17 Hollywood sex scenes to get you hot under the collar

The passionate, the romantic and the downright awkward...

pretty woman landscape.jpg
pretty woman landscape.jpg
(Image credit: Rex)

The passionate, the romantic and the downright awkward...

Nothing turns a film into a Hollywood blockbuster like a well-timed, perfectly choreographed sex scene.

You know the ones. We're talking impeccable backlighting, slow motion movements, white silk curtains billowing in the breeze and a scattering of candles (that somehow despite the silk curtains are never a fire hazard) all accompanied by a spot-on soundtrack. Usually an American country song.

Here are 17 of the most memorable of all time: the romantic, the raunchy and the downright awkward... 1) DIRTY DANCING (1987) Baby (Jennifer Grey) and dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze) ‘do the deed’ in this hot scene, going from an intense argument to a ‘dirty’ dance session to passionate sex. Watch for: an incredibly sexy and romantic scene Soundtrack: Cry To Me by Solomon Burke

2) MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) After breaking into a house and finding a dead body, Betty (Naomi Watts) and amnesiac Rita (Laura Harring) have intense sex in this Neo noir mystery psychological thriller.Watch for: a raw anti-Hollywood lesbian sex sceneSoundtrack: silence 3) THE NOTEBOOK (2004) We all know the scene – the one that starts with the ‘Why didn’t you write me?’ argument in the rain and then after Noah (Ryan Gosling) tells Allie (Rachel McAdams) that he wrote her 365 letters and that ‘It still isn’t over’, they have heated make-up sex. Watch for: inspiration for how to turn an argument into hot sex Soundtrack: silence - just panting

4) ATONEMENT (2007) The famous scene where Cecilia (Kiera Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy) get discovered having sex in the Library – yes, the scene with ‘that’ green silk dress. Watch for: quite possibly the hottest and most beautiful sex scene of all time Soundtrack: silence – just the sound of clothes being unbuttoned and wet kisses

5) ROMEO + JULIET (1996) This romantic scene sees star-crossed lovers Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) having passionate (and forbidden) sex – add that to some amazing direction from Baz Lurhmann, fresh white bed linen and a young Leo in a Hawaiian shirt and it’s quite literally the perfect sex scene. Watch for: a sexy remake of an old classic… and like we said before: a young Leo in a Hawaiian shirt Soundtrack: Kissing You by Des’ree

6) BLACK SWAN (2010) This girl-on-girl gothic sex scene is between Nina (Natalie Portman) and Lily (Mila Kunis) - two competitive ballerinas from the New York City Ballet company.Watch for: a raw and heated girl-on-girl oral sex sceneSoundtrack: silence - just Natalie Portman climaxing 7) FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2012) There are far too many scenes to choose from in this film, but basically any time Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) enter his red room, our blood gets pumping. Watch for: an erotic sex scene that pushes the boundaries Soundtrack: I Put A Spell On You by Annie Lennox

8) FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) Dan (Michael Douglass) has an affair with Alex (Glenn Close), an unstable publishing editor, and before she turns ‘bunny boiler’, they share a steamy sex filled-ride in a lift. Watch for: tips on how to have sex in a lift and proof of how an affair can ruin your life. Soundtrack: silence 9) AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) The iconic scene where ageing Lester (Kevin Spacey) has sexual fantasies about his daughter’s best friend Angela (Mena Suvari), who he becomes completely infatuated with. Watch for: a lot of artistic nudity and a tonne of falling rose petals Soundtrack: Arose by Thomas Newman

10) PEARL HARBOUR (2001) When Rafe is reported dead, his girlfriend Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) finds comfort in his best friend Danny (Josh Hartnett), in this romantic scene having very tender sex: we’re talking beautiful music, Danny’s pilot dog tags dangling into Evelyn’s breasts and white curtains blowing in the breeze – the whole shebang. Watch for: one of the most beautiful and idyllic sex scenes ever made Soundtrack: Tennessee by Hans Zimmer

11) THE FIRST TIME (2012) OK so it’s not the steamiest but this scene between Dave (Dylan O’Brien) and Aubrey (Britt Robertson) perfectly captures the awkwardness and anticlimactic reality of having sex for the first time. Watch for: an accurate and realistic portray of first time sex Soundtrack: Wait For Me by Motopony

12) NO STRINGS ATTACHED (2011) This fun montage scene sees friends with benefits Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) having sex in different positions and places, giving us casual sex goals for life. Watch for: fun and naughty ideas for casual sex Soundtrack: Bossa Nova Baby by Elvis Presley

13) BLUE VALENTINE (2010) Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) have very raw and emotional sex in a hot shower scene in Blue Valentine - it’s certainly not an airbrushed Hollywood clip, it’s very real, right down to the wet noises. Watch for: An alternative take on a Hollywood sex scene Soundtrack: silence

14) BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) Rodeo cowboy Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and ranch hand Ennis (Heath Ledger) have a 20 year love affair, in this scene having anal sex in a tent at night. Watch for: an emotional and touching male love scene Soundtrack: silence - just the sound of male grunts

15) THE LUCKY ONE (2012) This sex scene is a romantic Nicholas Sparks classic. U.S. Marine Logan (Zac Efron) and Beth (Taylor Schilling) finally succumb to the growing sexual tension between them and have sweaty sex on the ranch where they are both working. Watch for: a classic Nicholas Sparks sex scene between two beautiful people – expect a lot of panting, sweating and slow motion gazing. Soundtrack: Count Me In by Early Winters

16) TITANIC (1997) Of course, it's ‘that’ hot sweaty sex scene in 'that' vintage car aboard the Titanic, between Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) who fall in love despite their different social classes. Watch for: proof that you can have hot sex in a carSoundtrack: Rose by James Horner 17) PRETTY WOMAN (1990) The gentle sex scene between ruthless businessman Edward (Richard Gere) and prostitute Vivian (Julia Roberts) is a very touching moment - despite him buying her services. Watch for: a classic Hollywood sex scene Soundtrack: silence

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.