The Bustle Ballot

The Award For Best Sex Scene Goes To...

Celebrating movies that give the people what they want.

Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard in 'Annette.'
Amazon Studios

Onscreen sex has never been more difficult to pull off. Even as Hollywood staffs up with intimacy coordinators — a much-needed change to on-set conditions — a consensus has yet to be reached regarding the proper use of fornication on film. What’s gratuitous, and what’s just titillating? What’s objectifying, and what’s above board? It’s all drawing attention to what has long been an under-appreciated art, derided by the establishment as lowbrow at best and churlish at worst: the sex scene. There’s a whole art to them. You can’t just throw two (or more) people together, yell “action,” and expect chemistry to appear out of thin air. (Unless you’re in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the goal is to have as little chemistry as possible anyways, probably because they’re supposed to be like Barbie and Ken under those unitards.)

And even as attitudes towards sex, onscreen and off, continue to evolve, one thing will never change: Audiences are very, very horny. And thankfully, there were more than a few films in 2021 that served their needs, from the sensual to the randy to the downright inflammatory. Here, Bustle has compiled a list of the year’s best sex scenes, and crowned a winner.

The Runners-Up

Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, House of Gucci

One word: Energy! To see Lady Gaga’s Patrizia hump Adam Driver’s Maurizio with the same vigor she’d later channel into more murderous pursuits... a gift.

Jamie Dornan, Annie Mumolo, and Kristen Wiig, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

In Barb, Star, and Edgar’s drug-fueled threesome, there is no shame, only pleasure. May we all go to bed as unencumbered as these middle-aged heroines.

Gemma Chan and Richard Madden, Eternals

In all honesty, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the short dalliance that Chan and Madden’s characters share, aside from the fact that it was the first of its kind in a Marvel film. Shoutout to director Chloe Zhao for taking the first step toward what will be, if there is any justice, a profoundly horny MCU flick down the road. (Looking at you, Harry Styles’ Starfox.)

Virginie Efira and Daphne Patakia, Bendetta

This entire movie was designed to be as heretically sexy as possible, with little regard to actual plot or character development, and that’s kind of cool. Plus, Virgin Mary dildo — you don’t see those every day.

Winner: Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, Annette

Before anyone saw Annette, they read the headline: Adam Driver — for the first time in cinema history, supposedly — would sing while performing cunnilingus. This, it turned out, was mildly misleading. It’s more like he comes up for air, croons a few words, then dives back down to finish the job. But what’s truly remarkable about this scene is that, somehow, it’s hot — even when Driver pops up to sing a single line like a tertiary Disney character in a musical number.

Moreover, the scene raises intriguing questions about the film’s later events. Does singing into a vagina during intercourse ensure you’ll conceive a puppet baby with an opera-worthy voice? Is this something my partner and I should try if I want to become a momager? Or will that inevitably end in my death, and my partner getting outed for murdering me at the Super Bowl? Gynecologists, I expect answers in my inbox by tomorrow morning.

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