Fear not, our choices aren’t just from one country, so at least one of the following films will be available to stream wherever you are in the world.
Blue is the Warmest Colour
This 2013 French romantic drama saw stars Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux take home a number of awards for their leading performances. Sexual identity and coming-of-age in the modern world are the starting point for this passionate and raw tale, with the on-set atmosphere causing the director to later state that the film shouldn’t have been released.
Gasper Noe’s Love (3D)
Noted for its 3D “money shot”, Love goes for some sensationalist moments but at its core it has a relatable quality. The genuinely involving love story of a man losing the woman of his dreams is actually quite subtle. Some of the eye-popping effects are not.
The Little Death
This engaging Australian comedy deals with the private lives of five couples in Sydney. A humorous look at fetishes and how they effect relationships is at times painful, but also surprisingly honest. The title plays on the French phrase for orgasm.
Nymphomaniac: Volumes 1 & 2
Lars Von Trier is no stranger to controversy. Antichrist may have signalled his intent, but no one was really prepared for this epic two-parter. There are some tremendous performances throughout, and the depiction of hypersexuality is as uncompromising as one would expect.
Jeune et Jolie (Young & Beautiful)
Francois Ozon explores adolescent sexual awakening in this story of a young woman (Marine Vactch) who finds herself drawn into the world of prostitution. The film avoids taking a judgemental tone, posing instead the question of “why?” throughout. There isn’t a hint of salaciousness in the movie, which in turn makes the whole thing far more satisfying as an experience.
Beautifully framed throughout, it’s also fair to say that Sleeping Beauty isn’t comfortable viewing. The young looking Emily Browning (who has grown up on screen from her debut in the film version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) stars as an emotionless university student drawn into a world where rich clients pay to sleep in the same bed as young women.
Y Tu Mama También
The film that launched the careers of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, Y Tu Mamá También was the film Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón made immediately before he took on the third Harry Potter film. Two teenage boys take a road trip with a woman in her late twenties and over the course of their journey across Mexico, they discuss sex and what relationships mean to them.
Read our list of 15 Films Banned Around the World for Unbelievable Reasons
Yes there is obviously THAT scene, the leg uncrossing that caused many a pause function on your parents VHS to go into overdrive, but there is also a murder mystery, a hideous collection of Michael Douglas’ sweaters and the arrival of Sharon Stone as the ultimate sex symbol of the 90s. Watching this back now you get a sense of just how tame it really was, and just how far erotic cinema has gone since.
Pornstar Linda Lovelace found fame in the notorious adult flick Deep Throat. Her personal story is far more troubling, and one explored with a distinct lack of salaciousness in this biopic. Of all the films to try and capture the “boom” period of adult cinema in the 70s, Lovelace is the one that gets the look right more than any other.
If the 70s were the boom period, then the 80s were when porn literally came home. With the advent of VHS and Betamax, the adult industry was the first to fully capitalise on the technology at hand. Mark Wahlberg stars as Dirk Diggler, a man who has a prodigious, er, talent, that Burt Reynolds sleazy filmmaker is keen to capture on film. The film has some great moments of on-screen sexiness, but also a whole heap of heartbreaking turns too.