17 Most Steamiest Movies on HBO Max (June 2024)

If entertainment industries around the world know anything, it is that sex sells. Unlike television, where, until the advent of streaming services, networks were reluctant to put out risqué content save for some notable exceptions, the big screen has always been the place to explore, experiment, and push the boundaries. For a filmmaker who knows what they are doing, depicting sex is just one puzzle piece of their film. Some movies do a great job of weaving the sex part with their core themes and delivering an exhilarating watch to the audience.

17. Looking: The Movie (2016)

Directed by Andrew Haigh, ‘Looking: The Movie’ is a poignant conclusion to the acclaimed HBO series. The film reunites the tight-knit group of friends—Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Dom (Murray Bartlett), and Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez)—as they return to San Francisco for a wedding. Delving into love, friendship, and self-discovery themes, the movie follows Patrick’s journey to find closure and navigate his complex relationships. With its authentic portrayal of LGBTQ+ experiences, ‘Looking: The Movie’ delivers a heartfelt and satisfying resolution, showcasing the growth and resilience of its characters. You can watch the movie here.

16. Desert Hearts (1985)

Directed by Donna Deitch, ‘Desert Hearts’ is adapted from the 1964 lesbian novel ‘Desert of the Heart’ by Jane Rule. The film explores the romantic relationship between 35-year-old English professor Vivian Bell, whose divorce process is ongoing, and Cay Rivers, brought up by Frances Parker, Cay’s father’s mistress. Vivian and Cay meet at Francis’s guest house, where Vivian is staying. While Vivian is hesitant about her attraction towards Cay, the latter is a free spirit and has already been in relationships with women, much to Frances’ chagrin. But after Vivian and Cay share a passionate kiss, things start to change. ‘Desert Hearts’ raised many eyebrows with its depiction of a fully-fledged lesbian sexual relationship and remains one of the first de-sensationalized lesbian films in mainstream Hollywood. It stars Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, and Audra Lindley. You can watch it here.

15. In the Mood for Love (2000)

One of the greatest romance films of all time, ‘In the Mood for Love’ is a psychologically compelling and visually stunning drama directed by Wong Kar-wai. A perfect mix of style and substance that makes cinema the art form that it is, ‘In the Mood for Love’ is set in 1960s Hong Kong and explores the affair between two people, Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen, whose respective partners, they find out, are heating on them. They subsequently develop feelings for each other, giving the viewers an immortal story of temptation and longing underscored by gorgeous cinematography and mesmerizing background score. The cast includes Tony Leung Chiu-wai as Chow Mo-wan and Maggie Cheung as Su Li-zhen. ‘In the Mood for Love’ is a must-watch film, especially if you are looking for one that belongs to the titular genre. You can watch it here.

14. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Directed by Mike Figgis, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ is a cult adult drama starring Nicolas Cage as alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson and Elisabeth Shue as Sera, a sex worker. Ben’s losses have led him to the decision that he will kill himself drinking, but the process will take time, so he indulges in the penny-propelled pursuits of Los Angeles, including sex. This is when he meets Sera, who begins to like him and wants to save him before Ben goes too far. Cage and Shue reveal their vulnerable side in this Oscar and Golden-Globe-winning drama based on John O’Brien’s semi-autobiographical 1990 novel. You can watch ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ here.

13. Killing Me Softly (2002)

Directed by Chen Kaige, ‘Killing Me Softly’ stars Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, and Natascha McElhone. It follows Alice (Graham), who leaves her boyfriend to be with her newly found attraction, Adam (Fiennes), a mountain climber, with whom she discovers the wild side of her. However, after the two marry, Alice receives letters and phone calls warning her of Adam. Curious, she decides to look into the matter only to discover that Adam isn’t who he seems to be and that his relationship with his sister, Deborah (McElhone), might be the catch. To find out the truth, you can watch this film here.

