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

At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

This fairly realistic, three-hour long South American/Brazilian rain forest tale was an adaptation of Peter Matthiessen's well-regarded 1965 novel by Brazilian director Hector Babenco (and producer Saul Zaentz).

Andy Huben (Daryl Hannah)

It offered an excuse to show the nudity of three of its Caucasian actors:

  • Andy Huben (Daryl Hannah), the wife of fundamentalist missionary husband Leslie (John Lithgow), who performed a nude bathing scene in a jungle pool, and then didn't realize she was being spied upon and approached while she rested next to a gigantic tree root - she reciprocated a wild kiss by Lewis before running off
  • Lewis Moon (Tom Berenger), an American pilot (and half-Cheyenne Indian) who had returned to his wild tribal roots, stripped naked and entered the Nairuna village escorted by tribesmen - where he was accepted as a God
  • Hazel Quarrier (43 year-old Kathy Bates), as a repressed missionary's wife who had lost her mind after her son's death from blackwater fever; she performed an unflattering nude native dance (partially clothed with a thatch of leaves and layers of mud)

Andy and Lewis

Hazel Quarrier
(Kathy Bates)

La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Fr.) (aka The Beautiful Troublemaker or The Beautiful Nuisance)

Jacques Rivette's very-lengthy (almost four hour) drama, with minimal dialogue, was nominated for the Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won the Grand Prize of the Jury award.

It told about the creative process regarding an uninspired, married, impatient and aging French artist-painter Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) who suddenly returned to work on an abandoned, neglected masterpiece of ten years - the painting was known as "La Belle Noiseuse."

He returned to work when offered to paint the attractive girlfriend (of three years) of gifted young artist Nicolas Wartel (David Bursztein) who was visiting at his rural Provence chateau - she was a strong-willed model and aspiring writer named Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart). Ten years earlier, Frenhofer's original and favorite model was his wife Elizabeth (Jane Birkin). But then his inspiration abruptly ended and it was left unfinished. Marianne, his newly-acquired muse, was his next model - suggested and volunteered by Nicolas.

In his vast, long-neglected stone-walled studio, Frenhofer began by making multiple artistic sketches of Marianne, the first two with her clothed. Then, he asked her to put on a dressing gown, after which she was required to pose nude for the remainder of their time together. She was unaware that he wanted to keep her as a model for more than one day, explaining that he felt "paralyzed" and as awkward as she did the first day. She was reluctant ("I'm not made for it"), but then acquiesed.

On the second day, he made many more preliminary sketches of her in various naked poses, as he attempted to capture her essence. Elizabeth assured Nicolas: "Don't worry. Frenho's a gentleman. You don't have to be afraid." She further explained her own posing for him years earlier before they married: "I hadn't known him at all. I did it to pay for my studies..." During the long session on the second day, Marianne complained of having to pose in painful, demanding, contorted, cramping and unmoving positions, but then took the artist's challenge seriously. Frenhofer remembered: "In the past, they tied up the models. They hanged them by their wrists or ankles to keep the pose." He also described his painting of Liz: "Anyway, at first I wanted her, before wanting to paint her. For the first time, I was scared. The fear became the driving force behind what I did." Toward the end of the second day of posing, he told Marianne his goal - to possess her from the inside out:

"I'll break you to pieces... I'll get you out of your body...get you out of your carcass....I want to know and see the inside of your body." As he touched her to set her postures, he told her: "I don't care about your breasts, legs, your lips... I want more. I want everything. The blood, the fire, the ice... All that's inside your body. I'll take it all. I'll get it out of you and put it into this frame...I'll get to know what's inside under your thin surface. I want the invisible. No, it's not that! I want - It's not me who wants. It's the line, the stroke. Nobody knows what a stroke is. And I'm after it. Where am I going? To the sky? Why not? Why wouldn't a stroke burst the sky?...It's only just begun. No more breasts, no more stomach, no more thighs, no more buttocks! Whirlwinds! Galaxies, the ebb and the flow...Black holes! The original hubbub, have you never heard of it? That's what I always wanted from you. I'm going to crumble you, you're going to break up. We'll see what's left of you when you forget everything. Don't worry, you'll get it back if you still want it."

After his long tirade, she responded: "You're rotten." He replied: "I want nothing, I told you. It's the painting. You and I, we're just involved. It's going to be a whirlwind, a cataract, a maelstrom. Faster faster, until you see nothing, feel nothing." She broke down crying as the day's work temporarily paused. When they began again, he thought about quitting, but she was by now deeply engaged and determined to prevent him from despairing ("We can go on further"). At the end of the day, she resolutely told him: "You're scared. I'm not scared anymore" and she was determined to proceed.

Before the third day's session, Elizabeth warned Marianne: "Be careful...It (his work) can cause a lot of damage to people....If he wants to paint your face, refuse." During their next encounter in the studio (when she defiantly chose her own positions for the first time), Marianne stated that it was over between her and her boyfriend, calling him a bastard and a fool ("my life's coming to a stop"). Feeling unloved, Elizabeth (who was becoming more and more disconsolate, tormented and jealous because of her husband's rapt attention to his model), compared her painting of 10 years earlier with the current one. She told him: "What you've done is diminishing us. You've made us sick of each other." She sensed her husband's sadness about his new project: "But now it's not a new beginning. It's the end."

