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While many movies avoid showing sensual and nude content, sometimes, you just want to watch a good film filled with it.
Whether filled with steamy sex scenes or a deep and loving romantic relationship, seduction movies bring sex and nudity to the big screen.
Sex wasn’t always allowed on screen, though. For many years, a sex scene in a movie was a sure way to get an order for the MPPDA (later MPA) to tell you to get back to the cutting room and get rid of the scene before the movie could be shown on the silver screen.
However, as the years progressed, movie censorship slowly loosened its grip on sex scenes, and a long and lustful journey brought the film industry to its current level.
Now, or course, sex scenes are common in both movies and TV shows on cable and streaming.
If you want to learn more about the origins of sex scenes in movies, you’ll like How Sex Scenes are Filmed in Movies.
Especially since the 1980s and 1990s, we’ve seen an explosion in sexy movies centered around seduction, with movies like 9½ Weeks (1986), Basic Instinct (1992), and Color of Night (1994) hitting mainstream theatres.
Movies containing sexually explicit scenes also found their way to mainstream cinema, with films such as Intimacy (2001), Lie with Me (2005), 9 Songs (2004), Q (2011), and Love (2015) being good examples.
We’ve also seen more taboo topics, such as BDSM and S&M, enter the mainstream scene, with Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) – or the Fifty Shades Trilogy – being the best-known but least interesting. See the list below for some good movies exploring BDSM.
Topics and depictions of BDSM were mostly explored in fringe B-movies, such as female prison movies in the 1960s and 1970s.
So what are the best seduction movies?
Which ones are certain to raise your heart rate and put a flush on your cheeks?
Keep reading to see the 20 best seduction movies of all time – for educational purposes of course!
1. Basic Instinct
- Release Year: 1992
- Director: Paul Verhoeven
- Stars: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Police detective Nick Curran is sent to investigate the brutal murder of Rockstar Johnny Boz, who was killed with an ice pick.
However, during the investigation, he becomes infatuated with the prime suspect and femme fatale, Catherine Tramell, a beautiful, attractive, and mysterious writer.
The movie sparked controversy over the probably most famous seduction scene of all time where Sharon Stone crosses her legs during an interrogation, briefly exposing her vulva. This, of course, totally throws the policemen off course. Talk about the art of seduction!
2. Cruel Intentions
- Release Year: 1999
- Director: Roger Kumble
- Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon
Kathryn Merteuil and Sebastian Valmont are manipulative step-siblings who make a bet: Sebastian must bed Annette, the headmaster’s daughter at their school, before the end of summer break.
If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian’s vintage 1959 Jaguar Roadster. If Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn, who craves.
However, both end up getting more than they’ve bargained for.
This classic film has ended up having a cult following, and rightly so, because it’s filled with plot twists and sexy actors.
3. The Last Seduction
- Release Year: 1994
- Director: John Dahl
- Stars: Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman, Michael Raysses
Bridget Gregory has all the advantages: she’s gorgeous, intelligent, and married to a doctor.
Nevertheless, her husband Clay discovers this is not enough for her. She persuades him to supply some drug dealers with cocaine, then takes off with almost a million dollars.
To pay off a loan shark who threatens to do him harm, Clay sends detectives after Bridget, trying to recover the money.
When she meets Mike Swale, a small town innocent charmed by her beauty and frankness, she hatches a devious plan to get rid of Clay forever.
4. Wild Orchid
- Release Year: 1989
- Director: Zalman King
- Stars: Mickey Rourke, Jacqueline Bisset, Carré Otis
Emily Reed is offered a job by a New York City law firm and sent to Rio de Janeiro to purchase a hotel.
She meets James Wheeler, a mysterious wealthy self-made millionaire, whom she gets attracted to, but he doesn’t seem to have anything physically to do with her, although it is obvious he fancies her. She realizes James is incapable of expressing his true feelings.
They attend a carnival where Emily is propositioned by a stranger wearing a mask, and she later ends up having sex with him instead of James. The next day she discovers the stranger is Jerome, the owner’s attorney.
Claudia, the firm’s top executive, uses the information to coerce Jerome into signing the deal. James secretly buys the hotel, and Emily tells him she loves him.
He admits to playing games with people because he’s unsure if they only want him for his money. He then signs over the hotel’s deed, thus saving the deal for Claudia, and he finally gives in to Emily.
5. 9½ Weeks
- Release Year: 1986
- Director: Adrian Lyne
- Stars: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger
Released in 1986, 9 ½ Weeks gives us yet another BDSM-themed erotic film that puts a SoHo Art Gallery employee and a Wall Street arbitrageur through the wringer of an intense relationship.
