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



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

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, UK/Fr.)

Writer/director Peter Greenaway designed this cruel, over-the-top, truth-telling film as a metaphoric and allegorical criticism showing contempt for the wasteful and barbaric upper-class consumer society in Western civilization (specifically 80's Thatcherism and Reaganism). It established linkages between art, class structure, gastronomy and bodily functions, and sex and death. The film's tagline was:


The sensational film's putrescence, debasement and excesses (sadism, cannibalism, torture, fornication, puke, child abuse, and rotting fish and meat) and scatological themes (force-feeding of excrement (termed coprophagy), urination on victims, and more) forced the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give the film an "X" rating. After being denied an appeal, the film was originally released unrated by the producers, and then given an NC-17 rating by the time of its video release. An alternative R-rated version cut out about 30 minutes of footage.

In all of cinematic history (as of 2020), it remained the fourth highest-grossing NC-17 rated film at $7.7 million, slightly behind Henry & June (1990) at $11.6 million; it was also behind the # 2 NC-17 film, Showgirls (1995) at $20.4 million, and the # 1 film Last Tango in Paris (1973) at $36.1 million.

It told about a number of real (but also symbolic) characters, who spent much of their time at a trendy haute cuisine London restaurant called Le Hollandais:

  • Albert Spica (Michael Gambon), the THIEF, a nouveau-riche British (London) gangster - a gluttonous, odious, uncouth, anti-intellectual, unsophisticated, despicable and maniacal boss of the restaurant he had acquired
  • Georgina (Helen Mirren), the WIFE, Albert's reluctant, desperate, battered and much-humiliated Wife
  • Michael (Alan Howard), HER LOVER, a bookwormish patron or diner, a bookshop owner
  • Richard Boarst (Richard Bohringer), the COOK, the burdened manager of the restaurant and the kitchen's head French chef
The Banquet Table
The Thief (Albert Spica)
The Wife (Georgina)
Her Lover (Michael)

Albert dined and presided over a sumptuous banquet every night (over a nine evening period). He held court around a table where he talked about food, excrement and sex, and surrounded himself with various lackeys and henchmen. He harrassed and brutalized both the staff and patrons of the restaurant.

The huge restaurant that was the centerpiece of the film was composed of four rooms or sections, each of which was color-coded:

  • the kitchen and storage area (deep jungle-green)
  • the main dining room (hellish blood-red), modeled after the famous Dutch painting The Banquet of the Officers of the St George Militia Company in 1616 that was hung on the restaurant's wall
  • the restrooms (white)
  • the adjacent parking lot (cold dark blue)

To escape from her abusive husband, the adulterous and unfaithful Georgina snuck away for hungry trysts with her Lover (during visits to a rest-room stall, kitchen and bakery pantry, and in a freezer, filmed with unflattering light). When Albert came upon his wife hiding in the stall with Michael, he asked: "What are you doing in there, Georgie? You playin' with yourself? That's not allowed. That's my property, you're not allowed to fiddle with it. Now come on, open the door, I'll show you how to wipe yourself."

On a separate occasion after having sex with Georgina, Michael complimented her eyes, and she responded: "And you have a beautiful prick, Mr. Gynecology."

Albert learned of their affair when pimped prostitute Patricia (Emer Gillespie) divulged that Georgina and the quiet man at a nearby table always went off together to secretly have sex:

No wonder she hates your guts...No wonder she screws around....You're so bloody blind, you loud-mouthed pig. You'd never even notice... I saw them...Georgie and that Jew...that bloke that sits over there - reading. Haven't you noticed? They always go off to the john together...Why do you think Georgie's been spendin' so much time in the john, ya blind bat! She doesn't have the shits every five minutes.

Enraged, he stuck a fork into Patricia's cheek. Soon after, he went after them, forcing the two to retreat (with restaurant help) into the back of a meat truck with putrid smells of rotting food. They were driven to Michael's home/book depository where they were hosed off.

The brutal Albert decided upon savage, cannibalistic revenge upon the man, and ironically stated and foreshadowed:

"I'll bloody find her. I'll find them. I'll bloody find them. I knew it. Scheming tart! I'll bloody find them and I'll bloody kill him! And I'll bloody eat him! I'll kill him and I'll eat him!"