On the fourth day of painting, Frenhofer again took charge of his model for the last session. He took out a long-abandoned painting of Liz and began to reimagine it by painting over it with images of Marianne. After Nicolas' pretty sister Julienne (Marianne Denicourt) arrived, she was concerned about her brother, but Elizabeth assured her: "He thinks they're going to have, how do you call it, an affair or something. I think he's wrong, but he's right to worry....It's not the flesh that's shameless, it's not the nudity, it's something else." She described her own experience as a model: "First he wanted to paint me because he loved me, and then...Then because he loved me, he didn't want to paint me. It was me or painting, that's what he said."

When the painting was finished after the marathon battle of wills, Marianne described its stunning image to Julienne: "A thing which was cold and dry -- it was me." Frenhofer secretly sealed the painting - unseen - behind a newly-laid brick wall ("It doesn't exist"), and then presented another faceless painting as the finished product, claiming: "It's my first posthumous work." In voice-over, Marianne narrated: "Marianne put on her old mask again or maybe she took a new one...It used to be me," but then confided in Elizabeth: "I'm not unaware any more."

Marianne (Emmanuelle Beart)

Artist-Painter Edouard

Boyz 'N the Hood (1991)

Writer/director John Singleton's coming-of-age tale was set in South Central Los Angeles. Singleton became the first African-American and the youngest filmmaker to be nominated as Best Director for this film.

One of the subplots involved a black teen couple who eventually lost their virginity together after she initially resisted his advances due to her Catholic faith beliefs:

  • Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.)
  • Brandi (Nia Long)

Tre was previously cautioned by his stern father Furious (Larry Fishburne):

"Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children."

While kissing Brandi as she felt empathy for his exasperation over more gang violence, he asked two questions hinting at marriage and commitment with her: "What do you think about people getting married while they're still in college?" and "Are you sure you're down for this?" She agreed to proceed, but was worried: "I don't want to get pregnant," while he was touching her gold-cross necklace and assuring her: "You won't."

Tre and Brandi
(Nia Long)

Carnal Crimes (1991)

Director Gregory Dark's (aka Alexander Hippolyte) film was the first fully soft-core erotic exploitation thriller. Its mostly unbelievable tale involved sex (bondage, S&M, threesomes, voyeurism), murder and blackmail.

Cult B-movie siren Julie Strain was featured in a short cameo role as Ingrid, who had sex with one of the main characters (Renny) in a Japanese restaurant bathroom.

The sophisticated noir-romance hybrid film told about a woman caught in a loveless marriage in LA:

  • Elise (Linda Carol), a formerly-pampered, beautiful blonde fashion model who was forced to beg for sex from her uninterested, workaholic husband
  • Stanley (Rich Crater), Elise's unattractively fat, older, balding businessman-attorney husband

The film opened with Elise's dreamlike voice-over:

The irony of my life was that the more I longed for someone to change my life, the less I knew the first thing I became. All my foolish acts and all the good things I have done have had the same cause - an aspiration for a perfect and ideal love.

Unsatisfied, neglected and feeling alone, she was sexually and passionately energized with two others, in a threesome scene in a warehouse studio after photographs were taken:

  • Renny (Martin Hewitt), a seductively-handsome photographer, also creepy, manipulative and kinky
  • Mia (Yvette Nelson, aka Yvette Stefens), Renny's sexy dark-haired model

The film's twist was that Elise's perverted husband Stanley had set up his wife with the mysterious photographer (suspected of being a sadistic serial killer) to have video shot (used as blackmail), so that he could coax or lure her into bondage and S&M sessions with him.

Ingrid (Julie Strain)

Elise (Linda Carol)

Close My Eyes (1991, UK)

Writer/director Stephen Poliakoff's R-rated British drama was about forbidden incestual love, with the tagline:

There are some relationships so taboo, they're irresistible.

It told about two adult siblings, recently-reunited with each other:

  • Richard (Clive Owen), a successful architect and town planner
  • Natalie Gillespie (Saskia Reeves), Richard's older sister

Each grew up with a different parent after their parents divorced. Natalie was married to older, affluent entrepreneur and stock analyst Sinclair Bryant (Alan Rickman).

They subsequently engaged in an ill-fated love affair ("strange bond") in London during a sultry summer. Although Natalie was married, the duo were overwhelmingly attracted to each other and engaged in a passionately physical, clandestine sexual encounter in his apartment.

Incestual Sex Between Natalie (Saskia Reeves) and Her Brother

Afterwards, Natalie became guilt-ridden and insisted that her brother find a more appropriate partner, but he forced her to continue their incestuous pairing - until the unbelievable truth finally came out.

(Saskia Reeves)

Delicatessen (1991, Fr.)

