History of Sex in Cinema:
|Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description|
Age of Consent (1969, Austr.)
Michael Powell's erotic, romantic comedy-drama was advertised with the tagline:
Young Helen Mirren (22 years old at the time of filming in her first major film role), as teenaged granddaughter Cora Ryan, was featured in several revealing nude scenes filmed on a small island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef area:
Censors in the UK demanded cuts in one of Cora's nude swimming scenes. In the story, Bradley ran into trouble with underage Cora's drunken grandmother Ma Ryan (Neva Carr-Glyn) for posing her in the raw and secretly paying her. In the closing credits, Helen Mirren was rightfully identified as a "member of the Royal Shakespeare Company."
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
This satirical Paul Mazursky film (his debut film) reflected the 'free love' era of the late 60s sexual revolution. The film was noted for its publicity - a view of couples in bed together readied to experience group sex.
The tagline "Consider the Possibilities" referred to its story of:
At first, the forward-thinking married couple of Bob and Carol attended a weekend workshop and were enlightened by its free approach to life and sex. With their best friends, another more stable and staid married couple (Ted and Alice), they began to challenge their marital vows of fidelity (and monogamy) during a weekend swinging trip to Las Vegas:
As they undressed each other after Alice boldly proposed making love to Bob (in a mate-sharing foursome): "Do you want to go to bed with me?...Would you make love to me?", they discussed their anxieties and hopes, before proceeding into the bedroom:
In the bedroom, Alice drunkenly urged: "I feel like doing what we came up here to do...Orgy, have an orgy. Orgy. Orgy." Repercussions resulted from the liberated sexual experimentation (more disenchanting than genuine), and in the film's much-criticized sappy ending, the couples didn't trade partners after all, following an abortive attempt. The ensemble film ended with the very familiar Burt Bacharach song: "What the World Needs Now (Is Love, Sweet Love)."
The Damned (1969, It.) (aka La Caduta Degli Dei or Fall of the Gods)
Director Luchino Visconti's controversial film (originally rated X due to its subject matter) told a melodramatic story, with many allegorical historical connections to sexual perversions and destructiveness (incest, pedophilia, immorality, homosexuality, murder, drug addiction and suicide).
The drama told its story through a soap opera chronicling of the moral disintegration and dysfunctionality of one wealthy, upper-crust industrial family during the Nazi's rise to power in the early to mid 1930s. The main characters related to the Von Essenbeck family were:
When Sophie made love to Frederick, she expressed her wish to get married very soon: "You and I together, forever."
Martin molested a poor young Jewish girl named Lisa (Irina Wanka) after kissing her (off-screen) (ahd she tragically hanged herself). He also incestuously raped his own mother Sophie after telling her of his tremendous hate for her: "I will destroy you, Mother." He threw off his own clothes, then ripped her dress from her body. Afterwards, they laid in each other's arms and caressed each other.
The centerpiece of the film was the restaging of the historical bloodbath massacre of Brown Shirt SA soldiers (in June 1934) called "Night of the Long Knives." It occurred after a surreal drunken orgy (equated with Nazi evil) of the homosexual soldiers - who had been skinny-dipping in the lake during the day, wildly carousing with naked women, dancing in female underwear at a lakeside resort, and then retiring to various bedrooms to sleep naked together. The soldiers were dragged from sleep and gunned down in large numbers.
Martin (in drag)
Martin (with young Lisa)
Sophie (with Frederick)
Sophie (with Martin)
Easy Rider (1969)
The generation-defining, youth-oriented, counter-cultural road film classic Easy Rider (1969) by director Dennis Hopper (his debut film) was a late 1960s tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) in a conformist and corrupt America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. Its story contained sex, drugs, casual violence, a sacrificial tale (with a shocking, unhappy ending), and a pulsating rock and roll soundtrack reinforcing or commenting on the film's themes.
It told about two motorcyclist biker outlaws (drug-dealers), who embarked on a coast-to-coast odyssey across America:
The film featured many views of alternate or radical lifestyles:
New Orleans Prostitute
Last Summer (1969)
Director Frank Perry's insightful, probing, and realistic beach film (unlike the Beach Party films earlier in the decade) was about angst-ridden, self-doubting adolescent youth. The tagline described: "Last summer was too beautiful to forget...and too painful to remember."