Michael was killed by force-feeding him with pages from his favorite book.

After her lover's death, Georgina asked the cook Richard to recall for her what he had witnessed about their affair, to make it more real for her - and he reminisced: "I saw him kissing you on the mouth, on the neck, behind your ear. I saw him undressing you. I saw him kissing your breasts. I saw him put his hand between your legs." She also asked what he had witnessed she had done: "I saw you kiss him on the mouth. I saw you lying under him on the floor of the pantry. I saw him take you from behind. I saw you take his penis in your mouth." She began to sob.

Then, Georgina begged for the reluctant Cook to help her - to bake up her lover's corpse (she even tried to persuade him by offering herself):

In memory of us making love in your kitchen and in your fantasies, help me now...In memory of your parents making love, help me now....Cook Michael for me...This was his favorite restaurant. It's also mine. Cook Michael for me.

The Cook was appalled and thought: "Do you have some idea that by eating him he can become part of you? You can't believe that by eating him you can always be together!" She explained her motive was revenge: "I'm not eating him. Albert is."

She hosted a private, Friday night function with Albert the prime guest of honor. He was disgusted when he arrived and saw Georgina - he viciously threatened her: "What brings you here, you bitch! I'm very surprised you so brazenly show your face here, you slut... I'll bloody kill you for what you did to me!...And don't think I'm taking you back. I'll make you pay, you slut. Your bottom's going to be very, very sore for weeks. No more books for you, girl. You're staying in under lock and key. There's gonna be no more books or prick-sniffing for you, girl." She only greeted him: "Happy anniversary, Albert," and then clarified: "It's an anniversary that I shall always celebrate, even if you won't. And you won't."

She described how she had 'cooked up' a "present" for him. There were other guests in attendance who would soon appear -- "And Richard has cooked it for you. Under my instructions...Knowing how you like to eat. Knowing how you like to gorge yourself. And we've brought a few of your friends around." A formal procession of people (those Albert had wronged) brought in the veiled body on a large platter for dinner - his "special treat."

She removed the cover on the platter - and there was a slow-pan up the length of the cooked corpse as Albert gasped: "Georgie! Jesus! God!" She calmly responded: "No, it's not God, Albert. It's Michael, my lover. You vowed you would kill him, and you did. And you vowed you would eat him. Now eat him." She forced him to eat the warmed-up cadaver ("What's the matter? You have your knife and fork. You do know how to use them. Or have all those carefully-learnt table manners gone to waste?"). Albert pulled out his pistol, but was disarmed and the gun was passed around to Georgina, who then added as she held him at gunpoint:

"Eat Albert!...Try the cock, Albert -- it's a delicacy. And you know where it's been."

Stunned, Albert took a forkful bite and vomited (he had finally consumed enough), as The Wife encouraged him to eat more: ("Go on, Albert, eat. Bon appetit, Albert. It's French") - and then she shot him to death in the head. He was propelled backward as she condemned him as a "Cannibal." A red curtain closed to end the film.

The Wife and Lover In a Restroom Stall

Sex in Various Back Areas of the Kitchen

Hiding in Michael's Bookstore After Being Found Out

Abuse Toward Patricia (Emer Gillespie) Who Divulged to Albert that Georgina "Screws Around"

Procession into Restaurant

Lover on a Platter

Georgina: "Eat, Albert!!"

The Thief Forced by the Wife (at Gunpoint) to Consume The Cooked Body of Her Lover

Georgina: "Cannibal"

Dead Calm (1989, Australia)

Australian actress Nicole Kidman starred in her first leading role in Phillip Noyce's R-rated erotic thriller.

She took the role of Rae Ingram, a terrorized but strong-willed woman onboard the schooner Saracen with her husband John (Sam Neill). When John was diverted away, she had no choice but to give in to the sexual advances of deranged killer castaway Hughie Warriner (Billy Zane) and make love to him - as part of a resourceful strategy to possibly catch him off guard and eventually subdue the psychotic madman.

