16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex

While some may think that esteemed actors engaging in crude or intimate sex for an movie is gratuitous and inappropriate, many actors have agreed to the conditions. Racy and controversial director Lars von Trier has utilized unsimulated sex scenes for several of his films, including his raunchy sex addict movie Nymphomaniac.
Sex scenes in film can be crucial to the story that writers and directors are trying to tell. But at what point is the boundary between real and fantasy crossed? For a lot of artists, both behind-the-scenes and in front of them, there is no line.
You may never have heard of many of these films. That’s probably because their NC-17 or X rating has made distribution relatively difficult. But in the age of the Internet, these sexually graphic films are fair game. Some you may be surprised to find easily recognizable titles here. Maybe the sex wasn’t visibly shown, but the intercourse was indeed real. This is a roundup of some of the most infamous films where actors really had sex on sets for the camera. Keep reading to find out who they are.
Update: we mistakenly included Trainwreck in an earlier version of this list. However, although actors Amy Schumer and John Cena jokingly discussed having sex during filming, they did not actually do it.

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Lars von Trier’s controversial two-part Nymphomaniac featured no small amount of unsimulated scenes. When actor Shia LaBeouf signed on as a love interest opposite Stacy Martin, rumors spread about their performance for the film. Lars von Trier had already mentioned his film would feature the real deal. LaBeouf initially said he agreed to participate in the scenes. However, when the film finally premiered, it was revealed the actual deed was performed between two adult actors. LaBeouf and Martin’s bodies were superimposed with CGI for those scenes.
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Gaspar Noé’s 2015 film, Love, featured real love between actors Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock. But Noé took his romance film to the next level by producing it in 3D! Love is first and foremost about sex in 3D and only secondly about the dramatic love story between the two protagonists. Most of it was not choreographed and Noé admitted he hoped his film would make men and women both feel, well, “excited.”
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Little Ashes

Robert Pattinson’s “O” face (as Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes) seemed a little too real to audiences. And they weren’t wrong. Pattinson admitted he touched himself onscreen for the scene in order to make it realistic. According to Pattinson, faking the scene “just doesn’t work… My… face is recorded for eternity,” he said. 
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Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione produced the intense historical drama Caligula about the fall of the Roman emperor of the same name. It can’t be all that surprising the founder of an adult men’s magazine wanted to make a movie with unsimulated sex. The movie, starring Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell, featured after-the-fact scenes Guccione filmed in private. Although the leads of the film didn’t do it with one another, Guccione’s personal Penthouse Pets filmed unsimulated scenes for post-production.

The Brown Bunny

The Brown Bunny is the independent Cannes film that made Chloë Sevigny a household name. It’s also the film where she notoriously gave costar and director Vincent Gallo very real and very graphic oral treatment. Many were suspicious about the authenticity of the scene between the two stars, but Sevigny herself has admitted it is indeed real. The movie polarized audiences at Cannes, but it has lived in infamy for the scene that blew Sevigny onto the Hollywood landscape as a fashion icon and successful actress.


Yet another Lars von Trier film, Antichrist stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as two characters struggling to come to terms with their toddler’s accidental death. The film takes on a whole new definition of horror, and features intense sex scenes between Dafoe and Gainsbourg. One scene in particular has been credited as unsimulated. However, it did not feature the two actors, but instead utilized body doubles for the scene. It’s hardly sexy and mostly remembered for being beyond creepy.

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is known for a number of things (aside from it’s ridiculously long title), primarily its subversion of the “blacksploitation” films that plagued the ’70s. Melvin Van Peebles, who is almost entirely responsible for all creative aspects of the film, starred in the movie about an African-American man on the run from the white police. Van Peebles also notoriously engaged in the real deal for the film’s most wild scenes. He was credited with performing all of his own “stunts…”

Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos is considered one of the grossest movies ever made. It starred a drag queen named Divine who has been labeled “the filthiest person alive.” Unsurprisingly, this movie is mostly known for its crude scenes and even cruder sex scenes. In likely the film’s most famous moment, Divine services a man who is playing her son in the film. The movie was banned in several countries, including Australia and Canada, for this scene alone.

The Idiots

Lars von Trier appears again with his controversial 1998 film The Idiots. The story is about a group of friends who give up their inhibitions and decide to act on their “idiot” qualities. Although most of the scenes, which include some group activities and not a whole lot of clothes (read:none), are actually faked, there is a particular scene that shows unsimulated action. You can’t see the couple’s faces, but you can see their ~ other ~ parts upclose and personal in one of the group scenes. The film got the okay for a theatrical release, but future editions of the scene were pixelated.

9 Songs

Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs came under fire for featuring real intercourse between actors Kieran O’Brien and Margo Stilley. And not just once – a few times, and in different angles. While production filmed nine live performances from prominent rock bands, it’s mostly remembered for the deed – not the dudes. 

Lie with Me

Lie with Me has a lot of sex, and those scenes looked pretty realistic to audiences. So much so, in fact, people started probing about their authenticity. The L Word‘s Lauren Lee Smith and actor Eric Balfour starred as lovers in the film, and both eventually owned up to the fact their scenes were actually unsimulated. The decision shocked critics mainly because both actors are fairly famous and well-known.


Wetlands is not a film for the faint of heart. It stars Carla Juri as an extremely “active” teenager who refuses to uphold even the most fundamental hygienic standards of cleanliness. She also engages in some lewd activities, including gettin’ down with vegetables.  In one scene, a group of men relieve themselves on top of a pizza, which was in no way sugarcoated for the big screen.


A group of young people in New York trying to find themselves emotionally. Sounds like the plot of Rent, right? Nope, it’s the drama Shortbus. Known primarily for featuring unsimulated scenes, the movie is about an array of quirky young people who meet at a “social” club on a weekly basis to “connect” with people. The actors were encouraged to really release, especially for the final group scene. Director John Cameron Mitchell can be seen in the final scene engaging in the fun. Mitchell cited team solidarity as his reason for participating.


Intimacy tells the story of two strangers who engage in anonymous sex. Actors Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox participated in unsimulated scenes for the roles. The film, which features Fox giving Rylance the oral treatment, is surprisingly considered mainstream

In the Realm of the Senses

In the Realm of the Senses is a Japanese drama about a man who leaves his wife for another woman. The two engage in various experimental bedroom situations, but it’s the ending that shocked viewers most. Eiko Matsuda’s Sada kills her lover, Kichizō, by choking him as part of their love routine. She then proceeds to castrate him and carry him inside her for several days. While the castration was nowhere near real, the very graphic scenes were, causing audiences to feel a little sickened by the whole thing.

Last Tango in Paris

Maria Schneider asserted that the sex scenes in Last Tango in Paris were far from real. She stated there was no chemistry between herself and Marlon Brando, but that still hasn’t quieted people’s suspicions. The film is notorious for its aggressive and raw material. Schneider doesn’t look back fondly on the production. “I felt humiliated and to be honest…. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take,” she shared. Whether or not the scenes were real, speculation still abounds.