The best movie sex scenes of all time - and how they can inspire you in the bedroom

Let our round-up of the best movie sex scenes get you in the mood...

Couple having sex in bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best movie sex scenes stay with you. From The Notebook and Dirty Dancing to Titanic and Fifty Shades of Grey, there is something about characters with chemistry who get it on together that can capture the imagination - and there is something about their steamy encounters that leaves you wanting to rewatch these hit films again and again. 

What's more, as well as providing titillating entertainment, the best movie sex scenes can also help you find more pleasure in the bedroom. Maybe it's the on-screen romance taken to the next level that simply gets you in the mood, or perhaps the saucy plot twist inspires you to get creative and spice things up in the bedroom. 

So, if you've found some feel-good escapism by fantasizing about the likes of Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio, then it's time to get inspired and put yourself center stage. This could involve learning how to have better sex by getting adventurous and trying out the best sex positions with a partner, or indulging in a solo session with one of the best vibrators. It's all about discovering what works best for you.

The 10 best movie sex scenes

1. The Notebook

A still from one of the best movie sex scenes featured in The Notebook

(Image credit: Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 2004

Starring: Rachel McAdams (Allie) and Ryan Gosling (Noah)

We’ve watched enough of these kind of films to know that when a poor guy like Noah falls in love with a rich girl like Allie in a place called Seabrook Island, things won't be plain-sailing - but that doesn’t mean they can’t be as sexy as hell. After being separated by war, the couple finally reunites in the house they failed to make love in years before and finally consummate their relationship. Large swathes of the film see them passionately kissing in the rain - and the chemistry between the lead actors is spectacular

How to recreate at home: While smooching in a downpour may seem romantic, relying on the weather can be problematic. Having sex in the shower could provide a similar experience - although perhaps stock up on waterproof mascara before you go underwater. Standing doggy is a position that works well in such a small space, and if you're going solo make sure that all sex toys - like the best rabbit vibrators - are fully submersible.

2. Dirty Dancing

One of the best movie sex scenes from Dirty Dancing

(Image credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 1987

Starring: Patrick Swayze (Johnny) and Jennifer Grey (Baby)

It’s the summer of 1967 and things are going from PG-13 to adults-only very quickly at the Catskills resort. Baby’s already carried a watermelon, balanced on a wet log, and spent several montage sequences practicing gyrating before her and dance captain Johnny finally spend the night together. With rich kid Baby planning a career in the Peace Corps, and Johnny living each day as it comes as a smoldering dancing escort, this love scene is all about living in the moment - because everything may be different tomorrow. After dancing together with Johnny’s favorite vinyl playing in the background, Baby becomes a woman, and the rest, as they say, is history.

How to recreate at home: Even if your partner hasn’t got the same Swayze hip moves on the dance floor, the right music can still help set the scene to make sex in the bedroom go from fizzle to fabulous by the time you reach the chorus. Spend some time working out a sultry playlist beforehand, or consider using a sex toy, such as the We-Vibe Sync or The Wand by We-Vibe, which can be controlled by an app to vibrate in time to the songs that help you get in the mood. Even if you're going solo, unleash your inner Baby and prioritize your own orgasm. She knows what she wants, takes a risk against all odds, and just goes for it - and so should you.

3. Pretty Woman

One of the best movie sex scenes of all time is in Pretty Woman

(Image credit: Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 1990

Starring: Richard Gere (Edward) and Julia Roberts (Vivian)

This modern-day Cinderella story follows working girl Vivian as she’s hired by corporate guru Edward to pretend to be his girlfriend for a week of business events. Things get off to a faulty start, with Vivian living out every girl’s fantasy with a spending spree on Rodeo Drive as well as being wined and dined at the best restaurants. The good news? There’s not one, but two, best movie sex scenes that really stand out here. The first is when Vivian finds Edward playing the piano late one night in an empty ballroom. But, the one that really gets pulses racing is when Vivian breaks her “no kissing” rule, and wakes Edward up in bed. The scene finishes with Vivian declaring she loves him. And while the complexities of social status that are threaded throughout the movie makes the viewer realize that their future may not be so clear, at that moment nothing else matters.