As she laid on top of him, she removed her white T-shirt, and he ripped off her shorts and panties. She told him that first, however, she had to go to the bathroom - she put on a robe and went up on deck to assemble a shotgun. Her ploy was aborted, as was a second attempt to use the shotgun, so she finally accepted intercourse and experienced an intense, gasping orgasm.

The couple believed that they had finally conquered Hughie by seriously wounding him with a harpoon, knocking him unconscious, tossing him onto a free-floating rescue raft, and setting him adrift. In the surprise twist ending, he was finally killed once and for all.

Rae Ingram (Nicole Kidman)

Do the Right Thing (1989)

African-American writer/producer/director Spike Lee also starred in this independent film (his breakout film) about one very hot summer day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and its accompanying racism, intolerance and violence.

One of the multi-ethnic relationships in the film was between:

  • Mookie (director Spike Lee), Sal's Pizzeria delivery boy
  • Tina (Rosie Perez in her feature film debut), a feisty Hispanic

Mookie and Tina had a young son named Hector. During a visit with Tina on this sweltering day of one hundred degree heat, he was frustrating her by wanting to have quickie sex (the "nasty") in her hot apartment bedroom, and then wishing to quickly leave afterwards. She complained:

"If you think I'm gonna let you get some, put your clothes on, and leave here, and I won't see your black ass for another week, you must be bluffin'?"

He proposed instead: "let's do somethin' else." He had her stand on the bed and strip naked ("Take your clothes off"), while he went to the refrigerator to retrieve two trays of ice cubes.

The Infamous Ice Cube Melting Scene with Tina (Rosie Perez)
Right Nipple

Moving Over to

Left Nipple

In the infamous ice-cube scene, he methodically rubbed melting ice cubes over her naked body (forehead, lips, neck, kneecaps, elbows, thighs, and breasts) in full-closeup view, while espousing:

"Thank god for the lips...Thank god for the neck...Thank god for kneecaps...Thank god for elbows...Thank god for thighs...Thank god for the right nipple. Thank god for the left nipple. Ah, she likes, she likes, she likes."

In the original screenplay, it read: "Mookie now has an ice cube on the left and right nipples and WE SEE before our very own eyes both get swollen, red, and erect." Tina responded: "Feels good" before he left her, promising to return later.

[Note: Many years later, Perez still expressed her feeling that she had been exploited by co-star/director Lee in the sex scene.]

Tina (Rosie Perez)

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Director Steve Kloves' romance drama has always been remarked upon for its seductive scene of red-dressed, high-heeled former escort girl Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) writhing semi-recumbent and draped atop a grand piano.

Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) accompanied her while she sang a sultry rendition of "Makin' Whoopee" during a New Year's Eve gig at a rural hotel.

Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer)

Ghosts Can't Do It (1989)

Writer/director John Derek's film featuring his naked wife Bo Derek was one of the worst films ever made. The film's unlikely title referred to ghosts who couldn't consummate their love through sex. The film received nine Razzie nominations and four wins, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Bo Derek), Worst Director (John Derek), and Worst Supporting Actor (Donald Trump in a cameo as Himself).

The two main characters, a married couple who lived on a Wyoming ranch together, were:

  • Katie O'Dare Scott (Bo Derek)
  • Scott (Anthony Quinn), her older husband

Scott was ailing from a weak heart, but was too old to have a heart transplant. When he couldn't perform in bed with Katie, he committed suicide with a shotgun blast to his own head. In a hellish afterlife, Scott met an Angel of Death (Julie Newmar) who told him that he could watch his wife's suffering and anguish for awhile. She was the only one who could see and hear her dead husband.

Katie went to a tropical isle for a vacation, where in a memorable scene, she stripped off her purplish-blue one-piece swim suit and laid down on the sand, while complaining to the deceased Scott:

Katie: "You're not my man, you're my ghost!"
Scott: "So you do believe I'm a ghost, hah?!"
Katie: "What else could you be? I mean, look at you."
Scott: "Honey, there are stories about ghosts that come back in another body."
Katie: "Oh, Jesus God, don't do that to me! Oh God, don't do that!"
Scott: "Just think about it."
Katie: "In another body? You mean you'd take another body. And with this body, you'd make love to me?"
Scott: "You bet I would - and if it's possible, I..."
Katie: "I don't know, Scott. That's kinky stuff. We've never been kinky."
Scott: "But honey, we could get married again. I mean, wouldn't it be wonderful?"
Katie: "What would you look like?...That's important. Would you be young?"