Filled with kink and a dom-sub relationship, you can expect everything from masturbation to horsewhip spanking to having sex at a crime scene. It is not a film for the light-hearted; viewer discretion is advised.
- Release Year: 2002
- Director: Steven Shainberg
- Stars: James Spader, Jeremy Davies, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Released in 2002, Secretary is a BDSM and kink-filled erotica film that explores the relationship between a dominant lawyer and a submissive secretary. Some sexual kinks you can look forward to include pet play and spanking, though there are plenty more to get you in the mood.
The two of them fall in love, and the movie follows a traditional romantic relationship, albeit with plenty of intense and kinky sex.
7. Black Swan
- Release Year: 2010
- Director: Darren Aronofsky
- Stars: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis
If you got this far through the list, and nothing has sparked your fancy yet, then maybe you need the 2010 psychological erotic thriller Black Swan.
It sparkles in just enough sexual tension and sensual scenes to remind you that it’s erotica, but your mind will be left doing somersaults trying to make sense of what you just watched.
It’s a film filled with twists at every corner, and you can be entirely sure what is real, and what is simply… your imagination.
8. The Dreamers
- Release Year: 2003
- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stars: Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel
Released in 2003, The Dreamers tells the story of an American student who travels to Paris to study French. There he meets a brother and sister who take him on a sexual journey that awakens parts of him he never knew existed.
It is an intense and passionate film exploring nudity and sensuality during the Paris Student Riots of 1968.
While the film is filled to the brim with sexual scenes and full nudity, it has a darker side dealing with incest, political rights, police brutality, and suicide.
- Release Year: 1996
- Director: David Cronenberg
- Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, Rosanna Arquette
Crash is an odd movie about film producer James Ballard who gets into a car crash that seriously scars him.
He then discovers that he is sexually attracted to car accidents and finds a whole subculture devoted to this. A passion he finds out he shares with Helen, who was the surviving driver of the other car in the crash.
The two begin a passionate affair, exploring their new-found fetish, fx, by performing sexual acts in cars with other crash victims or prostitutes they make look like traffic victims.
However, they soon find out that car crashes can be a dangerous fetish.
10. Take this Waltz
- Release Year:2011
- Director: Sarah Polley
- Stars: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman
On the flight back to Toronto after a writing job, Margot encounters Daniel, a handsome stranger, and immediately makes a strong connection.
Margot finds herself confiding in him about her anxieties and desires. When they take a cab to their homes, Margot discovers that she and Daniel are neighbors.
She admits to him that she is married, but the summer heat and her growing fascination with Daniel make her question her marriage and whether her fantasies with him would be more fulfilling.
11. Diary of a Nymphomaniac
- Release Year: 2008
- Director: Christian Molina
- Stars: Llum Barrera, Belén Fabra, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Perhaps one of the better-known seduction movies, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, is a 2008 Spanish erotica film. Following the story of a 28-year-old hypersexual woman named Val who has intense sexual needs, leading to many unfortunate and failed relationships.
Even though she is disturbed by her needs, her grandmother tells her to continue going with her desires, and thus she continues to have sex with anyone who will have it with her. While she has a rough start in the movie, she finds work in a brothel and begins to enjoy the multiple and diverse sexual encounters the job gives her.
Things take a dark turn after she witnesses her friend kill herself, but by the film’s end, she has returned to her old ways. It is a movie filled with sexual scenes and beautiful people that will put you in the mood.
12. Memoirs of a Geisha
- Release Year: 2005
- Director: Rob Marshall
- Stars: Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh
Released in 2005, Memoirs of a Geisha takes place in Japan, where a young woman, Chiyo Sakamoto, is sold into the geisha lifestyle by her father. While her time in the geisha’s house is far from pleasant, she resolves to stick with it to become a part of a chairman’s life.
It is filled with alluring women and a storyline that is accentuated by the more erotic scenes rather than being dominated by them. Filled with revenge, a love story for the ages, and a poignant story, it is well worth the watch.
13. The Voyeurs
- Release Year: 2021
- Director: Michael Mohan
- Stars: Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, Sydney Sweeney
A recent film, The Voyeurs, was released in 2021 and is one of the kinkier erotic films on this list. Watching the movie, we see a couple becoming obsessed with the love life of their neighbors, falling deeper and deeper into their obsessions.
It takes a dark twist towards the end, though, as nothing good can come from spying on your neighbors having sex.
14. Blue is the Warmest Color
- Release Year: 2013
- Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
- Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos
Yet another sad lesbian love story, Blue is the Warmest Color, explores the loving relationship between art student Emma and student Adèle. Taking place over multiple years, everything is alright for a while, but the relationship slowly deteriorates as they learn they have nothing in common.