This film became well-known for its montage set-piece called the "Squeaky Bedsprings" scene. It was a clever and non-explicit sex scene that took place in a tenement apartment building above a ground floor butcher's shop/delicatessen.

Above him as newly-hired handyman and circus clown Louison (Dominique Pinon) painted the ceiling with a roller, the cannibalistic butcher/landlord Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) made love to his mistress Mme. Plusse (Karin Viard) on a squeaky bed ("squeak squeak").

Other tenants kept synchronized in symphonic rhythm to the squeaking with an increasingly sped-up tempo:

  • Louison rolling on paint to the ceiling ("roll roll")
  • the butcher's bespectacled near-sighted daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) playing a cello with a metronome ("tick tock, tick tock")
  • a woman beating a dusty rug ("pound pound")
  • a boy pumping a bike tire ("whoosh whoosh")
  • an old woman knitting ("click click")
  • the toy-making Kube brothers testing out a noise-making novelty toy that mooed ("moo moo")

Eventually, the fat-faced butcher climaxed (the bike tire exploded, a cello string broke, the painter fell to the floor, etc.).

Love-Making, Squeaky Bedsprings, Climaxing

Other Activities

Jungle Fever (1991)

Writer/director Spike Lee's urban romance, his fifth feature-length film, was considered controversial in the early 1990s. It told of an inter-racial, adulterous romance in New York City between:

  • Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes), a married, successful middle-class black architect
  • Angela "Angie" Tucci (Annabella Sciorra), an Italian-American office temp worker

They had sex during a late-night, after-dinner work session at the office - on one of the drafting tables. When Flipper confided in his high-school teacher/neighbor Cyrus (Spike Lee) about the affair with Angie, his reaction was: "H-bomb. H-bomb...Nuclear holocaust!"

Soon afterwards, their scandalous and problematic liaison, even though they moved in together, was eventually broken apart by their two neighborhoods (relatives and friends): Sugar Hill in Harlem (Flipper's home) and Bensonhurst (Angie's home) in Brooklyn.

Flipper and Angie
(Annabella Sciorra)

Mississippi Masala (1991)

Director Mira Nair's R-rated romantic drama (a Romeo and Juliet, or West Side Story tale), set in the Mississippi bayous of the American South, told of the inter-racial, forbidden romance between an African-American couple:

  • Demetrius Williams (Denzel Washington), a small carpet-cleaner business owner
  • Mina (Sarita Choudhury in her debut film), a 24 year-old Uganda-born Indian immigrant

She was the daughter of Indian expatriates who dominated the area's motel industry.

Although their dating and relationship was greeted with shock and indignation, they engaged in a secret and erotic affair, despite the racial tension, after Demetrius called Mina and expressed his potent desire for her sensuality while both were in their own beds.

And later, they became entwined for hot love-making during a weekend in a Biloxi beachside hotel.

(Sarita Choudhury)

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

Writer/director Gus Van Sant's off-beat, buddy/road independent film was a modern reworking of William Shakespeare's Henry IV.

It featured young male street hustler Mike Waters (River Phoenix) in the Pacific Northwest who suffered from narcolepsy.

In a scene during the film's credits (with Tex Owens' Cattle Call cowboy song sung by Eddie Arnold in the background), he was apparently reclined backward in a chair as he received fellatio from a male client. As he strained - with the camera only showing his face - various surreal images were displayed from his mind:

  • Mike in his mother's arms as she held his head in her lap and assured him ("Don't worry. Everything's gonna be alright")
  • clouds churning across the sky over a rural two-lane road as sunset approached
  • salmon leaping upstream to get back to their place of birth
  • and then a wooden barn crashing to the ground from the sky, signifying that he had orgasmed

As the camera panned down his body, two $10s were thrown as payment onto his bare chest by a john named Walt (Robert Lee Pitchlynn). The bills slid down into his crotch area as he fastened his blue jeans. He was forced to beg for another $10 bill as he crouched outside the customer's toilet door.

In another scene, the males (Mike and his friend Scott (Keanu Reeves) and others) displayed on the covers of porn magazines in an adult book store came to life and talked to each other.

Poison (1991)

Director Todd Haynes' first full-length feature was this provocative NC-17 rated film - part of the Queer Cinema movement, with the title referring to the 'poisonous' effects of sex. "Poison" began with the provocative statement: "The entire world is dying of panicky fright."

The film (with a budget of $250,000) was attacked by right-wing, reactionary Christian fundamentalist groups as part of their family-values campaign against "government-funded pornography" (the film was funded, in part, by the National Endowment of the Arts, for $25,000). In particular, there were complaints about a homosexual scene, an anal rape scene, and for a short explicit view of an erection (removed in the unrated and R-rated versions).

The most controversial of its three, non-linear interwoven stories (adapting French Jean Genet's homoerotic writings and only film Un Chant d'Amour) was titled "Homo." The story was told with flashbacks and vignettes.

