Some nights, you find yourself scrolling through Netflix in a certain sort of mood. Nothing jumps out at you. You don’t want a comedy, or an action movie, or some brainy documentary. Then it hits you, you know exactly what you want. You want to watch something steamy. You want a film about sex — or at the very least, a film with sex scenes, preferably lots of sex scenes.
Hey, you’re only human; no judgments here. In fact, here’s your hook-up with all the steamiest movies you can watch right now on Netflix. Some suggestions are genuinely good films, critical darlings and artsy foreign fare. Others are unapologetic, horny trash. The quality of the film is secondary. What’s important is that these are all films about hot people getting naked.
Now obviously, not all of these movies will be for everyone. Depending on your own personal taste and orientation, some are bound to turn you off — but with a selection as wide and varied as this, hopefully one will do it for you. So good luck, you late night scroller, and godspeed.
Let’s face it, historically speaking, most portrayals of sex work on film — especially horror films — haven’t been all that great. That’s just one of many reasons why the 2018 erotic horror film "Cam" is such a delightful surprise. This intimate character study of a sex worker is refreshingly modern and humanizing, making it a unique entry in the horror film canon.
Alice Ackerman (Madeline Brewer) works as a cam girl, a model who performs erotic acts in real time for an internet audience. Alice’s goal is to become the number one model on the website she calls home, a goal she pursues with an obsessive fervor. But one day, Alice discovers she has been locked out of her account, and someone else is now streaming under her identity. But when she tunes into her own channel to see who the culprit is, she sees herself — or, perhaps more specifically, another woman who looks exactly like her. Something about this other woman seems a bit off, perhaps even inhuman. Is she an imposter, some sort of advanced computer program, or could there perhaps be something supernatural afoot?
In less skillful hands, "Cam" could have been truly awful; a clunky, simplistic cautionary tale about the dangers of sexuality and the internet. But thanks to a tremendous screenplay by writer Isa Mazzei (a former cam girl herself), what we get instead is an honest examination of internet sex work and freelance hustle culture from an insider’s perspective, not to mention an unsettling, thoroughly original horror flick.
How can you maintain a long-term relationship in an age when technology has fried attention spans and made cheating easier than ever? That’s the question asked by the 2017 romantic drama "Newness," directed by Drake Doremus.
Gabi (Laia Costa) and Martin (Nicholas Hoult) are a pair of promiscuous young people who get together for a quick little fling after matching on a dating app. Though neither was looking for anything serious, before they know it, they end up falling into an intense relationship. Although their passions burn bright for a short while, soon that spark begins to fade. In order to once again recapture that feeling of "Newness," Gabi and Martin decide, for the first time in both of their lives, to attempt an open relationship. The pair enters into this new arrangement naively believing that it will solve all of their problems, only to discover that there are deeper issues between the two of them that polyamory alone cannot solve.
"Newness" is a great-looking movie with two great-looking leads, but be warned: At no point during this film will you ever see anything resembling a healthy and functional relationship — polyamorous or otherwise — so don’t watch this one expecting love advice. What you’ll get instead is excellent actors getting naked, being moody, and making some terrible decisions. So turn down the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, and drink in every frame of this beautiful, slow motion trainwreck.
Ride or Die
If you prefer your sexy noir with a sapphic flavor, you owe it to yourself to check out the 2021 Japanese romantic thriller "Ride or Die." Rei (Kiko Mizuhara), a lesbian in her late 20s living in Tokyo, gets an unexpected call from her old high school friend Nanae (Honami Sato). Back in their school days, Rei had a crush on Nanae, but as far as Rei knew, Nanae was straight. Now it seems that Nanae is being abused by her husband, and she wants Rei’s help getting rid of him for good.
Despite her better judgment, Rei agrees to help, and although she succeeds in knocking off Nanae’s husband, she also leaves behind some evidence. The two women realize it’s only a matter of time before they are arrested, so they decide to flee to the Japanese countryside and enjoy whatever time they have left together as they wait for the law to catch up with them.
With stunning cinematography and a meticulously-crafted script, "Ride or Die" is a one hell of a trip. That being said, if you’re expecting a nonstop pulse-pounding bloody romp, you will be deeply disappointed. The majority of the runtime is not filled with sexy violent action, but instead a surprisingly somber story of two doomed human beings contemplating their own mortality. Yes, it’s a beautiful story, but it’s also a profoundly grim and melancholy one, not for the faint of heart.
If just one sexy story isn’t enough for you, how about four? "Lust Stories" is a 2018 Hindi-language comedy drama anthology film composed of four short films, each made by a different director. All are primarily about sex, and unusually, all have female protagonists.