How to recreate at home: In a survey by OnBuy's Adult Division, a staggering 65% of people want to try the piano scene out for themselves. One of the reasons this scene is so sexy is how the couple could be caught by a member of staff at any moment. While you need to keep things legal, if you like the idea of this kind of thrill having sex outside could spice things up between you and a partner. Want to stay inside? If you don’t have a piano, try recreating this on the kitchen counter instead. It’s one of the best sex positions for G-Spot stimulation. Plus, never underestimate how much a new outfit can boost your self-esteem, and sex drive, in an instant. So, go on, get shopping!

4. Top Gun

Top Gun features one of the best movie sex scenes

(Image credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 1986

Starring: Tom Cruise (Maverick) and Kelly McGillis (Charlie)

This iconic 80s romantic action movie has it all. Not only do the fighter jets going full throttle get blood pumping to all body parts, but throw in US Navy uniforms, Berlin’s stirring 'Take My Breath Away' playing on loop, and plenty of semi-naked locker room scenes. Trust us, this flick will leave you truly exhausted with the number of sexual fantasies it includes. But forget Goose, it’s the tricky trainer-and-pilot relationship between Maverick and Charlie that really steals the show. The back-and-forth fighting about flying rules between the pair soon becomes less about regulations and more about love. After a row, Maverick storms off on his motorbike, and Charlie follows. They kiss and then comes possibly the most romantic-yet-sexy scene of all time with billowing curtains in the background and Berlin cranked up to the max.

How to recreate at home: One word: uniform. Your partner doesn't have to be a fighter pilot to recreate this one – you can simply buy the costume instead. Dressing up together can help keep the daily grind out of your sex life. Forget about the chores or worries, and be in the moment. And, if you find you love to role play sexy films and want to try watching more together, exploring porn for women could be the next best step.

5. Titanic

Titanic has one of the best movie sex scenes of all time

(Image credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 1997

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack) and Kate Winslet (Rose)

Another tale of lovers divided by class but, this time, with a sinking cruise liner and huge iceberg thrown into the mix. Despite the cold seas, things on board RMS Titanic are getting steamier by the minute as poor artist Jack takes out a pad and pencil and draws upper-class Rose like one of his French girls. With just a rare diamond necklace covering her modesty, things between the pair culminate in a steamy romp in a car in the cargo hold. 

How to recreate at home: Despite the tragic ending to Titanic, the same aforementioned survey found that a considerable 83% of people cite this as one of the best movie sex scenes, with 79% wanting to recreate it. While sex in the car can definitely be a turn-on for some, for others the lack of space is plain annoying. Instead, get the creative juices flowing between you and your partner by stripping naked and drawing each other. Simply staring into each other's eyes can help ignite a connection, and is a great way to restart the intimacy in a sexless marriage. Take penetration off the table, and build up slowly, exploring each other’s bodies, while holding back for as long as possible.

6. Ghost

Ghost has one of the best movie sex scenes

(Image credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 1990

Starring: Patrick Swayze (Sam) and Demi Moore (Molly)

If you’ve not seen this hit flick for a while, you may not remember the plot of the classic comedy drama - but you’ll certainly remember the pottery scene. This is where a pre-ghost Sam interrupts Molly working with clay late one night at her pottery wheel. With Unchained Melody playing in the background and a phallic-shaped pot spinning violently in front of them, a shirtless Sam is too much for Molly to resist, and the pair soon get clay in parts that are very hard to remove.

How to recreate at home: Don’t worry – you don’t have to be amazing at pottery to try this best movie sex scene at home. The reason this steamy scenario works so well is that it really focuses on the power of touch, and using all your senses when having sex. Clay can be messy, and pottery wheels are expensive to hire, so why not swap it for some tingling lube instead. Massaging your partner with it has the potential to heats things up, cool things down or simply taste good. Plus, if there’s ever a good example of how to seduce a man easily, then it’s with a sexy massage. If he likes it firm, adding in one of the best body wand massagers could be perfect.