While far from a perfect film, it does contain some great sex scenes and a romance that burns bright but short.
15. Becoming Astrid
- Release Year: 2018
- Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
- Stars: Alba August, Magnus Krepper, Maria Bonnevie
A Swedish biographical film, Becoming Astrid tells the stirring and, at times, sensual life of Astrid Lindgren. After falling in love with the local editor-in-chief, she becomes pregnant but must give up the baby as she is not ready to be a parent.
While it may not be oozing with sex, this movie is for you if you enjoy films with great stories and an underlying love story.
16. Female Perversions
- Release Year: 1996
- Director: Susan Streitfield
- Stars: Tilda Swinton, Amy Madigan, Karen Sillas
As you probably guessed by the title, Female Perversions takes a kinky and more intense route in the erotica genre.
The main character, Eve Stephens, is a trial attorney who enjoys infrequent but great sex with several partners, male and female.
As the story continues, we learn her sister is a kleptomaniac, and both have a poor relationship with their parents. They continue to take refuge in stealing and sex until the film’s end when Eve saves young tomboy Ed from committing suicide.
It is an intense movie that hits you from both sides, first with the sexual adventures of Eve, then with the trauma, and finally with the attempted suicide.
While it covers some dark topics, fans of dark erotica will want to watch it.
- Release Year: 2013
- Director: Lars von Trier
- Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf
A massive undertaking, Nymphomaniac was released in 2013 and is split into two separate volumes, with both telling more of the story of self-diagnosed nymphomaniac Joe.
It is told through the viewpoint of Joe to a man named Seligman, who found her beaten up in a back alley.
Fun Fact: While Nymphomaniac is a sex-filled movie, there is some asexual rep, as Seligman is an out and proud asexual.
While it is long to watch, it is filled with more sex, seduction, and nudity than you could ask for in an erotica film.
18. Y Tu Mamá También
- Release Year: 2001
- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stars: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna
Released in 2001, and filmed in Mexico, Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Also) is a classic coming-of-age story, except it is filled with nudity and sex galore.
Due to its content, there were some controversies surrounding its rating, but it still made a decent $34 million.
The story follows two young men after their girlfriends leave for Italy who decides to go on a trip with an older woman.
It turns into sensual bragging and cheating relationships, culminating in a sad ending for everyone involved.
19. Original Sin
- Release Year: 2001
- Director: Michael Cristofer
- Stars: Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Jane, Jack Thompson
Original Sin is the lustful story of a couple who decide to con a rich man out of his wealth, and at first, it seems like a brilliant plan.
The main female lead, Julia, marries a plantation owner, Luis, and earns his trust and access to his bank accounts.
Unfortunately for him, she runs off with his money, leaving him nothing but the memories of the intense, passionate sex they had had.
It is a wild whirlwind of intrigue, deceit, and sex that will leave you gasping for breath.
20. Eyes Wide Shut
- Release Year: 1999
- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson
Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 psychological erotic film where a doctor takes part in a masked orgy after being upset by his wife’s cheating behavior.
At the orgy, he is told he is in danger but returns the next day.
A set of bad events is set off at that point, sexual intrigue and death, all culminating in the doctor and his wife planning on having sex.
21. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
- Release Year: 2006
- Director: Tom Tykwer
- Stars: Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Dustin Hoffman
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was released in 2006 and is the tale of the olfactory genius Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is hunting for the world’s finest perfume.
To get his hands on it, he travels down a dark trail of murdering young women to extract their scents.
He manages to create the perfect mythic scent at the end of the film, which causes his jailors to release him and the crowd to fall into a massive orgy.
So if you want a murderous scent-obsessed man who combines sex and murder in a beautiful story, this is the film for you.
22. Last Tango in Paris
- Release Year: 1972
- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria michi, Giovanna Galletti, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Massimo Girotti
Paul, a middle-aged American hotel owner mourning the suicide of his wife, meets Jeanne, a young, engaged Parisian woman.
They begin an anonymous sexual and tempestuous relationship, where Paul even rapes Jeanne at one point. Despite this, Jeanne can’t get herself to leave him.
After some time, Paul decides to leave Jeanne without warning but later meets her again and tells her of his wife’s suicide.
Despite Jeanne’s protests, he chases her through the streets and forces his way into her apartment. Jeanne grabs a gun from a drawer, reveals her name, and shoots him.
As he dies, Jeanne mutters to herself that he is just a stranger who tried to rape and she does not know who he is.
About the author:
Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.