Its most memorable segment was set in Fontenal prison where imprisoned thief John Broom (Scott Renderer), an orphan, was again incarcerated. He experienced obsessed homosexual feelings for handsome fellow inmate Jack Bolton (James Lyons) - someone he knew years earlier in reform school as a bullied, often-taunted weakling teen, but had now become tough and domineering. One of the most disturbing segments was a notorious spitting scene that Broom recalled watching, as an unseen and silent voyeur. A group of teenaged guys forced young Bolton to hold his mouth open as they tried to spit into it from a distance.

In a nighttime prison scene (shot in blue light) in which the inmates were sleeping side by side, Broom tentatively and erotically touched Bolton on his bare chest and then lower over his genitals. Suddenly, Bolton woke up and discovered that he was being transgressed, stroked and touched through his pants (and then directly on his penis in a brief close-up). The sequence was interrupted by an intertitle card:

My heart is in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand is in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught.

Controversial Sequence of Groping and Anal Sex

Then, Broom was surprised to have his touch reciprocated. A scene of harsh, simulated forbidden anal sex (from behind) followed (with a lot of grunting), while the two stood up against a wall. A male love triangle developed between Broom, Bolton, and prison gang leader Rass (John R. Lombardi).

Spitting Scene

Prospero's Books (1991, UK/Fr.)

Eccentric arthouse director Peter Greenaway deconstructed and radically retold Shakespeare's final play The Tempest in this lurid, lavish, imaginative, confounding, and visually stunning R-rated film production and fantasy drama. The visual orgy also featured a pop-minimalist score by Michael Nyman. Its tagline described the visionary film's content:

A Magician's Spell. The Innocence of Young Love and a Dream of Revenge Unite to Create a Tempest

The protagonist was magician Prospero (John Gielgud), the banished Duke of Milan (due to Alonso, the King of Naples) who fled in exile twelve years earlier to a small Mediterranean island with his fifteen year-old daughter, Miranda (Isabelle Pasco), twenty-four beloved Shakespeare books, and crew members. The many arcane books included "A Book of Water," "A Book of Mirrors," "A Book of Utopias," and "A Book of Mythologies." In the multi-layered film, there were numerous super-imposed images, frames, voice-overs, swirling choreographed dancers, processions, pans, and tableaux.

The bacchanalian pretentious spectacle was advertised as containing copious full-frontal nudity at various times (provided by hundreds of unclad extras of both sexes) as nude dancing nymphs and resident sprites on the island. The island was portrayed as a Roman bathhouse.

Prospero with Daughter Miranda (Isabelle Pasco)

The multi-media film began with nude young boy-sprite Ariel urinating into the Roman bath-pool where Prospero (with a toy ship in his hands) bathed and wrote, followed by an underwater nude ballet sequence.

During the elaborately-choreographed opening credits with a lengthy traveling shot moving from left to right, the books were placed on tables and passed from one naked spirit/character to the next, and then opened and read.

Most of the dialogue (including the lines of other characters) was spoken or narrated by the God-like Prospero, as he wrote out (or read) the calligraphic letters (with his voice-over) while flipping through the pages/contents of the many books. He manipulated, with magical control, the characters of his drama as well as all the resident fairies, sprites, nymphs and monsters.

Striking Images
A Pregnant Woman Exposed

Castaway Prospero imagined that he had created the play The Tempest, and the products of his vivid imagination became the action of the film. A tempest brought his usurping brother Antonio (Tom Bell), as well as Alonso (Michel Blanc), the King of Naples and his son Ferdinand (Mark Rylance) to the shores of the island, where Prospero planned to seek revenge against his turncoat compatriot-enemies. He was also dealing with a deadly plot conceived by lonely, primitive, deformed and beast-like Caliban (Michael Clark), the son of witch Sycorax.

With the help of sorcerer's sprite Ariel (in another form) and Prospero's own efforts to bring them together, Prospero's daughter Miranda fell in love with Ferdinand, the son of his chief enemy, and they planned to marry. Prospero was moved by his brother Antonio's remorse (thinking Ferdinand was dead), forgave him, and decided to forego or abandon his vengeance against his cohorts.

Magician Prospero (John Gielgud) in Pool, While Young Boy Peed

Opening Credits

Abundant Nudity

Underwater Nude Ballet

Prospero's (John Geilgud) Writing of Calligraphic Letters

Naked Sprites, Nymphs, Etc.

Rambling Rose (1991)

Director Martha Coolidge's coming-of-age dramatic tale was set in the South (Glennville, Georgia) during the mid-30s Depression era, a tale adapted from Calder Willingham's 1972 novel. The film was told as a flashback from the year 1971, by Southerner Willcox 'Buddy' Hillyer (John Heard) who had returned to his childhood home where "Rose" had made such an impact on his early life: ("She was the first person I ever loved outside members of my own family. But as my father said, she caused one hell of a damnable commotion").

