There is perhaps no experience more universal to the human condition than the moment a love scene unexpectedly plays in a movie and everyone remains awkwardly motionless until it ends. I don't care how cool-headed or open-minded you are; that's just what you do. But the experience of watching a movie sex scene when you are actually expecting it is entirely different: Suddenly we're all connoisseurs! Sure, we all know about Blue is the Warmest Color, and everyone and their mother seems to have gotten out to see the film adaption of E. L. James' beloved novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, but when it comes to love scenes, there is a surprisingly diverse selection, many of which can be streamed on Netflix right at this very moment.
While it depends on your criteria for defining what makes a film Fifty Shades-level, mine is that A) it would definitely be embarrassing to watch in the wrong context; B) it doesn't feel stiff (pun definitely not intended); and C) it kind of makes you think, "Yeah, I guess that weird actor I never found attractive is kind of hot!"
Without further ado, Here are the hottest films from each year this century.
Come Undone (2000)
When it comes to this particular genre, no one can say the French don't know exactly they're doing.
Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
You know a film is worth its salt when it undergoes a censorship controversy.
Mary-Kate Olsen memorably told W that she watched the S&M fantasy “'at least, like, a hundred times' in her bed after moving to New York."
The Dreamers (2003)
Even if you haven't seen it, it's not a spoiler alert to sat that The Dreamers is a film so saucy it even shocked the actress who starred in it when it first came out!
9 Songs (2004)
This is the sort of film best summed up in numbers: Nine songs, eight rock bands, one guy, one girl. Nineteen solid reasons to watch it.
Director Lars von Trier's pre-Nymphomaniac sequel film to 2003's Dogville is, true to the director's style, not exactly PG.
If you're unfamiliar, allow me to break down what makes this movie so unique: It features actual sex. As in, they're not totally acting. (!)
Lust, Caution (2007)
The film follows a secret agent hired to seduce, then assassinate a Japanese government official. The only problem? She starts falling in love with him.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Surprising as it may sound, this Woody Allen-directed modern classic is as witty as it is beautiful.
I Am Love (2009)
As always, Tilda Swinton is never afraid to go there.
Blue Valentine (2010)
The Michelle Williams/Ryan Gosling love story was originally given an NC-17 rating. Gosling later publicly accused the MPAA, who rates films, of being sexist, stating, "There's plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it's a man receiving it from a woman-- and they're R-rated. Ours is reversed and somehow it's perceived as pornographic." Hey girl.
I'll admit for the sake of honesty that I've never seen (nor read) any part of the Twilight series, but those who have can't seem to stop talking about it, especially this sexy installment.
28 Hotel Rooms (2012)
This film is entirely made up of scenes between the two main characters in hotel rooms. Any questions?
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
It's a film BuzzFeed once deemed "a rare cinematic treat" with "a cavalcade of dicks." Enough said.
An NC-17-rated, two-part, five-hour film where every seemingly character gets it on with one another...? Yep, that'll make the list.
I'll take a 3D "sexual melodrama" devoted to "celebrat[ing] sex in a joyous way" over Fifty Shades any day!