Notable examples include two of the eight Bedside-films and the six Zodiac-films from the 1970s, all of which were produced in Denmark and had many pornographic sex scenes, but were nevertheless considered mainstream films (they all had mainstream casts and crews, and premiered in mainstream cinemas).
Screen caps of some 'sexplicit' scenes in Der må være en sengekant
The last of these films, Agent 69 Jensen i Skyttens tegn, was made in 1978. From the end of the 1970s until the late 1990s it was rare to see hardcore scenes in mainstream cinema, but this changed with the success of Lars von Trier's Idioterne (1998), which heralded a wave of art-house films with explicit content, such as Romance (1999), Baise-Moi (2000), Intimacy (2001), Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny (2003), and Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs (2004)."
List of notable films with non-simulated sexual activity
The following mainstream films have scenes with verified real sexual activity, meaning actors or actresses are filmed engaging in actual coitus or performing related sexual acts such as fellatio and cunnilingus. Some simulated sex scenes are so realistic that critics mistakenly believe that they are real, such as the cunnilingus scene in the 2006 film Red Road.
Title ~ Year ~ Country of Origin
Dom kallar oss mods /They call us misfits ~March 1968 ~ Sweden (Swedish)
This Swedish documentary film, the first of a trilogy.
Kärlekens språk /Language of Love ~ 1969 ~ Sweden (Swedish)
a 1969 Swedish sex educational film directed by Torgny Wickman that surprisingly became a blockbuster hit. It gained a lot of publicity when 30,000 people gathered on Trafalgar Square in London to protest against a nearby movie theatre showing it and when it was confiscated by the American customs when arriving in the United States. Following this, it was at some places marketed as a sexploitation film of the "white coater" variety - a pornographic film masquerading as a documentary or scientific film.
Mera ur kärlekens språk (More from the Language of Love) ~ 1970 ~ Sweden (Swedish)
- This sequel to Kärlekens Sprak had equally successful box office even though it dealt more with alternative sexuality and life styles and the disabled.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song ~ 1971 ~ US (English)
-Director/actor Melvin Van Peebles appears in several real sex scenes. His son, Mario, performed in a simulated sex scene. Van Peebles contracted a sexually transmitted disease while filming and successfully filed for worker's compensation. While the sex scenes may have been explicit and the actor maintains that they were real, nothing is shown onscreen that could not have been faked. Nonetheless, after Peebles came up with the winning ad slogan "rated X by an all-white jury" the film's rating was reduced to R in 1974.
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism ~ 1971 ~ Serbo-Croatian & English
- Director Dušan Makavejev explores therelationship between communist politics and sexuality, as well as exploring the life and workof Wilhelm Reich. Contains scenes of both various simulated sex acts and non-simulated manual stimulation of a penis.
Boys in the Sand ~ 1971 ~ English ~ US
Boys in the Sand is a landmark American gay pornographic film that was shown in mainstream cinema. The 1971 film was directed by Wakefield Poole and stars Casey Donovan. Boys in the Sand was the first gay porn film to achieve crossover success and one of the earliest porn films of any genre to gain mainstream credibility, preceding 1972's Deep Throat by nearly a year.
Produced on a budget of $8,000, the film is a loose collection of three segments depicting Donovan's sexual adventures at a gay beach resort community. Promoted by Poole with an advertising campaign unprecedented for a pornographic feature, Boys in the Sand premiered in New York City in 1971 and was an immediate critical and commercial success. The film's title is a parodic reference to the Mart Crowley play and film The Boys in the Band.
Deep Throat ~ 1972 ~ English ~ US
The first pornographic heterosexual mainstream film which features a plot, character development and relatively high production standards. It earned box-office success and launched the "porn chic" trend despite the film's being banned in some regions and the subject of obscenity trials.
I Jomfruens tegn /In the Sign of the Virgin a.k.a Danish Pastries ~1973 ~ Danish
- First film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
I Tyrens tegn /In the Sign of the Taurus ~1974 ~ Danish
- Second film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
I Tvillingernes tegn /In the Sign of the Gemini ~ 1975 ~ Danish
- Third film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
Der må være en sengekant /Come to my Bedside ~ 1975 ~ Danish
- Sixth film in the Danish Bedside-series of erotic mainstream-comedies, and one of the two to have hardcore scenes.
Sømænd på sengekanten /Bedside Sailors~ 1976 ~ Danish
- Eighth and final film in the Danish Bedside-series of erotic mainstream-comedies, and one of the two to have hardcore scenes, including extensive clips from the short Color Climax #1283: Mail Order Sex (1973), watched on 8mm by the ship's crew.
Une vraie jeune fille /A Real Young Girl~ 1976 ~ French
- female masturbation, close-up of male and female genitalia (including a man masturbating to ejaculation) and urination scenes.
I Løvens tegn /In the Sign of the Lion ~ 1976 ~ Danish
- Fourth film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
愛のコリーダ, (ai no kori-da)/In the Realm of the Senses / L'Empire des sens ~ 1976 ~ Japanese
-Based on a true story of a Japanese prostitute, features fellatio and other non-simulated sexual acts.
Agent 69 Jensen i Skorpionens tegn ~ /In the Sign of the Scorpio ~1977 ~ Danish
- Fifth film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
Agent 69 Jensen i Skyttens tegn /In the Sign of the Sagitarrius ~ 1978 ~ Danish
- Sixth and final film in the Danish Zodiac-series of mainstream-comedies with hardcore scenes.
Caligula ~ 1979 ~Italian & English
- Uncut version of this film includes several authentic sex scenes, including penetration, fellatio and ejaculation during the six minutes worth of inserts shot by the film's producer, Bob Guccione. The sex shot by Tinto Brass in the rest of the movie, although very explicit, was simulated.
