History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes



The History of Sex in Cinema
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

The Ages of Lulu (1990, Sp.) (aka Las Edades de Lulú)

Writer/director Bigas Luna's (known for his later film Jamon, Jamon (1992, Sp.)) explicit and erotic film caused great controversy and censorship. Censorship cuts were made to the film in various places to tone down its graphic nature -- the opening baptism scene of a young and naked Lulu being baptized, the S&M four-way bisexual orgy at the gay club, and some of the explicitness in the unorthodox sex scenes. The title character was:

  • Lulu (Francesca Neri), who took a depraved sexual rites-of-passage odyssey from her naive teenaged high-school years onwards

In one of the film's earlier scenes, she surrendered her virginity to her brother's much older best friend Pablo (Óscar Ladoire) and allowed him to shave her pubic region at the end of their first date. When he returned from the US, and she was still smitten with him (and allowed anal sex), she was married to him.

Lulu's (Francesca Neri) Kinky Explorations

Her sexual cravings brought her to a darker underworld of experience - she shared a blindfolded incestual threesome with her brother (preceded by the scissors-cutting of her panties to open them). She eventually left Pablo with their daughter, and pursued/explored further kinky sensual experiences, including group sex, gay sex, trans-sexual sex, porno films and S&M (fisting by a male prostitute). She lost control over her sexual addiction and appetite, until she returned to her estranged husband.

(Francesca Neri)

Bad Girls From Mars (1990)

Director Fred Olen Ray's (famous for Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)) kitschy "film-within-a-film" was a low-budget, fairly tiresome film shot in only 5 days. It was actually a spoof of its own B-movie origins, with original sound-effects to warn the audience of upcoming "sexually-explicit" scenes. Its tagline was:

"And you thought Earth girls were easy..."

The soft-core sci-fi film being shot, "Bad Girls From Mars," opened with leading-lady starlet Terry (Jasae), a female alien, complaining during a topless scene to her male prisoner from Earth: "There's no room on Mars for limp dicks" before she was killed in her dressing room (strangled by a roll of film) by a maniac who had delivered a non-rhyming poem to her: "You're mean and cruel right from the start. And now you really have nowhere to hide."

Costume/wardrobe girl Myra ("Scream Queen Brinke Stevens), the girlfriend of narcissistic leading man Richard "Dick" Trent (Jay Richardson), wanted the role but was denied by harried director TJ McMasters (Oliver Darrow) - who was often seen being seduced by his dark-haired secretary Martine (Dana Bentley).

Now that four female stars had been murdered, producer Mac Regan (Jeffrey Culver) encouraged TJ to bring busty, leggy and exotic blonde sex goddess/ author Emanuelle Fortes (Russ Meyer bimbo Edy Williams) from Europe to star in the picture, stating that she had "great tits." Once the breathy replacement actress arrived, and while dipping naked in a jacuzzi, Emanuelle was attacked from behind by the masked killer and kidnapped, although she escaped and ended up loosely draped in a robe in a convenience/liquor store during an inept robbery.

Edy Williams as Sex Goddess Emanuelle

She threatened walking off the set to the director: "I want to live through the week," but then was turned into a "wild woman" by the smell of garbage on his clothes. Once filming resumed, with Myra off-screen cracking a whip, Emanuelle propositioned the director in his office: "You work way too long, too hard...I want to rehearse tomorrow's sex scenes with you...I'll show you how it goes," causing jealous Martine in the outer office to challenge her to a fierce, half-naked cat-fight. The struggle ended when the secretary's neck was broken by the killer (and later, Martine's bloody head was delivered in a box).

In the film's conclusion, Emanuelle was kidnapped again and taken to a warehouse where her hands were bound, when the film's unusual last-minute plot twist was soon revealed. She came upon the final murder in the studio where she found that the producer's neck was slashed. The black-garbed, masked serial killer was Myra -- actually Emanuelle's ex-boyfriend Victor Buntz ("Things were a lot less complicated then"), who had undergone gender reassignment surgery in Sweden. In the past, Victor had murdered Swedish surgeon Dr. Edward Wood, after his face had been altered during gender reassignment surgery. Emanuelle again confronted the killer, unmasking Myra, who confessed:

"I just wasn't cut out to be a boy, you know. I was lousy at sports, beer made me nauseous, I hated shaving in the morning. So I went to this doctor in Sweden and changed my sex...I always wanted to be a movie star, you know, bright lights, flashy cars, glamour, the Enquirer. Now look at me....I can't seem to find the right person to kill to get into the movies."

