Unsimulated sex is the presentation in a film of sex scenes where the actors engage in an actual sex act, and are not just miming or simulating the actions. At one time such scenes were restricted by law and self-imposed industry standards such as the Motion Picture Production Code. Films showing explicit sexual activity were confined to privately distributed underground films, such as stag films or "porn loops". Beginning in the late 1960s, mainstream cinemas began pushing boundaries in terms of what was presented on screen. Although the vast majority of sexual situations depicted in mainstream cinema are simulated (in early pornography, the main actors engaged in simulated sex, with inserts placed in the film), on rare occasions actors engage in real sex. The difference between these films and pornography is that, while such scenes might be considered erotic, the intent of these films is not solely pornographic.
Notable examples include two of the eight Bedside-films and the six Zodiac-films from the 1970s, all of which were produced in Denmark and had many pornographic sex scenes, but were nevertheless considered mainstream films (they all had mainstream casts and crews, and premiered in mainstream cinemas). The last of these films, Agent 69 Jensen i Skyttens tegn, was made in 1978. From the end of the 1970s until the late 1990s it was rare to see hardcore scenes in mainstream cinema, but this changed with the success of Lars von Trier's The Idiots (1998), which heralded a wave of art-house films with explicit content, such as Romance (1999), Baise-moi (2000), Intimacy (2001), Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny (2003), and Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs (2004). Some simulated sex scenes are so realistic that critics mistakenly believe that they are real, such as the cunnilingus scene in the 2006 film Red Road.
Films with unsimulated sexual activity
The following mainstream films have scenes with verified real sexual activity, meaning actors or actresses are filmed engaging in actual coitus or performing related sexual acts such as fellatio and cunnilingus. This list does not include documentaries about pornography, which may contain unsimulated sexual activity. For example, Inside Deep Throat contains approximately 30 seconds of unsimulated fellatio.
|Un Chant d'Amour (English title: A Song of Love)||1950||A short film directed by Jean Genet that features brief scenes of male masturbation, homosexual groping and a plot entirely focused on voyeurism.||French|
|Gift||1966||One of the first Danish mainstream films with explicit and unsimulated sex scenes.||Danish|
|Dom kallar oss mods (English title: They Call Us Misfits)||1967||Swedish documentary film, the first of a trilogy.||Swedish|
|El Topo||1970||This cult film by Alejandro Jodorowsky contains the real rape scene according to his own book about the film.||Spanish|
|Stille dage i Clichy (English title: Quiet Days in Clichy)||1970||Film, directed by Jens Jørgen Thorsen, is based upon the long banned novel by Henry Miller and contains many explicit sex scenes. One contains penetration.||Danish, English|
|Cry Uncle!||1971||This film by John G. Avildsen shows many unsimulated sex scenes, including full oral penetration.||English|
|Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song||1971||Features many scenes of sex; though it's debated that the scenes are unsimulated. After Peebles came up with the winning ad slogan "rated X by an all-white jury" the film's rating was reduced to R in 1974.||English|
|W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism||1971||Film explores the relationship between communist politics and sexuality, as well as exploring the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. Contains scenes of both various simulated sex acts and non-simulated manual stimulation of a penis.||Serbo-Croatian
|The Love Garden||1971||This film by Mark Haggard features fellatio.||English|
|Pink Flamingos||1972||Oral sex.||English|
|I Jomfruens tegn||1973||First film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|Thriller - en grym film (English title: Thriller – A Cruel Picture)||1973||The original Swedish cut of this film, directed by Bo Arne Vibenius contains explicit hardcore inserts.||Swedish|
|A Scream in the Streets||1973||Film by Carl Monson and several other directors contains a scene of actual penetration.||English|
