The 50 Greatest Sex Scenes in Cinema

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30. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
In seventh grade, my friend would sometimes greet me with reports on his instant-messenger sexcapades: "Check it out, dude! I was having cyber with this girl, and look — I printed it out!" But nothing in those gruesome transcripts could match one of the funniest indie "sex scenes" in recent memory, which occurs over instant messenger and can be summed up in pure typography: ))<===>((. No, we won't explain it — it's far too grotesque and hilarious for print. Rent Me and You and Everyone We Know, and you'll never look at nested parentheses the same way again. — Peter Smith

29. 9 Songs (2004)
When the average actor gets in front of a giant camera crew, heat lamps, and a director's scrutiny, sex is probably the last thing on his or her mind — or so we're told. This hardly seems to be the case with 9 Songs, the lyrical Michael Winterbottom flick about a climatologist who heats things up with an exchange student. The catch is that the film contains zero faux fucking — it's all natural, and the scene where Lisa goes down on Matt is far better than the blowjob stunt in The Brown Bunny. The critics can argue for days — is 9 Songs cinema or porn? — but we'll stay out of that one. The tingle-inducing realization that Matt's climax and Lisa's voracious enthusiasm are real is reward enough. — Jessica Gold Haralson  Watch the scene.
28. Henry and June (1990)
The first film released with an NC-17 rating, Henry and June seems as quaint as a fan dance today, but anticipation ages well. Adapted from the diaries of the infamously erotic Anais Nin (Maria de Medeiros), it's the story of a love triangle between Nin, the similiarly single-minded author Henry Miller (Fred Ward) and his wife June (Uma Thurman). Most memorable is Nin's hot pursuit of June — down a foggy street, into a hug that turns into a clinch, then into a passionate kiss on the dancefloor of a lesbian bar, then into bed. The action is conveyed mostly with eyes and fully clothed limbs, and it's a timeless portrait of longing fulfilled. — Michael Martin

27. Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Normally we don't go for sex scenes where all you see is some woman's face oohing and ahhing in alleged amorous rapture — it just seems like MPAA-inspired self-censorship. But this one's different, and it's to Chloe Sevigny's credit that she can make getting eaten out look exactly as good as it feels simply by staring at the sky and contorting her cheekbones. Knowing that it's Hilary Swank down there (done up very, very convincingly as a man) just makes it all the more erotic — and sublimely confusing. — Will Doig  Watch the scene.
26. Out of Sight (1998)
Steven Soderbergh's crime caper is a smart take on the simultaneous desire to pin someone down and lock them up. The slow burn begins in the first scene, when Federal Marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) and incorrigible bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney) find themselves stuffed in the trunk of a getaway car together. The extreme close-ups intensify everything, from Lopez's heavy breathing to the sound of Clooney's finger nervously tapping on her thigh. This is back before Jennifer became J. Lo and Clooney was touted as the Sexiest Man Alive, but the attraction between the two is palpable. Later on, after several coy run-ins, Jack and Karen put their firearms aside to banter over drinks in a Detroit bar. Snow falls silently outside, Jack sips a glass of neat bourbon, and the film darts back and forth between their conversation and the night's inevitable seduction scene. Motor City, the missionary position and those plastic claw hair clips from the '90s have rarely looked so slick and sultry. — Kate Worteck