young Woman—we’re just going to avoid the category altogether.)

We’re also going to limit the sex comedies, mainly because they feel like their own category, and, in fact, we already have a list of those; we’ll include some of the big ones, though.

For the purpose of this list, we’re talking about movies that are really about sex—where consensual, if not sometimes messy, sex is a fundamental part of the storytelling. Sex isn’t ancillary; it’s the major act, the inciting incident, the purpose for the narrative. It’s the rite in the rite of passage story. It’s the character’s primary goal, or, sometimes, affliction.

Ultimately, it’s a movie that has something to say about human sexuality. The movie and the depicted act reveals something about us, and though it can sometimes be ineffable, we know it when we feel it. Here, in no particular order, are the best sex movies—the best movies about sex—ever.

This article was originally posted here.

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