It told about a scandalous, sexually-precocious, uneducated, troubled, love-seeking young woman:

  • Rose (Oscar-nominated Laura Dern), 19 years-old, orphaned, free-spirited, curly-haired, sexually-uninhibited and overtly sexual

She was employed as a maid-domestic servant in the household of a Southern family, run by the proper head of household Mr. 'Daddy' Hillyer (Robert Duvall) and his intelligent, sensitive and feminist wife "Mother" (Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mother). She was graciously greeted: "Rosebud, I swear to God. You are graceful as a capital letter S. You will adorn our house. You will give a glow and a shine to these old walls. Yes indeed."

In a scene of inevitable sexual temptation (when 'Mother' was away for the evening at a garden club meeting), 'Rose' tempted or bewitched 'Daddy' by throwing herself at him and sitting on his lap - she declared her love and begged for a kiss ("Oh, God, Mr. Hillyer! I love you! I tried! But I can't help it. Please kiss me. Will you kiss me!"). Although he protested ("I can't kiss you. I only kiss Mrs. Hillyer"), he kissed her once, and then as she laid down, he continued the kisses while fondling her right breast with one hand (while 'Buddy' (Lukas Haas) and his younger sister Doll (Lisa Jakub) spied on them through a door crack, and 'Buddy' provided commentary: "Rose's tittie's out! He's got his hand on it!").

But then, 'Daddy' became unnerved, composed himself and self-righteously resisted and ordered her to calm her ardent love as he backed away: "Enough of this damn nonsense. And I mean enough. Get up, Rose. Put your damn tit back in your dress....Replace that tit. Damn you, girl! You made me make a fool out of myself...Now, a man is supposed to be a fool like this. But a woman should have some control and sense. Are you a nitwit? What's the matter with you?" He claimed: "Now let me warn you. I am standing here at Thermopylae...And the Persians shall not pass."

Rose Tempting 'Daddy' With Her Love

That same night, Rose came to 'Buddy' to seek consolation ("Buddy, I have been wandering in the wilderness, lost. I just feel awful. Do you mind if I get in bed with you for a little while?"). She complained of a broken heart and her mad "lost love" for 'Daddy': ("Men, I don't understand 'em. I can't see through 'em. I can't figure 'em out. And they break my heart, that's all. But this is the worst ever. 'Cause it wasn't his fault, it was my fault. I was bad"), but 'Buddy' had only become more sexually-inquisitive about the facts of life and female anatomy.

She allowed him to sexually touch her breast over her thin nightgown: ("It's awful soft. I thought it would feel like a cantaloupe"). At first, she told him: "You're just a child. You're not supposed to be interested in such things...A child like you asking such things!"), but he was persistently curious and kept asking: "Come on, Rose, just for a second...Can't I just see what the nipple looks like?" and he was allowed to place his hand directly on her breast: ("It's got a nipple on it...it's like a little acorn...it was softer than I thought"). She tried to explain again: "You're just a child, and wouldn't understand, but that type of thing can stir a girl up."

And then he went further and asked with a whisper for a more "nasty thing" ("Can't I touch it just a little bit?") - he boldly moved his hand down to her privates under her gown. When he touched her and asked with curiosity: "Am I hurtin' you?", she breathed deeply and responded: "No. No, you're not hurtin' me. You'd just better quit it, Buddy, that's all...". Before she was brought to a shuddering orgasm, Buddy admitted: "Without a doubt, this is the most fascinating experience of my life." Afterwards, he asked: "What's the matter, Rose? Are you sick or somethin'?" She replied guilt-ridden with regret: "I've robbed the cradle and fell into Hell. I must be crazy! I got to get out of here! Buddy, you wouldn't tell nobody, now would you?"

Later, she returned to his room and piteously begged for Buddy not to squeal: "I'd never hurt you, ever, but they'd think I did....They'd blame me, not you. They'd think I was awful. A disgusting girl, which I am."

Rose was determined the next day to go out and find a husband: ("Mr. Right is out there somewheres, and I'm gonna find him") - disembarking from 'Daddy's' car, she pronounced: "I'm going out amongst 'em, boys." She sashayed into town in a tight, slinky, handmade cotton dress and raised-heels, posturing for attention that only brought catcalls and male gawking; as 'Buddy' and 'Daddy' watched, she swiftly was able to attract gazes: "Incredible, the swiftness of it. The girl strikes like a cobra."

Rose Out on the Town

"Daddy" also found himself fending off her many eager male suitors. Early one morning, he found a pair of shoes on the back porch, and burst into Rose's room - he found that a male suitor, a poor and unemployed would-be fireman named Billy (Matt Sutherland) had spent the night with Rose. She pleaded: ("Mr. Hillyer, I know I was bad. And I hadn't ought to have done it. But I am only a human girl person. And I ain't always perfect. Don't fire me. I love you all so much"), but he responded: "Rosebud, you break my heart. But I am only a human man person myself of the father variety. Pack your bag, baby. As of this moment you're hired, mired, and fired" - however, he relented.

