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 in the United States 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 sufficiently 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 unsimulated sex in the 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 on the long-banned novel by Henry Miller and contains a graphic insert of hardcore sex early on.||Danish, English|
|Cry Uncle!||1971||This film by John G. Avildsen shows unsimulated fellatio.||English|
|Pink Flamingos||1972||This film by John Waters was banned in Australia in 1997. The Board unanimously noted a scene which included "close up real depictions of actual fellatio....which unambiguously contravene R classification guidelines.".||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 few seconds 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||This film by Dušan Makavejev contain some unsimulated sex acts.||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|
|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|
|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|
|The ABC of Love and Sex: Australia Style||1978||Australian documentary that shows actual sex scenes.||English|
|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 a 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 Shūji 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 an orgy scene.||Italian|
|Scandale||1982||This film by George Mihalka contains both softcore and hardcore sex scenes.||French|
|L'alcova (English title: The Alcove)||1985||Film by Joe D'Amato contains a few real sex scenes.||Italian|
|James Joyce's Women||1985||This film, directed by Michael Pearce, is based on James Joyce's Ulysses and shows about twenty minutes of real, on camera masturbation by Fionnula Flanagan, the main actress.||English|
|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|
|Paganini (Also known as Kinski Paganini)||1989||Klaus Kinski's feature film debut and also his last, it shows many graphic sex scenes, including actual female masturbation.||Italian|
|トパーズ (Also known as: Tokyo Decadence and Topāzu)||1992||This film by Ryu Murakami about prostitution in Japan contains sexually explicit and graphic scenes, including explicit use of a vibrator and strap-on, as well as a urination scene. However, "Murakami didn't make this film to tickle people's libidos; he wanted to bring out the potential ugliness that can come through sex."||Japanese, English|
|The Soft Kill||1994||The DVD version of this film, directed by Eli Cohen, features penetration.||English|
|A Single Girl||1995||This film by Benoît Jacquot contains a hardcore scene in hotel room, involving an actress Catherine Guittoneau.||French|
|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|
|Seul contre tous (English title: I Stand Alone)||1998||The film is Gaspar Noé's first feature-length production and features several actual sex scenes.||French|
|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 gained infamy world wide for its unsimulated sex acts between Guillaume Depardieu (Pierre) and Yekaterina Golubeva (Isabelle). Although body stand ins were used for the most explicit parts."||French|
|La donna lupo (English title: The Man-Eater)||1999||Film by Aurelio Grimaldi contains a scene of actual fellatio.||Italian|
|Guardami||1999||Based on the life of Italian porn actress Moana Pozzi, this film directed by Davide Ferrario shows real oral sex.||Italian|
|Vampire Strangler||1999||A film by William Hellfire shows real fellatio by an actress Erin Brown.||English|
|Giulia (English title: Julia)||1999||This film by Roy Stuart shows scenes of fellatio, cunnilingus and intercourse performed by actress Anna Bielska.||French|
|Humanité||1999||A film by Bruno Dumont contains sex and nudity, including three hardcore scenes.||French, English|
|Baise-moi||2000||Several actual sex scenes, including penetration and fellatio.||French|
|Scrapbook||2000||This film by Eric Stanze includes non-penetrative sex acts and an actor urinating on an actress.||English|
|Scarlet Diva||2000||A semi-autobiographical film about Italian actress and director Asia Argento's life as an actress, it contains many non-simulated sex scenes according to herself.||English, Italian, French|
|Le Pornographe (English title: The Pornographer)||2001||This film by Bertrand Bonello shows many hardcore sex scenes, including penetration.||French|
|Lucía y el sexo (English title: Sex and Lucia)||2001||This film by Julio Medem contains several real sex scenes, including penetration and fellatio from the porn movie made by one of the film's characters as well as manual stimulation of an erect penis and cunnilingus performed by and on another film's character.||Spanish, English|
|Hundstage (English title: Dog Days)||2001||The first fictional feature film by director Ulrich Seidl contains a hardcore orgy scene.||German|
|The Center of the World||2001||A film by Wayne Wang contains "the graphic sex of Triple-X videos".||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|
|Le loup de la côte Ouest (English title: The Wolf of the West Coast)||2002||A Hugo Santiago film with recognizable stars James Faulkner and Anna Mouglalis features unsimulated sex scenes.||French, English|
