Sexy Scenes

Roz’s Picks for Great Movie Sex Scenes

Here are some great moments, why they work, and how a real-life couple could use them.

The Piano

Mute but far-from-dumb Ada (Holly Hunter) allows herself to be the loser/winner in a psychological strip poker game with Baines (Harvey Keitel, in an amazing performance), the tattooed gone-native New Zealand settler. By the time they actually get to sex, the eroticism is all but fogging up the screen.

It works because there is a strange bargain between them. Baines is relentless but not unkind — he rescued her piano from the beach where her insensitive new husband left it stranded — and Ada
ends up wanting Baines even more passionately than she does her piano. They are inarticulate soul mates.

In real life a man could “coerce” his partner into relinquishing one garment at a time, either by reward or (pretend) punishment. This could be a very sexy game indeed.

Out Of Africa

The eroticism is set up in the safari scene where Denys Finch-Hatton  (Robert Redford) sensually shampoos Karen Blixen’s hair (Meryl Streep).  The actual sex scene has him saying quietly but firmly to her, “Don’t  move.”

“But I want to move.”

“Don’t. Move.”


It works because the tenderness is there, but so is  dominance by this enigmatic, super-masculine man over a strong-willed woman.

A real-life couple can play that same scene. Actually,  sex can build to a powerful crescendo when it is s-l-o-w-e-d down to a torturous pace, with the partners not moving externally, but pulsating together internally.

No Way Out

In the back seat of a limo, party-girl Susan (Sean Young) is gleefully shucking  her elegant evening gown and underwear for Naval officer Tom Farrell (Kevin  Costner). They are spontaneous combustion with a light-hearted undertone.

It works because the heat between them smoldered and caught fire at the party, and they’re sneaking away like a couple of teenagers. It’s naughty and fun and very sexy.

In real life a woman can put on sexy underwear, maybe a garter belt or thigh-high stockings, under a gorgeous gown. She and her partner can have a couple of drinks at an upscale bar or party, then park half-way home, climb in the back seat (champagne already stashed there?), and have a joyous party of their own.

Body Heat

Talk about Will Not Be Denied! Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), secure in her irresistible seductiveness, waits on the stairs as hypnotized Ned Racine (William Hurt) stares at her like a deer caught in the headlights, then smashes the
glass with a lawn chair and nails her on the stairs.

It works because it’s animalistic, inevitable, hot hot hot.

In real life the woman becomes a seductress, using innuendo and backward glances and eventually a smoldering gaze, until her partner is caught in her tractor beam. As for the stairs — substitute a more comfortable surface, OK?

Bull Durham

Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) worships baseball. Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is a down-to-earth honest-to-God ball player with some years on him, a no-bullshit attitude, and lots of experience. They spar from the beginning, allowing him to deliver that wonderful speech that ends, “I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”

When they finally do have sex, he deftly unsnaps her garter with one flick, sweeps everything off the kitchen table, and away they go.

It works because they are kindred spirits, beneath her woo-woo New Age jargon, and they’ve known it for quite a while. It works because afterward they soak in a tub surrounded by candles. Hot attraction plus lazy romance.

In real life I’d recommend foregoing the kitchen table, putting candles all over the living room, and merging the hot with the romantic. Don’t forget the garter belt and stockings.

The Big Chill

When is sweet sex a great scene? When Harold (Kevin Kline) makes love to his long-time friend Meg (Mary Kay Place) to make a baby, a gift from Harold’s sensitive wife Sarah (Glenn Close). Harold’s face is close to Meg’s as they smile at each other and then he gently begins to move, sliding his body up hers. Their connection is way more than physical.

It works because safety and generosity are involved. Come to think of it (so to speak), it probably only works for women. Well, and also for very tender men, who often make the best lovers because they tune in to a woman, not just to themselves.

In real life … well, OK, it probably wouldn’t happen in real life. To pretend, though, might be very nice, especially the exquisite slow-moving pace and riveting eye contact.

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