Original Graphic by Viviana Duron
Date-night movies are genre-bending and vast, which can be both a blessing and a curse. If you've ever spent what was supposed to be a Netflix-and-chill session going on a trailer-watching tangent that takes up the whole date, you're not alone. With so many options at our fingertips, it's hard to decide on a movie. This is especially true when you want to pick something sexy and/or romantic, without choosing a cheesy or boring film. The good news is that some of the steamiest movies can also be comedies, thrillers, and sci-fi flicks. Even better? The best ones aren't even always tucked away on those adults-only sites that require a thorough browser history cleanup.
So if you do some date-night movie research ahead of time, you'll be ready to go with an epic watch list by the time your date arrives. Whether you're looking for something raunchy to watch on a solo night in or you want to set the mood for date night, we've rounded up 13 options for you to choose from. Our list has something for everyone, from romantic tragedies to raunchy and controversial indies, titillating thrillers, and dramedies with a sexy spin. Scroll through our favorite 13 date-night movies and then curate your own watch list based on what kind of sexy film you're in the mood for.
Stranger by the Lake
Dubbed a "modern-day Hitchcockian masterpiece," Stranger by the Lake is one of those movies that will grip you and leave a lasting impression. The French thriller spotlights foul play as well as summer affairs and also employs plenty of cinematic motifs and devices to keep the film buffs on their toes. It's set on a scenic, picture-perfect lake where two men meet and fall for each other as they also become the prime suspects in a murder investigation when a corpse is discovered nearby.
Sexiness Rating: If your idea of sexy is finding out what happens when an intriguing, mysterious stranger (Christophe Paou) turns out to be even eerier and more dangerous than he is attractive and seductive, then this is a good one to watch.
Theodore, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, roams around a barely futuristic iteration of Los Angeles as he navigates the dissolution of his marriage while falling in and out of love with his personalized operating system, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). What sounds like a creepy and far-fetched concept quickly becomes highly believable. With an inventive plot like this one, the film begs some complex questions, like the meaning of connection. Not only does this film force us to wrestle with the ever-evolving notions of personhood and love, but it also teaches the trickiness of a partnership that's analogous to an owner/object dynamic. There's phone sex, surrogate sex, and pretty much everything else you'd imagine in a Spike Jonze sci-fi love story.
Sexiness Rating: It's intellectual and understated yet full of 21st-century digital kink. Plus, you had as at Joaquin.
If you haven't seen this Michael Douglas and Sharon Strone classic, date night is the perfect occasion to do so. You've got the two movie tropes of a vulnerable detective and, as Amazon Video describes it, a "cold, calculating, and beautiful novelist with an insatiable sexual appetite" for attractive murderers and gorgeous, potentially deranged therapist (Jeanne Tripplehorn). When Stone's character becomes a suspect in her rock-star boyfriend's murder case, she and Douglas become entangled in a steamy, sometimes love affair that'll give you an excuse to cozy up next to your date when the plot thickens into something scarier.
Sexiness Rating: It's a metafictional neo-noir erotic thriller from the early 1990s… Need we say more?
This movie is emotionally moving, introspective, intimate, evocative, and illuminating. It follows one character, Chiron, as he grows up in Miami and navigates his sexuality and finds mentorship and love from unconventional figures in his life. Though there are many moments of heartbreak, Moonlight, which is so aptly named, ultimately triumphs thanks to the small gestures of empathy and revealing representations of all sorts of love, both romantic and sexual, parental and platonic, along with the challenge to establish self-love when we can't seem to find it externally. This film grapples with the issue of identity formation amidst adversity, but it also invites the viewer to exercise deep introspection and empathy.
Sexiness Rating: It's bravely direct, poignant, and thematically and visually stunning, with unexpected glimpses of romance, enduring love, and everyday heroism.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
When American friends venture to Barcelona for the summer, they both fall for a handsome local artist named Juan (Javier Bardem). The feeling is mutual, but he also still has a thing for his erratic ex, María Elena (Penélope Cruz). It's full of steamy passion, Woody Allen–style banter, and whimsical music, all set against the romance and charm of a European city. It also doesn't hurt that the cast is full of Hollywood heartthrobs Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson.
Sexiness Rating: With a cast as handsome as this one, you know you'll enjoy the romantic scenes. It's also a bit more modest than the other films on the list.