In the film's most pivotal scene, when 'Rose' was suspected to be 3 months pregnant (possibly by someone who had left town with "no forwarding address"); she was seen by Dr. Martinson (Kevin Conway). He diagnosed that she wasn't pregnant, but had an ovarian cyst; and due to rampant "promiscuity" in her past, she had also suffered from gonorrhea (untreated when she was 15) and had been rendered infertile. He prescribed a radical but therapeutical surgical operation (a hysterectomy, the removal of the womb), along with removal of both ovaries, to cure Rose's over-sexed, "near-nymphomania" sexual appetite - "She is an extreme psychoneurotic with uncontrolled sexual impulses" - and 'Daddy' agreed ("Spay her!").

'Mother' stood up to the surgeon and her own husband for their savage cruelty: "Over my dead body! Are you human beings or are you some kind of male monsters? Is there no limit to which you will not go to keep your illusions about yourselves?...You'd go so far as to mutilate a helpless girl, who has no means of defending herself?...Could you really take Rose's womanhood away from her, when it's all she's got?" After 'Daddy' came around to her pleas and admitted he was wrong by agreeing with the doctor, 'Mother' threatened the doctor's practice: "And if you hurt that girl, I'll hire lawyers, and I'll sue you from here to kingdom come. I'll ruin you"; subsequently, only one cystic ovary was removed from Rose.

The film's final lines - a return to the opening scene - were between widower 'Daddy' and 'Buddy' who recalled details about 'Rose's' life and both grieved over news of Rose's recent death a week earlier and their mutual love for her; 'Daddy' described 'Rose's' lasting influence: "Rose was so alive. It's hard to believe. Nobody lives forever, and who'd want to?...Now boy, get a grip on yourself. She had a good life. She met Mr. Right. Then what are you blubbering about?...Rose isn't dead, son, not really. Some of us die, some of us don't. Rose lives! (a long pause before they walked back to the house) Don't worry about it, boy. She's at rest with Mother in the creative universe. She's at rest with Mother."

Rose's Sexual Experience with 'Buddy'

Begging 'Buddy' Not to Tell

Confronting Rose About Early-Morning Suitor Billy in her Room

"I ain't always perfect. Don't fire me"

Dr. Martinson's Diagnosis and Drastic Remedy - a Hysterectomy

'Mother's' Objection to Radical Surgery

Epilogue: Sharing Sad News of Rose's Death

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Producer/director William A. Graham's romantic adventure film was a sequel to the more highly-tauted Blue Lagoon (1980), which starred Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The original film's director Randal Kleiser served as the film's executive producer. Its tagline promised:

"Return to the Romance, Return to the Adventure..."

It told the same sanitized story of two young children in the next generation (one of them was the male offspring of one of the original castaways) who were again shipwrecked on the same South Pacific tropical island:

  • Lilli Hargrave (16 year old Milla Jovovich), daughter of widowed Sarah Hargrave (Lisa Pelikan)
  • Richard Lestrange (Brian Krause), orphaned, the son of Richard (Christopher Atkins) and Emmeline (Brooke Shields) from the earlier film

There was only discreet and minor nudity in the film, allowing the film to appeal to a wider PG-13 audience.

Ship-wrecked Lilli Growing Up on a Tropical Island
Young Lilli
(Courtney Phillips)
Teenaged Lilli
(Milla Jovovich)
DVD version
VHS version

The film explored the same themes as the two children (Courtney Phillips and Garette Ratliff Henson) grew into young teens, who experienced the onset of puberty and changing bodies (with Lilli's first menstrual period and Richard's erections). Soon after, the two became passionate lovers and exchanged wedding vows. The film concluded with the two having a baby child together and remaining on the island, although they had an opportunity to return to civilization. The last lines of the film confirmed their choice:

Lilli: "I won't let it be born in civilization. I want it to be born right here. Where there's no evil, and no lies, and no guns."
Richard: "You're right. We'll stay here. Just the three of us. I love you, Lilli."

(Milla Jovovich)

La Riffa (1991, It.) (aka The Raffle)

Writer/director Francesco Laudidio was responsible for bringing the voluptuous actress Monica Bellucci first to the screen in this Italian drama - her first starring or major film role. Before entering films in the 1990s, Monica Bellucci had started out as a very curvy Italian model - unusual in the high-fashion world due to her Mediterranean features and her full breasts. Interestingly, her role in this film was about the commercialization of her beauty through a high-stakes raffle.

The film was inspired by the last episode (filmed by Vittorio de Sica) of the Italian film Boccaccio '70 (1962), in which her role was played by Sophia Loren (as Zoe).

The 27 year-old actress played the part of Francesca, a very beautiful, high-society female who became a widow and penniless after her rich husband (discovered later to be unfaithful and indebted) died in an auto accident. She was forced to support herself (and her young daughter), and advised to sell all of her possessions (house, jewels, furs, yacht) to survive for awhile. Afterwards, without a job or secure future, she decided to become the prize in a raffle bid upon by twenty wealthy men, in which the winner was entitled to live with her for 4 years and demand whatever he wanted.