She explained that "in a round-about way," she was responsible for the killings that had given Emanuelle the opportunity to star in the soft-core film ("Once you were in Hollywood, things would start happening for you").

Myra's planned last act was to blow up the studio with a hand-grenade, but Emanuelle knocked her out, placed the grenade in her mouth, and pulled the pin - eliminating Myra in the ensuing explosion. The film ended with Emanuelle performing unscripted in the scene that opened the film - she stripped, then rubbed, squeezed, and shook her bare breasts, while the director yelled: "Cut!" and commented: "Will this movie never end?"


(Dana Bentley)

(Brinke Stevens)

Frankenhooker (1990)

Longtime B-horror director Frank Henenlotter's blood-and-breasts spoof was one of the most notorious, silliest, and over-the-top horror/comedies ever made, and a spoof of the classic Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

It told about electrician-mad scientist Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz), obsessed with anatomy, whose pudgy blonde girlfriend Elizabeth Shelley (August 1986 Penthouse Pet of the Month Patty Mullen) was accidentally killed by his invention - a runaway remote-controlled lawnmower. Disturbed and grief-stricken, he then stole her head (the only part that could be salvaged) to use for his "perfect woman" - it was stitched onto the body parts of other streetwalkers soaked in a purple preservative bath. He had acquired the other body "parts" from hookers, one of whom was named Honey (Charlotte J. Helmkamp) who propositioned him in his car when he said: "I'm looking for a lot of good parts." She pulled down her blouse and dangled her breasts in front of him, bragging:

Can't you see right now that I've got all the right parts, and I've got 'em all in the right places.

When he flashed a wad of money at her, she jumped in his car, excitedly exclaiming: "Now you're talking."

The reconstructed purple-bikinied female monster, with purple patchworked, mismatched parts including purplish areola on her breasts, was dubbed 'Frankenhooker' since she only wanted to turn tricks on Times Square streets (she propositioned various potential johns: "Want a date?", "Need some company, lonely?", "Got any money?", and "Looking for some action?"). Intimate sexual relations with her turned out to be literally shocking.

The film featured a famous, sickly-twisted ending when Jeffrey himself was decapitated, and had his head grafted onto the body of a large-breasted female body in order to be rejuvenated. He was astounded:

"Boobs? Elizabeth, what did you do to me?...Where's my johnson?"

Various Prostitutes at a Super-Crack Party Before They Began Blowing Up
Various Hookers
(Heather Hunter)
(Kimberly Taylor)
(Gittan Goding)

The spoof was also noted for the "Exploding Prostitutes" scene in which bare-breasted prostitutes spontaneously exploded in a hotel room after smoking super-crack cocaine, and the final disgusting revenge scene upon sadistic pimp Zorro (Joseph Gonzalez) by the female body parts.

(Charlotte J. Helmkamp)

(Patty Mullen)

Jeffrey as a

Exploding Prostitutes

Ghost (1990)

Director Jerry Zucker's old-fashioned supernatural romantic fantasy was noted for its non-nude, seductive sequence (symbolic of mutual masturbation) of co-creating molding clay on a pottery wheel, between the shared, wet hands of Molly (Demi Moore) and shirtless Sam (Patrick Swayze) (with the playing of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody").

He wrapped his arms around her from behind, as they both morphed the grayish, oozing clay from one phallic shape to another. The sequence continued with their extended love-making and kissing ("hunger for your love") in their darkened apartment.

[Note: This scene was later spoofed in Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991).]

The Pottery Wheel

The Grifters (1990)

Director Stephen Frears' R-rated adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel of the same name was a seedy and tense film noir about three 'grifter' con-artists and their worlds of treachery and double-cross:

  • two-bit small-time hustler/con Roy Dillon (John Cusack)
  • experienced horse-gambler and estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston)
  • high-stakes sexual swindler and corporate scam artist scheister Myra Langtry (Annette Bening)
Sexy Myra Langtry (Annette Bening)

Deceitful Myra was the romantic interest for Roy - she enticed and seduced him within a naked doorway to become his affectionate floozy girlfriend. She opened her door, standing there stark naked, ran by him in the dark hallway shouting: "Gangway," and then hid behind a curtain as she apologized: "I hope you don't mind, sir. I just washed my clothes and I couldn't do a thing with them." He chased after her and tossed her onto a bed.

Myra Langtry
(Annette Bening)

Henry & June (1990)

Director Philip Kaufman's frank and bold treatment of sex was based on the diaries of author Anais Nin. It was the first major studio feature film to be released with the new and revised NC-17 rating by the MPAA (due to an explicit yet simulated scene of lesbian oral sex) - a rating designed to distinguish erotic-and-serious adult films from pure hard-core X-rated pornography. It had the second highest box-office gross of all-time at $11.6 million, about half of the #1 NC-17 film of all time, Showgirls (1995) at $20.3 million.

