If you've ever found yourself gazing at the opposite sex wondering if the grass is greener on the other side, this list is for you. Ladies can appreciate a beautiful woman, that's for sure. But at what point does admiration turn into something a little more? Given gender and sexual fluidity, how can you really know where you exist on the spectrum without exposure to alternatives? And what better form of exposure is there than mass media? If you sometimes find yourself watching sapphic cinema and lusting for another woman, at least a few of these movies that make you question your sexuality will be familiar to you.
In light of all this, an obvious question arises: when does a film offer such a lucid picture of lesbian love it can make a woman question her own sexuality? The answer probably changes from person to person. Perhaps erotic lesbian movies get you hot and bothered, but it's great bisexual movies like Blue Is the Warmest Color, which explore the full spectrum of sexuality, gender, and the confusion that comes with it, that impact you emotionally. You should probably also ask yourself whether you're horny watching Wild Things or heart broken from the social injustice and restrictive codes on display in Carol.
Female sexuality in film is ubiquitous, but when women turn their attention towards each other, well, that's a different movie altogether, especially when that film deviates from the male gaze and takes a distinctly female or nonbinary view of sexuality. The eroticism of movies with lesbian affairs is second to none and can certainly make any girl wonder.
You know the scene. It begins as a murderous cat fight in a moonlit pool and ends in daring lesbian sex of the sort the mainstream film industry hadn't shown before. Denise Richards's and Neve Campbell's visceral ratcheting of sexual tension and the torrid tryst that releases said tension comes to mind whenever Wild Things comes up in conversation; more than a few remember rewinding once or twice.
The pool scene isn't even the sexiest scene Wild Things, so you'll have to watch it again if you don't recall a threesome and a bottle of bubbly, and the curiosity it aroused when you watched it with your girlfriends.
Actors: Bill Murray, Denise Richards, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell Matt Dillon, + more
Initial Release: 1998
Directed by: John McNaughton
#35 on The Best Movies of 1998see more on Wild Things
At 179 minutes, Blue Is the Warmest Color is a serious commitment, but the film's depiction of female sexuality is unparalleled. The French drama, which won the Palme d 'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, is raw and real and probably shouldn't be the first film you view on this list, because the turbulent portrait it paints of discovering sexual fluidity in an antagonistic world might give you pause (those sex scenes will help you get over your doubt, though).
Just because Blue Is the Warmest Color French doesn't mean it's hard to watch. The relationship between the leads is riveting and erotic to say least, and their performances are phenomenal. The film's structure is fantastic - it's divided into two halves, which mirror one another - and has a lot to say about class, race, and the politics of relationships, if you care to scratch the surface. Carve out some time and give it a try.
Actors: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alma Jodorowsky, Aurélien Recoing Salim Kechiouche, + more
Initial Release: 2013
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Also Rankedsee more on Blue Is the Warmest Colour
If you've seen Jennifer's Body, not much explanation is required here beyond Megan Fox. If you've read the title of this list and kind of get what it's about, not much explanation is needed beyond Megan Fox. If you're still looking for an explanation, what about Megan Fox kissing Amanda Seyfried? If you were a nerdy girl in high school who admired the hot girl not because you wanted to be her but because you wanted to be her girlfriend, this movie manifests all your fantasies in one scene.
That kiss is why Jennifer's Body will make you question your sexuality, or bring you back to a time when you did. What if you didn't just have to admire or look jealously at someone who embodies female sexuality? What if you could have that person sexually?
Of course, the movie offers a lot more than that, if you care to look. It's a subversive fable about a young woman who, inhabited by a demon, turns her back on patriarchal society, murdering men and taking herself away from them as a sexual object by reserving her sexuality for other women. There's some stellar writing and genius plot twists in writer Diablo Cody's follow up to Juno.
Actors: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons Amy Sedaris, + more
Initial Release: 2009
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Also Rankedsee more on Jennifer's Body
You know how some people are just so damn interesting you could watch them read the newspaper and be enthralled? Cate Blanchett is that kind of person. Throw her in a great movie and you have a can't-lose proposition. Such is the case with Carol, a 1950s-set drama about a forbidden lesbian love affair, as directed by Todd Haynes, adapted from a story by Patricia Highsmith, and starring an equally terrific Rooney Mara.
