TV & Movies

23 Sexy Movies Made By Women That Will Turn You On

From sensual foreign films to surprisingly raunchy Hollywood fare.

by Bustle Editors
Originally Published: 
Sexy movie: 'Portrait Of A Woman On Fire'
Lilies Films

There have been many steamy, iconic sex scenes in film, and most of them have been designed for male viewing pleasure. Historically, the female gaze — which represents the viewpoint of the female viewer — has been overlooked, largely because (shocker!) most of the erotic films that have been celebrated over the years were written and directed by men (think Blue Is the Warmest Color, Nymphomaniac, Y Tu Mamá También, Wetlands, 9 1/2 Weeks). This isn’t that surprising, given that most of all movies ever made have been written and directed by men. Happily, though, even if men still overwhelmingly outnumber women behind the camera, more and more women directors have broken through in recent years — and some of the films they’ve made are very, very sexy.

The female gaze has suddenly all over television, seen in women-led shows like Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Issa Rae’s Insecure, and the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People. But as for the big screen, it’s still not quite as commonplace. When it comes to hunting down super sexy films directed by women, you'll notice that many of the filmmakers are queer; when the plot is about two women romantically involved, it’s more common to find a woman directing. Another thing that stands out is how many of the movies on this list were created by writer-directors who, by nature, are able to carry out a holistic artistic vision, from drafting the script to approving the final cut.

If you’re looking for a steamy film driven by the female gaze, check out one of the 23 sexy films made by women below.

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Pyramide Films

Director and Screenwriter: Céline Sciamma

This movie is the new blueprint for a sexy, tension-filled story as told through the female gaze. In Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a young artist, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of aristocrat Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) in France circa 1770. As Héloïse’s nuptials inch closer, the two women fall for one another more and more.

Watch on Hulu


The Beguiled (2017)

Focus Features

Director: Sofia Coppola

Based on the book by Thomas P. Cullinan and directed by Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled features a star-studded cast and crazy sexual tension. It tells the story of an injured Civil War soldier (Colin Farrell) who seeks refuge in an all-female Southern boarding school where the teachers and students (played by Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning) are more than a little eager to come to his aid.

Watch on Netflix


Mary Queen Of Scots (2018)

Focus Features

Director: Josie Rourke

Returning to Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne after having become the Queen of France at 16 and a widow two years later, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) faces the pressure to remarry — and to bend to the will of Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie), who officially rules the country. While this period drama doesn’t appear incredibly sexy from the outset, there are some very steamy bedroom scenes in which Mary meets with potential suitors.

Watch on Amazon


Happiest Season (2020)


Director: Clea DuVall

Screenwriters: Clea DuVall and Mary Holland

Who doesn’t love a sexy holiday movie? Featuring many sensual scenes and makeout sequences between Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), Happiest Season tells the tale of a woman who hasn’t yet come out to her conservative parents, but brings her girlfriend home during Christmas.

Watch on Hulu


Hustlers (2019)


Director and Screenwriter: Lorene Scafaria

Hustlers, inspired by a true story, follows a crew of savvy strippers who devise a scheme to take advantage of their Wall Street clients in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Featuring stars like Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Cardi B, and Lizzo, this sexy film — filled with incredible pole dancing scenes — is not to be missed.

Watch on Hulu


Sleeping With Other People (2015)

IFC Films

Director and Screenwriter: Leslye Headland

Starring Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, Sleeping With Other People is a perfect mix of comedy, romance, drama, and — you guessed it — sex. It follows as two serial cheaters who had a one-night stand 12 years ago. Now, they’re trying to maintain a platonic relationship despite their mutual attraction.

Watch on Amazon


Take This Waltz (2012)

Magnolia Pictures

Director and Screenwriter: Sarah Polley

After Margot (Michelle Williams) has a steamy affair with an artist from her neighborhood, she finds herself questioning everything about the life she’s built for herself. This 2012 film also boasts a pretty revelatory 360-sex scene.

Watch on Tubi


Love & Basketball (2000)

New Line Cinema

Director and Screenwriter: Gina Prince-Bythewood

There are few things sexier than the tension that builds during a heated athletic matchup. In Love & Basketball, the classic romance starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, director Gina Price-Bythewood builds a great romantic storyline around the characters' love for working up a sweat.

Watch on HBO Max


Bound (1996)

Gramercy Pictures

Directors and Screenwriters: Lana and Lily Wachowski

Before they dreamt up The Matrix, sisters Lana and Lily Wachowski directed the ultra-sexy crime drama Bound, which follows a lesbian con artist-turned-plumber who sparks up a romance with the girlfriend of a Mafia member. The film stars Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly and contains some super hot, unforgettable sex scenes. Thank you, Lana and Lily.