In another scene while she was bathing in a jacuzzi, and was informed by Scott that she was now chairman of the board of his company (and worth two billion dollars), she told Scott: "Why don't you go get a body and ravish me, just like the old days. I'll wait right here." Eventually, her wish came true as she was bedded down by Scott who had possessed the body of womanizing Fausto Garibaldi (Leo Damian) when he conveniently drowned. [Earlier, she had proposed the idea to him: "My dead husband wants to possess your body."] As she was taken by him, she spoke:

"He carries me to my bed and looks deeply into my eyes, and says, don't be afraid Katie."

Katie (Bo Derek)

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

In director Richard Donner's sequel Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) unlike the first film in the popular series, semi-crazy but less destructive LAPD Sgt. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) found time for a love-making scene.

The sex came with South African Consulate Secretary Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), a perky coltish blonde that worked for his enemy. He invited her to dinner and beer in his rocky oceanside trailer. After an extended bout of sex in his upper bunk, he asked for a "seventh inning stretch," yet she complained: "we're only up to the fourth inning" - followed by his sexy reply "batter up" as she got on top.

They were alerted to danger by Riggs' collie dog Sam, and interrupted by gunfire from two helicopters, leading to an exciting truck chase as they both fled from his bullet-peppered trailer.

Rika (Patsy Kensit)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Representing family-friendly values, Disney executives were continually worried about sexual imagery or subliminal messages conveyed in their animations, whether they were actually visible, coincidental, accidental, or just urban legends (i.e., the dust clouds spelling out the word SEX in The Lion King (1994)).

More scrutiny was brought to bear on this film when execs feared (implausibly) that there was a disgruntled Disney artist who had deliberately drawn an erect penis nestled among the towering spires of the castle on The Little Mermaid's video box cover.

Another fear was that an animated male character, a priest, had a bulging penis, but it turned out to be the character's knobby knee!

My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days (1989, Fr.) (aka Mes Nuits Sont Plus Belles Que Vos Jours)

Avante-garde writer/director Andrzej Zulawski's sad but dramatic romance was pretentious and self-indulgent, and included elements such as drug use and lesbianism. Although derived from a French romantic novel, it was uncredited to the author Raphaële Billetdoux.

The two main characters at a seaside resort who were engaged in a disjointed, tragic affair for several days and nights within a posh hotel suite were:

  • Lucas (Jacques Dutronc), a computer language specialist
  • Blanche (Sophie Marceau, the long-time girlfriend of the director at the time), an emotionally-unstable, weepy, unhappy younger female who reluctantly aspired to be a flamboyant nightclub performer in a mind-reading psychic act

During one of her psychic acts while wearing a red silky dress on stage, she pulled down the front of it to reveal her breasts.

Lucas had been diagnosed with a rare debilitating brain disease that was causing him to gradually lose his communication skills and memory. Their unusual and intense erotic relationship ("Love means pain, lots of pain") was tempered by the mental condition of both, and their haunting childhood memories.

Lucas and Blanche (Sophie Marceau)

When they made love in one of the film's remarkable scenes, she had the ability to look into Lucas' soul and view his hidden pain.

(Sophie Marceau)

Scandal (1989, UK)

This docu-melodrama set in the swinging Sixties from first-time feature director Michael Caton-Jones was about a British government tabloid scandal in 1963 (aka the Profumo Scandal). Oddy, it was originally rated X for its notorious after-dinner orgy scene (since re-edited), although it didn't warrant a hard-core rating. The whole debacle of the real scandal led to the end of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's Conservative government.

It told about the friendship of:

  • Christine Keeler (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), a British working-class, 17 year-old model-showgirl
  • Mandy Rice-Davies (Bridget Fonda), a 16 year-old blonde

Christine Keeler had relocated to London, where she began as a chorus girl in a respectable topless revue show. Rice-Davies was also in the show, playing a topless American Indian maiden in a kitschy stage number with the repetitive chorus of "Ooga! Ooga! Ooga!"