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Mr. & Mrs. Smith has one of the best movie sex scenes

(Image credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 2005

Starring: Brad Pitt (John) and Angelina Jolie (Jane)

There’s make-up sex, and then there’s the passionate sex that happens between John and Jane. Stuck in a stale marriage, after hiding their identities as highly trained killers, the couple are both ordered to kill each other. After an epic fight scene when they both realize they can’t go through with the order, the explosive sex that happens between these warring two is so steamy that it’s obvious these Hollywood A-listers became a real-life couple. It's definitely one of the most believable movie sex scenes we've seen.

How to recreate at home: If a relationship between two of the arguably best-looking people in the world can a bit meh, then it may feel like there is not much hope for everyone else. But how to have good sex in a long-term relationship doesn’t need to involve being assassins and wielding guns. Instead, talking is key. Jane and John have therapy in the film. While it may not work well for them, it can usually help both partners to open up about sexual anxiety or sexual issues, which could be key to boosting your libido again.

8. Basic Instinct

Basic Instinct has one of the best movie sex scenes

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Year: 1992 

Starring: Michael Douglas (Nick) and Sharon Stone (Catherine)

This erotic thriller revolves around police detective Nick investigating the brutal murder of a rock star - who the viewer sees stabbed to death by a mystery woman, while tied to a bed with a white silk scarf, in a rather violent opening sex scene. The late musician's girlfriend Catherine, a crime novelist, is the prime suspect. As Nick tries to understand whether she is actually guilty, he falls hard and fast for her - helped in part by her infamous leg-crossing scene. After meeting late one night at a club, the pair then have hot, passionate sex in a sequence eerily familiar to the murder scene...

How to recreate at home: 

Catherine certainly has a way with words - with killer one-liners or penning a murder story that seems to imitate life a little too closely. Why not take a leaf out of her book and learn how to sext, because sometimes typing out your sexual desires can be a serious turn-on. What's more, a survey found that 61% of people who sext daily are more satisfied with their sex lives compared to those who send suggestive messages to their romantic interests less frequently. Plus, it's handy for satisfying desires if, for whatever reason, you and your partner are apart. 

9. Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades Darker has some of the best movie sex scenes we've seen

(Image credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Year: 2015

Starring: Jamie Dornan (Christian) and Dakota Johnson (Anastasia)

There was a lot of hype surrounding the sexy film franchise before it even made it to cinemas due to the wildly successful series of books, written by E. L. James, that it was based on. The romantic drama's plot sees college graduate Anastasia embark on a sadomasochistic relationship with a young businessman named Christian. He shows her a 'playroom', and what follows are more BDSM-filled sex scenes than you can wave a whip at. 

How to recreate at home: If you're wondering what is BDSM, then it stands for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism. As the film emphasizes, the issue of consent is an important one. However, once both partners have agreed on 'safe words', boundaries and the like you are free to experiment and have some fun discovering each other's erogenous zones. While bondage for beginners could involve using everyday household items - like dressing gown ribbons as ties - you can spice things up further by investing in handcuffs and kinky sex toys.

  • Rent Fifty Shades of Grey for $3.99 / £3.05 on Amazon Prime

10. Risky Business

Risky Business has some of the best movie sex scenes we've seen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Year: 1983

Starring: Tom Cruise (Joel) and Rebecca de Mornay (Lana)

This raunchy coming-of-age teen drama is best known as Cruise's breakout film. He plays high-achieving, wealthy high school student Joel who is up for fun while his parents are out of town. His friend Miles calls a sex worker called Jackie, who turns out to be a drag queen - she gives him the number of another sex worker named Lana. It is with her that he goes on to enjoy a lot of steamy scenes, with the most famous being when they make love on the Chicago 'L' train.

How to recreate at home: While having sex on public transport is most certainly prohibited, you can get your own bedroom intimacy back on track by copying Joel and Lana's intense eye contact at home. Indeed, a study by MacEwan University found that arousal was significantly enhanced when lovers gazed deeply at one another. Meanwhile, research by the University of Chicago found that people fixated on the faces of those they loved.

Faye M Smith

Faye M Smith is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience in the magazine industry. Her continued work in the area of natural health won her the coveted title of the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) Journalist of the Year Award 2021. Currently Health Editor across several brands including woman&home, Woman and Woman’s Own, Faye specialises in writing about mental health, the menopause, and sex and relationships.