Forget those porn movies – Gay characters are becoming more and more prominent in mainstream cinema.
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Films that explore the relationships between same-sex couples are increasingly seen in the multiplexes as opposed to being the preserve of the art-house or independent cinema circuits. There have been a number of pivotal moments in cinema whereby films with wider appeal have either hinted at or graphically displayed on screen gay or lesbian sex. From Personal Best to The Crying Game, The Rocky Horror Show to My Beautiful Laundrette, there is a welcome increase in both serious and light-hearted looks at the gay community. But with it, comes an increase in sex scenes, which can arouse you, make you reflect or fill you with romance. Here are six of the best, which, for a variety of reasons, are ones which are of note.
Intellectual Eddie (Josh Charles) is in the closet. Heading to college, he finds himself sharing a dorm with Stuart (Stephen Baldwin), a jock and serial womaniser. But due to an administrative error, their other roommate is Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle), a feisty young woman who is down as a male on the college records. But the complications start as they grow closer. Stuart loves Alex and wants sex with her. Alex loves Eddie and wants sex with him. And Eddie loves Stuart, hiding his desires to have sex with him and secretly checking him out at every opportunity. The three of them become firm friends and, of course, sex gets in the way. Until that is, they think that they have found the perfect solution….
But will the three of them end up in a ménage a Trois and will Eddie ever get his desires towards Stuart fulfilled? A mostly shirtless, muscular Baldwin brother plays the all-American depraved teen with lustful desires towards his female roommate, but who gets more of an education at college than he probably imagined when he filled out his application.
Zack is an aspiring artist trapped in a life of supporting his dysfunctional family and caring for his nephew, until his best friend’s gay brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe), comes back from L.A. As the two hang out and surf together their feelings for each other develop among the waves, surfboards and wetsuits. Not only do they hide their relationship for Zack’s benefit, who is struggling with his new found feelings, Shaun encourages Zack to take control of his life and follow his ambitions. But not before the two of them have engaged in plenty of bedroom activities.
If a hunky surfer, a semi-twink and lots of manly dudes in wetsuits is your thing, then this film may be for you. The beautiful boys find time to kiss, cuddle and caress each other in the California sun, the highlight of this film is an early morning romp whereby the boys nearly get caught by their brother and best friend.
4. Wild Things
In this steamy thriller, two girls accuse a high school counsellor of raping them in a convoluted extortion plot. But as the key players in the plan find themselves increasingly mistrusting of the others, Suzie Marie Toller (played by Neve Cambell) attacks Kelly Lanier Van Ryan (Denise Richards) in a swimming pool, but the attack turns to lust as the two girls kiss passionately and undress each other, whilst all the time being observed and filmed by a police officer hiding in the undergrowth.
The swimming pool scene is one example of how this film strides out where other erotic thrillers (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) feared to tread by showing erotic lesbian sex scenes with partially nude Hollywood starlets. After watching this, it becomes clear why they stayed in the pool to cool off.
3. Beautiful Thing
Teenage life on a London council estate is difficult for Jamie, who has a crush on his handsome classmate and neighbour, Ste (played by the very beautiful Scott Neal). In Beautiful Thing, Ste has his own problems with his dysfunctional family and alcoholic father. Love slowly blossoms between the two boys as they deal with an interfering neighbour, visit their first gay bar and grow into their sexuality.
The catalyst for all of this is when Ste is beaten by his father and spends the night at Jamie’s. Sleeping “top to toe”, Jamie starts by massaging Ste’s bruised body, but this turns into much more as the two boys end up kissing and subsequently sleeping together. But what makes this scene so special is that it is a beautifully tender moment which takes you back to your first love and maybe even reminds you of those fledgeling fumbles you once had.
In this film noir fuelled movie, Violet (Jennifer Tilley) wishes to escape her violent criminal boyfriend and so engages in a clandestine affair with a sexually charged ex-con, Corky (Gina Gershon) and the two of them plan to rip off $2 million of mob money. Double-crossing, violent criminals and underhand tactics cannot detract from the explicit sexual aspects of this film.
The two women are beautiful and their first encounter is a breathy, whispered and intimate one. Whoever thought that showing someone your tattoo would lead to such an erotic encounter? But their second encounter is why this film makes the list. As the camera pans around the two women, their graphic intimacy is clearly shown and the passion of the two women for each other really shows.
More visually detailed than your usual mainstream Hollywood film, this was a groundbreaking film at the time and settles in a high position in this list.
1. Brokeback Mountain
Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two Cowboys who find themselves with only each other for company whilst working high up on the slopes of Brokeback Mountain. With nothing but a supply of whisky and each other, they find a way to pass the time, leading to some fairly rough initial intimacy and huge feelings of guilt. But as the years go by, they share something more special than either of them ever anticipated and what starts off as a drunken fumble becomes a deep love for each other, although Ennis struggles more with it than Jack, who wants them to be together.
Who could resist Heath ledger and Jake Gyllenhall dressed as cowboys and engaging in some manly fun? Their first encounter in the tent, involving some spit and a few minutes of grunting is perhaps the best-known sex scene in the film, despite a number of other more romantic encounters as the years go by. But the film makes the list not for this scene or for the tantalising prospect of the two leads in various states of undress, but for the most romantic scene whereby, on a fishing trip, Ennis approaches Jack and simply folds his arms around him in an emotional embrace. Who says that romance is dead?