Watching a movie is an inherently voyeuristic act. The lights go down, the projector flickers to life, and the audience looks. And looks, and looks, and looks.

And what do you think people like to look at?

Duh, they like to look at beautiful people in various and sundry states of undress.

In the past, ScreenCrush has explored the history of onscreen sexuality at length, chronicling everything from the greatest TV sex scenes in history to the weirdest movie sex scenes ever committed to celluloid to horrifying porn parodies of beloved childhood favorites to the greatest NC-17 and X-rated films ever made. The movies on the lists that follow fall into two distinct but interconnected categories: Sex scenes that were so important and influential when they were initially released that they changed the course of cinema history (and maybe even sex history!), and sex scenes that were considered so shockingly raw and intimate when they were initially released that some audiences actually thought they were were not simulated. (Modern audiences might still think a few of them are legit.) In a few very special cases, the two categories below even overlap.

You can find most of these movies available to stream or rent at home right now; a few of the older ones have long lapsed into the public domain and can be viewed on YouTube. Even on a computer, watching a movie is still an inherently voyeuristic act.

The Most Important Sex Scenes Ever Made

Sex has been a key part of movies since their invention — and these scenes are the ones that are the most important.

Sex Scenes People Thought Were Real

These love scenes were so convincing, some audiences thought the sex wasn’t simulated.
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