Sex in Movies 2014

Let's take a look at the year's most significant moments in big screen sex.

Sophie Kennedy Clark and Stacy Martin in 'Nymphomaniac.'
Sophie Kennedy Clark and Stacy Martin in 'Nymphomaniac.'
Magnolia

Sex Sex Sex. Sex is everywhere in movies. Even when no one's talking about it or having it, it's still all over the place. This year, Scarlett Johansson and Charlotte Gainsbourg took on the most provocatively sexual roles in Under the Skin and Nymphomaniac respectively. But that's hardly where the story ends. Here's a rundown of some of the year's most significant moments in big screen sex.

Under the Skin

Sex in movies 2014
A24

Scarlett Johansson is an alien who lures men to their deaths with the promise of sex in Under the Skin. The whole thing is dark and sexy and strange with Johansson and her victims stripping down before she leads them into a black alien goo where they remain frozen until they’re consumed. Johansson looks gorgeous and every frame of the movie looks like a painting, but darker forces are clearly at work in Under the Skin, and its ending’s meaning is a subject for debate.

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & 2

Sex in movies 2014
Magnolia

The sex in Nymphomaniac is many things. It’s gross, eye-opening, manipulative, powerful, weak, and it both is and isn’t what you expect. If you go into this movie with an open mind you’ll probably enjoy it and find something objectionable about it at the same time. You might even enjoy something you find objectionable. To some degree, director Lars von Trier deflects what would be overwhelming criticism about the way he treats his protagonist, Joe (played with relish and contempt by Charlotte Gainsbourg), by showing such a wide spectrum of sexuality and by giving her so much power.

Gone Girl

Sex in Movies 2014
Sony Entertainment

It’s the movie that gave us Ben Affleck’s side peen, and for that (if for nothing else), Gone Girl belongs on this list. As should be expected with David Fincher, the sex scenes are disturbing. He takes what was already a harrowing key sex scene from the book and successfully ratchets it up to cringe-in-your-seat grisly onscreen and it’s one of the best moments in the movie.

Sex Tape

Sex in Movies 2014
Sony Entertainment

Our good will toward all things Jason Segel found its limit this year as he over-extended with Sex Tape. At least he and co-star Cameron Diaz went down swinging, though. They REALLY went for the single joke that is this movie’s existence, but it just didn’t deliver.

Neighbors

Sex in Movies 2014
Universal

Milking sex for laughs in ways Sex Tape never could, Neighbors swings from the very real (post-kid sex is weird and different!) to the hilariously absurd. Case in point: The dildo fight. It was incredible. Seth Rogen, as always, is hilarious, but Rose Byrne also stands out as his wife, and Zac Efron steals the show as ripped frat boy Teddy.

That Awkward Moment

Sex in Movies 2014
Focus

Zac Efron went blue and got laughs in Neighbors, but That Awkward Moment wasn’t half as clever — which is too bad considering its talent-packed cast. The movie’s funniest scene finds Efron telling Miles Teller how to pee horizontally while still artificially stiffened by a dose of erectile dysfunction pills. You'll chuckle and groan at the same time.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Sex in Movies 2014
Paramount

Michael Bay’s cinematic admiration of the female form has always seemed a little creepy, but he took things to a whole new level with Transformers: Age of Extinction. This time, Bay invites his audience to lust after 19-year-old newcomer Nicola Peltz, playing Mark Wahlberg’s 17-year-old daughter, Tessa. She’s dating a guy who’s 20, and that seems a little weird, and apparently Bay realized this. After her dad finds out about Tessa's secret boyfriend, Bay stops the movie completely to allow the 20-year-old guy to explain the “Romeo & Juliet” clause that makes it legal for them to have sex. And he’s explaining this to her dad. Gross.

Wild

Sex in Movies 2014
Fox Searchlight

Reese Witherspoon gives one of the year’s best performances in this true-story tale of a woman who, addicted to sex and dabbling in heroin, goes chasing a new beginning on the Pacific Crest Trail. The movie’s sex is multi-faceted, meaning different things in different contexts, and offering a very human look at its protagonist’s sexuality. It's more nuanced and real than anything else on this list.

Maleficent

Sex in Movies 2014
Buena Vista

We never expected to see this otherwise tame retelling of Sleeping Beauty take on themes as heady as violence against women. But when Maleficent’s wings are stolen from her near the start of the movie, it’s a very clear rape analogy, and one Angelina Jolie herself acknowledged. In our post-Frozen world, Disney is trying, in its ham-fisted way, to make up for the way it's treated female characters over the years, and in the context of such a widely-appealing family film, this was a thought-provoking and effective way to do that.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Sex in Movies 2014
Fox Searchlight

Charmingly outspoken in his affections for both men and women, legendary concierge Gustave H.’s bisexuality makes him a rare beast in the cinematic world. His affair with a wealthy 84-year-old played by Tilda Swinton sets the story in motion, and she's hardly the only Grand Budapest guest he's romancing. Ralph Fiennes is already nominated for a Golden Globe for the bravura performance, and he fully deserves to be nominated for Best Actor even if it is a longshot.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sex in Movies 2014
The Weinstein Company

Eva Green plays the titular dame in Robert Rodriguez’s overdue return to this gritty black-and-white universe. The movie was far too little far too late, but Green deserves credit for throwing herself into the sultry temptress at the heart of the film. Without the gravity or her disconcerting stare, or her go-ahead-and-look nude scenes, the movie wouldn’t have any redeeming qualities at all.

The Fault In Our Stars

Sex in Movies 2014
Fox

Could any sex ever be as meaningful or intense as teenage cancer sex? The actual scene is demure even for its PG-13 rating, but the act is oh-so-significant, and contributes laudably to the oceans of tears this movie has inspired. Far more significantly, the scene shows what it's like to both be sick and sexual. Shailene Woodley (as Hazel) has to remove her tangled CPAP tubes, and Ansel Elgort (as Augustus) is self-conscious about his prosthetic leg. It's a disarming scene that feels true-to-life.

I write about movies for Zimbio.com, which means I spend way too much time thinking about the geekiest possible ways to approach the cineplex. I'm also hopelessly addicted to audio books. Follow me: Google
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