History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes


2003, Part 2

The History of Sex in Cinema
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

The Human Stain (2003)

Nicholas Meyer's screen adaptation of Philip Roth's The Human Stain by director Robert Benton included one memorable flashbacked nude dancing scene, performed by:

  • Steena Paulsson (Australian-born actress and MTV's "Real World" Jacinda Barrett), a blonde midwestern Scandinavian

She performed a sensual striptease as she slowly stepped out of her collegiate 40s clothing. She first removed her bra in front of a mirror and then the remainder of her clothes before sitting fully nude on a desk before younger Coleman Silk (Wentworth Miller), the film's main character.

StripTease by Steena Paulsson (Jacinda Barrett)

Steena was the true first love of disgraced former college professor Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins as older adult), a classics teacher and dean of the faculty at fictional Athena College, who lost her many years earlier when he took her home to meet his family.

Later, he made a career-ending racial slur (by calling two black students "spooks") and harbored a major secret. Coleman was actually a light-skinned African-American who successfully passed himself off as a white Jew for his entire life.

After the sudden death of his wife Iris, he engaged in an intense sexual relationship with uneducated, younger, white-trash college cleaning lady Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman), who had an abusive, wife-beating, Vietnam Vet ex-husband (Ed Harris).

Steena Paulsson (Jacinda Barrett)

Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman)

In the Cut (2003)

Director Jane Campion's dark feminist sex film featured the alluring tagline: "Everything you know about desire is dead wrong." It became noticed for its huge ad campaign touting clean-imaged Meg Ryan performing her first major explicit sex scenes (that were entirely realistic, dirty, and erotic) - but the film was a box-office disaster, nonetheless.

It was considered a pretentious rip-off of Richard Brooks' Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). The film was released in other versions - including an unrated and uncut Director's Edition with more explicit versions of the love-making and basement (oral sex) scenes.

The film was a psychological thriller based on Susanna Moore's 1995 erotic thriller, about two individuals:

  • Francis Avery (Meg Ryan), a mid-30s English writing teacher - an unattractive, despairing divorcee
  • Giovanni "James" Malloy (Mark Ruffalo), a tough, foul-mouthed NY detective

Detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo)

Frannie (Meg Ryan)

Francis became involved with Malloy when he was investigating a murder in her neighborhood. She noticed that he had a questionable wrist tattoo of the three of spades, matching the tattoo of an unidentified man (smoking a cigarette) that she had earlier witnessed receiving an explicit 'blow job' in The Red Turtle pool club's darkened basement performed by a blue-fingernailed woman named Angela (Heather Litteer) - the decapitated homicide victim.

Squeaky-clean Meg Ryan's first sex act was masturbation face-down on her bed as she fantasized that Malloy was the man receiving fellatio (and that he was watching her pleasuring herself).

She began a torrid, risky sexual liaison with him after he asked her on a date and suggested:

"I can be whatever you want me to be... You want me to be your best friend and f--k you, treat you good, lick your pussy, no problem."

Sex with Francis Avery (Meg Ryan)

The film was erotically shocking for Mark Ruffalo's and Meg Ryan's full-frontal nudity, and for Ryan's performance of sex acts, including her receiving oral sex (or analingus from behind). When she brought him a drink afterwards, she asked: "I want to know...how you did that to me?", and he described (after briefly revealing his genitals as he laid back), with a hands-on demonstration, how he first learned about stimulating a woman. This was offered as a prelude to more missionary-position intercourse.

The exciting yet tense premise of the film was that the cop might murder her, since she believed that he was the one who had received oral sex from the murdered woman and might possibly be the serial killer who murdered other female victims that he was investigating, although he vehemently denied any wrong-doing. The serial killer also murdered and mutilated a medical student co-ed whose body parts were found in the school's laundry room.

Frannie also had a close relationship with her younger half-sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who worked at the Baby Doll Lounge as a stripper/go-go girl - although Pauline was in love with a married doctor (and still wanted a traditional marriage), she often spoke explicitly about her frequent sexual relations: "I can remember every guy I ever f--ked by how he liked to do it, not how I wanted to do it." Toward the film's end, Pauline was also found bloodied and decapitated in her apartment's bathroom.

