How TV & Movies Get Sex Wrong and Those That Got it Right

When it comes to our favorite movies and TV shows, life is depicted as many things. Perfectly timed one liners, flawlessly made-up faces when falling asleep for the night, and of course rides into the sunset as the finale track fades in to sum up the lessons we just learned in the last 120 minutes.

Rarely in these classifications, however, is accuracy really taken into account—which reigns true most of all when it’s time for the token sequence of steamy on-screen sex.

Guilty Culprits, What’s The Deal?

To anyone who knows a thing or two about doing the deed, it’s pretty obvious Hollywood knows how to produce any and everything they (and an audience) could ever want in a sexy moment. The romance, the tension, the picturesque dream of every person’s fantasy coming to life before their eyes…

Let’s face it: fictional sex has a way of being so much easier than the real thing.

There’s rarely any prep work or clean up. Not to mention zero discussions before, after or even during the act of what’s working and what’s not. You don’t see anyone asking the other about birth control or health history, and couples often seem to not only orgasm at the same time, but also from just about 30 seconds of penetration alone!


Sure, we get that it’s a lot more arousing to see Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams skip the foreplay and get straight to the pleasurable punch in The Notebook (yet still impressive that he could make it up all of those stairs with wet pants around his ankles), as well as Josh Hartnett bring Shannyn Sossamon to such a “forbidden” orgasm in 40 Days and 40 Nights by blowing flower petals around her pelvis, but really—we can do better!

Luckily, we totally have.

Champions of Reality

Sex IRL isn’t always pretty or perfect, but depictions of the not-always-so-glamorous act do in fact exist on screens both large and small.

Friends With Benefits:

Few things are as charming as JT and Mila Kunis teamed-up together, but even better was their ability to paint a fairly accurate picture for what pre-sex festivities should entail. They actually talked about the sex they were about to have, shouted out their own personal habits and preferences, plus portrayed the fact that foreplay leads to a far better orgasm for everyone! All while owning up to a healthy amount of silliness that can totally go along with it, too.


10 Things I Hate About You:

Before jumping into the sheets, showing consent to do so is obviously critical; and Heath Ledger proved to be admirably ahead of the “me too” times when he refused to kiss his crush Kat because he saw she was too drunk to genuinely agree to any kind of potentially romantic antics.


Netflix’s Love:

As Micky and Gus eased into one of their first big intimate moments, she asked if it was alright to whip out her good ole friend the Magic Wand. Which definitely goes to show you can use sex toys without your partner thinking it’s weird (even though it can – and should – be a much hotter scenario than how things quite played out here).



While every day’s a perfect occasion for sex, we also loved Wade and Vanessa’s special spirit when she busted out a harness to use on him for International Women’s Day. Although it was quick, the scene still proves the point that anyone can go for the strapped-on gold, regardless of orientation.



Although not many people would complain about a sex scene starring Don Draper, his performance as Annie Walker’s f-buddy leaves little to lust about. There’s no denying the hilarious cringe factor; however, the lack of coordination about positions and speed while sealing the not-so-sexy deal goes to show how awkward sex can be without proper communication all the way though. 


And finally, HBO:

Of course we can’t talk about television sex without HBO, who’s had a rich (and long) history of breaking through mainstream sexual taboos—especially when it comes to the female point of view. This goes for everything from Samantha’s same-sex relationship where she finally learned her way around pleasing another vagina for the first time in SATC, to Marnie’s infamous analingus debut in Girls—both of which go to show perfectly normal parts of sex that totally happen, yet aren’t the most common threads of theatrically shown story. Go figure!



So even though it can take a lot more time, sometimes risk harsher ratings, and frankly, just isn’t as grandly picturesque, more realistic representations of sex in TV and movies are far more convincing and commendable than their fairy-tale counterparts. We know it, we do it, so come on, Hollywood! We’ve wised up to your cliché games, and perhaps it’s time for you to start doing the same.


Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her website ( and on Instagram (@AJAndMore)!

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