The sexually-provocative biodrama with themes of voyeurism, partner-swapping, three-way sex, and both hetero- and homo-sexuality told about a love triangle between three individuals in 1930s Bohemian Paris:

  • petite, sexually-liberated writer Anais Nin (Maria de Medeiros), unsatisfyingly married to Hugo Parker Guiler (Richard E. Grant) who called her by his pet name "Pussywillow"
  • American writer and 'Tropic of Cancer' author Henry Miller (Fred Ward)
  • Henry's bi-sexual wife June (19 year old Uma Thurman)

The controversial film included these scenes:

  • during the opening credits, there was a postcard view of the famous erotic woodcut (The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife) from Japanese artist Hokusai, depicting oral sex between two octopi and a young, naked Ama pearl diver; Anais claimed that with the entire collection of erotic items in a box she found in a closet, she became acquainted "with the endless varieties of the erotic experience"
  • Anais slow-dancing (and deep lesbian kissing) with June in an underground lesbian club
  • Anais' many passionate and eager couplings with Henry during their affair together, including her first time with him furtively behind a curtain in a club during a syncopated dance (he told her: "I love you, I need you" and she told him that she also loved him)
  • some segments of le Bal des Beaux Arts (the Art Students' Ball) sequence, including Anais' 'rape' by costumed husband Hugo
  • an "exhibition" of lesbian love-making in a private show conducted in a mirrored brothel room, viewed by Anais and Hugo, between Henry's blonde whore (Brigitte Lahaie) and another frail prostitute (Maïté Maillé) - when Anais advised the aggressive blonde: "Stop pretending to be a man."
  • Anais' love-making scene with her lover/cousin Eduardo (Jean-Philippe Écoffey) in the midst of her other affair
Selected Scenes in the First NC-17 Rated Film - Henry & June

Anais with Hugo

Anais' Love-making
with Henry

Anais' 'Rape'
by Husband Hugo

Lesbian Club

In another scene, Anais described an hallucinatory "nightmare" dream-fantasy of sex with June (and with Henry's blonde whore) in an upper loft, experiencing 'abnormal pleasures' ("I begged her to undress. I asked her to let me see between her legs. As she lay over me, I felt a penis touching me..."). Anais also had a climactic love-making scene with Henry after he had finished his novel 'Tropic of Cancer' while Hugo was downstairs. [Note: "Tropic of Cancer" was published in 1934, and banned in all English-speaking countries for 27 years.]

In the concluding scene, Anais and June got together for love-making (while Henry was asleep in another room of the house) after which an accusatory June confronted Anais about her manipulative and self-serving affair with Henry:

You just want experience. You're a writer. You make love to whatever you need. You're just like Henry...I can see exactly what you're doing. You're so slippery, so slippery. You bitch. Liar, trickster. You bought his love...You both robbed me blind. You stole everything.

Anais broke off her relationship with both Henry & June and returned to her husband Hugo. As she drove away with him, she lamented (in voice-over) her lost loves, although Henry and Anais remained "life-long friends and supporters":

That morning I wept. I wept because I loved the streets that took me away from Henry and would lead me back to him. I wept because the process by which I had become a woman was painful. I wept because from now on, I would weep less. I wept because I had lost my pain and I was not yet accustomed to its absence.

Henry & June
(Uma Thurman)

Henry's blonde whore
(Brigitte Lahaie)

Anais' & June's dance-kiss

Anais' (Maria de Medeiros)

With Henry

Anais with June

The Hot Spot (1990)

Actor Dennis Hopper directed this contemporary, sexy film noir (based on Charles Williams' 1952 novel "Hell Hath No Fury"), and unfortunately, it turned out to be a financially-failing film.

Scheming bank robber/drifter-used car dealer Harry Madox (Don Johnson) engaged in a torrid affair with used car lot owner's hot-blooded wife Dolly Harshaw (Virginia Madsen in a sizzling performance as a Lana Turner-like femme fatale seductress).

Hot Spot Skinny-Dipping: Gloria (Jennifer Connelly)

One of the side plots told about troubled but sweet and soft-spoken 19 year-old Texas car dealership office secretary Gloria Harper (future Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly). Gloria was being blackmailed over a dark secret. Her most memorable scene was a bare skinny-dip with friend Irene Davey (Debra Cole) as she was being spied upon.

