Sex scenes are pretty common in most R-rated (or even PG-13) mainstream Hollywood movies. But if an actor reveals a body part other than the standard butt or nipple — or if, heaven forbid, there’s a shot that features a stray penis or pubic hair — all hell breaks loose.
That said, some intrepid Hollywood filmmakers have tried to capture real sex on camera before, and a handful of brave actors have copped to having legit PIV sex on screen. As a porn star and director, I feel uniquely qualified to weigh in on the verisimilitude of my favourite Hollywood sex scenes, so here are my favourite sex scenes that are rumoured to be unsimulated (and the ones that 1000% totally were).
Directed by Lars von Trier and starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the controversial Antichrist tells the story of a couple grieving over the loss of their toddler. The film opens with an explicit sex scene and it features a few close-up shots of penetrative sex (which featured body doubles and not the original actors). The plot is incredibly disturbing, so it’s probably for the best that the sex isn’t exactly real, but Gainsbourg’s acting is incredible — you truly feel her grief and insanity.
Satan’s Baby Doll (1982)
This European sexploitation classic features hardcore penetration and in-your-face fellatio, which was performed by the actors/actresses in this movie and not by body doubles. The plot is kind of difficult to follow, but here’s what I could gather: the main character’s rich brother is dead and there’s some sort of evil nun, all of which leads to lots of blowjobs. I’ll allow it.
Helmed by French director Gaspar Noé, this movie was initially released in 3D, so one can only imagine how awkward (or awesome) that theatergoing experience was. In any case, there is so much explicit sex in this movie. There’s everything from romantic sex to drug-fueled sex to, of course, a giant orgy — and according to its cast, it was all totally unsimulated.
I don’t know how Noé found such a horny cast, but then again, it’s a French movie. And if there is anything I have learned from the research I have done for this story, it’s that everyone in French movies has a lot of sex, to the point where I’m not sure how anyone has time to do anything else. Why do I live here again?
A quirky and clever movie that follows Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee) as she embarks on a quest to have her first orgasm, Shortbus feels sort of like the NSFW prequel to Girls. Director John Cameron Mitchell once said that he had his actors have unsimulated sex because he wanted to “employ sex in new cinematic ways, because it’s too interesting to leave to porn.” Which is sort of rude to porn, but no matter — the sex is well-shot, and it looks like the actors are having a ton of fun.
9 Songs (2004)
This romantic film documents a 12-month rendezvous with a couple (Kieran O’Brien and Margo Stilley) that loves sex and rock and roll. They watch live music, they go on mini-vacations, and they bone. They are definitely #blessed, and you’re just so happy for them the entire time that you can’t stop smiling. Plus, there’s a beautiful, sun-lit cunnilingus scene involving a blindfold.
Wild Orchid (1989)
There’s a lot of hot sex in this movie. Carré Otis, who plays an inhibited lawyer, has a bunch of incredibly hot scenes with then-boyfriend Mickey Rourke. In fact, director Zalman King had to remove a scene in the theatrical release to ensure it had an R rather than an X rating, which was rumoured to be an unsimulated sex scene. Otis has denied the rumors, but if you watch the scene (which lives on today on tube sites), there’s some very genuine chemistry there.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
One of the most infamous movies of all time, The Brown Bunny features an unsimulated oral sex scene between Chloe Sevigny and star/director Vincent Gallo. The movie got terrible reviews across the board, and the quality of the sex scene is no exception. It’s grainy and awkward, with poor camera angles, and Gallo spends the entire time holding onto his shaft, out of either embarrassment of the size or the fact that he wasn’t fully erect. Now that I’m a porn director and I’ve seen probably 17,000 on-camera blowjobs, this pales in comparison.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Like Antichrist, Don’t Look Now is about a couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) grieving the death of their child. While that doesn’t sound like the sexiest plot in the world, the movie sensitively depicts how death affects a relationship — and in this case, it leads to very intense sex. For many years, it was rumoured by people on set that Christie and Sutherland had unsimulated sex. Sutherland has denied it, but either way, this is some really serious softcore Skinemax action.
Directed by Lars von Trier (hey, the man likes shooting insane sex scenes), Nymphomaniac obviously features tons and tons of sex. But honestly, it’s less sexy than a depressing glimpse into the life of a sex addict: one minute, you might want to go out and sleep with the next stranger you meet, and the next you might want to take a long, hot shower. Von Trier has stated that the film uses porn performers as body doubles for the actors, and that prosthetic vaginas were used in the sex scenes as well. But the double-penetration scene with Charlotte Gainsbourg and two African brothers named Papou and Kookie looks about as real as a DP gets.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health