Toward the end of the film, Frannie straddled and had sex with Malloy after handcuffing one of his wrists to the radiator in her apartment, as he told her: "I want to watch you f--k yourself." But then, Frannie found her missing charm bracelet trinkets (a carriage and baby) that she had last seen at Pauline's place in the cop's coat pocket, convincing her that he was the killer ("It was you!"). His alibi was that he had found them on the street after her mugging.

When Malloy's butchy, on-probation detective partner Ritchie Rodriguez (Nick Damici) drove Frannie 'to the lighthouse' under the George Washington Bridge (coincidentally the name of a literature book that Frannie taught) to conceivably take her statement on Malloy, she saw that he had a matching three of spades tattoo - identifying him as the serial killer who had received the 'blow-job' and murdered the other women.

The Giveaway -- Charm Bracelets - "It was you!"

Ritchie Rodriguez Proposing Marriage to Frannie

Rodriguez Shot by Frannie at Close Range

When Rodriguez proposed marriage: "Will you marry me, Frannie?" as he dangled a wedding ring on his knife (a wedding ring was his signature at each crime scene), she shot him at close range with Malloy's .38 in the pocket of his coat that she happened to be wearing. She shot him again as he forced a kiss from her.

Dazed, she then returned (drenched in blood) to Malloy where she had handcuffed him earlier, and laid down next to him in a spooning position, as the film ended. She had finally come to the realization (in the film's reveal) that he was innocent of all of the crimes.

Fellatio Performed by Angela in Basement - With Blue Fingernails

Wrist Tattoo of Killer - Three of Spades

By Herself

Francis Avery with Detective

Murder of Frannie's Half-Sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in Bathtub

Handcuffed to Radiator

Ending: Frannie Reconciled With Detective Malloy - Spooning on the Floor With Him

Monster (2003)

Glamorous and sexy South African-born star Charlize Theron scored another acting coup by winning the Best Actress award with her raw, convincingly-portrayed performance (and in a film with a similar title to Monster's Ball (2001)).

She portrayed the title character in the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos, a white-trash prostitute executed in 2002 in Florida after being convicted of murdering seven men in 1989.

Co-Dependent Lesbian Bond Between
Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) and Selby (Christina Ricci)

The film required Theron to literally transform herself into a 'monster', and to establish a co-dependent lesbian bond with Selby (Christina Ricci).

Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron)

The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

This straight-to-DVD-release romantic melodrama opened with an explanation of the film's time frame:

"In 1936, the British Empire still extended over vast areas of the globe. It was a time when young men finished their education by serving as administrators in distant lands. They sought to change the countries they ruled...but more often the countries changed them."

The title character, known as the "sleeping dictionary," was:

  • Selima (Jessica Alba) - a half-native Iban and half-British

She was the unlikely 'forbidden love' partner of a young English colonel named John Truscott (Hugh Dancy) sent to mid-1930s Sarawak (a British colony) in Malaysia to educate the natives and fulfill the vision of his father. Her nickname was derived from her occupation - she was to teach the newly-arrived bachelor in the native language and serve as a live-in tutor.

First Views of Selima (Jessica Alba)

Although Truscott was prudish to begin with, he soon fell in love with her, especially in a scene in which he learned the words for 'hand, arm, neck, lips, and breast' as he worked his way up to kissing her lips and her bared breast (an obvious body double). They made love, and he apologized: "That was too quick, wasn't it?" She replied in a phony native accent: "You teach me English, I'll I teach you this. School is not finished," and she got on top.

Afterwards, he walked around her, holding onto her sarong's upper-body fabric and circling around her until she was unwrapped and naked. After more lovemaking, he told her while lying naked with her: "Not quite the education my father had in mind." However, she insisted on leaving his bed at night, the proper etiquette for her role as a sleeping dictionary, cautioning him:

"For the Iban, if a man and a woman wake up together five nights in a row, they are engaged. You don't want that, do you?"

Truscott was the assistant of the regional governor Henry Bullard (Bob Hoskins), whose Oxford-educated daughter Cecil Bullard (Emily Mortimer) also arrived to visit her parents and to provide a more appropriate match for John. Although Cecil was courted by another officer, she fell for John, who couldn't let go of Selima. However, John and Selima were forbidden to marry and their relationship was doomed.