The film daringly explored teenage interest and curiosity about sex (and petting), pot experimentation, and revealing games of 'absolute truth or dare.' It was originally rated X by the MPAA when it was first released, but after some cuts were made to the infamous rape scene, the film's rating was changed to an R.
It told about three affluent teens (a teen love triangle) during a Fire Island, New York summer vacation:
In one scene while relaxing on a boat, frustrated Sandy chided Peter - annoyed with his sexual obsession over her breasts and incessant staring at them:
He asked her to take off her top - she did - and then after getting a view of her breasts, he told her to put the top back on.
The trio was forever altered with the arrival of a troubled late-comer, 15 year-old outsider Rhoda (Oscar-nominated Catherine Burns), a slightly plump, homely and self-conscious teen. During the film's best acted scene, Rhoda delivered a monologue recalling her mother's death by drowning.
During a scene of sexual challenge and coming-of-age after Rhoda was tested to buy and wear a new bikini, everyone was in a forest clearing drinking Heineken beer. Bikinied Sandy poured beer over her breasts (exclaimed: "That's better"), and then defiantly removed her bikini top and took another swig of beer. Her subsequent conversation with rival Rhoda was combative and daring:
The group held her down, ripped off her bikini, and Rhoda (who vainly begged Peter to stop them) was forced to endure a collective rape by Dan. Afterwards, as Rhoda laid motionless on the ground, the other three dressed, and stood facing away from their victim. The film ended ambiguously and abruptly, with the group walking up the beach - during their last summer of innocence.
The Collective Rape
Love Camp 7 (1969)
This sleazy "women in prison" sexploitation film by director Lee Frost, inaugurating a new subgenre of Nazi prison camp sexploitation films, emerged in the era of greater permissiveness after the abolition of the Production Code in the late 60s. This film inspired other WIP films of the next decade, including the infamous bigger-budgeted Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975), Tinto Brass' Salon Kitty (1976), Last Orgy of the Third Reich (1977, It.), and Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977, It.) (aka La Svastica Nel Ventre) - all taking the perversions to greater heights.
Supposedly based on fact, the movie told of a Nazi concentration camp during WWII with a sadistic Commandant (the film's producer Bob Cresse). The film's marketing described the love camp: "A Place of Total Despair. All the Youthful Beauty of Europe Enslaved for the Pleasure of the Third Reich." It was replete with full frontal female nudity (advertised as "the film that goes beyond X").
The story told about an attempted rescue mission by two big-busted WAC officers, Grace Freeman (Kathy Williams) and Linda Harman (Maria Lease). The duo volunteered to become inmates, suffer the indignities and horrors of the prison, and help break Jewish prisoner - female scientist Dr. Martha Grossman out of the camp, and then be rescued by the French Resistance.
When new female prisoners were inducted into the prison, they were forced to strip, then medically inspected and humiliated. They were held down and spread-eagled, as the commandant sarcastically asked the newest inmate, before whipping her:
Its sensational content included orgies, bondage, S & M, rape, floggings (Linda was ferociously strung up by her wrists and whipped with the Commandant's riding crop), brutalities with a fire hose in the shower, and forced lesbianism, due to the fact that the inmates were made to be prostitutes for off-duty German officers of the Reich's Front Line. They were also tortured and compelled to engage as unpaid sex slaves in perverse experiments and sexual depravity, including engaging in a nude, lesbian-love orgy for the officers' entertainment.
The film ended with the inmates' escape, as they brutally killed their captors by stabbing, blinding by broken glass, bashing by liquor bottle, and gunshot.
Linda (Maria Lease)
and Grace (Kathy Williams)
Medium Cool (1969)
Director Haskell Wexler's fictional, experimental, and groundbreaking cinema verite docudrama film told about John Cassellis (Robert Forster) - a jaded news cameraman who worked against the backdrop of the actual 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
The absorbing political drama about current events (at the time) and the role of the media was originally rated X (later re-rated to R a year later) because of violence, language and brief nudity. It was the first mainstream American feature film to show full male and female nudity - although the director battled Paramount and the censorship board. He allegedly believed the film was Rated X for its controversial political tone and frequent obscenities rather than specifically for its nudity.
In the frequently-noted scene with very brief full-frontal nudity, John romped and ran nude around an apartment with sultry nurse and girlfriend Ruth (Marianna Hill).