Dolly Harshaw
(Virginia Madsen)

Longtime Companion (1990)

Screenwriter Craig Lucas and director Norman René's independent ensemble film told about the impact of AIDS (regarded first as a mysterious "cancer") on seven gay New Yorkers. It was the first major feature film to deal explicitly with AIDS - two earlier limited release films that also dealt with AIDS were Buddies (1985) and Parting Glances (1986).

The film's title referred to the way that obituaries would list a gay man's lover.

It featured the Oscar-nominated, poignant performance of homosexual, AIDS-stricken David (Bruce Davison, nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and his 'let it go' speech to a dying friend.

The landmark film was also notable for the heartbreaking ending Fire Island beach fantasy, almost a decade later, in which three surviving loved ones reunited with all of the AIDS dead for a few moments.

Miami Blues (1990)

Director George Armitage's black comedy-drama (and action crime-thriller) was set in the Miami area, and told about the romantic struggle between two major characters:

  • Frederick J. Frenger, Jr. (Alec Baldwin), aka "Junior," an ex-con psychopath, and small-time criminal
  • Susie Waggoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh), aka "Pepper," a sweet, short-haired, southern-accented but dense room-service hooker
Junior and Susie/Pepper (Jennifer Jason Leigh)

She was also a student enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College, with dreams of acquiring middle-class stability by owning a Burger King franchise. The vulnerable female naively trusted Junior and played house and 'marriage' with him at Coral Gables during their ongoing love/hate relationship, without wanting to know or acknowledge his true nature and criminal activities. Junior stole middle-aged Detective Hoke Mosely's (Fred Ward) police badge and gun and began impersonating the cop. The film eventually ended tragically for Junior.

Susie Waggoner
(Jennifer Jason Leigh)

1001 Nights (1990, Fr/It/Swiss) (aka Sheherazade or Les 1001 nuits)

20 year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones made her film debut in director Philippe de Broca's obscure and low-budget Arabian nights fantasy, a retelling and weird adaptation of the original tale.

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sheherazade

In a non-sexual performance, she appeared as semi-naked Sheherazade, falling from the sky and having her clothes blown off while she rubbed a genie lamp to deploy a parachute. She landed in the lap of a startled turbaned man, emerged from the ocean in a seashell bikini, and performed a seductive strip-tease dance down to a skimpy thong bikini.

(Catherine Zeta-Jones)

Pretty Woman (1990)

Director Gary Marshall's very popular romance film, popular treacle actually, was Hollywood's morally-corrupt and sanitized version of what a Hollywood Boulevard hooker and prostitution would look like - with a fairy-tale Cinderella character and a My Fair Lady ending. The fantasy romance was between a hooker and her wealthy john:

  • beautiful independent hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in her breakthrough role)
  • Wall Street corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere)
Julia Roberts as a Hooker and Pretty Woman - Kissing!

He engaged her services (her wish came true after she had said, "I want my fairy tale"), hiring her for $3,000 and additional amenities at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The turning point in their relationship actually occurred when Vivian consented to being kissed on the mouth. Earlier when asked what she did as services for her clients, she stated that she did "everything" except kiss on the mouth.

Vivian: "What do you want?"
Edward: "What do you do?"
Vivian: "Everything, but I don't kiss on the mouth."
Edward: "Neither do I."

Vivian Ward
(Julia Roberts)

Sorority House Massacre II (1990)

There wasn't much to this picture, directed by Roger Corman regular Jim Wynorski, other than lots of T&A and some violent bloodletting. Its tagline was accurate: "It’s Cleavage vs. Cleavers and the result is Delta Delta Deadly!"

It was a sequel only in name to the original film from 1986. The flashbacks at the beginning of the film were to a different film altogether - The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), which it more naturally followed.

The story was simple - five females bought an old dilapidated house for a sorority gathering place - the scene of the Hockstatter bloody slumber party massacre five years earlier. They moved in to spend the night, without phone or electrical service. Their creepy neighbor, Orville Ketchum (as Himself), told them all about the massacre that had previously taken place in the house. After showering and changing clothes (see pictures), the night-gowned girls consulted a Ouija board to contact the deceased murderer Hockstatter, and then found the house was haunted by a psychotic serial killer.

Jessica ("Scream Queen" Melissa Moore)
Kimberly (Stacia Zhivago)
Suzanne (Michelle Verran, or Barbii)
Linda (Gail/Robyn Harris)

Most of the girls were stabbed or killed (mostly off-screen) (in the following order: Janey (Dana Bentley), Suzanne, Kimberly, and Jessica). Jessica was committing the murders (possessed by Hockstatter), but then when she was stabbed in the neck by Linda, the spirit passed into Linda, the sole survivor.

