Sex in films is often a bugbear with some people. We can sometimes find it distasteful, a lazy way to generate buzz or sometimes handled so inexplicably poorly that it almost becomes a joke.

In any case, we thought we'd give a quick rundown on some of the sauciest films ever made. You might want to take a cold shower when you're done...

 

10. 9 1/2 WEEKS (1986)

Adrian Lyne made a career out of darkly erotic thrillers. You only have to look back over his filmography - Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, Unfaithful - to know that he's taken on the subject more than once. 9 1/2 Weeks sees Lyne at the height of both his and his cast's popularity. Mickey Rourke plays a mysterious Wall St. broker who meets art gallery assistant Kim Bassinger and begins a tumultuous relationship with her that focuses on experimentation and pushing the boundaries of what she's capable of. You'll never look at a fridge in the same way afterwards.

 

9. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr's passionate beach kiss might have caused outrage back in the '50s, but what From Here To Eternity reminds us is about how context can make or break a film's tone. Lancaster plays an Army Sergeant who has an affair with his commanding officer's wife. Her character is openly sexual and admits that her marriage is a sham and her husband regularly unfaithful to her. This was during a time when marriages were still seen as the bedrock of a society. So for a film to take aim so incisively at it, and let alone have you root for an affair was unique for its time.

 

8. LOST BOYS (1987)

Although Lost Boys is a teenage horror film, there's a huge amount of sexuality and sensuality going on. Jason Patric's obsession with Star, played by Jami Gertz, serves as the catalyst for the film. Not only that, you have the burgeoning relationship between their fuddy-duddy mother Dianne Wiest and Edward Herrmann plays into it as well. Also, that saxaphone player's burned into people's minds.

  

7. SECRETARY (2002)

BDSM is, by very its nature, off-putting. The idea of hurting another person for sexual gratification might seem odd on the outside looking in, but what Secretary does so brilliantly is that it shows how it can be a healing and beautiful thing for both parties. When you consider Secretary next to, say, Fifty Shades of Grey, it's like the difference between night and day. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader's on-screen relationship is by no means conventional, yet it's more honest, considerate and believable than anything you're likely to find in modern films.

 

6. DRESSED TO KILL (1980)

Brian DePalma's no stranger to thrillers or those that deal with stories of a sexual nature. Dressed To Kill is one of his lesser-known works, primarily because it was given an X-Rating on its release. Angie Dickinson plays a sexually frustrated New York wife who is visiting with psychologist Michael Caine. When's she brutally murdered and a high-class escort is the only witness to the murder, it sparks a Hitchcockian thriller that sees Caine give one of his most underrated performances. Sexy, twisted and violent, Dressed To Kill is an intriguing watch.

 

5. CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999)

Yes, it might just be boiled down that infamous kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair, but Cruel Intentions was more than that. You had Ryan Phillippe being an out-and-out deviant and trying to seduce virginal Reese Witherspoon, you had Gellar snorting cocaine out of a crucifix (IMAGERY, YOU GUYS) and a soundtrack complete with '90s classics. 

 

4. DIRTY DANCING (1987)

There isn't a young woman in Ireland who doesn't know Dirty Dancing intimately. It's not just the soundtrack - it's fantastic - and it's not just the tale of sexual awakening through the medium of dance and Patrick Swayze, it's more. Dirty Dancing was, in effect, a mirror for Ireland's psyche. A repressed, sheltered existence is suddenly shocked to life by the arrival of a swaggering, mysterious stranger who teaches her about spaghetti arms and keeping focus. CHA CHA CHA.

 

3. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (1996)

David Lynch's films are marked out for their unique visual flair and ability to baffle audiences. Lynch has said on numerous occasions that his work is interpretive and that we project our own meaning onto it. Whatever the case may be, it's clear Mulholland Drive is one of his finest works. The relationship that develops between Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring is mixed with beauty and without luridness or gratuitousness. As for the rest of the film, we've no idea what's happening. Damn if it isn't all pretty, though.

 

 

2. BODY HEAT (1981)

Empire Strikes Back screenwriter's first foray into directing saw him tangle with a semi-remake of noir classic Double Indemnity. William Hurt plays a lawyer who's drawn in by femme fatale Kathleen Turner to murder her millionaire husband. John Barry's iconic jazz score plays beautifully over the lush surrounds of smalltown Florida. The film's known for its many sex scenes, but what makes Body Heat stick is the incredible performance from Turner. Vamping it up and calling back to the likes of Barbara Stanwyck and Lauren Bacall, Turner's screen presence was unmistakable. Just look at this.

 

1. OUT OF SIGHT (1998)

Again, although it's in the trappings of a crime thriller, Out of Sight smoulders with sexuality and sensuality. Jennifer Lopez, in arguably her best performance, plays a hard-as-nails US Marshal who's tasked with tracking bank robber George Clooney. The hunt becomes more than just Lopez's character getting her man. The chemistry between them is electric and so clearly defined that it's impossible to watch it and not yearn for something. Mix that with Steven Soderbergh at the height of his powers and David Holmes' lounge music soundtrack and you've got one of the best films of the '90s.