The steamy new Lady Chatterley’s Lover trailer has sparked an important conversation

From Issa Rae’s Insecure to Netflix’s Sex/Life, let’s talk about sex, baby. Or, rather, let’s talk about the best sex we’ve seen in films and TV shows created by and for women.     

The sizzling new trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (starring Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell) is trending, and, naturally, it has sparked a big discussion about the importance of “the female gaze”.

Now, we have heard a great deal about “the male gaze”,a concept coined by film theorist Laura Mulvey in 1975 to explain the objectification of women in Western media. And, of course, we’ve seen a great deal of it, too, with the most cited example being Michael Bay’s incredibly sexualised portrayal of Megan Fox in his 2007 film, Transformers.

More recently, though, “the female gaze” — the subtler flipside of the coin and, as such, trickier to define — has started to gain much more attention.

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Vulture has done its best to pin down “the female gaze,” insisting that it “sees people as people… [and] seeks to empathise rather than objectify.”

And it’s a definition that is easy to get behind, particularly when it comes to scenes of an erotic nature. Because, for too long, female desire and pleasure have been stigmatised and brushed under the carpet.

And so, with this thought in mind, we’ve handpicked some of the best films and TV shows (all created by women) which offer up sex scenes with a difference.

You are very welcome.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Netflix’s adaptation of DH Lawrence’s most scandalous novel is making waves on social media for all the right reasons, and it’s not even available for streaming yet.

“Emma Corrin and Jack O’Donnell’s chemistry is off the charts,” reads one YouTube comment beneath the film’s very-NSFW trailer.

“This will be intense,” notes another, alongside a string of fire emojis.

And another simply reads: “DAMNNNNNNNNN!!!!”

Speaking about the project, Corrin  – who plays Constance Chatterley, a woman who takes a lover after her husband’s war injury prevents him from being physically intimate with her – has spoken about the freedom of filming nude scenes.

“I’m so glad that it didn’t feel like gratuitous nudity. We spoke about that a lot when we started rehearsing,” they told The Cut.

“We always wanted any sex scene, or any part of the film, to be totally justified in their experience, and also to evolve… Connie is so starved of any intimacy, physical intimacy. I wonder if studies have been done now about how people haven’t realised how much we need that.

“We need comfort, touch, and intimacy as part of our mental wellbeing and stability.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover will become available for streaming on 2 December.


Sex/Life is full of gratifying sexual encounters.

Sex/Life quickly began trending on Netflix when it was released last year, and it’s easy to see why; it’s ridiculously sexy.

On the surface, Billie Connelly (Sarah Shahi) seems to have it all; the perfect suburban home, a wonderful family, and a doting husband (Mike Vogel). Before she became a wife and mother, though, Billie was a fun-loving student having wild sex with Brad Simon (Adam Demos) – and, god, does she miss the heady abandon of those days. So much so that she is almost constantly plagued by explicit sexual fantasies and flashbacks, each of which feels as gratifying to the viewer as the last.

Yes, some people have complained that the series romanticises cheating. And yes, others have complained that there’s nobody to root for. But, with full-frontal male nudity (watch out for that viral shower scene everyone’s tweeting about), a commitment to the female gaze, and erotic scenes meticulously choreographed by an on-set intimacy coordinator, it’s little wonder this TV series is turning women on left, right, and centre. 

Sex/Life is now streaming on Netflix.


Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s 1996 film Bound is a neo-noir crime thriller unlike any other. Violet (Gina Gershon) has fallen hard for Corky (Jennifer Tilly) – but she’s the live-in mistress of a violent gangster and, as such, is forced to turn to truly desperate measures to ensure that she can be with the woman she loves.

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It’s worth noting that, to make the sex scenes between the two women come alive, the Wachowskis hired sex educator Susie Bright to choreograph them.

Bound is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.


The sex scenes seen in Issa Rae’s Insecure are unlike any other. Reveling in all the awkward glory of coitus, we’re treated to cosy sofa sex, steamy encounters aboard a Ferris Wheel, blindfold-play, and everything in between.

Insecure is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

The Love Witch

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In this erotic feminist satire, Elaine (Samantha Robinson) whips up spells and potions in her gothic apartment, then picks up men and seduces them. Her spells work just a little too well, though, and she soon ends up with a string of hapless victims to dispose of. And we’ll leave you to guess what happens when she finally falls hard for a man…

The Love Witch is available to stream via Amazon Prime Video with a Sundance Now subscription.

Normal People

Full-frontal nudity, unhurried sex, raw desire, relatable bedroom mishaps, BDSM, and casual conversations about condoms and consent? No wonder we all fell so hard for the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People during our first UK lockdown, way back in 2020.

Normal People is streaming on BBC iPlayer.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

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It’s no surprise that Portrait Of A Lady On Fire won awards at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the Queer Palme. Sumptuous and simmering with sexual tension, the period drama centres on the painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), the reluctant portrait subject with whom she falls deeply, madly in love.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is available to stream via Amazon Prime Video with a MUBI subscription.

The Piano

Jane Campion became the first female director to win the Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or with The Piano, which tells the story of a mute musician named Ada (Holly Hunter) and her impossibly tortured love affair with Baines (Harvey Keitel), a retired sailor with a Maori tattoo on his face.

The Piano is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

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Sex Education

Written by Laurie Nunn, Sex Education isn’t always sexy; far from it, in fact. But, despite all the moments that make you want to hide your face under a cushion and never come out again, this show’s focus is almost entirely on desire, pleasure, and how to ask for what you want in bed.

Sex Education is streaming on Netflix.


Best erotic films and TV: Bridgerton

Shondaland’s Bridgerton is every bit as sexy as it is romantic, boasting a plethora of steamy scenes in an array of intriguing locations (we’re thinking, in particular, about that particular incident with the ladder). 

Unlike your classic bodice-ripper, though, the Netflix series places a particular emphasis on female pleasure, and allows its debutantes to revel in their introduction to carnal pleasures without shame or hesitation.

Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix.

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High Art

In Lisa Cholodenko’s High Art, Sydney (Radha Mitchell) has grown dissatisfied with her perfect life. When she knocks on the door upstairs, though, she meets renowned photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy), and finds herself caught up in a dark romance unlike anything she could have imagined…

High Art is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Love & Basketball

Yes, we know this is primarily a film about a young woman’s desire to become a professional basketball player. It also, though, includes one of the most talked-about sex scenes in movie history.

As director Gina Prince-Bythewood explains to Shadow And Act: “When we did it, I was very specific about what I wanted it to be. It’s a girl’s first time, Monica’s first time, I wanted it to be the fantasy…I kind of wanted to give a blueprint for boys and girls of what to expect. I wanted the reality of it.Sanaa [Lathan] and Omar [Epps] were so dope in that scene, so protective of each other. They just gave the realness, especially just the looks that they were giving each other that said so much, which added organic humor to it which I loved.”

“When it came time to get our MPAA grade on it, they gave us an R, and it was because of that scene,” she continues.

“Their argument was that the scene was too real, which is so bizarre… there’s no nudity whatsoever in it, there’s no grinding. So you’re giving me an R because it felt too real, but that was the whole point.”

Love & Basketball is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.


Best erotic films and TV: Valeria on Netflix

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Not binged your way through Valeria yet? Add it to the Netflix list! The comedy-drama follows a Madrid woman in her late 20s who is slowly realising just how unfulfilled she is by her marriage of six years. In exploring all the pitfalls of sex, though, her inevitable passionate affair with her crush, Victor (Maxi Iglesias) is off-the-charts hot.

Valeria is streaming on Netflix now.

Images: Netflix

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