There are many factors involved in crafting a great cinematic sex scene. When the lovin’ becomes an expression of who the characters are and doesn’t rely on predictable titillation, the sex is great. However, a well-written scene doesn’t always portray tenderness and passion. Sometimes the best sex scenes are the ones that make us wince. Other times, filmmakers get it all wrong and, well, at least they give us something to talk about. When choosing the sex scenes that have scarred us for life, we weren’t necessarily going for the most disturbing (as in the case of Irréversible or A Serbian Film), but those scenes that seared themselves into our brain, often out of sheer WTFness. Here are ten we wish we could forget.
Oh, Showgirls. Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, playing head sleaze bag of the Stardust Casino here) must have really needed a paycheck, because there is no other explanation for… this. The pool sex scene between MacLachlan and Elizabeth Berkley’s drifter showgirl is hilarious and horrifying. We suppose it’s arousing for those who enjoy epileptic dolphins and Cristal.
It’s implied sex, but we can’t neglect this scene between Lea Thompson and Howard the anthropomorphic, alien duck (voiced by Chip Zien). Clearly Lucasfilm was trying to wreck young minds.
The cringeworthy sex scenes in Mitchell Lichtenstein’s vagina dentata horror-comedy don’t hold back. A high school virgin is violated by her supposedly pure boyfriend, which sets her on a path of revenge once she discovers her anatomy isn’t quite like the other girls.
Leave it to David Lynch to concoct this nightmarish scene. Once you see Dennis Hopper’s deranged criminal, Frank Booth, huffing nitrous and moaning “Mommy!” you can’t unsee it.
Wealthy patrons pay top dollar to have Emily Browning’s troubled college student drugged, bedded, and vulnerable. Sex is forbidden, but that’s just a technicality for this underground group who achieve total satisfaction through creepy cuddling and more with the sleeping beauty.
Nothing says disturbing like having sex with your humanoid “daughter” who you created in your laboratory. Vincenzo Natali’s Splice questions the uneasy relationship between science and ethics, but it also features a smarmy Adrien Brody as a scientist who crosses the line with his creation.
Water is a recurring theme in the work of Ming-liang Tsai. “For me, water means a lot of things. It’s my belief that human beings are just like plants. They can’t live without water or they’ll dry up,” the director said in a 2002 interview. “The more water you see in my movies, the more the characters need to fill a gap in their lives, to get hydrated again. If they are lonely people, with no love or no friends, you’ll see them drinking a lot of water. Sometimes, the water builds up and becomes a nuisance.” This need for a human connection manifests itself as watermelon in The Wayward Cloud, presented here as an erotic device that will either make you howl with laughter or turn you off of watermelon for the rest of your life.
Sex-crazed parasites need love too in David Cronenberg’s Shivers, where the residents of an apartment building become infected by the phallic creatures.
At the end of Larry Clark’s controversial portrayal of youth run amok, Justin Pierce’s Casper fittingly asks: “Jesus Christ, what happened?” Sex in the film is harrowing and reckless — if you can call it sex, that is. Conquest and curiosity trump all and, as Roger Ebert put it, “life is a kind of hell, briefly interrupted by orgasms”
“I’m a plant.” “That’s ok, I’m a vegetarian.” Cue the bizarre telepathic sex scene that we never wanted.