February 13, 2015 10:00 AM EST

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

<i>Last Tango in Paris</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Last Tango in Paris
Courtesy Everett Collection

The Franco-Italian romance starring Marlon Brando centered on a couple that conducts an anonymous sexual relationship in an unfurnished apartment in Paris. The film’s portrayal of sexual violence (and the use of butter as a lubricant) sparked controversy, even earning a TIME cover story.

Risky Business (1983)

<i>Risky Business</i>. (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Risky Business.
Courtesy Everett Collection

Tom Cruise burst onto the movie scene by having sex on an abandoned Chicago “L” train with a call girl as a high schooler in this movie.

9 1/ 2 Weeks (1986)

<i>9 1/2 Weeks</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
9 1/2 Weeks
Courtesy Everett Collection

This Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger film featured BDSM long before Fifty Shades ever did. Some of the scenes border on assault, and at one point the couple even has sex after stabbing another man in the buttocks.

Henry & June (1990)

<i>Henry &amp; June</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Henry & June
Courtesy Everett Collection

Henry & June was the first film to receive an NC-17 rating from the MPAA (which had recently replaced an X rating). The movie was based on the real-life sexual relationships among Anais Nin, famed author Henry Miller, and his wife June Miller.

 

Basic Instinct (1992)

<i>Basic Instinct</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Basic Instinct
Courtesy Everett Collection

Sharon Stone’s infamous leg-crossing scene has gone down in cinema history as one of the most provocative shots ever filmed.

Boogie Nights (1997)

<i>Boogie Nights</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Boogie Nights
Courtesy Everett Collection

Back when he was still widely known as underwear model Marky Mark, Mark Wahlberg took on the role of a porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s matter-of-fact look at the mechanics of porn.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

<i>Eyes Wide Shut</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Eyes Wide Shut
Courtesy Everett Collection

Stanley Kubrick’s last film, starring real couple Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, included several sex scenes (real and fantasy) as well as an orgy scene that had to be altered to earn an R rating for the American release.

Y Tu Mama También (2001)

<i>Y Tu Mama También</i>. (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Y Tu Mama También.
Courtesy Everett Collection

Two friends spontaneously decide to engage in a sexual relationship with an older woman while on a road trip.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

<i>Brokeback Mountain</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Brokeback Mountain
Courtesy Everett Collection

In 2005, Brokeback Mountain was one of the first mainstream motion pictures to feature a love story and sex scenes between two gay characters played by two famous actors, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Black Swan (2010)

<i>Black Swan</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Black Swan
Courtesy Everett Collection

Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her Black Swan role, but what created the most buzz was a hallucinatory sex scene between her and Mila Kunis and a botched-masturbation sequence.

Nymphomaniac (2013)

<i>Nymphomaniac</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Nymphomaniac
Courtesy Everett Collection

The two-part Lars von Trier movie about a self-described nymphomaniac was released in two formats: the original hardcore version, and an edited softcore one. While some dismissed it as porn, most critics embraced the film as an engaging exploration of a woman’s sexuality.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

<i>Blue Is the Warmest Color</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Courtesy Everett Collection

This French romance film made a splash first at the Cannes Film Festival and then in theaters for its explicit lesbian sex scenes between two teenage girls.

Gone Girl (2014)

<i>Gone Girl</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Gone Girl
Courtesy Everett Collection

Just a few months before Fifty Shades of Grey‘s release, Gone Girl shocked audiences with a brutal and bloody sex scene.

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

<i>Fifty Shades of Grey</i> (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Fifty Shades of Grey
Courtesy Everett Collection

Audiences are curious how the popular book filled with BDSM will translate to the big screen. Fandango reports that it has sold more pre-sale tickets for Fifty Shades of Grey than any other R-rated film

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

You May Also Like
EDIT POST