Sexiness these days is wonderfully amorphous, and no one has helped America work out its kinks better than Netflix. Now host to every sort of film for every sort of audience, there are movies that cater to everybody’s idea of a hot and steamy evening in.
Want to watch a hot young boy with a lust for older guys? They’ve got you covered (Gerontophilia). Want to watch two older women lusting for each other’s barely legal surfer dude sons? They’ve got that too (Adore). Look in the right corners of your queue and Netflix starts to look like a veritable Plato’s Retreat.
Here are the 15 Sexiest Movies Streaming on Netflix.
The Guest (2014)
Like Fatal Attraction, The Guest is as much a horror film as it is an erotic thriller, but it works equally well in both modes. When David (Dan Stevens) shows up at the front door of the Peterson home with news of their son’s death in combat, the family welcomes him with open arms, hoping to get a little bit of their son back in this smoldering stranger. Daughter Anna (It Follows‘ Maika Monroe) slowly catches onto David, realizing he isn’t so much a soldier as a machine with a malfunctioning killswitch, but that’s after she’s fallen head over heels in lust with him.
David represents her burgeoning adulthood and sexuality, and when he starts his killing spree, the first thing to go is her innocence. The Guest is a roller-coaster ride about the destruction of suburban perfection, and it all starts in the mile-long gaze of a man anxious to subsume and pervert everything normal about Anna’s life.
The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
Though The Duke of Burgundy reveals itself to be a story of deep, troubling dependency, the ride to that conclusion is a bizarrely erotic daydream no one should miss. Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna are entomologists by trade, but their real passion is to remain locked in a puzzle cube of a house, playing one twisted carnal game after another.
The one who appears submissive, who enjoys playing the put-upon servant, slowly reveals herself to be the one pulling the strings. Director Peter Strickland dresses these two women in strange haute couture and appoints their house as if it fell out of a late 1960s design catalog, all the better to draw viewers into his tangled web of dark fantasy.
The Blue Room (2014)
Director Mathieu Amalric is better known in America for his singular screen presence in films like Quantum of Solace and The Grand Budapest Hotel than his track record as a director, but he excels on either side of the camera. For proof look no further than his soufflé of a murder mystery, The Blue Room. Amalric plays a man caught between his family and a passionate affair he can’t break off. When he meets her in the Blue Room of a hotel a town or two away from his home, his life is more than just work and obligation, it’s freedom and pleasure itself. The divide becomes untenable quickly, so it’s little surprise when someone ends up dead.
The film’s central mystery, while captivating, has nothing on the sheer spectacle of watching two people fall in lust for what feels like the first time.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner only has one real love scene, and it has a dubious relationship with consent, but in the margins are some of the sexiest bits of procedure ever filmed. Harrison Ford, looking like the perfect handsome noir hero, searches for a never-more gorgeous Daryl Hannah, exotic performer Joanna Cassidy, and muscle-packed madman Rutger Hauer (when he was still playing troublesome, manic heartthrobs) among others.
Hannah and Cassidy are uniquely alluring action stars, but they almost don’t register next to conflicted femme fatale Sean Young, the object of Ford’s conflicted affection. Blade Runner is like having your eyes seduced for two hours, by the startling, supple visuals, the uncommonly lovely players, and the ways they melt into each other.
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover (1989)
Peter Greenaway wanted more from cinema than it seemed capable of giving him. He experimented with frames in frames, art, music, costume, performance and dialogue, hoping to break through the confines of narrative moviemaking. Strangely, one of his best films is the one with the most conventional depiction of erotic coupling. A man and a woman (Alan Howard and a startingly gorgeous Helen Mirren) make eyes across a restaurant and soon they’re routinely devouring each other just out of view of Mirren’s vicious gangster husband (Michael Gambon).
Everything from Greenaway’s careful direction, Mirren’s supple severity, Michael Nyman’s perfect musical accompaniment and Sacha Vierny’s magnificent cinematography brings this tale of forbidden love to a rolling boil. A completely original take on an age-old longing.
Andrew Haigh quietly announced himself as a talent to watch, one of the brightest filmmakers in the world. Weekend, his assured debut, follows the gentle, compact affair of two handsome young Brits who can’t quite quit of the idea that they’re meant to spend more time than a one-night stand together. Haigh’s
dialogue and Tom Cullen and Chris New’s earnest chemistry (and effortless good looks) make watching them fall for each other a revelatory experience. Haigh’s sensitive storytelling allows us in the audience to feel their burgeoning love as if it were our own, hitting beats anyone ought to be able to recognize with enough of a soft touch that we don’t notice their elemental nature.
A Royal Affair (2012)
Before she was everyone’s darling, Alicia Vikander was Caroline Mathilde, the young wife of a mad Danish king (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), hopelessly in love with his revolutionary physician and only friend (Mads Mikkelsen). The forbidden love of a princess has been the subject of bodice-ripping romance for decades, but thanks to director Nikolaj Arcel’s dispassionate filmmaking and the marvelous, assured work of both Vikander and Mikkelsen, A Royal Affair feels brand new.
It also feels earthshakingly sexy. These two poor souls, trapped in prisons of privilege, try to do something with their power, only to have their intentions blunted by their feelings for each other. Who doesn’t find that hugely compelling?
Stranger By The Lake (2013)
Alain Guiraudie’s coolly mystifying Stranger By The Lake, like David Cronenberg’s Crash before it, tells its story in the margins around explicit sex scenes. Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) finds himself, day after day, at the same cruising spot looking for a connection with any of the anonymously hot men wandering around naked. Then he meets Michel (Christophe Paou), the only real suspect in a murder investigation based around the lake, and his curiosity gets the better of him.
He needs to be close to this dangerous man, even if it means his life. Stranger By The Lake is full of “obscene” images rendered naturally, and soon the only thing that seems strange is that we’re allowed to eavesdrop on these impersonal events.
Neil Jordan’s Interview With A Vampire prepared the world for a softer kind of vampire, a soulful eyed, sombre and overly emotional wanderer, worn down by eternal life and loneliness. He returned to the vampire well for something altogether more electric nearly two decades later with Byzantium. A story of a vampire and her little sister who run a brothel in a coastal English town with little else going for it, Byzantium knows when to be sad and when to be enthrallingly erotic.
Gemma Arterton is absolutely riveting as the mistress of her strange seaside pleasure palace, commanding in every way. She sizzles right along with the nocturnal atmosphere of Byzantium.
I Am Love (2009)
By now everyone ought to know there’s nothing Tilda Swinton can’t do. So it should have come as no surprise when she played a classic melodrama heroine in Luca Guadagnino’s rapturous I Am Love. When her son brings home a friendly competitor (Edoardo Gabbriellini) for dinner one night, she finds herself inexorably drawn into his orbit. This young man brings Swinton’s dormant passion and soon they’re enveloped in erotic longeurs on his farm, hiding their affair from her well-connected family.
I Am Love treats Swinton’s awakening as borderline miraculous, showing an uncommon respect and admiration for a woman who decides that she deserves more than mere stability. She deserves pleasure as well.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Adrian Lyne’s work in the 1980s was like a collection of Penthouse Forum letters brought to life. His sleek aesthetic predilections made him the perfect man to bring the likes of Foxes, Flashdance, 9½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction to whispering, fleshy life. Sparks burned brighter in his films because he filmed the color black in a darker, truer fashion than anyone before him.
Fatal Attraction eventually devolves into madness and violence, but it starts with a bang. Michael Douglas and Glenn Close begin a torrid affair when Douglas’ wife Anne Archer goes out of town. Their loft-based mutual conquest ranks as among the most unforgettable displays of carnality the 80s had to offer. The film captured the nation’s attention and let everyone know that the age of celebrating infidelity was coming to an end, but boy did it go out in style.
On The Road (2012)
Detractors of Walter Salles’ Jack Kerouac adaptation have to at least admit that the film sizzles in its own right, whatever its take on the famous beat generation text. Its trio of gorgeous young stars – Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart – burn a hole in the increasingly uncivilized late 40s milieu, pouring whiskey and dripping sweat from their athletic dance and sex all over WASPy America.
More than simply translating Kerouac’s novel, Salles tells the story of a new American identity in wriggling hips, unhinged sexual freedom, and uncontrollable libidos ruining lives before they’ve even begun. The party may have been short lived, but it was wild while it lasted.
Gaspar Noé’s been trying to find the link between sex, violence and the soul all of his life. In one torturously ponderous journey into the unknown after another, he’s placed heterosexual sex up as a shield against the torments of an ugly world bent on destroying human essence.
Love is his most literal and oddly tender take on the subject yet, showing as much sex as creatively as possible over two long hours. The film wends its way into some dark corners, but there’s no denying the powerful nature of some of Noé’s images of a relationship disintegrating in slow motion. A three-way set to Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” is not just one of the most powerful love scenes of the last ten years, it may be the best thing Noé’s ever done.
Leap Year (2010)
No, this is not the Amy Adams romantic comedy, released the same year. This is a tale of sexual self-discovery told through the encounters that single woman Laura (Mónica Del Carmen) has with a series of hapless men. She spies on her happy couple neighbors, and invites one man after another into her home for joyless sex until finally Arturo (Gustavo Sánchez Parra) asks her if she got anything out of their night together. Seizing the opportunity to improve her monotonous quest for pleasure, she molds him into the perfect lover, one unafraid of physically hurting her if it means she finds release.
A stark riff on the BDSM classic In The Realm of the Senses, Leap Year proves that it isn’t sex itself that’s erotic, but finding oneself in the act.
Everyone remembers the first time they saw Ghost. More specifically, no one will ever forget watching Patrick Swayze, the king of 80s pin-ups, lace his wet fingers in between Demi Moore’s and watch a mound of clay turn into tower of dirty intentions. To a certain generation, Ghost was the romantic touchstone to beat, the film that mixed Spielbergian spiritual awe with the earthy, naive sexuality of its stars.
Seeing as Netflix doesn’t have any other Swayze touchstones (Roadhouse, Dirty Dancing), then this righteously silly film about death not being able to stop two gorgeous people from getting it on will have to stand in for the great blonde lover’s entire oeuvre. For some people, there will be no man who comes before Swayze and Ghost explains his charm as succinctly as anything.
What did we miss? What floats your boat when your Netflix and chilling by yourself? What sexy films do you wish would finally make it to Netflix streaming?