In 2022, more masks came down and more lips came together. Two years since the start of the pandemic, the world finally let itself be horny again—and thank god! Things were looking dire for a second there.
Hollywood’s libido came back strong too, with a bevy of tantalizing offerings to satiate restless audiences looking to get their butts back in theater seats to see, well, butts. But this year’s sexiest movies came with a few curveballs. Who would’ve expected one of the hottest flicks of the year to be about performing surgery on your partner in front of a live audience? Or featuring Harry Styles performing oral sex on both women and men?
There were welcome studies of sexuality among older generations and steamy thrillers with women named Melinda (hold your moans, please!). There was plenty of sex on screen in 2022, with something for everyone—even the most prudish of parents. We’re not going to risk seven years of bad sex by withholding from you, so let’s break down our favorite fornications.
365 Days: This Day and The Next 365 Days
There’s a lot wrong with the 365 Days franchise—its premise is fairly rapey, Netflix was able to crank out two in one year, and it’s not exactly the most original of this bunch—but a list of sexy movies from 2022 would be remiss without both its sequels. Yes, in 2022, Netflix released two new films in the 365 Days series, which follows a woman who falls in love with her kidnapper, a member of the Sicilian mob. They get married. One of them is shot. And there’s sex through it all, which is the main reason the series continues to dominate on Netflix’s Top 10 List.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Everyone is having sex and killing each other in Bodies Bodies Bodies. That’s all Gen Z is good for, apparently. The A24 flick brings in some of the hottest celebrities of the new generation, from Rachel Sennott and (millennial-cusper) Pete Davidson to Amandla Stenberg and Maria Bakalova, in a movie that feels like the memorable “Beach House” episode of Girls. But the sexiest, most sultry part of all? Lee Pace, who slices the top of a champagne bottle off and wears a lot of low cut shirts. Hubba hubba.
Bones and All
You might not think that a film about teenage cannibalism could be one of the sexiest films of the year, but you’d be wrong. And that’s fine for you! Bones and All thrusts viewers into its deftly crafted world where flesh-eaters roam among us, illustrating the intrinsic romance of consumption. Stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet navigate their shared condition on an endless road, uniting in blood-soaked carnage that’s surprisingly erotic.
Crimes of the Future
In case you haven’t heard, surgery is the new sex! In 2022, that might’ve been liable to become the latest TikTok trend (who knows what the hell is going on over there?), but it was actually the conceit of legendary body-horror auteur David Cronenberg’s first film since 2014. Crimes of the Future takes place in a world where our bodies have adapted to a new synthetic reality, free from experiencing physical pain. Now, our pleasure is derived not just from sex, but from the intimacy of surgical procedures—which can now be performed without any sedatives. Lea Seydoux commands this radical thriller, and her careful, French-accented whispers to Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart are just as sexy as any scalpel.
Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas were once a couple known for their many staged paparazzi trips to Dunkin’ Donuts, but they also released an erotic thriller together too. Deep Water dropped on Hulu earlier this year, featuring the recently broken-up couple—Affleck is now married to ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez—as a husband and wife in an open relationship. When lovers start to go missing, the hot marriage is dripping in tension that’s both threatening and sexual.
Don’t Worry Darling
There was a bit of controversy surrounding the sex scenes in Don’t Worry Darling, thanks to director Olivia Wilde’s comments on them. “Men don’t come in this film,” she told Variety. “Only women here!” This statement makes less sense after you see the twist in the film, which—spoiler!—means Harry Styles’ character is sexually assaulting Florence Pugh every time they get intimate. Nevertheless, the scenes themselves are perfectly shot. Maybe next time they can be hot and consensual.
2022 was a fantastic year for mainstream gay cinema. Bros and Spoiler Alert both earned raves from critics and audiences alike, but it was Hulu’s Fire Island that had as many abs, pecs, and Speedos as it did scintillating laughs. A modern take on Jane Austen—something that has never been done before (if you just woke up from a 50-year coma)—the film follows a group of queer friends in their annual pilgrimage to New York’s famed Fire Island. They quickly discover that the house they’ve been renting for years, however, is going up for sale after their trip. In the wake of the news, each guy tries to have the best vacation of his life, which becomes complicated by classism and plenty of romantic entanglements. Oh, and many, many ass cheeks.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Actresses like Emma Thompson aren’t usually given the opportunity to be the female lead in sex comedies, so thank goodness for Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. The Academy Award-winning actress stars as a new widow trying to spice up her life. After 50 years of marriage, Nancy still hasn’t had an orgasm, so she hires sex worker Leo (Daryl McCormack) to do the trick. The pair spend the entire movie in one hotel room, having plenty of sex focused on women’s pleasure.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Though they also starred in My Policeman, Emma Corrin’s sexiest movie of the year is Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which follows the actor as a woman in need of pleasure in the English countryside. After Lady Chatterley’s husband is paralyzed at war, he can no longer have sex—so, naturally, she opts to sleep with the groundskeeper. There’s sex in the forest and by the fireplace, plenty of nudity, and the romance plot keeps up with the intimate scenes, too.
Whose bingo card had “A Decent Harry Styles Acting Performance” on it? Certainly not ours. And yet, to both our surprise and delight, Styles brought all of the natural charisma and sex appeal that he drips on stage to his second leading role of the year. In My Policeman, Styles plays the titular cop in 1950s London, where he falls into a relationship with another man. This, of course, complicates his married life. But what’s not complicated are those steamy sex scenes, in which Styles and his paramour, played by David Dawson, engage in copulation that’s both thoughtfully tender and genuinely erotic.
What’s sexier than Antonio Banderas wearing an ab-contraction machine? Somehow, the remaining entirety of Official Competition, the Spanish-language romp about an enigmatic, reclusive director (Penélope Cruz) making her latest film. Throughout its production, Cruz’s character uses her innate sex appeal to command her actors. The culmination of her efforts is a prolonged makeout scene, where she tries to illustrate how to make the audience feel the sensuality she wants to see in her film.
This porno-in-the-making horror is equal parts fright and fornication. X saw a group of naive Texan hustlers secluding themselves on a ranch to make an artsy piece of erotica, only to face the terror of the ranch-owner and his dastardly wife, Pearl. X was special in that it not only gave audiences the conventions of sexy horror, but also explored how society treats older people and neglects to consider them as sexual beings. X soft-launched an entire trilogy of films, including fellow 2022 release Pearl. But nothing will be quite as memorable as our first time seeing Mia Goth in hyper-realistic old-age makeup, rampaging through a ranch in a blood-soaked nightgown and making time for a quickie along the way.