Ultimately, Truscott and Cecil were married in England, although it was mostly a loveless relationship. In the meantime, Selima was pregnant with John's baby, but was preparing to marry the native Iban chief's son Belansai (Eugene Salleh). John returned to work in Sarawak, where he endangered his life by visiting his young son Mandar.

The film's twist was that Selima was the result of another 'sleeping dictionary' relationship between John's superior Henry and another native woman.

John Truscott (Hugh Dancy)

(body double)

Selima (Jessica Alba) and John (Hugh Dancy)

Cecil Bullard (Emily Mortimer)

Something's Gotta Give (2003)

In this tables-turned around romantic comedy by writer/director Nancy Meyers, 57 year-old Diane Keaton was notable for her Oscar-nominated role as sexy, mid-50s, divorced, successful playwright Erica Barry.

In one notable scene, 63 year-old Viagra-taking record-company mogul Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) - who was dating younger women as girlfriends (including Erica's daughter Marin (Amanda Peet)) and revealing: "I'm dating your daughter" - came upon a naked and embarrassed Erica in her Hamptons beach house.

Harry soon took an interest in the more age-appropriate woman after suffering a mild heart attack.

Erica Barry (Diane Keaton)

Swimming Pool (2003, Fr./UK)

François Ozon's psychological thriller (with a violent twist ending) and enigmatic art film set in the countryside of South France contained frequent exhibitionism and nudity in its convoluted tale.

An emotionally-unbalanced, wildly promiscuous publisher's daughter named Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) came to be in the presence of an unnerved, uptight mystery-crime novelist Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), a repressed writer. Sarah was unnerved by Julie's voluptuous nudity, promiscuity, and free-spirited nature, often displayed within her view or beside the pool.

Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) By the Swimming Pool and Elsewhere

In one scene, Julie pleasured herself two-handed while sunning in a one-piece white swimming suit (as she fantasized about an aroused male lover standing above her in a skimpy suit). In another scene, she sat topless next to Sarah for extended exposure.

The writer soon incorporated the events that occurred by the pool (including a bludgeoning death) into her latest work - and became less repressed in the creative, self-awakening process.

Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Jonathan Mostow's blockbuster sequel to the original Terminator franchise film of 1984, Terminator Model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) time-traveled to Los Angeles in the year 1995 and appeared as a naked man amidst sparks. He then casually strolled stark-naked into a country-western bikers' hangout called The Corral. As waitresses and patrons turned their wide-open eyes toward him, his alphanumeric readouts calculated body outlines to estimate and analyze which one of the customers was deemed a suitable MATCH for leather clothing and boots.

His opponent was a seemingly-indestructible prototype T-1000 android (Robert Patrick) who also appeared naked after transport.

In the third film in the series, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), the first evil female terminator, called T-X or Terminatrix (Kristanna Loken), was Skynet's most sophisticated cyborg killing machine to date. She also first appeared naked (under the credits) as she approached a parked silver sports-car Lexus on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on a moonlit night and appropriated the car and the female driver's clothing.

The Terminatrix (Kristanna Loken) or T-X in Terminator 3

When stopped for speeding through a red light by a police officer, she inflated her breasts after seeing a nearby Victoria's Secret billboard displaying a lingerie-wearing model with large breasts and the slogan: "WHAT IS SEXY?" - and then told the officer seductively: "I like your gun."

A protector Terminator (T-850) (Arnold Schwarzenegger) also arrived naked and in a crouched position - in the middle of the desert. He walked unclothed into the Desert Star bar, scanned the patrons for a MATCH, and then forcefully demanded the clothes of a leather-clad male stripper (on-stage and mid-performance) during a cowgirls' Ladies Night "Pleasure Men Fantasy Show."

Another astonishing scene was the one-on-one fight in the film's finale between the two Terminators in the USAF's CRS building (hallway, men's room, and storeroom), when their combat became a parody of sexual relations (sparks, locked legs, twitching, etc.).

