Isabel Hughes reckons she knows a thing or two about what makes a movie sex scene great, so here’s her top 5 list:

nWlHq1. Risky Business (1983)
Knowing what we know now about Tom Cruise with all the Scientology bullshit and his hyper-controlled weirdness in general, it’s hard to remember the appeal he had in the 80s – or, well, ever. But then I think of ‘Risky Business.’ His character was spoiled and kind of insufferable but it was hard not to love him – or, at least, love him having sex with Rebecca DeMornay on an L train. At the time, no one could stop talking about that scene. Maybe the only thing people talked about more than the train sex was Cruise’s stupid underwear dance to “Old Time Rock and Roll,” but nobody really wants to see that again.

Here’s the actual L train scene:


2. Blue Valentine (2010)
A movie with Ryan Gosling? A movie with Michelle Williams? A movie with Ryan Gosling going down on Michelle Williams? There’s something here for everyone, am I right?


3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The part where Heath Ledger licks his palm.


4. Don’t Look Now (1973)
OK – so it’s dated, but the graphic-for-its-time sex scene between grieving married couple Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in this early 70s psychic thriller is creepy-hot. It’s super intimate in a way that makes you, as the viewer, slightly uncomfortable and yet you can’t stop watching it. On top of that (pun intended – sorry), the longstanding and mostly uncontested rumors that the two actors actually were having sex during that scene, makes it feel salacious and voyeuristic. At a certain point you find yourself saying, “Are they? Aren’t they? Wait, I think I saw something go in!”

Here’s the weirdo trailer that is not sexy in the least. (If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t let Sutherland’s coiffure and facial hair stop you):


5. Unfaithful (2002)
There’s no shortage of great sex scenes between Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez here, like the super clandestine quickie in a bathroom stall at the corner coffee shop and the angry fuck in the stairwell of Martinez’s apartment building. Of course, there’s the very first encounter between the two of them which is sexy enough, but it’s followed by Diane Lane, in a brilliant bit, sitting alone on a commuter train replaying the whole act in her head. That scene in and of itself is impossibly hot. It may be the best ‘Unfaithful’ sex scene of them all.

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