In one story, a confident, assertive college teacher has an ill-advised fling with one of her students. At first she worries that she might lose her job, or that her student might get too clingy, but when neither of these negative consequences come to pass, she soon realizes that her biggest problems are her own unexpected feelings of possessiveness and attachment.
Another story centers on a maid having a fiery secret relationship with her employer, a wealthy young bachelor. One day, she learns that she will have to serve tea for a gathering at her employer’s apartment, with guests that include the young man’s parents, another young woman, and her family. It soon becomes clear that the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the possibility of an arranged marriage, and our heroine has to silently serve both families as the man she loves plans a future without her.
Some of the tales told in "Lust Stories" are more comedic, and others are more serious, but all of them explore the ways that female sexual desire comes into conflict with modern cultural expectations, and all of them do so with unapologetic honesty. The result is a highly-recommended, smartly written, emotionally complex anthology film.
Frank and Lola
There’s no way to describe the plot of the 2016 noir thriller "Frank and Lola" without it sounding like a cliche. Frank (Michael Shannon) is a middle class, middle-aged man. His new girlfriend Lola (Imogen Poots) is clearly too young and too hot for him. Lola then gets a new job and suddenly seems awfully cozy with her new boss (Justin Long), a man who is younger, cuter, and richer than Frank. Frank starts to feel jealous, suspecting that Lola is cheating on him, and Lola tells him that he’s just imagining it. Then, as Frank begins discovering evidence of her betrayal, his jealousy reaches a boiling point, and he starts thinking violent thoughts.
It may sound unoriginal on the surface, but there’s more going on in "Frank and Lola" than you might think — not a lot more, but just enough. You see, Lola is indeed lying to Frank, but the truth is much more complicated than what he suspects. As the film unfolds, whenever the plot seems like it’s heading for a predictable twist, it veers away slightly into unexpected territory. Whenever the characters appear to be in danger of becoming two-dimensional, they open up a little and reveal some hidden humanity. In the end, the film transcends the tired noir cliches and ends up being a complex exploration of love, jealousy, and forgiveness. And if you want steamy, well, it doesn’t get much steamier.
Your Name Engraved Herein
There are countless reasons to love "Your Name Engraved Herein." It’s an expertly-crafted romantic drama that is as tragic as it is heartwarming. It’s the most successful LGBT film in Taiwanese history, and also the most successful Taiwanese film of 2020. It currently has a 100% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But most importantly, it’s hot as hell.
The film is set in Taiwan in the late ’80s, and follows two boys who are on the cusp of graduating from an all-boys Catholic school. The first is Jia-Han (Edward Chen Hao-Sen), a well-behaved boy who does his best to blend into the crowd. The second is Po Te, aka "Birdy" (Jing-Hua Tseng), who is far more willing to break the rules. The two become fast friends due to an immediate mutual attraction that remains unspoken, at least at first. As the two get to know each other better, their desire to act on their feelings only deepens. But given the time in which they live, the prospect of an actual relationship seems like a near impossibility. Will the two eventually part ways, or accept their love for one another, regardless of the consequences?
It’s hard to recall the last time a film romance was as deeply affecting as this bittersweet tale of young love. The barely repressed passion between the two leads is palpable. Each longing look and tentative touch sends hearts racing. There’s also a scene in which the two leads take a trip to the beach, which may or may not involve some skinny dipping.
With great actors, a clever script, and a big vulnerable heart, it’s hard not to be charmed by the low-key romantic comedy "Duck Butter."
One night in a gay bar, struggling actor Naima (Alia Shawkat) crosses paths with a cute singer named Sergio (Laia Costa). The two women have an instant connection, and end up spending the night together. High on lust, they then concoct a truly unhinged idea. They decide to stay together for an entire day and night, having sex once an hour for 24 hours straight — or would that be 24 hours gay? Either way, the reality of this plan ends up being much more difficult, and far less romantic, than they initially thought, as Naima and Sergio end up getting to know a bit too much about each other a bit too quickly, and end up seeing one another at their worst.
With unity of time, unity of place, and unity of *ahem* action, "Duck Butter" is, for good and for ill, an unusually unambitious story. Yes, the dialogue is sharp, and yes, the sexy scenes are hot, but much like Naima and Sergio, in the end, it’s hard to not feel a tad disappointed by the experience. There aren’t any big plot twists. They characters’ conversations don’t lead to any shocking insights into the human condition. So if you liked "Before Sunrise," but thought it needed more sex and lesbians, this one will probably be your jam.