The Two Terminators in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator (T-850)
(Arnold Schwarzenegger)

T-850 vs. T-X

Thirteen (2003) (aka 13)

Director/co-scripter Catherine Hardwicke's authentic R-rated coming-of-age film was well-received, with accolades for its acting and for its semi-autobiographical script that was co-written by teenaged star Nikki Reed (at age 13). Reed starred in the film at age 14 as the film's trouble-making instigator named Evie Zamora.

The film followed the downward transformation of:

  • Tracy Louise Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood), a straight-A, honey-blonde Los Angeles 7th grader

Tracy followed after persuasive Evie into a world of rebelliousness against her divorced mother Melanie (Best Supporting Actress-nominated Holly Hunter), an at-home beautician.

She also engaged in a dangerous mix of random sex with boys, lesbian experimentation with each other, drugs, shoplifting, body-piercing, self-mutilating abuse and more.

In one telling scene, Tracy revealed to her mother that she had both a belly-button piercing and tongue-piercing:

"IT'S A BELLY-BUTTON RING! HOW ELSE CAN I SAY IT, I DON'T SPEAK NO OTHER LANGUAGES! Oh, and you wanna know what that is? (She stuck out her tongue)...That is a tongue ring."

Both co-dependent, competitive girls pushed each other toward sexual conquest of boys, in a parallel or mirror-image sequence of an intense lesbian make-out session, as a way to get closer to each other.

Lesbian Experimentation:
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed)

Twentynine Palms (2003, Fr./Germ./US) (aka 29 Palms)

French director Bruno Dumont's self-conscious and dispassionate art-house film had a cast of two:

  • Katia (Yekaterina Golubeva), an unemployed Russian-French girlfriend
  • David (David Wissak), an American photographer

The uncommunicative couple drove a huge red Hummer through parts of the barren Southern California desert outside Los Angeles (around Joshua Tree) for almost the film's entire two-hour length, with various short passionate bouts of fighting and explicit love-making - first in a swimming pool, and then next to some rock formations where they hiked (when she complained about painful intercourse: "I'm too dry, my love").

Love-Making and Sunning in the Southern California Desert

As they climbed further and laid on the rough rocks, she grabbed his genitals to shelter them from the burning sun. After basking for awhile, they climbed down and later made love with loud orgasms for each of them in their motel room. Following an argument, they both found themselves running around in the dark, wrestling and struggling with each other in the middle of a deserted road until they collapsed in each other's arms.

In the film's abrupt, violent, and gruesome finale, they were stopped by a group of young thugs. David was beaten to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat and then sodomized from behind, and Katia was stripped and forced to watch. Afterwards, she crawled to him in the sand as he sobbed uncontrollably. They survived the brutal attack and retreated to their hotel room without calling the police.

In the enigmatic, unexplainable ending (a double-suicide?), after Katia returned with pizza, a naked man (David?) with wildly-cropped hair maniacally rushed at her from the bathroom and repeatedly stabbed her in the stomach, leaving her dead on the bed. The same naked man was found lying dead in the desert (seen in a distant long-shot) next to their red Hummer vehicle by a patrolman in a police car.

21 Grams (2003)

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's stunning and compelling drama about raw emotional loss (told unconventionally with a non-linear presentation) was his English-language film debut. The fractured film told about how the lives of three separate strangers were interconnected by a cruel, random and fateful event - a fatal hit-and-run accident that occurred one evening.

The provocative film told of three main troubled souls, the widow, the hit-and-run driver that killed her husband, and the heart-transplant recipient:

  • Cristina Peck (Oscar-nominated Naomi Watts), widowed, grieving and bedraggled, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife; also a recovering drug-addict
  • Paul (Sean Penn), a warm-hearted mathematics college professor, the recipient of the transplanted heart of Cristina's tragically-killed husband; his wife Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg) was intent on getting pregnant and having his child before his death
  • Jack Jordan (Oscar-nominated Benicio del Toro), an ex-convict, ex-drug abuser, and guilt-stricken, religiously-spiritual fundamentalist, the driver of the hit-and-run pick-up truck that killed Cristina's architect husband Michael (Danny Huston) and two children

Cristina was devastated by the life-changing catastrophic incident, and returned to her alcohol/drug abuse past to deaden the pain. Paul's transplanted heart was beginning to be rejected.