Keeler was befriended by social-climbing, liberated hedonist and osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward (John Hurt) who introduced her to his high-class friends, who claimed: "Everybody's afraid to enjoy themselves or they're too afraid to admit it." Keeler moved in with him along with her friend Mandy Rice-Davies, and they were pimped out as bed-hopping call girls.

Keeler became notoriously famous when it became public knowledge that she had provided sexual favors to British War Minister John Profumo (Ian McKellen) and high-ranking Soviet diplomat and suspected Russian spy Eugene Ivanov (Jeroen Krabbe).

In one of the film's most memorable scenes, to the sounds of Apache by The Shadows, the two beautiful playthings (in a series of extreme closeups) prepared and dressed for a night on the town:

  • they hooked their garters
  • applied eye makeup
  • put on nail polish
  • used glossy lipstick
  • fastened their bustiers

Later after a cut, they were seen in a bed, making very vocal, orgasmic sounds together. It was revealed that they were faking - pretending to be lesbian, when they burst into laughter to tease their male pick-up or john, who was watching their arousing performance.

In the end as a result of the scandal and public trial, Ward suicidally killed himself, and Keeler was found guilty of perjury.

Mandy Rice-Davies
(Bridget Fonda)

Orgy Scene

Christine (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) and Mandy
(Bridget Fonda)

Sea of Love (1989)

Director Harold Becker's Hitchcock-like, erotic, who-dun-it crime thriller told about an investigation into a series of 'lonely-hearts' murders by a suspected female serial killer.

The film opened with a close-up of a spinning 45 rpm record ("Sea of Love") on a turntable, as naked James Mackey (Brian Paul) appeared to be making love, but then was shown to have a gun pointed at him by an unseen assailant before he was shot dead.

Two individuals who were intertwined together during the case included:

  • Frank Keller (Al Pacino), a 20 year workaholic veteran of the NYPD, feisty
  • Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), a carnal seductress, femme fatale and wicked single mother, Keller's mysterious killer-suspect

Acting as a decoy, Keller placed his own ad in New York Weekly magazine and had dinner (expecting to retrieve matching fingerprints) with Helen. During their first meeting, she told him: "I believe in animal attraction. I believe in love at first sight." Ultimately, Keller fell for the female, who dangerously aroused both his suspicions and lust. They experienced a tense, torrid tryst scene together in his bedroom at 3 am after having drinks. She ripped off her red jacket, revealing a bra-less white T-shirt as they passionately kissed each other. When she went to the bathroom, grabbing her bag with a gun in it (a "starter's pistol") and commanded "Get in bed," he was both excited and fearful.

Torrid and Frightening Lustful Sex with Suspect Helen (Ellen Barkin)

When she appeared in a white bathrobe, he threw her against the wall and frisked her and then tossed her in his closet -- they soon struggled on his bed together as she screamed: "Get off of me," but afterwards he apologized for his violent reaction and she acquiesed. Their rough foreplay led to her frisking him from behind (and lingering at his crotch) as he asked: "What are you looking for, huh?" She removed her bathrobe to reveal her nakedness, and then they began love-making against the wall as the scene faded to black. Later when kissing her, he murmured: "You're killing me." By morning, he queried: "Are we still alive?"

A few days later after she learned that he was a cop, they met at a grocery store aisle where she was naked under her black trenchcoat. In the very sexy scene set to a jazzy score, she fondled hot peppers as he touched her bare leg, before another night of love-making at her place.

When he suspected her of the killings after learning that she had dates with the murdered men, he taunted her with his own gun: "Let's get it over with, right now, Bingo...Want to f--k first and get me face down?" - and then ordered her: "Tell me you did it. Tell me why you did it?" but she was speechless. In the film's twist ending, Helen's angry 'creep' ex-husband Terry (Michael Rooker) lunged at Frank at his apartment door, screaming:

"You f--king swinging dick! You got in deep, man. She throws a f--kin' court order at me."

He was the cable TV man that Frank had questioned earlier as a witness - he had killed all of his ex-wife's 'lonely-hearts' acquaintances. In the film's final scene, Frank and Helen were reconciled on a NY street and went to have a cup of coffee together.