|Sud sanaeha (English title: Blissfully Yours)||2002||This film, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, contains a scene of explicit fellatio.||Thai|
|Choses secrètes (English title: Secret Things)||2002||A Jean-Claude Brisseau film about female sexuality that shows many explicit sex scenes, including public masturbation by a female character and a hardcore orgy scene. The first film of a trilogy.||French|
|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 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|
|Bodysong||2003||A 2003 documentary about human life and the human condition, directed by Simon Pummell, features several hardcore sex scenes, including vaginal penetration, fellatio and cunnilingus.||English|
|Anatomie de l'enfer (English title: Anatomy of Hell)||2004||By director Catherine Breillat, it 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|
|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|
|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 a 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|
|Princesas||2005||This film by Fernando León de Aranoa contains a scene of explicit fellatio.||Spanish|
|Lie with Me||2005||A film by Clement Virgo, based on the novel of the same title, contains "medium-to-hardcore sex".||English, Spanish|
|Shortbus||2006||Several actors perform real sexual acts including explicit masturbation, autofellatio, coitus, and heterosexual and homosexual fellatio.||English|
|Taxidermia||2006||This film, directed by György Pálfi features actual penetration.||Hungarian, English, Russian|
|Les Anges Exterminateurs||2006||The second Jean-Claude Brisseau film that explores female sexuality. It shows unsimulated female masturbation.||French|
|Auftauchen (Also known as Amour fou)||2006||Felicitas Korn's feature film debut shows several authentic sex scenes.||German|
|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|
|Import/Export||2007||The second fictional feature film by Ulrich Seidl contains several authentic sex scenes, including female masturbation and anal fingering. The authenticity of the fellatio scene is debatable.||German, Slovak, Russian, English|
|El Búfalo de la noche (English title: The Night Buffalo)||2007||This film by Jorge Hernandez Aldana contains an explicit fellatio scene.||Spanish|
|Serbis (English title: Service)||2008||Directed by Brillante Mendoza, it shows explicit fellatio.||Filipino, Tagalog|
|Tropical Manila||2008||This film, directed by Sang-woo Lee, contain several explicit sex acts, including real fellatio.||Filipino, Korean|
|À l'aventure||2008||The third film by Jean-Claude Brisseau about female sexuality contains many explicit sex scenes, including authentic female masturbation and orgasm.||French|
|Amateur Porn Star Killer 2||2008||This film by Shane Ryan includes explicit scenes of penetration and oral sex. The second film of a trilogy.||English|
|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|
|Enter the Void||2009||This film, directed by Gaspar Noé contains some unsimulated sexual activity.||English, Japanese|
|The Band||2009||This film directed by Anna Brownfield features numerous sequences of unsimulated sex.||English|
|Dogtooth||2009||A film by Giorgos Lanthimos. "The brief real sex is used to establish the unusual and dysfunctional lifestyle that results from the isolation orchestrated by the dictatorial father, including incest."||Greek|
|Bedways||2010||This film by Rolf Peter Kahl shows real sex scenes, including a three-minute-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|
|Año bisiesto (English title: Leap Year)||2010||Film by Michael Rowe features unsimulated sex scenes.||Spanish|
|Gandu||2010||An Indian film, directed by Qaushiq Mukherjee, that contains actual sex scenes.||Bengali|
|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 an unsimulated sex scene between the actors Saralisa Volm and Clemens Schick.||German|
|愛很爛 (English title: Love Actually... Sucks!)||2011||A Hong Kong film, directed by Scud, features fellatio.||Mandarin, Cantonese, English|
|Caged||2011||A 2011 Dutch film directed by Stephan Brenninkmeijer, it contains several explicit hardcore sex scenes.||Dutch|
|Léa||2011||This film, directed by Bruno Rolland, contains an unsimulated scene of cunniligus.||French|
|The Slut||2011||This film, directed by Israeli actress Hagar Ben-Asher, features real penetration.||Hebrew|
|Starlet||2012||This film by Sean S. Baker contains a scene of penetration.||English|
|Joven y alocada (English title: Young and Wild)||2012||A Chilean film, directed by Marially Rivas, features many explicit sex scenes, including several real sex inserts.||Spanish|
|Pornopung||2013||A 2013 Norwegian film, directed by Johan Kaos, that features a scene of explicit fellatio.||Norwegian|
|Stranger by the Lake||2013||Directed by Alain Guiraudie, Stranger by the Lake contains scenes of unsimulated sex that were shot using body doubles.||French|
|Pasolini||2014||A film by Abel Ferrara, about the final day in the life of Pier Paolo Pasolini, shows several actual sex scenes, including fellatio.||English, Italian, French|
|Love||2015||The latest film by Gaspar Noé features many unsimulated sex scenes of pornographic nature.||English|
Pornography 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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