The film opened without credits with a short view of a love-making scene between Cristina and Paul, who had started a relationship. It later returned to the full scene between them about one hour and a half hours into the film.

The Love-Making Scene In Full: Cristina with Paul

In the film's twisting plot, vengeful Cristina hired Paul to track down and kill accidental murderer Jack, although Paul couldn't go through with the deed. But then a bloody, face-to-face altercation between the three characters led to Paul shooting himself during a heart attack, and he was hospitalized (and soon died). Jack blamed himself for the shooting, but was released and returned to his family. The film ended with Cristina pregnant and preparing for a new child in her life.

The film's title referred to Paul's calculation of the amount of weight (21 grams) lost (a person's soul?) at the time of death:

"We all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of our death. Everyone, 21 grams, the weight of a stack of five nickels, the weight of a chocolate bar, the weight of a humming bird."

The Opening Image

Cristina (Naomi Watts) and Paul (Sean Penn)

Paul Hospitalized

Young Adam (2003, UK/Fr.)

Writer/director David Mackenzie's film, an adaptation of the 1954 novel by Alexander Trocchi, told about immorality practiced by some of its three main characters in mid-1950s Scotland.

It was controversial for its explicit, often sweaty and numerous nude scenes. The inconsistent MPAA rated the realistically-sexual film as NC-17 for its explicit scenes of love-making between the main characters, although they weren't any more revealing than most R-rated films. Sony Pictures Classics released the film without further editing, and thereby limited its appeal to mainstream audiences.

The film's characters, within a bleak setting of 1950s Glasgow, included:

  • Joe Taylor (Ewan MacGregor), an alienated young, amoral working-class drifter
  • Ella Gault (Tilda Swinton), the sex-starved, unhappily-married, wretched owner of a coal barge
  • Les Gault (Peter Mullan), Ella's cuckolded husband

Joe was employed on Ella's coal barge, named Atlantic Eve, that navigated the Clyde River. Joe and Leslie found the half-naked body of a young woman, office worker Cathie Dimly (Emily Mortimer), floating in the canal. Afterwards, it became clear that Joe might have been implicated in her accidental death.

Joe started to seduce Ella, in an illicit affair, in a scene where he rubbed his leg against Ella's under the family dinner table. The two made love for the first time on a riverbank. Their coupling in this scene, mostly obscured by clothing, was the most contentious of the film's explicit sex scenes, and the one that earned the film an NC-17 rating. Joe offered Ella prolonged oral sex as she passively laid back and spread her legs in the nighttime outdoor scene - something that made the ratings board very nervous.

One of the film's most startling post-coital images was of an errant black fly rubbing its legs together while walking around Ella's nipple. In another contested scene, Ella also manually aroused Joe, and they rested together in bed after having sex with a clear view of Joe's flaccid penis (full-frontal).

Joe also experienced flashbacks of his past sexual relationship to deceased ex-girlfriend Cathie Dimly. In the film's kinkiest, erotically-violent encounter on a kitchen floor, Joe provided her with a spanking by a wooden slat and from-behind sex during a sensual food fight, with custard-tomato sauce for stimulation.

The Contentious Oral Sex Scene

Ella Gault (Tilda Swinton)

Cathie Dimly (Emily Mortimer)

Sex in Cinematic History
History Overview | Reference Intro | Pre-1920s | 1920-26 | 1927-29 | 1930-1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934-37 | 1938-39
1940-44 | 1945-49 | 1950-54 | 1955-56 | 1957-59 | 1960-61 | 1962-63 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985-1 | 1985-2 | 1986-1 | 1986-2 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992-1 | 1992-2 | 1993 | 1994-1 | 1994-2 | 1995-1 | 1995-2 | 1996-1 | 1996-2 | 1997-1 | 1997-2 | 1998-1 | 1998-2 | 1999-1 | 1999-2
2000-1 | 2000-2 | 2001-1 | 2001-2 | 2002-1 | 2002-2 | 2003-1 | 2003-2 | 2004-1 | 2004-2 | 2005-1 | 2005-2 | 2006-1 | 2006-2
2007-1 | 2007-2 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

Index to All Decades, Years and Features

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