The Beautiful Francesca (young Monica Bellucci)

Many lecherous friends of her husband, and her own lawyer Cesare (Massimo Ghini), all vied to win her at the same time that she fell in love with a new boyfriend Antonio (Giulio Scarpati). As the film concluded, she decided to run away with her daughter and escape becoming victimized by a lottery winner.

[Note: Admitting that she had never shied away from posing naked, Bellucci went on to display more of her curves in such films as Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), and she took the lead role in director Giuseppe Tornatore's Miramax-financed Malena (2000, It.) - which featured numerous nude scenes when she became the object of erotic fantasies of a young 13 year-old boy in a 1940s Sicilian village. She also appeared in The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003) sequels, in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ as Mary Magdalene, and in Gaspar Noe's controversial Irreversible (2002) - in which she was a rape victim in an uninterrupted nine-minute rape scene.]

(Monica Bellucci)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The taut, suspenseful, Best Picture-winning psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs (1991) was directed by Jonathan Demme and written by Ted Tally. It told of a trans-sexual killer named Jame Gumb ("Buffalo Bill") (Ted Levine), who selected overweight women as his victims, to be skinned after they were kidnapped and forced to lose weight.

He would then peel (or flay) off their loose skin and make a 'suit' for himself. In one scene, 'Buffalo Bill' tucked his genitals behind his legs to appear female, and pretended to be a Death's-head Hawkmoth with his arms extended.

The tense film was a major commercial and critical success, although gay groups complained about its stereotypical and negative depiction of the killer in the finale. They believed that the film equated homosexuality and transgenderism with insanity and serial murder.

This was despite the fact that Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) had insisted that Buffalo Bill, who had suffered a life of abuse, was not a real transsexual but only believed that he was.

'Buffalo Bill' or Jame Gumb (Ted Levine)

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Director Ridley Scott's feminist road trip tale showcased the title characters, two on-the-road fugitives:

  • Thelma Dickinson (Geena Davis), an unfulfilled Arkansas housewife
  • Louise Sawyer (Susan Sarandon), a diner waitress

They fled after an ugly threatened rape incident in the Silver Bullet roadhouse parking lot that led to a retaliatory killing. Along the way driving a 1966 Ford ThunderBird convertible, they picked up hitchhiker J.D. (Brad Pitt in a star-making role), a good-looking hunk and redneck cowboy During a motel fling in Room 133 with Thelma when he came in from a rainstorm, he told her he'd broken parole and had robbed a number of small businesses - he flaunted a hair dryer as a gun when he demonstrated his "gentlemanly" technique. The "outlaw" sweet-talked Thelma with:

"I may be an outlaw, darlin', but, uh, you're the one stealin' my heart."

The camera panned up J.D.'s chiseled abs (shot from the female point of view) as he stood at the foot of the bed, pulled Thelma's bare legs toward him, kissed the sensitive area above her pantied crotch, and then proceeded to make passionate and energetic love to her on top of the room's dresser - to the sound of Chris Whitley's singing of Kick the Stones.

Thelma (Geena Davis) with J.D. (Brad Pitt)

The next morning in the motel's coffee shop, Thelma showed Louise her hickie and admitted to Louise that she had her first orgasm:

Thelma: "I finally understand what all the fuss is about now. It's just like a whole 'nother ballgame."
Louise (happily): "I'm so happy for you. That's great. I really am. You finally got laid properly. That's sweet."

But on departing, they were shocked to discover that J.D. had stolen their "future" money that they had left on the nightstand next to the bed, forcing them into a life of crime.

In the film's conclusion, before the two fugitives drove their convertible into the Grand Canyon (and oblivion), Thelma had urged: "Let's not get caught... Let's keep goin'." Louise asked: "You sure?" They kissed each other, and then grasped hands as they met their fate, taking off in a swirl of dust.

Thelma & Louise
To the Death at the
Grand Canyon

Whore (1991, UK/US) (aka If You're Afraid to Say It, Just See It)

Director Ken Russell's third American film was this pseudo-documentary drama - an uncompromising, realistically bleak look at the dehumanizing, promiscuous occupation of prostitution - advertised as the "flipside to Pretty Woman." The film was available in three versions (82-minute R and NC-17 version, and longer 92-minute European version). A film with cheap production values and sloppy editing, it included latent lesbianism and violent gang-rape in a van.

It examined the life of jaded LA streetwalker Liz (Theresa Russell) as she often talked directly to the camera through flashbacks. While having a drink at a strip club, among other things, she spoke about her experiences, including her bad marriage, lewd sexual encounters, dirty talk and abuse from:

  • Charlie (Frank Smith), her no-good drunk husband
  • Blake (Benjamin Mouton), her rough, cruel and controlling LA pimp
  • cops, other prostitutes and her clients-customers

In one scene, she unzipped the back of her skirt for sex in the rear of a car with an elderly client (Charles Macaulay) - while mocking his sexual excitement, and in another, she complained to her pimp about a tough workout (sit-ups on an incline bench) while wearing lingerie, but then had hot-tub sex with him afterwards.