Helen (Ellen Barkin)

sex, lies and videotape (1989)

Writer/director Steven Soderbergh's landmark independent film was the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Although it contained considerable discussion of sexual topics, it did not contain any nudity. The film featured explicit dialogue in videotaped discussions and revelatory confessions filmed by reclusive Graham Walton (James Spader) as his "personal project."

Videotaping was a substitute for his own emotion-less, impotent and dispassionate life ("I'm impotent - I can't get an erection in the presence of another person") as he admitted openly that he ‘got off' on taping women talking about their sexual experiences ("Why do these tapes all have women's names on them?").

During a visit to Baton Rouge, he saw two individuals:

  • John Mullany (Peter Gallagher), Graham's college buddy-turned egotistical yuppie lawyer
  • Ann (Andie MacDowell), John's neglected, sexually-squeamish, repressed and frustrated wife

Ann admitted to her therapist (Ron Vawter): "I've never really been that much into sex."

Infidelity was revealed between womanizing and philandering John and Ann's sexually-adventurous bartender sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). When Graham videotaped Cynthia as she curled up on a sofa, she was aroused and revealed her sexual awakening when she first viewed a penis at age 14:

"I didn't think it would have, um, veins or ridges or anything. I just thought it would be smooth, like a test tube….The organ itself seemed like a, a separate thing, um, a separate entity to me. I mean, when he finally pulled it out, and I could look at it and touch it, I completely forgot that there was a guy attached to it. I remember literally being startled when the guy spoke to me."

In one of the film's memorable scenes, Ann reversed roles and turned the camcorder on Graham to help him with his "problem," asking him: "Why do you tape women talking about sex, huh?" She then approached to tenderly and lightly caress and kiss him ("Keep your eyes closed") as he laid unresistant on a couch. He soon decided to shut off the camera filming them, presumably because they were going to have sex together.

Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo)

Skin Deep (1989)

Writer/director Blake Edwards' R-rated sex farce-comedy starred John Ritter as womanizing, alcoholic author Zachary 'Zach' Hutton who had numerous sexual encounters, hindering his attempts to get back to his newscaster ex-wife Alexandra "Alex" Hutton (Alyson Reed). The self-destructive Zach also suffered from writer's block due to his frequent philandering.

One of his bedroom encounters was with blonde female bodybuilder Lonnie (Raye Hollitt from American Gladiators), who flexed in front of him to show her gigantic muscles and pectorals, who asserted:

Lonnie: "Look at it this way, Zach. I've worked 5 years, 52 weeks a year, five days a week, 3 hours a day, to build this body. And for one night, this night, it's all yours. How do you feel about that?"
"Like Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger."

As she undressed, she asked another question:

Lonnie: "I love your sense of humor."
Zach: "And it loves you."
Lonnie: "Do you always try and joke your way out of a tight spot."
Zach: "Not always, occasionally I'm too frightened to make my lips move."
Lonnie: "I hope you're not frightened now, Zach."
Zach: "I'm not, but unfortunately, my cock is scared stiff."

The film was best known (or infamous) for its notoriously memorable glow-in-the-dark 'dueling' condoms scene (the first of its kind). It began with Zach seducing a new acquaintance, a battered female named Amy McKenna (Chelsea Field), when Zach encountered his partner's jealous rock-star boyfriend also wearing an iridescent glow-in-the-dark condom. Their frantic fight scene showed their two erect, colored, and luminous condoms moving about within the pitch-black dark scene like two radiant Star Wars' light sabers.

Glow in the Dark "Dueling" Condoms

The film concluded with a red, white and blue multi-colored, glowing patriotic condom accompanied by the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, which was commented upon by Zach's newly-reconciled wife:

Alex: "You're in a monogamous relationship now. So take it off."
Zach: "Okay, but you're not being very patriotic."

Lonnie (Raye Hollitt)

The Tall Guy (1989)

This satirical romantic comedy by director Mel Smith told about an off-beat tall American actor Dexter King (Jeff Goldblum) who was struggling to make it on the London stage, and was cast in a preposterous musical version of The Elephant Man.

