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[This article was originally published in March 2021]
Anyone who’s ever had access to an unfortunately placed mirror will know that sex rarely looks good. But you would think Hollywood might be able to make it appear so. Actors are hot. Editing means no awkward position reshuffles. Cinematographers make lighting soft and flattering.
But so often it feels as though the makers of MILF and “I’ve been a bad girl” cheerleader porn provide a more nuanced presentation of sex than some of the most talented directors out there.
To make you feel better about your presumably non-existent sex life coming out of lockdown, here’s a list of truly awful cinema sex.
From cliched lines to overexaggerated cum faces, these sex scenes will make you want to leave the room, and not just because your parents are sat next to you on the sofa.
Read below to see the worst ever sex scenes in film:
Name a more iconic movie line than “It’s turkey time! Gobble, gobble” – we’ll wait. They are the bonkers words uttered by Jennifer Lopez’s Gigli character, a lesbian assassin who apparently finds herself unable to resist the masculine allure of… wait for it… Ben Affleck. It’s an invitation for oral sex and, well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out if he accepts. EH.
Howard the Duck
Cross-species coitus is, admittedly, a tricky concept to make sexy – something the traumatised viewers of Howard the Duck discovered when Lea Thompson canoodled with her “so incredibly soft and cuddly” feathered friend. EH.
Killing Me Softly
There are few things less titillating than Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes getting tangled in a selection of silk ropes. All made more excruciating by Graham’s whispered voiceover: “I gave up all control, I loved it.” Fifty Shades of Grey, eat your heart out. EH.
It’s tough to name the thing that’s most wrong with the dry humping scene in Bad Teacher. Is it the grunting? The chafing of denim? Justin Timberlake’s gyrating hips? Justin Timberlake’s face on climax? Justin Timberlake’s wet jeans? Please just make it stop. If not for Cameron Diaz then for all of us. EH.
Maps to the Stars
Julianne Moore literally asks Robert Pattinson: “Do you want to f*** my holes?” And, dear reader, it turns out that he does want to. He wants to very much. So they have very stressful-looking sex in a car on the side of a the road. And then somehow it gets even worse – she disembarks from the vehicle and wipes his semen off her leg with a scarf. EH.
Body of Evidence
One of the most infamous sex scenes of all time is Madonna and Willem Dafoe’s experimentation with hot wax in Body of Evidence. “My way,” murmurs the Queen of Pop, straddling Dafoe and pouring molten wax and champagne over his body, before proceeding to lick it up. It’s not a Mary Berry recipe, we can tell you that much. EH.
A lot of things aren’t really OK about Showgirls, but the filmmakers really outdid themselves with Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan’s special splish-splash in the pool. The combination of thrashing, bubbling water, fountain fondling and ecstatic yelping is the stuff of nightmares. EH.
A couple of towering blue humanoids having sex doesn’t exactly scream erotica – and James Cameron’s attempts to mix it up further by having a strange dreadlock-interlocking display certainly didn’t help. EH.
The Room is widely known as one of the worst films ever made – and its sex scene between Tommy Wiseau and Juliette Danielle is a big contributing factor. Why does he appear to be thrusting into her belly button? Why? EH.
Fifty Shades of Grey
There are lots of shades of bad in the sex scenes of this S&M franchise. But the worst has to be when Christian ties her up, blindfolds her with his shirt and then runs down an ice cube all over her body. What misguided women’s magazine did he get this advice from? AL.
Basic Instinct 2
This much-maligned sequel begins with Stan Collymore and Sharon Stone speeding at 100mph through Canary Wharf. The two moan and giggle as she fumbles around for his gearstick, that is until they crash the car and he dies. Not quite the happy ending he was hoping for. AL.
Wet Hot American Summer
Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black’s sex faces are so over-exaggerated they look like emojis. It’s difficult to understand how the campers are reaching these heights of pleasure given that there’s about a foot of air between their crotches. More lukewarm American summer than hot and wet. AL.
You shouldn’t have sex with your son’s fiance. But you definitely shouldn’t if you end up making it look this bad. Jeremy Irons pounces on Juliette Binoche like a hulking bear before pulling her along the carpet (think of the burns). No wonder she said she didn’t enjoy having his dangly bits touching her. AL.
If These Walls Could Talk 2
If these walls could talk they would say please stop having sex to Dido. They would also have something to say about the endless gooey shots of hands drifting over skin, pulling at hair and disappearing under sheets. It’s so soppy, I’m surprised Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone don’t drip off the bed and onto the floor. AL.
What Women Want
What a lot of women don’t want is a sex scene with Mel Gibson. What women want even less is to watch a scene with so many cliches: a man talking to his penis in the bathroom. A light that turns on when you clap. A woman that wails so loud you can’t tell if she’s been run over by a truck or is mid-orgasm. AL.
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is a great song, but it’s certainly not sexy. Watchmen’s widely ridiculed sex scene sees Malin Akerman unzipping a latex chest piece to the lyrics: “Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord, that David played, and it pleased the Lord”. Unfortunately, no one will be pleased by this display. AL.
This is horribly bad, but not because it’s a bad scene. More because you have to watch Rosamund Pike’s crazed killer slit the throat of a guy while he’s still inside her. And then you have to watch the blood from his throat soak her red. And then you have to watch her continue to gyrate for another couple of seconds before realising necrophilia is a little too niche even for a psychopath such as herself. AL.