Elisa & Marcela
Though it’s by no means a perfect film, 2019’s "Elisa & Marcela" is certainly a steamy one. Loosely based on actual historical events, the film begins in the late 1800s, in a convent school in Spain. A new student arrives, the shy Marcela (Greta Fernández), and she immediately attracts the attention of the more assertive and carefree Elisa (Natalia de Molina). What starts as a friendship then blossoms into a secret romance. As years pass, and the women move on into adulthood, their relationship continues, always in the dark behind closed doors. But nothing good can last forever, especially for queers in historical dramas — so eventually, their secret is discovered. Elisa decides to disappear for a while, and then returns with a new identity, disguising herself as a man named Mario. The two then are able to get married, but yet again, this is not the end of their troubles.
It would be nice to give this film an enthusiastic, unqualified recommendation, but unfortunately, as the film’s rather unimpressive Rotten Tomatoes score shows, this one isn’t exactly a masterpiece. Most of it is a bit too slow and moody for its own good, and whenever a big dramatic scene happens, it trends towards the melodramatic. That being said, the sex scenes are smoking hot. If you love a good lesbian period romance, and you’ve already watched "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" and "The Handmaiden" a dozen times each, consider giving "Elisa & Marcela" a watch.
You wouldn’t expect Nicolas Cage to end up in a film about an ostensibly sexy love triangle — but maybe that’s because you haven’t seen the surreal, no-budget supernatural thriller "Between Worlds."
The film’s hero is Joe, an alcoholic semi-truck driver. One night, he meets a woman named Julie (Franka Potente), whose teenage daughter Billie (Penelope Mitchell) has recently been in a motorcycle accident and is now comatose. The woman tells Joe, however, that she has a gift. She can enter the spirit world when she is on the brink of death. So she asks Joe for a favor: Choke her to the point of unconsciousness, so that she can attempt to coax her daughter’s spirit back into her body.
Joe agrees, and miraculously, it works. Billie awakens, making a full recovery almost instantly. Joe and Julie then begin a romantic relationship, but things take a turn for the weird when Billie also seems to be developing an interest in Joe. As time goes on, Joe wonders if the spirit inside her really is Billie, or if something else came back instead.
Make no mistake, "Between Worlds" is not a good movie, nor is it a sexy one. It’s a gross dumpster fire, punctuated by moments of the inexplicable and sublime. For example, in one bizarre sex scene, the character of Joe reads aloud to his sexual partner from a book called "Memories, by Nicolas Cage." No explanation is given of why the fictional Joe is reading fictional poetry by the real Nicolas Cage — and quite honestly, that might not even be the weirdest part of this film.
"Between Worlds" is certainly not a film that should be shown anywhere near polite society, but fans of goodbad movies — which would seem to include anyone who loves Nicolas Cage — should definitely check this one out.
Sex, crime, and hotel management collide in the controversial 2020 Polish film "365 Days." Based on the first of a trilogy of erotic novels by Blanka Lipińska, the title refers to the year-long courtship of sorts between Laura (Anna-Maria Sieklucka), a beautiful Warsaw hotelier trapped in a loveless (and sexless) relationship and Massimo (Michele Morrone), the volatile and seductive leader of an Italian crime family.
After a chance meeting at a Sicilian resort, Massimo drugs and kidnaps Laura. He reveals that they had met once five years earlier, on the day his father was murdered, and that he has been obsessed with her ever since. He plans to hold her captive for 365 days — or until she falls in love with him.
What follows is an hour or so of delayed gratification. Massimo forces Laura into any number of provocative situations — showering together, chaining her to a bed while he receives oral sex from another woman — without actually forcing himself on her. Laura, for her part, alternates between trying to escape her captor and enjoying the luxe life of a mafioso’s (literal) kept woman before finally succumbing to his unconventional arrangement. Netflix adapted the other two novels in Lipinska’s trilogy concurrently in 2022, "365 Days: This Day" and "The Next 365 Days," with Sieklucka and Morrone reprising their roles.
After We Collided
The tortured love story of Tessa and Hardin continues in "After We Collided," the 2020 sequel to 2019’s "After." The film finds Tessa (Josephine Langford) out of college and interning at a big city publishing house while Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) is still kicking around their college town. After she drunk dials him in the middle of the night, the two once again enter each other’s orbit, fighting, having sex, reconciling, breaking up, and then getting back together again over and over again — much to the confusion and chagrin of everyone else who knows them.