Watch on Hulu


Jennifer's Body (2009)

Doane Gregory / Fox Atomic

Director: Karyn Kusama

Screenwriter: Diablo Cody

If you like your sexy movies with a major dose of horror, Jennifer's Body is for you. The sexual tension between Jennifer and Needy is palpable, with Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried both delivering some of the best performances of their careers.

Watch on Amazon


The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Focus Features

Director and Screenwriter: Lisa Chodolenko (with Stuart Blumberg)

The revelatory The Kids Are All Right frankly portrays the complexities of long-term relationships and the spectrum of sexuality — all while delivering some realistic and very hot sex scenes.

Watch on Amazon


Better Than Chocolate (1999)

Trimark Pictures

Director: Anne Wheeler

This Canadian romantic comedy follows a woman, Maggie, who has recently struck up a relationship with another woman named Kim. When her mother and brother are forced to move into her apartment with her, Maggie feels the need to hide her relationship. This movie features a chocolate body painting scene between the lovers, so, you know, enough said.

Watch on Amazon


Poison Ivy (1992)

New Line

Director: Katt Shea

Screenwriters: Katt Shea and Melissa Godard (with Andy Ruben)

A very young (17 years old, in fact) Drew Barrymore stars alongside Sara Gilbert in this sexy thriller. When private school girl Sylvie (Barrymore) strikes up a relationship with Ivy (Gilbert), her entire world spirals into chaos. It's hard to find online and not currently available on streaming services, but Poison Ivy is a cult classic worth the hunt and the watch.


The Piano (1993)


Director and Screenwriter: Jane Campion

A mute piano teacher who’s married to a man she does not love embarks on a passionate affair in this movie that won three Oscars in 1993, including a Best Actress award for star Holly Hunter. The Piano is steamy, heart-wrenching, and beautiful.

Watch on Netflix


Sleeping Beauty (2011)

IFC Films

Director and Screenwriter: Julia Leigh

This is a gorgeous, erotic film loosely inspired by the classic fairytale. Emily Browning stars as a university student who experiences a sexual awakening when she is initiated as a "Sleeping Beauty," a role for which she is sedated and presented in absolute submission to her clients.

Watch on Apple TV


Marie Antoinette (2006)

Columbia Pictures

Director and Screenwriter: Sofia Coppola

Kirsten Dunst stars as the titular queen, who parties hard and has an affair while her royal husband remains disinterested. It's a pastel, playful, and passionate reimagining of the story of the long villainized queen of France, and it's incredibly sexy to boot.

Watch on HBO Max


Strange Days (1995)

20th Century Fox

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

This sci-fi thriller is based around the premise that in the future, people can record all of their experiences using an illegal device built into their eyes. Naturally, there are a lot of people making bank by selling their very vivid sexual experiences.

Watch on Amazon


Carol (2015)

Screenwriter: Phyllis Nagy

Though directed by Todd Haynes, Carol, the gorgeous and touching romance between two women (played by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) in the 1950s, was written by acclaimed playwright Phyllis Nagy. The film's most significant love scene is incredibly sexy, not to mention beautifully shot.

Watch on Tubi


Something's Gotta Give (2003)

Columbia Pictures

Director and Screenwriter: Nancy Meyers

Anyone with ageist views about who is allowed to be sexy should consult this romantic comedy, which stars Diane Keaton as a woman who has highly erotic relationships with two men, played by Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicholson.

Watch on Amazon


Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1997)


Director and Screenwriter: Mira Nair

You know by the name that this one’s going to be pretty sexy. This film tells the story of two young women, a princess and a servant, who go live tumultuous lives full of romantic betrayal.

Watch on Tubi


Chloe (2009)

Sony Pictures Classics

Screenwriter: Erin Cressida Wilson

Directed by Atom Egoyan and written by Erin Cressida Wilson, Chloe is an erotic thriller starring the impossibly attractive actors Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, and Julianne Moore. Watch as a skeptical wife hires a prostitute to lure her husband, hoping to learn if he’ll give into temptation.

Watch on Starz


Diary of a Nymphomaniac (2008)


Screenwriter: Cuca Canals

Though directed by a man, Christian Molina, Diary of A Nymphomaniac — which lives up to its sex-centric name — was written by Cuca Canals. This Spanish-language film follows as a young girl who, full of lust, pursues a career as a sex worker.

Watch on Amazon


High Art (1998)

Sundance Institute

Director and Screenwriter: Lisa Cholodenko

Two women — a photographer and assistant editor who prioritize their careers above all else, played by Ally Sheedy and Radha Mitchell — embark on an affair in this sexy 1998 indie film from Lisa Cholodenko, who also directed The Kids Are All Right.

Watch on Amazon

All of these movies illustrate that the only thing better than a hot sex scene is a hot sex scene written or directed by someone other than a dude.

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