behind the scenes 16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex  

Ryan Davis
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Working as an actor requires being open to some crazy things. Having to film a sex scene can give even the most courageous and reputable actors some stage fright. But imagine if you had to have sex for real? I mean, full on penetrative intercourse. You'd think it would be illegal outside of pornography, but plenty of movies have incorporated real sex between actors in order to establish a sort of genuine authenticity to the film.

While some may think that esteemed actors engaging in crude or intimate sex for an movie is gratuitous and inappropriate, many actors have agreed to the conditions. Racy and controversial director Lars von Trier has utilized unsimulated sex scenes for several of his films, including his raunchy sex addict movie Nymphomaniac.

Sex scenes in film can be crucial to the story that writers and directors are trying to tell. But at what point is the boundary between real and fantasy crossed? For a lot of artists, both behind-the-scenes and in front of them, there is no line. 

You may never have heard of many of these films. That's probably because their NC-17 or X rating has made distribution relatively difficult. But in the age of the Internet, these sexually graphic films are fair game. Some you may be surprised to find easily recognizable titles here. Maybe the sex wasn't visibly shown, but the intercourse was indeed real. This is a roundup of some of the most infamous films where actors really had sex on sets for the camera. Keep reading to find out who they are.

Update: we mistakenly included Trainwreck in an earlier version of this list. However, although actors Amy Schumer and John Cena jokingly discussed having sex during filming, they did not actually do it. 

Nymphomaniac: Volume I is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex
Photo:  Les Films du Losange

Lars von Trier's controversial two-part Nymphomaniac featured no small amount of unsimulated sex scenes. When actor Shia LaBeouf signed on as a love interest opposite Stacy Martin, rumors spread about the real sex they'd perform for the film. Lars von Trier had already mentioned that his racy film would feature real intercourse. LaBeouf initially said he agreed to participate in the unsimulated scenes. However, when the film finally premiered, it was revealed that the actual sex was performed between two porn stars. LaBeouf and Martin's bodies were superimposed with CGI for the pornographic scenes.

Not bad, but it has nothing on this crazy scene.

Actors: Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Stellan Skarsgård, + more

Initial Release: 2013

Directed by: Lars von Trier

see more on Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Love is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex
Photo: Wild Bunch
Gaspar Noé's 2015 film, Love, featured real sex between actors Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock. But Noé took his erotic romance film to the next level by producing it in 3D! Love is first and foremost about sex in 3D and only secondly about the dramatic love story between the two protagonists. Most of the sex was not choreographed and Noé admitted he hoped his film would give men "erections" and get women "wet."

Actors: Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin, Aomi Muyock

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Little Ashes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex
Photo:  Sorolla Films
Robert Pattinson's orgasm face (as Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes) seemed a little too real to audiences. And they weren't wrong. Pattinson recently admitted that he masturbated onscreen for the scene in order to make it realistic. According to Pattinson, faking the scene “just doesn’t work." "So I pleasured myself in front of the camera. My orgasm face is recorded for eternity," he said. 

Actors: Robert Pattinson, Arly Jover, Matthew McNulty, Simón Andreu, Esther Nubiola, + more

Initial Release: 2008

Directed by: Paul Morrison

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Caligula is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Movies Where the Actors Really Had Sex
Photo: Penthouse Films

Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione produced the intensely erotic historical drama Caligula about the fall of the Roman emperor of the same name. It can't be all that surprising that the founder of a pornographic men's magazine wanted to make a movie with unsimulated sex. The movie, starring Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell, featured after-the-fact sex scenes that Guccione filmed in private. Although the leads of the film didn't have sex themselves, Guccione's personal Penthouse Pets filmed unsimulated scenes for post-production. 

If you think that's hot, check out this salacious footage.

Actors: Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Patrick Allen, + more

Initial Release: 1979

Directed by: Tinto Brass

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