Author Anna Todd famously based the "After" novels on her One Direction fan fiction where she imagined the members of the British boy band as college students in the Pacific Northwest. Bad boy Hardin is naturally based on Harry Styles. "After We Collided" expands the world beyond just Tessa and Hardin and their immediate friends and classmates, throwing in a good amount of intrigue regarding their parents and the sins of the past. These two are the way they are, the film seems to argue, because of the trauma inflicted by their fathers. That rationale, however, didn’t spare the film from accusations that it glorifies and romanticizes a fundamentally toxic relationship (via The Sun).
The 2021 sequel "After We Fell" is also available on Netflix, though, oddly enough, the first film is not.
The Art of Loving
"The Art of Loving" is the literal translation of "Sztuka kochania," the revolutionary 1978 book on sexual practices by Polish sexologist Michalina Wislocka, and the title of the 2017 biopic starring Magdalena Boczarska as Wislocka. The film hops across the decades of Wislocka’s life and work, from her efforts to build a life in post-war Poland with her male and female lovers to fighting against the Communist government of the 1970s to getting her book published.
Befitting the story of a sex researcher, the nudity and eroticism in the film are often very frank and sometimes comically deadpan in their depictions. Director Maria Sadowska doesn’t shy away from the ways that sexuality can be used for violence and oppression, as in an early flashback where Magdalena’s lover Wanda (Justyna Wasilewska) is forced to have sex with a Nazi officer. Still, the film, like the book, is ultimately a celebration of love and lovemaking.
"It’s a how-to guide!" she shouts in one scene at a pair of male party officials, just two of a seemingly endless parade of men who are threatened to their core by what "The Art of Loving" represents. Boczarska is marvelous as Wislocka, playing her seamlessly across the decades as she seeks to help people not just have better sex but to make better connections with one another.
Call Me by Your Name
We should all be so lucky to have our first blush of love during a summer spent in the Italian countryside. Luca Guadagnino’s acclaimed 2017 film "Call Me by Your Name" is set amongst the beauty and ruins of northern Italy in 1983, where American professor Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) lives with his wife (Amira Casar) and 17-year-old son Elio (Timothée Chalamet). When 24-year-old grad student Oliver (Armie Hammer) comes to stay with the Perlmans for the summer, his presence awakens something in Elio. Though both young men pursue relationships with women in these short months, it’s clear that their greatest affections are for each other.
Based on a novel by Andre Aciman and featuring a screenplay by James Ivory, the film has a lot going on under the surface. Questions of identity abound, obviously regarding Elio and Oliver’s sexuality, but also in relation to their religion. Both men are Jewish, but Oliver’s blonde complexion allows him to "pass" more easily. Some elements are intended to make audiences uneasy, such as the age difference between Oliver and Elio, as well as Mr. Perlman’s quiet approval of the relationship. There are also elements that were very much not intended, like the very public downfall of Hammer since the film was released.
The film brings not just an artist’s eye to the oft-told tale of the summer fling but an academic’s as well. This is a serious, important subject — to Elio if no one else — and deserves serious, important study.
Eyes Wide Shut
The confession of an erotic fantasy — not an actual experience — sends a Manhattan doctor reeling in 1999’s "Eyes Wide Shut," the final film of Stanley Kubrick. Dr. Bill Harford’s (Tom Cruise) world is shattered when his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) tells him that a non-sexual encounter with a naval officer the year before stirred such strong desire in her that she considered leaving Bill and their children. Taking this as a stunning rebuke of their marital vows and his sexual prowess, Bill leaves their New York apartment and stalks a nearly empty city. What follows is a picaresque journey through Bill’s insecurities as he encounters a sex worker (Vinessa Shaw), a provocative teenager (Leelee Sobieski), an old friend who works at a piano bar (Todd Field), and, most famously, an orgy at a mansion.
Kubrick based the film on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novel "Dream Story," moving the action to modern-day America but keeping Schnitzler’s focus on dreams, sexuality, and the subconscious. Kubrick added to the dreamlike quality by not filming in New York but rather on a massive London soundstage designed to look like Greenwich Village and by casting a very famous real-life couple, Cruise and Kidman, as Bill and Alice.
The iconic orgy sequence used dancers and choreography that was non-explicit but sensuous and surreal. Still, the film was threatened with an NC17 rating, and CGI figures were added to some shots to obscure the view of certain scandalous moments.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
The 2011 indie "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" fits neatly into the late-2000s trend of raunchy, improvisation-heavy comedies about man-children finally learning to grow up, like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up." Eric (Jason Sudeikis) is a grown man who has been throwing ragers at his family’s vacation house in the Hamptons since he was a teenager. When his father (Don Johnson) announces that he is selling the house, Eric is inspired to throw one last party — an honest-to-goodness sex-filled orgy for all of his childhood friends.