It also told about his relationship with lovely but eccentric allergy clinic nurse Kate Lemmon (Emma Thompson, in her film debut), whom he met when he was being treated for hay fever with weekly allergy shots. He was phobic about needles but smitten with her. He finally gathered up the courage to ask her for a date. She described how she never wasted time getting to sex. She claimed she had sex on first dates to find out if all the future expensive dinners would be worth it.

Destructive Sex with Kate Lemmon (Emma Thompson)

Therefore, their first-date love-making scene in her apartment was noted for being outrageous, comical, and imaginative - plus messy and destructive. It was set to the tune of Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie)." When they rolled off the bed onto the floor during their sexy and "wild" maneuverings, they caused the following:

  • a dislodged bowl of Cheerios and fruit
  • a knocked over lamp and other broken furniture
  • a small burst plastic milk carton, squished when rolled over
  • flattened stale toast
  • a smashed orange tea pot
  • dislodged picture frames on the wall
  • overturned books and other objects on a table when a tablecloth was ripped away
  • head banging on a piano keyboard, and playing by stomping on the keys
  • more dislodged articles on top of an armoire

As she rose up in ecstasy in front of a wall of pictures, she was pleasured by Dexter.

Kate Lemmon
(Emma Thompson)

Warm Summer Rain (1989)

This odd, enigmatic and pretentious R-rated, erotic art film (similar in part to Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (1972)) from writer/director Joe Gayton (his directorial debut film) starred Kelly Lynch and Barry Tubb as two troubled and dysfunctional individuals:

  • Kate (Kelly Lynch) - first seen depressed and suicidal with bandaged wrists
  • Guy (Barry Tubb), a wayward vagabond/drifter and stranger

The intense, little-seen drama began with a couple naked on an outdoors lawn, and making love near some sprinklers - a distant and fleeting flashbacked memory in a montage. Kate was actually rushed to a hospital for medical care, where she had been resuscitated after an unsuccessful suicide attempt to slit her wrists in a bathtub.

When she escaped (wearing only a hospital gown covered by a long black coat and sandals), she bought a bus ticket (to go "as far as I can") and traveled by bus in a random direction into the desert. She convinced the driver to drop her off at an undesignated stop in the middle of nowhere for $6. She walked for a few miles along a deserted road, entered a nearby bar called Vinda's, became drunk, and the next morning, she found herself married (!) to a stranger (and he had three Polaroids to prove it). [She had seen him earlier on the road, offering her a ride in his Mustang convertible, and he had joined her at the bar.] According to him, she had encouraged them to bust into a rundown, abandoned house in the desert to spend the night.

There, the two searched for meaning in their lives through wild and graphic sexual encounters and dialogue - their lives were stripped bare - literally. In one scene while they were coupled together in the recriprocal 69 position of oral sex, they challenged each other to alternately name as many slang euphemisms for male and female genitals as they could:

"Penis, vagina, dick, pussy, cock, snatch, prick, cunt, pecker, slit, peter, cooze, schlong, beaver, joint, gash, weenie, rim, wang, wool, wong...meat curve, tube stick, bearded clam, worm."

She added that she always wanted a penis: "Just for a couple of days, to see what it's like to put it in. Do you ever wonder what it's like to be the one penetrated?" Then she commented on his genitals: "It's pretty ugly but in a cute kind of way, like a bulldog. It's been in a lot of fights, what are all these little scars?" He replied: "Herpes, warts, yeah, my pecker's a veritable battleground...." He then described making love to her:

Guy: "You're as smooth as silk. Pretty as anything I've ever seen. You know, they're all so different. Sometimes, it's like shootin' an oyster, with others it's like kissin' a rose."
Kate: "Stranger, you're an old friend comin' in out of the cold."
Guy: "When you're in there, the smell - smooth warm darkness. Warm the legs pressin' against your ears, blockin' out the sounds. The whole world outside - it doesn't matter where you are. You're home."

Crazed Love-Making with Kate (Kelly Lynch)

In another, they tenderly sponge-bathed each other on the kitchen table. And in one of their many crazed love-making sessions, she jumped onto him as they spun around in the kitchen, but they inadvertently bumped into the gas stove and turned it on. They accidentally set the house on fire, and were forced to flee into the nighttime dark with only a few clothes in their arms.