Later, he became involved with widowed Eileen (Verna Bloom), a single mother from Appalachia who lost her husband in the Vietnam War, and soon was transformed from complacency to socially-conscious and aware.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
John Schlesinger's film Midnight Cowboy (1969) was a major milestone - this was the first (and only) X-rated (for adult-oriented, not porno) mainstream film (later reduced to R) to be voted Best Picture, with its A-list stars.
Its adult-themed story told of a naive, swaggering, transplanted male Texan named Joe Buck (Jon Voight) who struggled in the sordid 42nd Street area of NY to become a successful hustler or gigolo. Upon his arrival in the big city, he vainly posed shirtless in front of his hotel room's mirror, and pasted up a beefcake poster of Paul Newman from Hud and a picture of a topless woman.
His first 'trick' was fast-talking society girl Cass (Best Supporting Actress nominee Sylvia Miles) in a comedic sex scene in which they humorously activated channels with the TV remote control beneath their bodies - the climax came with the closeup view of the winning results of a slot machine jackpot - spewed-out coins.
The Texas stud was befriended by a limping and coughing homeless thief named Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and they experienced an unspoken homosexual relationship together which included frequent bickering.
Joe's first homosexual client was a religiously fanatical and homosexual Jesus-freak Christian named Mr. O'Daniel (John McGiver) - during the encounter, Joe flashbacked to his boyhood when he was baptized in a river, and an incident when rednecks viciously assaulted him and his former girlfriend Annie (Jennifer Salt) - he was held down (and anally raped?) as his naked girlfriend was also attacked.
Another homosexual client was a bespectacled young student (Bob Balaban) in a movie theatre. While experiencing oral sex from the client, Joe had memories of kissing and making love with Annie ("You're the only one, Joe...Kiss me, Joe, kiss me"). In another nightmare regarding Annie, he also remembered her saying - as the authorities arrived: "He's the one. He's the only one" - implying something more sinister.
Joe took stoned socialite Shirley (Brenda Vaccaro) to bed for his first successful heterosexual score with a paying female client ($20). At first, though, he suffered sexual inadequacy until angered when she teasingly suggested that he was gay: ("Gay, fey. Is that your problem, baby?") - and then he performed vigorously. Afterwards by phone, she recommended his studly services to an unhappily-married female friend.
Joe with Ratso
Joe with Mr. O'Daniel
Joe with Shirley
100 Rifles (1969)
This late 60s western featured a strikingly-beautiful star - Raquel Welch as rebellious Yaqui Indian guerrilla leader Sarita.
The curvaceous sex-star was featured in a steamy inter-racial love scene (reportedly the first of its kind) - a 60's era issue brought to the screen, with former National Football League player/Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown as Arizona lawman Lyedecker.
In another scene, she showered from a railroad water tank through her skin-tight, bra-less clothing to create a diversion during an ambush upon a trainload of distracted Mexican soldiers.
Ride a Wild Stud (1969)
This 'adults-only' sexploitation western set in the Civil War era, directed by Revilo Ekard (reversed as Oliver Drake), was advertised with the tagline: "When Men Were Men and Women Didn't Forget It." The odd cult film was one of only three-produced films from the short-lived studio Vega International.
Its well-distributed poster showed the naked backside of a woman (with garter belt and stockings) who was being carried by cowpokes and put on a table.
The graphic, soft-core film told about how Confederate outlaw bandit William Quantrill (Bill Ferrill) and his raiders during the Civil War kidnapped, raped and imprisoned women in a brothel (the infamous "Pleasure House of Quantrill"). Nightly in the whorehouse, there were exotic dancers, wild parties, and orgies.
The heroine Marsha Wilson (Josie Kirk), one of the kidnapees, was subjected to rape, wild orgies, and sexual attacks, and was the object of rescue by her cowboy boyfriend, and eventually the captors were brought to justice.
Satyricon (1969, It./Fr.) (aka Fellini Satyricon, or The Degenerates)
Best Director-nominated Federico Fellini's R-rated fantasy epic was a colorful, visually-rich, and bizarre depiction of pre-Christian Rome and its pagan debauchery and sexual decadence (based on a satirical, degenerate and bawdy work by Petronius). The film's last voice-over ended mid-sentence followed by a freeze-frame, and a pull-back shot of paintings of the film's major characters on large vertical fragmented slabs of rock.
The visually-excessive film centered on the homoerotic tension and sexual rivalry, in a fractured series of episodes, between two students: blonde Encolpio (Martin Potter) and Ascilto (Hiram Keller) - both rivals for comely androgynous slave boy Gitone (Max Born).