The film is refreshingly tight and well-structured for a comedy era known for its bloated run times, clocking in at just 95 minutes. Also rare for the era that too often depicted its female characters as humorless killjoys, the women of the cast (including Lake Bell, Lindsay Sloane, Leslie Bibb, and Lucy Punch) are allowed to be as immature and funny as the men (Will Forte, Martin Starr, Nick Kroll, and Tyler Labine).
When it comes to the titular orgy, the film follows through on the premise, committed to not just the sex but also the emotional complications that can come with it. In the end, new bonds are forged and lessons are learned — not least of which is that pool water is not a good lubricant.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
D.H. Lawrence’s classic novel comes to life once again in the 2022 Netflix adaptation of "Lady Chatterley’s Lover." Emma Corrin of "The Crown" plays Connie, the young wife of an English aristocrat (Matthew Duckett) who grows frustrated and lonely when her husband returns from World War I injured and impotent. Wandering the grounds of her husband’s estate, Lady Chatterley meets and falls into a passionate affair with gamekeeper Oliver (Jack O’Connell). Their love burns bright and hot, but the difference in their stations means they could never be together. But what if they could?
The novel and the film, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, are about transgressions of all sorts, not just the affair between Connie and Oliver. Oliver is also married, though estranged from a wife who refuses to give him a divorce. Connie’s husband Clifford, understanding that he can’t satisfy his young wife due to his injuries, gives her implicit permission to step outside their marriage but is aghast that she has chosen a man so below her class for a lover. In many ways, Connie’s sensuous betrayal of the strict British caste system of the era is the greatest transgression of all.
Duckett and O’Connell are both fine as the somewhat hapless men in Connie’s orbit, but Corrin keeps the film afloat, along with Joely Richardson (a former Lady Chatterley herself) as a sympathetic housekeeper.
Netflix has the 2021 French biopic about famed brothel keeper "Madame Claude" rated TV-MA for, among other things, nudity, sex, and smoking. There is certainly a lot of smoking, as the film luxuriates in its mid-century Paris setting and all the glamour that implies. Karole Rocher stars as the eponymous Madame Claude, perhaps the most famous brothel owner of the 20th century, at least in France. Claude supplied high-end escorts and discretion to the world’s wealthy elite for decades — her list of clients apparently included John F. Kennedy, Muammar Gaddafi, and actor Marlon Brando, among many others (via BBC).
The film charts the beginning of the end for Madame Claude, who fled France in the mid-1970s over tax evasion charges. When a cultured young woman named Sidonie (Garance Marillier) applies to be one of Madame Claude’s workers, Claude sees her as the ticket to a higher echelon of French society. However, Sidonie is no stepping stone, and her behavior casts an unwanted light on the entire operation, eventually leading to the fall of Claude’s empire.
The first two-thirds of the film examine the perils and pleasures of sex work, accompanied by hip fashions and an effortlessly cool soundtrack of French pop songs before a rushed ending recaps the final decades of Claude’s long life in minutes. Rocher is simultaneously imperious and charming as the title character, though even she can’t help but get overshadowed by the 1970s production design every so often.
The life and tragic death of French diver Audrey Mestre is dramatized in the 2022 film "No Limit." Camille Rowe stars as Mestre stand-in Roxana, a talented college-age swimmer who falls under the spell of both the sport of freediving and one of its stars, the handsome Pascal (Sofiane Zermani) — the film’s version of real-life diver Francesco Ferreras. Roxana joins Pascal’s team, first as an assistant, then as a competitor herself, and then after Pascal leaves the competitive world to become Roxana’s coach, a star in her own right.
The film, directed by David M. Rosenthal, plays fast and loose with the facts of Mestre’s life and death, and overall is less interested in Roxana’s athleticism than with her palpable sexual chemistry with Pascal, who enters the film shirtless, and only wears less as the story goes on. Throughout, the script hints at Roxana’s (and Mestre’s) impending accidental death in ways that can feel exploitative. Her professor warns of the dangerous pressures at deep ocean depths, a rescue diver on Pascal’s team dies in nearly the same way Roxana will, and during one of their many spirited lovemaking sessions, Pascal puts his hand around Roxana’s throat, which Roxana objects to.
Rowe does what she can with the role, but the film’s emphasis on her affair with Pascal makes her feel less of a driven athlete and more like a girl who followed a boy into the water.