Cruising ~ 1980 ~ English
- Director William Friedkin spliced in single frames of gay anal intercourse during at least one scene, the first murder. The frames are barely detectable at normal speed but are visible when freeze-framed. Partially obscured sex acts, including fellatio and fisting, are observable being performed by extras in scenes set in gay leather bars. The film originally contained an additional 40 minutes of footage that Friedkin describes as "[a]bsolutely graphic sexuality....that material showed the most graphic homosexuality with Pacino watching, and with the intimation that he may have been participating." Friedkin sought to restore the missing footage for the DVD release but it has been lost. He believes it has been destroyed.
Il diavolo in corpo /Devil in the Flesh ~ 1986 ~ Italian
- Features a scene of fellatio, during which the man tells the woman about Lenin's return to St. Petersburg in 1917.
La Vie de Jésus /The Life of Jesus ~ 1997 ~ French
- Dumont included extreme close-ups of penetration to emphasize the animal nature of the sex act"
Idioterne /The Idiots ~ 1998 ~ Danish
-The film by Lars von Trier features penetration and group sex.
Romance ~1999 ~ French
- Directed by Catherine Breillat, features male and female masturbation, penetration, ejaculation, and sadomasochistic bondage.
Pola X ~ 1999 ~ French
- Pola X ... acquired international notoriety for unsimulated sex scenes between the characters played by [Guillaume] Depardieu and Yekaterina Golubeva, though body doubles were reportedly used for the more graphic shots.
Baise-moi ~ 2000 ~ French
- Several actual sex scenes, including penetration and fellatio, involving Karen Lancaume and Raffaëla Anderson.
Intimacy ~ 2001 ~ English ~ UK
Fellatio scene between actress Kerry Fox and Mark Rylance. It is often falsely stated that actual coitus is performed between the two leads, but this rumor was dispelled by Fox's boyfriend, Alexander Linklater, who wrote an article for The Guardian about the making of the film.
Ken Park ~ 2002 ~ English ~ US
- The film was banned in Australia, as the Office of Film and Literature Classification said it contained scenes of "child sexual abuse, actual sex by people depicted as minors and sexualised violence". Cunnilingus, auto-erotic asphyxiation, urination, and group sex acts involving characters that are supposed to be teens are shown explicitly, but the sex is simulated with the exception of one scene showing a young man masturbating. All actors were actually over 18.
The Brown Bunny ~2003 ~ English
- This film by Vincent Gallo features a scene where Chloë Sevigny performs actual fellatio on Gallo.
Anatomie de l'enfer /Anatomy of Hell ~ 2004 ~ French
- By director Catherine Breillat, it features "actual sex, high-level sex scenes and high-level themes" according to the Australian Classification Review Board.
9 Songs ~ 2004 ~ French
- Several non-simulated sex scenes between actress Margo Stilley and actor Kieran O'Brien, including protected penetration, fellatio, cunnilingus and an on-screen ejaculation by the lead actor.
The Raspberry Reich ~ 2004 ~ English ~ Germany & Canada
-The picture is full of non-simulated heterosexual and homosexual (mostly homosexual) sex from beginning to end. There is onscreen heterosexual intercourse as well as gay oral and anal sex. The opening sequence in particular features an extended montage of sexual activity.
All About Anna ~ 2005 ~ English ~ Denmark
~ The film-makers, Innocent Pictures, said that "Without the sex scenes, the film’s drama would fall apart. This was a particular challenge to the film’s cast, who had to cope with the traditional social and human traumas associated with having real sex in front of a camera. Fortunately the film’s actors and actresses managed to extent their dramatic performances way beyond the norm and truly managed to push the envelope, achieving new means of dramatic expression. The sex scenes were carefully planned and rehearsed prior to shooting, allowing the actors to stay in character through every embrace and caress."
Batalla en el Cielo /Battle in Heaven ~ 2005 ~ Spanish ~ Mexico
- the second feature by the 34-year-old Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, is an anomaly among today's explicit art films, which often deploy sex more as a stunt than a subversion. In the languid, graphic scenes of fellatio that bookend his movie, what is startling isn't so much the frankness of the sex as the glaring disparity between the participants: Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz), the attractive young daughter of a general, and Marcos (Marcos Hernández), a homely, obese, middle-age man who is the general's driver."
Inside Deep Throat ~ 2005 ~ English
-This documentary includes the deep throat scene from the original Linda Lovelace motion picture. Approximately 30 seconds of the actual fellatio.
Shortbus ~ 2006 ~ English
- Several actors in this American film, including Canadian TV personality, singer, and CBC national radio host Sook-Yin Lee, perform real coitus and other sexual acts. Non-simulated sex acts include explicit masturbation by several characters, coitus, and heterosexual and homosexual fellatio.
Destricted ~ 2006 ~ English
-Seven short films by artists and film-makers commissioned to "explore the fine line where art and pornography intersect", it "contains strong, real sex".
Pornographic films reedited as mainstream releases
Prior to the advent of home video, a number of hardcore pornography films were released to mainstream cinemas. In most cases, scenes of penetration were either cut out or replaced with alternate shots. Exceptions to this were Boys in the Sand and Deep Throat, which were released uncensored.
Examples of this type of hybrid release include Alice in Wonderland (1976) shot as X-rated but first released as an R-rated version. Afterwards, the uncut version was released.
Café Flesh (1982) R-rated version of this science fiction porn film was released to mainstream cinemas.
Stocks and Blondes (1984) originally available as Wanda Whips Wall Street. Pirates (2005).