Our entertainment team breaks down the most unsexy, hard-to-watch, and over-the-top sex scenes, from Lady Gaga to Keanu Reeves and, um, a pig.
As fall arrives and we’re left wondering what to do with our lingering, pent-up summer energy, The Daily Beast has decided to embrace what we are cheekily calling Sextember. All month, you’ll be able to read sex-related coverage from across all the beats that we cover here.
On the pop-culture side, we kicked things off by asking our entertainment team to write about the worst sex scenes they’ve ever seen. Some might think we’re in a Golden Age of hot sex in TV shows and movies. (One of Netflix’s most popular film franchises is essentially soft-core porn.) Others might argue that Hollywood has gotten frustratingly prudish. (How was that Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas movie not even remotely sexy?)
While not all sex scenes are memorable, there are certainly ones that implant in your memory for all the wrong reasons. Here’s our pick of the bad sex scenes that have stayed with us over the years.
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in House of Gucci
The sex scene between Lady Gaga and Adam Driver occurs less than 30 minutes into this two-and-a-half-hour film, but it was all I could think about until the credits rolled. In the scene, Maurizio Gucci (Driver) takes a job at Patrizia Reggiani’s (Gaga) father’s trucking company, and Patrizia calls her fiancé into the accounting office where she works. After making sure no one else is present, they begin ravenously kissing, knocking everything out of their way and ramming into walls at comically hard speeds. Then, in Ridley Scott’s dramatic fashion, opera music starts to play as Maurizio lays Patrizia down onto a desk and proceeds to bang the living daylights out of her. I genuinely thought Lady Gaga was the best, most watchable part of House of Gucci, but in this scene, she screams like a feral boar being put out of its misery. To be fair, that’s the embarrassing nature of sex, but watching this gloriously absurd scene with my in-laws in theaters over Thanksgiving weekend sucked the air of the room. And her moans didn’t even have an Italian accent. Shouldn’t it be: Ooooh-a?
The Na’vis in Avatar
This is a real Sophie’s Choice of deeply upsetting, unpleasant, unsexy, and occasionally week-ruining scenes to choose from here. (Black Mirror… the pig… I need to run and vomit again.) But there is something just so absurd about the most shocking revelation in Avatar: The Na’vi have sex with their ponytails. I guess technically it’s some sort of tentacle-y appendage, but it doesn’t make it any stranger to watch. Everything about Avatar was so insufferably held up by James Cameron to be profound. It’s hilarious to me that, along that line of thinking, he was like, “And then they’ll have sex using their hair, and that’ll really blow everyone away…” I remember uncontrollably giggling the first time I watched it—on IMAX!—in a theater. Not exactly the response someone should want from a love scene.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss in The Matrix Reloaded
The Wachowskis’ heavily anticipated 2003 sequel The Matrix Reloaded didn’t lack ambition or pretension, and climaxes (pun intended) with its sex scene between Keanu Reeves’ Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity in the human outpost Zion, a subterranean realm where everything—the torch lighting, the dark clothes—demands to be called “earthy.” Neo and Trinity get it on in a womb-like bedchamber while their Zion compatriots dance oh-so-sweatily to electro-tribal music at an orgiastic rave. The way the Wachowskis shoot these erotically undulating bodies in seductive slow motion, their hands all over each other and their dreadlocks spraying water everywhere, is overcooked to the point of absurdity. So too are the exaggerated movements and expressions of Neo and Trinity, which strain so hard for breathy passion that they elicit only eye-rolls. That Neo has a vision of Trinity’s demise at the moment that they jointly finish is undoubtedly meant to speak to the intrinsic relationship between life and death. Mostly, it just makes me wish they’d put their clothes back on and resume kung-fuing.
Adam Driver and Shiri Appleby in Girls
Season 2, Episode 9 of Girls (“On All Fours”) has an overall terrible vibe. Hannah is broke, late on her ebook deadline, and more mentally ill than ever. Marnie tries to get her ex’s attention by singing a treacly, over-enunciated cover of Kanye West’s “Stronger.” Meanwhile, Natalia—a very nice, normal girl who would probably rather die than hang out with either of them—visits Adam’s apartment for the first time. It’s disgusting, but that doesn’t stop Adam, still reeling from an earlier run-in with Hannah, from testing out his dom-sub kink on his new girlfriend without warning. He makes her crawl on the floor, which is littered with sawdust and nails from some shit he’s building. She’s not sure where he’s headed with this, but she goes along with it, figuring he’s just trying to have fun. He then picks her up, ignores everything she says, uses her for an undignified 18 seconds of doggystyle, and ejaculates on her chest after she repeatedly asks him not to. It’s not very fun, nor consensual, and it has the added discomfort of suggesting that Natalia may not be as adventurous and down-for-anything as Hannah is.
Rory Kinnear and a pig in Black Mirror’s “The National Anthem”
Everybody’s hyped for new episodes of Black Mirror, but let’s not forget the wild way the show began. Talk about a beginning with a bang—no pun intended. The dystopian saga kicked off its episodes with Britain’s prime minister being blackmailed into sleeping with a pig. The pig was plump. The prime minister was petrified. I watched through my fingers as the poor guy (or rather, perhaps it was deserved) made his decision. Sleep with the pig, and the nation’s princess is saved. Reject the pig, and she’ll die. After much deliberation, the guy has sex with a pig—while 1.3 billion people around the world watch. And the worst part? The princess was freed before he even made his decision. I can’t believe that Black Mirror made viewers watch this on their very first episode, and yet, folks (like myself!) have stayed loyal to the series to this day. I’ll never get the pig sex out of my brain. Time for a quick shower.