Streetwalker Liz
(Theresa Russell)

Zandalee (1991)

This erotic, steamy bayou thriller by director Sam Pillsbury (originally rated NC-17) was basically a direct-to-video sexploitation flick about a tragic romantic love triangle. Most actors in it would have liked to disown the film (including minor actors Marisa Tomei, Steve Buscemi as a garbage collector/thief, Joe Pantoliano (as Gerri, a cross-dressing gay man), musician Aaron Neville (as bartender Jack), and Viveca Lindfors).

The main title character was:

  • Zandalee ("Zan") Martin (former model Erika Anderson, often naked), a sexually-starved, free-spirited wife living in New Orleans

She was obviously bored by her life and impotent marriage to southern-drawling, emotionally-distant poet-husband Thierry Martin (co-producer/actor Judge Reinhold) who had turned corporate media executive at Southern Comm after the death of his father a year earlier.

She met Thierry's long-haired, hipster painter and childhood friend Johnny Collins (Nicolas Cage) (with a goatee and mustache) when he appeared in town for a visit. Johnny's first scene at a bachelor party found him licking whipped cream off a stripper's chest ("He always had a sweet tooth"). The spirited Johnny was crude and pretentious at the same time: "Without creativity, without life, then you are truly unable to go straight up the devil's ass, look him right in the face, smile, and survive," and

"When that big red snatch is coming right up against your face like a freight train, it's hard to paint, I tell you what. You always felt you had to tell them the story of your life in order to f--k them, didn't you?"

After attending a "Bourbon Street" sex show, horny Zandalee asked her husband to experiment sexually ("I want you like we used to want"). She coaxed him to try to make love anally, but he was unfulfilling to her - without the power both to make love or write (he admitted: "I'm just paralyzed. A paraplegic of the soul"). The frustrated, vixenish wife began to pleasure herself in front of him to humiliate him, not understanding his lack of desire. Soon, she reluctantly turned to the selfishly-hedonistic, predatory Johnny for uninhibited and passionate sexual encounters. He approached her:

"We're inevitable. I wanna shake you naked and eat you alive, Zandalee... Nobody will be hurt from it because it is what it is...Just as simple as that. You want it, and I want to give it. A perfect relationship."

When she disagreed: "That's not a relationship," he kept advancing: "You know what I like? I like it when you don't wear anything under." She removed her panties and he kissed her as he stood her up against a wrought-iron gate in an alleyway. He then made forceful, thrusting and grinding love to her in his art studio. Afterwards in a colorful body-painting scene, when she denied being a "sad woman" or sexually dissatisfied - he dipped his index finger in blue paint and sensually drew a line down between her bare breasts (in close-up), through her belly button and to the top of her pubic hair.

Later, in a dinner scene with the Thierrys which he attended with ditzy date Remy (Marisa Tomei) - while Johnny and Zandalee were in the kitchen getting dessert, she called him a "dumb coon-ass prick." He suggested: "Take my dumb coon-ass prick inside of you with your husband in the next room" -- and they risked coupling together on the washer-dryer in the laundry room.

Eventually, Zandalee was feeling guilty about their surreptitious, destructive relationship and feeling like she had become white trash ("I can't do this anymore! I can't be what you want me to be...It's not me!"), but he insisted (as he massaged her breasts): "Yes, you can...You can be what I want you to be. You just have to relax. When I'm inside you, I feel us at the edge of the universe, traveling, exploring." He applied a powdery drug substance to Zandalee's nether regions from behind ("Where else can you express this need to free our bodies. We're gonna f--k like animals in the altar of the primal").

Zandalee with Johnny (Nicolas Cage)

More memorable scenes included sex in a church cathedral confessional booth where he angrily took the clothed Zandalee from behind ("Are we in the real church? Isn't this the way he really shows Himself to us?"). Afterwards, he looked upward: "Thank you, Father." Their self-destructive affair led to Johnny's request that she leave her husband and live with him, although she refused and recommitted herself to her marriage. Obsessed by Zandalee, drugged-up Johnny pursued the married couple to the bayou where they went to patch up their relationship, "start clean," wear flowers in their hair, and make love after many months ("See, all our parts work").

A tragic end came to them - the cuckolded husband committed suicide in the bayou when he plunged into the water from the speeding boat driven by Johnny - he drowned when he wouldn't allow himself to be saved ("He wanted to be let go"). Back in New Orleans after her husband's burial, Johnny expressed his desperation by slashing his art canvasses (screaming: "Die!") and coating himself in black paint ("Black it out!"). He confessed to Zandalee his longing for her: "I can't get you out of me" - but she slapped him: "You don't know anything about love."

And then Zandalee sacrificially jumped in front of a bullet intended for indebted Johnny, in a drive-by shooting by a drug lord who yelled out: "You gotta make accounts payable, man." She died in his arms on the street, after which he carried her limp body to the nearby cathedral.

(Erika Anderson)

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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Index to All Decades, Years and Features

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