12. Love in the Time of Cholera (2007)

For Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) and Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), it is love at first sight, but their togetherness is completely against Fermina’s father’s plans for his daughter. He disavows their relationship and gets Fermina married to a doctor, Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt). Struggling to get over Fermina, Florentina finds sex to be an effective therapy. But how long can this go on? Or is it a way for Florentina to cope with the time away from Fermina until he can get her again? Directed by Mike Newell, ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ is set in 19th-century Colombia during the cholera pandemic and is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. You can watch the film here.

11. Spring Breakers (2012)

‘Spring Breakers’ is a crime-drama film directed by Harmony Korine. The plot revolves around four college girls desperately seeking an unforgettable spring break experience. In their pursuit of freedom and excitement, they find themselves entangled in a dangerous world of drugs, violence, and criminal activities. Starring James Franco as Alien, Selena Gomez as Faith, Vanessa Hudgens as Candy, Ashley Benson as Brit, and Rachel Korine as Cotty, the talented cast delivers captivating performances that bring the characters to life.

‘Spring Breakers’ delves into themes of youth rebellion and societal taboos with boldness and audacity. While some viewers may be drawn to this film for its controversial nature or simply out of curiosity about the darker side of spring break culture, it is also worth watching for its visually stunning cinematography and thought-provoking commentary on modern society’s obsession with excess and hedonism. Feel free to check out the movie here.

10. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)

In ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’ Antonio Banderas portrays Ricky, a psychiatric patient who gets released from the facility he was in. He subsequently decides to seek out Marina Osorio, an actress and former porn star. She and Ricky met and had sex when she was a resident of the same facility as Ricky due to her drug issues. Ricky appears before Marina and tries to impress her, but it is soon revealed that she doesn’t remember him. Ricky then tries to show her how much he loves her by kidnapping her and keeping her captive at her own home. You can check out the film here.

9. Working Girls (1986)

To be termed “fascinating” by film critic Roger Ebert is a huge deal, which is why ‘Working Girls’ has become a must-watch. Directed by Lizzie Borden, this independent drama follows college graduate Molly and her peers who work at a posh brothel in New York City. While focusing on Molly, who is a lesbian and maintains her emotional distance from her customers, we get to see the relationship dynamic among the girls who work at the brothel and its culture and politics as well. Like in any other business, here, too, there is competition and envy. Borden gave us a true-to-form brilliant feminist film that paved the way for the compelling portrayal of sex workers in Hollywood movies. ‘Working Girls’ stars Louise Smith, Ellen McElduff, Amanda Goodwin, Deborah Banks and Liz Caldwell. You can watch the film here.

8. The Piano Teacher (2001)

The cinematic adaptation of the 1983 namesake novel by Elfriede Jelinek, ‘The Piano Teacher,’ tells the story of Erika Kohut, a 30-something piano teacher who lives with her domineering mother. Her years of sexual repression have made her sadomasochistic and prone to self-mutilation. She encounters engineer Walter Klemmer, who loves to play the piano. He develops feelings for her and applies to be a student at her music conservatory. Erika seduces Walter and uses him to explore her sexual desires, all the while rapidly losing her grasp on sanity. If you want to know what happens further, you may watch ‘The Piano Teacher’ here.

7. Gia (1998)

Jolie delivers one of her best performances as supermodel Gia Carangi in the biopic ‘Gia.’ As the story begins, Gia arrives in New York from Philadelphia to be a fashion model and instantly garners the interest of Wilhelmina Cooper, a Dutch-American model turned agent. As Gia rapidly climbs to the top and becomes one of the first supermodels in the industry, she begins suffering from depression and bouts of loneliness. It only gets worse after Cooper’s death, and she starts using cocaine and heroin. You can stream the film here to discover what eventually happens to her.