Carol offers a lot to think about - a beautiful love story, some tender and very passionate sex, an unflinching examination of the hardships of being a gay woman in a straight man's world, an insightful look the sexual confusion of youth, and the complexities of navigating the straight of desire and social obligation. Let's just say you're not the only one that looked at your husband a little sideways while watching this steamy drama.
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler Cory Michael Smith
Initial Release: 2015
Directed by: Todd Haynes
#51 on The Best Winter Moviessee more on Carol
Considered one of director David Lynch's best films, Mulholland Drive offers a little bit of everything. There's profanity, gore, sleuthing, surrealism, melodrama, outlandish humor, old Hollywood glitz and glamor, unabashed sapphic eroticism, and plenty of highly sexualized female nudity. Just because this is an award-winning film doesn't mean it's pretentious and boring.
Though some find Mulholland Drive a bit confusing, a close reading of the film reveals a layered, cutting critique of the way Hollywood, and society more generally, exploits women for their youth, beauty, and sexuality, while duping them into believing there's value in playing along. Lesbianism plays into these themes by showing a world beyond the grasp of patriarchal values, in which women can be themselves, and truly love and be loved. A world that is corrupted by jealously, confusion, paranoia, and desperation when it's forced to coexist with mainstream society.
Regardless of where you land on the sexual spectrum, Mulholland Drive may have you wanting to withdraw to an Arcadian world in which men have no influence and women are free to be themselves in all respects.
Actors: Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George, Laura Harring Justin Theroux, + more
Initial Release: 2001
Directed by: David Lynch
#12 on The Best Surrealist Filmssee more on Mulholland Drive
Basic Instinct, like Showgirls, comes from the mad mind of director Paul Verhoeven, cinema's great satirist of the second half of the 20th century. It's the film you were probably too young to watch when you snuck into the theater, and you were a bit shocked to find a level of eroticism and blatant sexuality that could make any movie-goer thankful theaters are dark.
Like all of Verhoeven's great satires - Robocop, Starship Troopers - Basic Instinct has aged very well. In hindsight, the movie is clearly a deranged examination of the way in which conservative, reactionary, middle-aged men attempt to control women, and how all that falls apart and drives men insane when women take control of their sexuality.
The movie's central female character, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a sexual WMD, manipulates men to her advantage while finding true sexual satisfaction in the arms of another woman. While it would be easy to read the film as portraying homosexuality as aberrant and connected to mental illness, it's impossible to believe this argument, given the subversive nature of Verhoeven's work. In fact, homosexuality is seen as aberrant in the eyes of the male characters in the film, and Catherine plays into that image to f*ck with them (it eventually f*cks back with her; such is the nature of systemic problems).
Consider the things you could do if you embraced your inner Catherine.
Actors: Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Wayne Knight Stephen Tobolowsky, + more
Initial Release: 1992
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
#7 on The Best Movies of 1992see more on Basic Instinct
Sure, Black Swan is its own special version of terrifying and you likely couldn't get it out of your head for days and weeks after first seeing it (and not in a good way, for the most part). Still, the lesbian subtext and sexual tension between the film's stars is second to none.
Black Swan is especially appealing to anyone in the arts, a field that requires fluidity and a mercurial sense of self. Anyone who spends a lot of time considering everything other than the self is sure to start to forget the self, and simply surrender to the world. The movie offers a painful look at confused sexual attraction between the two dancers and scenes that would make anyone blush.
Actors: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Ksenia Solo Barbara Hershey, + more
Initial Release: 2010
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Also Rankedsee more on Black Swan
You aren't the only one who couldn't wait to see Elizabeth Berkley work the pole. If you're like most people, you probably had a love-hate relationship with Berkley's Saved By The Bell character, the brilliant and wholesome Jessie Spano. So much so that seeing Miss Spano in such a compromising position was a bit of a turn-on for men and women alike.
Watching Showgirls, you might ask yourself whether your love for the female characters you looked up to as a kid was actually sexual desire, or at least curiosity. Considering the world of strippers, in which a group of women spend countless naked hours together in a highly sexual (for the audience, at least) environment, may make you wonder whether sexuality is conditional - if you're hungry, you'll eat whatever you can get easiest, right?
Actors: Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan, Carrie Ann Inaba Robert Davi, + more
Initial Release: 1995
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
#63 on The Best Movies of 1995
#71 on Movies That Need Sequelssee more on Showgirls