|I Tyrens tegn||1974||Second film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|Sweet Movie||1974||Another film by director Dušan Makavejev which explores relationship between politics (this time both communism and capitalism) and sexuality. Contains a scene of penis captivus.||English, French, Polish, Spanish, Italian|
|I Tvillingernes tegn||1975||Third film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|Der må være en sengekant||1975||Sixth film in the Danish Bedside-series of erotic mainstream-comedies, and one of the two to have hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|The Image||1975||This film by Radley Metzger, based upon the novel L'Image by Catherine Robbe-Grillet,features many unsimulated sex scenes including S&M, fellatio and lesbian cunnilingus.||English, French|
|Sømænd på sengekanten||1976||Eighth and final film in the Danish Bedside-series of erotic mainstream-comedies, and one of the two to have hardcore scenes, including extensive clips from the short Color Climax #1283: Mail Order Sex (1973), watched on 8mm by the ship's crew.||Danish|
|Une vraie jeune fille (English title: A Real Young Girl or A Real Young Lady)||1976||Features female masturbation, close-up of male and female genitalia (including a man masturbating to ejaculation) and urination scenes.||French|
|I Løvens tegn||1976||Fourth film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|愛のコリーダ (English title: In the Realm of the Senses)||1976||Based on a true story of a Japanese prostitute, features fellatio and other non-simulated sexual acts.||Japanese|
|Fantasm||1976||This film directed by Richard Franklin contains an underwater scene which shows the real oral sex, 69 position, and vaginal intercourse.||English|
|Through the Looking Glass||1976||This film by Jonas Middleton with many experimental and avant-garde elements features hardcore sex scenes, including fellatio.||English|
|Agent 69 Jensen i Skorpionens tegn||1977||Fifth film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|La svastica nel ventre (English title: Nazi Love Camp 27).||1977||This film by Mario Caiano features actual penetration.||Italian|
|L'Ange et la femme (English title: The Angel and the Woman)||1977||This film by Gilles Carle features at least one hardcore sex scene.||French, English|
|Agent 69 Jensen i Skyttens tegn||1978||Sixth and final film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.||Danish|
|Caligula||1979||Uncut version of this film includes several authentic sex scenes, including penetration, fellatio and ejaculation during the six minutes worth of inserts shot by the film's producer, Bob Guccione. The sex shot by Tinto Brass in the rest of the movie, although very explicit, was simulated.||English|
|Immagini di un convento (English title: Images in a Convent)||1979||This film by Joe D'Amato contains many explicit sex scenes including brutal and unsimulated rape scene.||Italian|
|Cruising||1980||Director William Friedkin spliced in single frames of gay anal intercourse during at least one scene. Partially obscured sex acts, including fellatio and fisting.||English|
|Taxi zum Klo (English title: Taxi to the Toilet)||1980||A film directed by Frank Ripploh features hardcore gay sex scenes.||German, English, French|
|Spetters||1980||This film directed by Paul Verhoeven features explicit hardcore sex scenes, including oral sex.||Dutch|
|Les Fruits de la passion (English title: Fruits of Passion)||1981||This film by Shûji Terayama contains many explicit sex scenes, including unsimulated fellatio.||Cantonese, Japanese, English, French|
|Caligola: La storia mai raccontata ( English title: The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story, or Caligula 2 - The Untold Story)||1982||The uncut European version of this film, directed by Joe D'Amato features penetration, ejaculation and fellato in orgy scene.||Italian|
|Scandale||1982||Based on the true event, this film by George Mihalka contains hardcore sex scenes.||French|
|L'alcova (English title: The Alcove)||1985||Film by Joe D'Amato contains a few real sex scenes.||Italian|
|Il Diavolo in Corpo (English title: Devil in the Flesh)||1986||Features a short scene of fellatio, during which the man tells the woman about Lenin's return to St. Petersburg in 1917.||Italian|
|Hotel St. Pauli||1988||This film by Svend Wam shows unsimulated oral sex.||Norwegian, Swedish|
|The Soft Kill||1994||The DVD version of this film, directed by Eli Cohen, features penetration.||English|
|La Vie de Jésus (English title: The Life of Jesus)||1997||"In Life of Jesus, Dumont included extreme close-ups of penetration to emphasize the animal nature of the sex act".||French|