6. Belle de Jour (1967)

‘Belle de Jour’ is a French film that primarily follows Séverine Serizy, a homemaker. She is sexually frustrated, often fantasizing about domination, sadomasochism, and bondage. She refuses to have sex with her husband, though they seem to love each other. During a vacation at a ski resort, Séverine and her husband Pierre encounter Henri Husson and Renée. Husson doesn’t take much time before making it clear that he is sexually attracted to Séverine when they are alone. The film explores Séverine’s past, and it is heavily implied that she was sexually abused when she was a child. After learning that one of her friends now works at a high-end brothel, Séverine is drawn toward that world, where a madame gives her the titular nickname. You can stream ‘Belle de Jour’ here.

5. There Is No I in Threesome (2021)

‘There Is No I in Threesome’ was initially developed as a documentary. Filmmaker Jan Oliver Lucks started to make the film with his then-fiancée about their open relationship. However, that relationship ended while they were halfway into making the documentary. The painful conclusion of the relationship, combined with the frustration about the unfinished project, gave Luck a severe bout of depression. Fortunately, he found a solution to at least one of those problems, which makes up the ending of ‘There Is No I in Threesome.’ To know what the solution is, you can stream the film here.

4. Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, ‘Behind the Candelabra’ is a biographical film that centers around the relationship between pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his young lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon). The film drew inspiration from Thorson’s 1988 memoir, ‘Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace.’ In ‘Behind the Candelabra,’ Thorson meets Liberace through Hollywood producer Bob Black. The film depicts the ten years they spend together in each other’s company before their relationship falls apart due to Liberace’s interest in other men and Thorson’s drug problems. You can watch the movie here.

3. And God Created Woman (1956)

‘And God Created Woman’ is a groundbreaking erotic movie that challenges the contemporary reservation about sexuality. It also turned its main star, Brigitte Bardot, into a sex symbol. The story revolves around Juliette, an 18-year-old woman brimming with sexual energy. She has no desire to be anything less than what she is, which irks most people around her. And yet, men are still drawn toward her for that very reason. Brigitte loves Antoine Tardieu, but the latter has little interest in a long-term relationship with her. When Antoine’s younger brother, Michel, asks Brigitte to marry him, she accepts, even though she doesn’t love him. You may watch the film here.

2. Under the Skin (2013)

‘Under the Skin’ is a psychological sci-fi thriller directed by Jonathan Glazer. The plot, loosely based on the 2000 novel by Michel Faber, follows the enigmatic protagonist, played by Scarlett Johansson, as she roams the streets of Scotland in search of unsuspecting men. With an eerie and mysterious plotline, viewers are left captivated as they witness her encounters unfold with each individual she lures into her web. Apart from Johansson’s compelling performance, the film features notable actors such as Paul Brannigan and Jeremy McWilliams. ‘Under the Skin’ explores themes of desire and exploitation in a thought-provoking manner that isn’t solely reliant on explicit content. Its portrayal of sexuality adds depth to its narrative rather than being gratuitous, making it worth watching for those seeking a unique blend of suspense and introspection. Feel free to check out the movie here.

1. Je Tu Il Elle (1974)

‘Je Tu Il Elle’ or ‘I, You, He, She’ is a thought-provoking art-house LGBTQ-drama film directed by Chantal Akerman. The plot of this French-Belgian film revolves around a young woman named Julie, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and sexual exploration. As she navigates through her desires and emotions, the audience witnesses her encounters with various individuals that shape her understanding of intimacy and identity. This captivating narrative stars Delphine Seyrig as Julie, Jan Decorte as Joseph, and Henri Storck as Jean.

This film stands out among others for its explicit depiction of sexuality, which pushes boundaries and challenges societal norms. However, it is essential to note that these scenes serve a purpose in exploring themes of personal liberation and emotional connection rather than simply catering to titillation. If you appreciate artistic storytelling that delves into complex human experiences, ‘Je Tu Il Elle’ can be intriguing. You can check out the film here.

Read More: Adult Movies on HBO Max