Sex & Celluloid: Sex Scenes That Made Us Queasy

Sex and violence sell, and it’s as true in Hollywood today as it was during Shakespeare’s time. But combining the two seat-fillers tactics can often result in the opposite of sexy, and as many hot sex scenes involve a little bit of teeth and nails, the examples below represent the most borderline-disturbing sex scenes mainstream Hollywood has ever confronted us with.

“Observe and Report”: When Anna Farris took a whole bottle of Valium and allowed herself to be carried home to Seth Rogen’s sad little world in “Observe and Report,” many critics cried “date rape.” It may be splitting hairs for a dark comedy, but since Farris was coherent enough to mumble “Why’d you stop, motherf**ker,” others thought she was at least partially enjoying herself. Still, the whole scenario made us as uncomfortable as any of the characters who encountered the bi-polar Ronnie Barnhardt in Jody Hill’s hit-or-miss film.

“Safe”: Todd Haynes’ brilliant psychological thriller of a woman slowly becoming allergic to her entire life. Julianne Moore is brilliantly cast as the reserved housewife slowly being driven mad by her stifling existence, and nothing better encapsulates this theme than the scene where Moore’s husband pounds away at the blank-faced actress until he exhausts himself, when she then gives him a mechanical pat on the back. Creepy, Stepford sex.

“Sex in the City”: Maybe not as gruesome as the two mentioned above, but the sex scene between Miranda and Steve in the “SATC” movie, where she’s super sweaty and on top — almost as bad as the total male frontal scene afterward. Actually all of Miranda’s sex scenes in that movie makes us :-( “Lets just get it over with?” Man, Steve deserved better!

“History of Violence”: Another case where the consent issue is on the fence. After Maria Bello finds out that her husband Viggo Mortensen isn’t who he says he is, she freaks out and basically tries to cold-cock him on the stairs while he grabs for her and tries to make his wife see reason. The whole scene turns a little grabby and before you know it, the twosome is having hot, rough, staircase sex that end up leaving huge bruises on Bello’s back. Was it rape? Not really, since Bello’s character makes the first sexual advance after the scuffle, but the literal violence of the scene itself is as cringe-worthy as it is hot.

“Irreversible”: The brilliant, backwards-told French movie by Gaspar Noé contains the most horrifically graphic rape scene in cinema, even more so because the camera never pulls away or cuts from the event, which lasts a good ten minutes of film. Don’t rent this movie if you have a week stomach, or because you accidentally Netflixed it thinking it was M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable.”