The film was filled with repulsive and often grotesque characters and images during Encolpio's odyssey, including:
The Stewardesses (1969)
This gimmicky sexploitation film from writer/director/producer Al Silliman Jr. was the first soft-core (actually hard-core adult film) 3D (Stereovision) feature film. It was followed by The Naughty Stewardesses (1975).
Its tagline was: "See the lusty stewardesses leap from the screen onto your lap" - and in some cases, body parts (often breasts) literally jutted off the screen.
The comedy was an instant success and even had mainstream appeal for mixed audiences. The sketchy plot was about an 18-hour layover of a 747 crew after a Los Angeles-Honolulu trip. It mostly featured the sexual activities (partying, sleeping around promiscuously, taking drugs, etc.) of various perky actresses in often poorly-acted scenes. First shown in 1969 and unique for any film, it was reshot and edited as it was shown for a few more years.
It became the most profitable 3-D film in history (a budget of about $100K brought in box-office of approx. $25-30 million), although eventually superseded by Avatar (2009). It was originally released with a self-imposed X-rating (although it was actually only soft-core), then re-cut for an R, and finally released again in 1981 as a porno film with hardcore inserts of completely different actors.
With the requisite heterosexual love scenes and gratuitous nudity, as well as acid-dropping and nude yoga, there was also one steamy lesbian scene between head stewardess Jo Peters (Angelique De Moline) and Cathy (Kathy Ferrick), and blonde stewardess Karen (after a shower and while under the influence of acid) made love to a Greek god bust-headed lamp!
The film had a startling moralistic ending -the murder-suicide of aspiring actress Samantha (Christina Hart) who believed abusive ad executive Colin Winthrop's (Michael Garrett) false promises about a career as a model for toothpaste. She smashed in his skull with a statuette while he slept and then jumped to her death from his high-rise balcony. The conclusion saw the group of stewardesses back at work.
Ursella (Monica Gayle) -
Cathy (Kathy Ferrick) -
Nude Lesbian Massage and Seduction by Jo
(Angelique De Moline)
Karen (Patricia Fein) -
Sex with a Lamp
Women in Love (1969, UK)
Ken Russell's landmark, breakthrough film was adapted from D.H. Lawrence's 1920 novel by Larry Kramer.
This romantic drama featured the first explicit scene with a homoerotic context that revealed male genitals (full-frontal male nudity) in a commercial mainstream film - extremely daring for its time. The infamous sequence was an extended wrestling match, exhibiting nude male strength, in a locked room before a roaring fireplace between:
After their match in which Gerald's strength overcame Rupert, the two sweaty men reclined on the floor side-by-side and talked:
Their relationship was contrasted by their involvement with two sisters:
The film was notable because Glenda Jackson became the first performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for a role in which she appeared significantly nude (with full and firm breasts).
One of the film's most memorable sexually-tinged monologues was in the outdoor picnic scene, when Rupert described how to eat a fig - fully describing the fig's vaginal symbolism:
Gerald and Rupert -
Rupert's Fig Speech
History Overview | Reference Intro | Pre-1920s | 1920-26 | 1927-29 | 1930-1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934-37 | 1938-39
1940-44 | 1945-49 | 1950-54 | 1955-56 | 1957-59 | 1960-61 | 1962-63 | 1964 | 1965-66 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969
1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992-1 | 1992-2 | 1993 | 1994-1 | 1994-2 | 1995-1 | 1995-2 | 1996-1 | 1996-2 | 1997-1 | 1997-2 | 1998-1 | 1998-2 | 1999-1 | 1999-2
2000-1 | 2000-2 | 2001-1 | 2001-2 | 2002-1 | 2002-2 | 2003-1 | 2003-2 | 2004-1 | 2004-2 | 2005-1 | 2005-2 | 2006-1 | 2006-2
2007-1 | 2007-2 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Index to All Decades, Years and Features
- History of Sex in CinemaA year-by-year look at the films, scandals and changing laws.
- History of Erotic FilmsEverything you ever wanted to know from the first sex symbol to the birth of porn.
- Movies That Challenged RatingsA ranked movie list of 10 milestone sexy films that challenged the ratings.
- Sexy Hollywood BombshellsA brief history of Hollywood's sirens including Monroe, Mansfield, and Mamie.
- Top 100 Controversial MoviesMany of these included controversial sex and violence.
- Sexiest Films of All-TimeOver 75 of the hottest films in movie history.