|Idioterne (English title: The Idiots)||1998||This film by Lars von Trier features penetration and group sex.||Danish|
|Fiona||1998||This film directed by Amos Kollek features a brief oral sex scene.||English|
|Jezus is een Palestijn (English title: Jesus is a Palestinian)||1999||Director Lodewijk Crijns: "From the beginning I swore that there would be a visual penetration in my film. [...] Eventually that scene made it into the film and also in a way which I think is very surprising.||Dutch|
|Romance||1999||Directed by Catherine Breillat, features male and female masturbation, fellatio, penetration, ejaculation, and sadomasochistic bondage.||French|
|Pola X||1999||"Pola X ... acquired international notoriety for unsimulated sex scenes between the characters, though body doubles were reportedly used for the more graphic shots."||French|
|La donna lupo (English title: The Man-Eater)||1999||Film by Aurelio Grimaldi contains scene of actual fellatio.||Italian|
|Guardami||1999||Based on the life of Italian porn actress Moana Pozzi, this film directed by Davide Ferrario shows the real oral sex.||Italian|
|Vampire Strangler||1999||A film by William Hellfire shows the real fellatio by an actress Erin Brown.||English|
|Baise-moi||2000||Several actual sex scenes, including penetration and fellatio, involving.||French|
|Scrapbook||2000||This film by Eric Stanze shows the real fellatio.||English|
|Le Pornographe (English title: The Pornographer)||2001||This film by Bertrand Bonello shows many hardcore sex scenes, including penetration.||French|
|Ken Park||2002||The film was banned in Australia, as the Office of Film and Literature Classification said it contained scenes of "child sexual abuse, actual sex by people depicted as minors and sexualised violence". Cunnilingus, auto-erotic asphyxiation, urination, and group sex acts involving characters that are supposed to be teens are shown explicitly, but the sex is simulated with the exception of one scene showing a young man masturbating. All actors were actually over 18.||English|
|Irréversible (English title: Irresistible)||2002||This film by Gaspar Noé shows unsimulated oral sex.||French|
|La novia de Lázaro (English title: Lazaro’s Girlfriend)||2002||This film by Fernando Merinero features about a minute long scene of explicit fellatio.||Spanish|
|The Brown Bunny||2003||This film by Vincent Gallo features a scene of fellatio.||English|
|Fallo! (English title: Do It! or Private)||2003||Film directed by Tinto Brass contains a real fellatio.||Italian, French, English, Spanish|
|Rossa Venezia||2003||This film by Andreas Bethmann features many hardcore sex scenes, mostly lesbian.||German|
|The Principles of Lust||2003||Film by Penny Woolcock shows an orgy scene with several unsimulated sex acts, including oral sex.||English|
|Anatomie de l'enfer (English title: Anatomy of Hell)||2004||By director Catherine Breillat, features "actual sex, high-level sex scenes and high-level themes" according to the Australian Classification Review Board.||French|
|9 Songs||2004||Several non-simulated sex scenes, including penetration, fellatio, cunnilingus and ejaculation.||English|
|The Raspberry Reich||2004||Includes unsimulated heterosexual and homosexual sex, Including penetrative oral and anal intercourse.||English|
|Story of the Eye||2004||Based on the novel Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, this film, directed by Andrew Repasky McElhinney contains many hardcore sex scenes.||English|
|Kärlekens språk 2000||2004||A swedish sex educational film directed by Anders Lennberg shows many unsimulated sex scenes.||Swedish|
|All About Anna||2005||Producer Innocent Pictures asserted that "[w]ithout the sex scenes, the film's drama would fall apart. This was a particular challenge to the film's cast, who had to cope with the traditional social and human traumas associated with having real sex in front of a camera. Fortunately the film's actors and actresses managed to extend their dramatic performances way beyond the norm and truly managed to push the envelope, achieving new means of dramatic expression. The sex scenes were carefully planned and rehearsed prior to shooting, allowing the actors to stay in character through every embrace and caress."||English|
|8mm 2||2005||A film directed by J. S. Cardone, featuring various erotic scenes that include complete nudity, group sex, female masturbation, oral stimulation, authentic pornography frames, and lesbian cunnilingus.||English|
|Kissing on the Mouth||2005||Film by Joe Swanberg contains the real scene of masturbation with ejaculation.||English|