When the mover arrived at 5:30 am the next morning, he found a scene of bodies and a bloody massacre - five years after the original one. A police officer asked Lieutenant Mike Block (Jürgen Baum), "Isn't this the old Hockstatter place?" Suddenly, rustling in a pile of trash and papers brought forth the possessed Linda with a knife, who gleefully laughed, and in a man's voice stated: "It still is." The wounded Orville rose from the floor, grabbed a gun, and shot the killer multiple times. Two police officers retaliated and shot-gunned Orville to death with many blasts, although he was miraculously still alive and an ambulance was summoned! Later, a newscaster announced that suspected mass murderer Orville was released from the prison ward of the hospital (fully recovered), for lack of evidence to prosecute him.

Gratuitous Scene in Strip Club with Candy, a Survivor of the Original Hockstatter Murders
Candy (Bridget Carney)
Satana (Shannon Wilsey, or Savannah)

(l to r): Janey, Suzanne, Kimberly, Linda, Jessica

Sorority Girls

The Twist Ending - the Killer is Linda (possessed by the spirit of Hockstatter)

Linda: "It still is"

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990, Sp.) (aka ¡Átame!)

Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar's film was a dark, offbeat black comedy, sometimes accused of depicting the victimization of women via abduction, similar in part to William Wyler's film The Collector (1965).

It was the last film to receive the MPAA's X-rating due to its depiction of forced bondage and rape - however, it was re-rated and released as an NC-17 film.

It told of a strange courtship and bonding between:

  • Ricky (Antonio Banderas), dull-witted, obsessively love-sick mental patient/handyman
  • Marina Osorio (Victoria Abril), ex-porn star and recovering junkie addict

Recently released from psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital, Ricky kidnapped, gagged and tied up his favorite actress Marina - an unusual attempt to win her affection. He snatched her after she had left the set of crippled director Maximo Espejo's (Francesco Rabal) last movie, The Midnight Phantom in which she was acting. She gradually loosened her resistance to being his captive, especially after freshly-wounded Ricky was beaten up by drug dealers as he attempted to procure strong painkillers for her. As they made love, and he was in pain, he asserted he could continue: "The only thing the bastards didn't touch was my cock." In the conclusion's stunning reversal, Marina asked to be tied up during a car trip, so she wouldn't be tempted to escape.

Marina's (Victoria Abril) Infamous Bathtub Scene with Toy Scuba Diver

It was noted most for its controversial and infamous masturbatory bath scene with the aid of a vibrating toy diver that swam straight into Marina's crotch. There were also a pair of scenes of Marina and her sister Lola (Loles Leon) urinating on a toilet.

Ricky and Marina
(Victoria Abril)

Wild at Heart (1990)

Writer/director David Lynch's R-rated Wizard of Oz-referenced, neo-noirish road film was the winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or. Lynch's screenplay was based on the 1990 novel by Barry Gifford, part one of a series of Sailor and Lulu stories, entitled Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lulu. The violent, sex-drenched film, his follow-up Blue Velvet (1986), was originally threatened with an X-rating, until Lynch toned it down. Some of the most explicit erotic scenes were not included in the final cut, including an orgasm with Lulu describing it as being ripped open by an animal, and another in which she proposed oral sex on Sailor's face ("Take a bite out of Lulu").

It told about two sex-crazed, star-crossed lovers on the run:

  • Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage), violent 23 year-old, Elvis-loving, snakeskin jacket wearing ex-con bad-boy, a parolee
  • Lula Pace Fortune (Laura Dern), sex-loving, 20 year-old southern girl

Breaking parole and enroute westward to California, they were pursued by private detective Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton) and gangster Marcelles Santos (J.E. Freeman) - both boyfriends and hired by Lula's crazed and obsessed mother Marietta Fortune (Best Supporting Actress-nominated Diane Ladd, Laura Dern's real mother) to either bring them back or kill Sailor. The film ended with an ironic, cliched happy ending, when Ripley had a change of heart after again being arrested and serving a prison term, and returning to be with Lulu.

In one early, classic scene in the back of a bar, Sailor recalled and described to Lula (in order to excite her) an especially memorable sexual encounter he once had with Irma (Charlie Spradling) when he was visiting his cousin, Junior Train, in Savannah:

"I had a boner with a capital O...She turns over, peels off them orange pants, spreads her legs real wide and says to me...'Take a bite of Peach'."

In response, Lula urged him:

"Baby, you'd better run me back to the hotel. You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt."

(Charlie Spradling)

Sailor and Lulu
(Laura Dern)

Sex in Cinematic History
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

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