In the film's tragic conclusion, they were driving at night and a flat tire caused their car to swerve, and Guy (the driver) was thrown from the car down a rocky embankment. As he lay mortally wounded in her arms, he asked for her name - for the first time - and he learned it was Kate. When she asked for his name, he replied: "I can't seem to remember," and then died. Police at the scene informed Kate that he had stolen his girlfriend's car - the one he was driving.

As the next day's light returned, she was again seen walking down a deserted road. And then she was delivering Guy's baby (also named Kate) and in voice-over was talking to the baby, in the film's final lines:

"What can I say about your father? There have been other men since your father, Katie. There will be others to come. But there was something about that brief moment we spent together. Maybe it was the time he came along. Maybe it was him. Who can say? You can separate the person from the moment. I never even knew his name. But he gave me you, with your mouth to feed and your ass to wipe, and your little body growing by leaps and bounds every day. Maybe this, my darling Katie, maybe I'll say just this. There'll be bugs and there'll be roses. And there'll be blood and water to wash it away. So open your mouth wide and drink in the rain. Tumble headlong down the grassy hill under the flip-flopping sky. With all your strength, become what you're becoming."


The Sponge-Bath

Sex On the Gas Stove

Fleeing From the Fire

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Director Rob Reiner's romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989) has probably the most famous (or infamous) orgasm scene ever filmed, without nudity, sex, or a partner - proving that women can easily fake an orgasm.

In the notorious, crowded New York deli-restaurant scene, Sally (Meg Ryan) convincingly demonstrated a fully-clothed, simulated orgasm with table-beating and ecstatic moans and gasps to prove to her friend Harry (Billy Crystal) how most women occasionally fake orgasms: ("Ooooh. Oh, God. Oooooh. Oh God!..."). She demonstrated with her stereotyped orgasmic display of a loud and long series of pants, groans, gasps, hair rufflings, caresses, table poundings, and ecstatic releases; as she finished climaxing, she yelled: "Yes, Yes, YES! YES! YES!"

Her simulation was foot-noted by an elderly patron, another female customer (director Rob Reiner's mother Estelle) exclaiming to the waiter at a nearby table with the following punchline: "I'll have what she's having."

Sally (Meg Ryan)

"I'll have what she's having"

Wild Orchid (1989)

Director/co-writer Zalman King's soft-core (9 1/2 Weeks-style) steamy drama was a hit, although it was forced to be drastically edited to receive an R-rating for US audiences and to avoid a dreaded X-rating. In 1991, star Mickey Rourke received a Razzie nomination for Worst Actor (also for Desperate Hours (1990)), and Carre Otis was also nominated as Worst New Star.

It told of a couple meeting in Rio during Carnival time who eventually fell in love, after being involved in a love triangle with the woman's boss - extroverted businesswoman Claudia (Jacqueline Bisset), and then having a sexual awakening:

  • James Wheeler (Mickey Rourke), an ex-patriate, self-made American multi-millionaire, friend of a business associate, legendary lady's man yet emotionally-scarred as a child
  • Emily Reed (supermodel Carre Otis in her debut film), a Kansas-born lawyer and linguist, hired by a NYC company to renovate and help sell a dilapidated Rio beach hotel
Real (or Simulated) Sex Scene with Emily (Carre Otis) - ?

The film was definitely talked about, for its very believable simulated (?) sex scene between its two major stars, presented as the final climax of the film.

Otis sued Playboy magazine in 1990 for publishing stills from the film. Their pairing continued to be controversial when bad-boy Rourke married Otis in 1992 and was later arrested for spousal abuse in 1994 while Otis wrestled with drug abuse and an eating disorder, and their stormy marriage ended in 1998. Otis published a memoir of her life in 2011 titled Beauty Disrupted: A Memoir, which Rourke denounced, calling it written from a "delusional, narcissistic, self-centered point of view." Since their breakup long ago, Otis had remarried and raised a family.

Emily Reed (Carre Otis)

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

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2007-1 | 2007-2 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Index to All Decades, Years and Features

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