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10 of the Least Sexy Sex Scenes in Modern Movie History

by Alisdair Hodgson
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Sex and cinema go together like eggplant emojis and sexting. The relations between a man and woman on screen—or a man and a man, a woman and two men, or Kal Penn and a bag of weed—have been a mainstay among our favorite moving images ever since the release of Gustav Machatý’s Erotikon (1929), which is one of the earliest non-pornographic depictions of sex on the silver screen (a label often misattributed to the director’s 1933 feature Ekstase).

From Dr. No to Shortbus, directors and actors have surprised us for decades with all the ways the horizontal shuffle can be brought to life on a 40-foot screen. But these scenes are not always the mood-lit, sweat-drenched, sex-positive Valentine’s Day fodder we might want them to be. Sometimes they represent real life a little too well, with their awkward moments and mis-starts, and sometimes filmmakers just make it all a bit… well, weird. So strap in and saddle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Related: 10 Sexually Explicit Films Featuring Children

10 Lucy & The Wolf
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Dracula Bites Lucy The First Time – Rain Scene [ HDR – 4K – 5.1 ]

The tale of Count Dracula has found its way to the screen and page in many forms since Bram Stoker’s trailblazing gothic horror novel was released in 1897. However, few adaptations have seen greater success than Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 feature film, starring Gary Oldman as the Count, Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing. A steamy yet often misguided epic vampire feature, the film’s sex appeal suffered from several issues, not least that Oldman and Ryder did not get along.

Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost), Mina’s patron, is young, attractive, and seemingly the perfect plaything for Dracula, who gradually closes in upon Mina’s life, believing her to be the reincarnation of Elisabeta, his beloved wife from the 15th century. Ensnared by Dracula’s seductive nature, Lucy is drawn to him in the night during a thunderstorm—so far, so sexy. Unfortunately, Dracula has ditched his hot young Gary Oldman form for the guise of a great hulking werewolf. He takes Lucy in the rain on a stone bench, much to Mina’s—and our—disgust. The wolf writhes between the young woman’s legs before biting her neck and draining a few quarts of blood.[1]

Twilight, this is not. Having said that…

9 Sea Sex
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (2011)

‘I Trust You’ | Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

The openly Mormon sexual squeamishness of Stephenie Meyer’s hit teen book series Twilight transitioned surprisingly well to the screen with Catherine Hardwicke’s indie-tinged first entry in 2008, and so became one of the storytelling cornerstones of the franchise. Unfortunately, this meant the will-they-won’t-they love triangle between Kristen Stewart’s Bella, Robert Pattinson’s Edward, and Taylor Lautner’s Jacob was played on the surface for the bulk of the films, grounded in a whole lot of lip biting and sullen stares.

Nevertheless, things came to a head in the first of the fourth film’s two parts, where a newlywed Bella and Edward finally relent and get down and dirty in a scene that initially earned the movie an R rating and had to be reshot and toned down for the teenaged audience.

But, before their infamous bed-destroying scene, the pair decided the best place to consummate their love was…the sea. First-times can be awkward at the best of times, without sand and salt and those little fish that can get in anywhere. Somehow, the unironically named director Bill Condon decided this was the spot to kick things off in an unsurprisingly frigid scene that left everyone cold—especially Pattinson and Stewart.[2]


8 “It’s Turkey Time…Gobble, Gobble.”
Gigli (2003)

Jennifer Lopez Gigli 2

The much-maligned Gigli is a prime example of just how unsexy studio interference can be. Seeking to cash in on Ben Affleck and J.Lo’s relationship, Revolution Studios wrested creative control from director Martin Brest. They turned what should have been a straightforward crime piece into a reconstructed romantic comedy.

Midway through the film, Ben Affleck’s Larry Gigli confesses his love for J.Lo’s lesbian Ricki and proceeds to have sex with her (something he has form in from Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy). The sex itself is neither interesting nor noteworthy but is condemned by the line preceding it; the head-scratching scene in question is led into by the timeless quote, “It’s turkey time…gobble, gobble.” It may be funny, but it sure as heck ain’t sexy.[3]

7 Mom, Dad & the Dorm Room
American Pie 2 (2001)

Jim’s Parents Come To Pick Him Up – American Pie 2 Scene

The American Pie series was founded on the scenario of dorky young guys trying to get laid and has come a long way since, transitioning into adults trying to get laid and straight-to-video Z-listers trying to get laid. Their sexcapades and misadventures have spanned four main films and five spin-offs, all capped by the original movie’s infamous pie scene itself, which took a whopping six hours to shoot and might well be on this list—if it actually counted.

There are so many awkward and unsexy moments across the series it is tough to choose just one, but the opening sequence of American Pie 2 really takes the biscuit. At the end of his first year of college, Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) is just getting into the swing of things with one lucky lady when disaster strikes. The pair manage to get her legs up when they are interrupted by Jim’s dad (an ever-funny Eugene Levy) and a six-pack, followed swiftly by Jim’s mom, the girl’s parents, and, of course, a pie.[4]


6 On the Photocopier
Filth (2013)

Filth – Movie Clip #1 starring James McAvoy

As the author of Trainspotting, we know Irvine Welsh’s writing and sex appeal go together like heroin and a family holiday. So, inevitably, Jon S Baird’s 2013 adaptation of Filth, Welsh’s infamous novel about a corrupt detective sergeant in Edinburgh’s police force, is not an erotic paradise.