|天邊一朵雲 (English title: The Wayward Cloud)||2005||This film directed by Tsai Ming-liang features fellatio and penetration.||Mandarin|
|Shortbus||2006||Several actors perform real sexual acts including explicit masturbation, autofellatio, coitus, and heterosexual and homosexual fellatio.||English|
|Destricted||2006||Seven short films by artists and film-makers commissioned to "explore the fine line where art and pornography intersect", it "contains strong, real sex".||English|
|Taxidermia||2006||This film, directed by György Pálfi features actual penetration.||Hungarian, English, Russian|
|Ex Drummer||2007||The real sex scenes were performed by hired porn actors.||Dutch|
|It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.||2007||This film directed by David Brothers and Crispin Glover contains actual penetration.||English|
|L'histoire de Richard O. (English title: The Story of Richard O.)||2007||This film by Damien Odoul shows numerous real sex scenes.||French, Finnish|
|Water in Milk Exists||2008||An independent film directed by Lawrence Weiner and Kiki Allgeier, in association with Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York. The film features several actors performing real penetrative sex and other sexual practices such as female masturbation, male masturbation, mutual masturbation and homosexual fellatio.||English|
|Serbis (English title: Service)||2008||Film, directed by Brillante Mendoza shows an explicit fellatio.||Filipino, Tagalog|
|Des Jours Plus Belles Que La Nuit||2009||Also known as "Skin. Like. Sun." this film by Jennifer Lyon Bell and, Murielle Scherre features sex in near real time with two actors Wim van Damme and Floor Wyns.||French|
|Antichrist||2009||This film by Lars von Trier features a scene of penetrative vaginal intercourse, and also includes graphically violent sexual imagery. Body doubles were used to make the film.||English|
|The Band||2009||This film directed by Anna Brownfield features numerous sequences of unsimulated sex.||English|
|Enter the Void||2009||This film, directed by Gaspar Noé shows vaginal penetration.||English, Japanese|
|I Want Your Love||2010||A 2010 short film and a 2012 feature-length film, both directed by Travis Mathews, featuring homosexual fellatio and male-male anal sex.||English|
|Bedways||2010||This film by Rolf Peter Kahl shows the real sex scenes, including a ten minutes long scene of masturbation.||German|
|The Bunny Game||2010||This film directed by Adam Rehmeier contains an explicit scene of fellatio.||English|
|Killer Bitch||2010||Controversial in many aspects, this film by Liam Galvin contains real sex scenes according to executive producer John Fleming.||English|
|Q (English title: Desire)||2011||A 2011 French film, directed by Laurent Bouhnik, which features several graphic unsimulated depictions of sex.||French|
|Hotel Desire||2011||This short film directed by Sergej Moya contains unsimulated sex scene between the actors Saralisa Volm and Clemens Schick.||German|
|Sexual Chronicles of a French Family||2012||Jean-Marc Barr, co-director of the film, said 'that the DVD is the “sensual” version of the film. A “sexual” version—four minutes longer, and showcasing erections and penetration—also exists.'||French|
|Clip||2012||This film by Maja Milos contains several explicit sex scenes, including fellatio. Body doubles, prosthetics, and visual effects were also used for some scenes. The film was banned in Russia as child pornography due to the young age of some of the actors.||Serbian|
|Starlet||2012||This film by Sean S. Baker contains a scene of penetration.||English|
|Nymphomaniac||2013||To produce scenes of unsimulated sex, director Lars von Trier had the genitals of porn actors digitally composited onto the bodies of the film's cast.||English|
Porno films re-edited for mainstream release
Prior to the advent of home video, a number of hardcore pornography films were released to mainstream cinemas. In most cases, scenes of penetration were either cut out or replaced with alternate shots. One exception to this was Deep Throat, which was released uncensored.
Examples of this type of hybrid release include Alice in Wonderland (1976), shot as X-rated, but first released as an R-rated version — afterwards, the uncut version was released; Café Flesh (1982) — the R-rated version of this science fiction porn film was released to mainstream cinemas; Stocks and Blondes (1984), originally available as Wanda Whips Wall Street; and Droid (1988), originally released as Cabaret Sin in 1987.
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