The Brown Bunny
The Brown Bunny is infamous for what has become known as "the blowjob scene." Starring Chloë Sevigny and Vincent Gallo, it's so much more than a sexually explicit movie. It follows Gallo's character as he travels across the country by motorcycle, seducing and later abruptly abandoning various women when he's consumed by memories of his former lover (Sevigny). We don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that the audience learns a whole lot once the two reunite on screen. It's emotional, thought-provoking, and highly controversial, so it's probably not the best thing to watch on a first date.
Sexiness Rating: It's an important film in cinematic history since it pushed the boundaries of censorship, but it's not exactly a happy romance movie.
You might want to watch the first half of this movie on your date, pause it halfway through, and then finish it on your own later, when you're in the mood for waterworks. Blue Valentine traces Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling's relationship as it progresses from a youthful, loving adventure to a strained, unraveling marriage. The film explores how love changes over time, so let's just say that there are a lot of mixed emotions—but they share an undeniable connection that makes it fun to watch. There are plenty of long and brooding silences, charming serenades, and seriously steamy moments between the two.
Sexiness Rating: Tense, sensual, and tragic, Blue Valentine features some of the most iconic makeout and sex scenes (with romantic music playing in the background, of course).
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Following two young girls as they fall in love and explore their budding sexualities, Blue Is the Warmest Color is an artful and thought-provoking movie. We see them as they grow from high school students to young adults. The movie spans over several years, so the viewer gets to follow the two women as they grow both in and out of their relationship, which is a brilliant way to build tension.
Sexiness Rating: Erotic, passionate, and revolutionary as well as a sweet tale of first love, we can't think of a reason not to watch Blue Is the Warmest Color.
This 1966 Dustin Hoffman flick is life-changing. Between the dedicated melancholic Simon & Garfunkel score, iconic love affair, and resonant post-college mood, it's hard to pick just one reason we love The Graduate. Though it's a bit more innocent and playful than the other films on this list, it still has a fun "forbidden love" angle that's fun to watch unfold. There's also plenty of room for laughter and delight.
Sexiness Rating: The sexiness is subtle and takes a backseat to the softly haunting music and clever, playfully satirical screenplay.
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1
Brought to us by the prolific filmmaker Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac is a narratively gripping film that also delivers a nonstop string of titillating scenes. A notoriously controversial director, von Trier isn't exactly known for being shy with his movies. Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays the protagonist (though the sex scenes are played by stunt doubles and porn stars), Joe, who is a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac. The movie is a series of Joe's flashbacks, each marking a sexual chapter of her libidinous life. It also stars Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, and Shia LaBeouf, to name a few.
Sexiness Rating: Uncensored and sometimes bleak and pretentious (though not necessarily in a bad way), Nymphomaniac is not something to watch with a modest audience or if you feel at all awkward with your date.
Only Lovers Left Alive
What's a story about everlasting love without a little vampire action? Complete with a killer soundtrack of hypnotizing, trancey music, enchanting visuals, and stunning sets, as well as the unconventionally charming Tilda Swinton as the lead, Only Lovers Left Alive is a sensual must-watch. It follows a love affair that spans several centuries, so there's plenty of time for risqué drama to unfold.
Sexiness Rating: It'll arouse all your senses, whether you decide to watch it for a cinema class essay or a quiet night in with your significant other.
Here's a complicated and award-winning film with a ton of moving parts to keep track of. We're talking death row and an unexpected love affair between two very sexy Hollywood actors (Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thorton) who fall hopelessly in love amid the drama and heartbreak. It presents the stark reality and ethical battles of the incarceration and criminal justice system, so it's definitely worth watching for that reason alone. There's plenty to rethink and analyze, so even consider bringing a pen and paper for notetaking.
Sexiness Rating: A politically charged and thought-provoking movie with the added bonus of an unfolding romantic relationship between two unassuming lovers.
Eyes Wide Shut
Eyes Wide Shut is arguably the OG of all erotic dramas. Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, this film is at once narrow and detail-oriented and expansive and far-reaching. Since it tells the tale of a man who ventures out on an overnight pilgrimage of sexual exploration after his wife admits that she almost cheated on him, this movie definitely doesn't skimp on steamy rendezvous.
Sexiness Rating: Though it does present a few moral dilemmas, Eyes Wide Shut is pretty sex-centric.
This was originally published on September 22, 2017, and has since been updated.