Though the film and its jaded protagonist Bruce “Robbo” Robertson (James McAvoy) are preoccupied with sex of every kind—over the phone, for money, and even on the job—none of it has us hot and bothered. In what may be the least inspiring scene of all (and it’s a close competition), Robbo goes all out with the office secretary at the Christmas party. With her bent over a photocopier and him thrusting away from behind, the scene is shot from a single front angle, bestowing on it a seedy lack of sensuality. And, if the sight of McAvoy’s weather-beaten grimaces—which he drank half a bottle of whiskey a night to achieve—wasn’t enough, it is accompanied by some evocatively slushy sound design.[5]

5 Animal Lust
Raw (2016)

Raw: A Bloody Masterpiece

Young love at college in an indie arthouse film—how could this be anything but romantic? Raw, by recent Palme d’Or winner Julia Ducournau, is here to show you.

Garance Marillier’s veterinary student Justine finds herself given over to an increasing swell of cannibalistic urges during her first year at college. After being rejected by several of her peers for her strange behavior, Justine has sex with her gay, male roommate Adrien (Rabah Nait Oufella). And all seems to be going well—for such an odd pairing, anyway—until she is taken by an animal urge.

Biting at Adrien’s neck, Justine has to be pulled back and restrained as she thrashes, caught in the throes of blood lust. Eventually, she relents, taking her own arm in her mouth and draining a stream of blood. Not only did this quell audiences’ erotic interest, but Raw also proved to be so full-on that ambulances were summoned for sickened patrons at its Cannes screening.[6]


4 Sex with the Creator
Splice (2009)

Dren in Splice (2009)

Vincenzo Natali’s Splice may have been marketed as Alien for the next generation, but it is so much stranger, with an eerily sexual undertone building throughout that possesses all the subtlety absent from the xenomorph’s phallic anatomy.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley’s genetic engineers Clive and Elsa—an obvious homage to Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester in 1935′s Bride of Frankenstein—produce a human-animal hybrid by mating their lab’s other creations, all in the name of science. Their fleshy, sub-human creation, Dren (Delphine Chanéac), hits puberty in a flash and soon begins exhibiting carnivorous tendencies—and the chilling ability to influence others with her pheromones.

Left alone for a little too long, Clive is chemically seduced by his creation. Given Clive has been raising Dren as a daughter, what follows is uncomfortable at best and, at worst, encompasses bestiality and attempted murder. Elsa interrupts the pair, and it is all over not so long after it has begun—a small mercy.[7]

3 Seducing the Stepbrother
Teeth (2007)

Teeth (11/12) Movie CLIP – Step-Sister Seduction (2007) HD

Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth is a rallying cry against the chastity and abstinence community in America, centered around a young woman coming into sexual maturity. Though this sounds like the tagline for a liberal sex odyssey, Teeth is anything but and had audiences giggling, squirming, and gagging in the aisles before it even hit the silver screen.

The premise of the film is that vagina dentata (exactly as it sounds) is not an urban myth. The story follows a Catholic schoolgirl struck by the titular affliction. Beset by lecherous men, Jess Weixler’s Dawn spends most of the film navigating the unwanted sexual advances of friends, authority figures, and siblings, with her “special power” gradually becoming apparent.

In one of the grislier scenes toward the end of the film, Dawn takes charge of her own sexual identity and sets her sights on vengeance against her negligent and aggressive stepbrother Brad (John Hensley). She agrees to go to bed with him and, just when things are really picking up, Dawn uses her dentata to relieve Brad of his favorite toy. Adding insult to injury, Dawn then discharges Brad’s member on the floor for his dog to consume, spitting out the jewelry when it is finished.[8]


2 The Butter
Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Last Tango in Paris (6/10) Movie CLIP – Go Get the Butter (1972) HD

Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider get hot and heavy in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 “romantic” drama” about divorced American Paul (Brando) and his exploration of Parisian promiscuity. Following the suicide of his wife, Paul meets Jeanne (Schneider) in a rented Paris apartment, and the pair embark on an anonymous sexual tryst, sharing nothing personal between them but an uncomfortable quantity of bodily fluids. This all builds up to a climactic—and now infamous—sex scene.

Brando was already in his late forties, though he could easily have passed for a decade older, and nothing about his red turtleneck or Tweety Pie voice screams eroticism—and that’s without mentioning the butter. In an intensely uncomfortable scene, Paul straddles Jeanne on the floor of the apartment, employs butter as a lubricant, and then twitches around on top of her for what feels far longer than the two and a half minutes the scene plays out for.

To make matters worse, Schneider and Bertolucci have both since said the butter was unscripted and was sprung upon the female lead on the day, in an effort to make her performance seem more authentic…[9]

1 Slow Motion Seduction
Antichrist (2009)

Antichrist (2009) | Chapter one | Re-Score

For such a deeply unsexy film, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist contains an awful lot of sex. This arthouse psychological horror is not for the faint-hearted. It stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as an unnamed married couple struggling with the loss of their son.

The initial black and white sex scene is shot in super-sensual slow motion, intercut with graphic shots of their parts in action, the angle and lighting for which are vomit-inducing rather than erotic. And while, in this age of movie wizardry, we might assume these shots were digitally produced, they are, in fact, the real deal, featuring Gainsbourg with a male porn star.

The tension builds, and a palpable sense of foreboding moves with the couple from the shower into their bedroom, disturbing children’s playthings as they go, grinding their way toward the accidental death of their infant child.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen