In the realm of cinema, eroticism often serves as a potent tool for storytelling. It allows filmmakers to delve into complex themes such as power dynamics and societal norms. Sometimes, it is simply used for cheap thrills. Netflix, being a hub for diverse content, hosts a collection of films that have the steamiest scenes; some of them are nothing short of erotic art in forms of cinema, while others are best watched to get the temperatures soaring.
Many of these films go beyond mere sensuality and titillation. Chloe Domont’s Fair Play is a contemporary exploration of gender politics and the violent undercurrents of patriarchy. While the film features explicit scenes, they serve as a backdrop to the larger narrative, the complexities of power dynamics in the inner and outer lives of a couple working for the same finance firm. Domont’s story exists in a space that has been excavated before, of course.
Jane Campion’s masterpiece, The Piano, is a visually stunning exploration of passion, desire, and the constraints of societal norms. The film’s sensual elements are seamlessly woven into a rich narrative examining love’s complexities. Here, eroticism is used in an almost poetic manner and in sharp contrast to Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, which is a surreal journey into the hidden domain of repressed desires and illicit temptation.
The explicit content in the Indian anthology film Lust Stories—even in the short The Mirror, which was in the 2023 sequel—serves as a means to address societal norms, gender and class dynamics in contemporary India. Directed by Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Anurag Kashyap, each short dives into the evolving nature of relationships in a rapidly changing world.
Steven Soderbergh’s directorial debut Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a landmark in independent cinema. While its erotic scenes garnered more attention, as they tend to do often with cinema, the film is a nuanced exploration of the complexities of human relationships, intimacy, and the impact of technology on personal connections. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a cinematic gem that transcends its sensual elements. Even with Basic Instinct, often remembered for Sharon Stone’s iconic leg-crossing scene, eroticism is used to amplify the suspense and intrigue, making it a classic in the genre. Beyond the steamy moments, the story unfolds a tale of deception and psychological manipulation, which is far more intriguing than flashes of any flesh.
Miguel Arteta’s Duck Butter takes a unique approach to intimacy. It follows two women who decide to spend 24 intense hours together, creating a fascinating exploration of the challenges and vulnerabilities that arise in relationships. Sex and nudity become a vehicle for a more profound examination of human connection and authenticity but make for tantalising viewing nonetheless. Of course, lesser films rely upon the more titillating elements alone. And Netflix’s library offers a decent mix of both kinds of erotic films.
Here are just a few of the steamiest films on Netflix that you can watch alone or with your partner, with the doors closed, ideally.
10 steamiest movies on Netflix:
- Fair Play (2023)
- Duck Butter (2018)
- Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- The Piano (1993)
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2022)
- Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
- Burning Betrayal (2023)
- Love & Other Drugs (2010)
- Lust Stories (2018)
- Special mention: The Mirror short from Lust Stories 2 (2023)