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Sex Sells: A Film Study

Sex sells! In 2020 alone, searches for “sexy films” have increased by 52% worldwide, proving that even in troubled times, and with less films being made, there’s still an appetite for cheap thrills and torrid trysts.

MattressNextDay examined 28,841 films from IMDb containing a range of sex related keywords to find out the top mainstream films containing the most sex related content, how much they’re raking in and how the sex is depicted. Our worldwide results show that sex is prolific and provocative across all genres, even horrors and comedies. 

Read on to find out more about some of the most sexually explicit films and check out our interactive results for the full findings too.

The Dirty 30: The Films With The Most Sexual Content

If you’re looking for high rates of sexually explicit content, then this movie playlist has you covered. Unlike the actors that star in them! Although our full list contained films from as far back as 1911, only films from 1972 onwards made the cut. In fact, 37% of the films were of the 20th century and 63% from the 21st century, of which there’s only been 20 years so far. So it would appear, our appetite for sex is growing.

Eyes Wide Shut Is The Raunchiest Mainstream Movie

Taking 400 days to make, Eyes Wide Shut not only holds the record for the longest continuous film shoot but it also came out on top on our list of 'raunchiest mainstream movies'. Our research found that it had a sex and nudity severity rating of 89% and contained all six of the plot keywords we used to define our list, including “sex scene”, “male nudity” and “female nudity”.

 Drama Is The Genre With The Most Sexually Explicit Content

In our investigation, we looked at the genre of each film. While some movies have 3 or 4 genres to their name, there was a clear winner. 83% of films from our top 30 cited drama as their genre. Out of those, 37% were also mystery films and 43% thrillers. Well, they do say that sex is never simple!

Female Nudity Is More Rampant In Sexual Content

Our research analysed the references to male and female nudity within the plot keywords on IDMb and this revealed that 57% of all nudity in our list of the films with the most sexual content, belongs to the ladies. However, the gender split in each film varied wildly.

90% Of Nudity In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Is Female

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo came out as the top film for female nudity with a shocking 90% of all nudity in the film. That’s a mighty 73% more than the film with the lowest number of female nudity references, American History X.

Wild Things Features The Most Nudity In Film

Late 90s flick Wild Things had the highest instances of male and female nudity combined. Out of the 26 mentions, which included ‘female frontal nudity’, ‘naked female and ‘male pubic hair’, the gender split was 50/50.

The Tawdry Ten: Movies Raking In The Big Bucks From Sexual Content

Whatever you think of the Fifty Shades trilogy, the films have raked in over £1 billion worldwide at the box office. Just two of the films feature at the top of our most profitable mainstream list.

Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Freed are top of the Box Office, pulling in a total of £734,476,458. That’s not much less than the rest of the top 5, (Gone Girl, American Beauty and Basic Instinct) combined. 

Across all genres and genders, sex is explored through film. Head on over to our interactive results to find out the full story, AND to play our game, Sex Degrees of Kevin Bacon!


MattressNextDay analysed 28,841 films from IMDb containing at least one of the following plot keywords: Sex scene, female nudity, male nudity, infidelity, kiss and love, to find out which films contain the most sex.

We gave each film on our lists a “severity rating”, which is a percentage of the general public who voted the film as ‘severe’ in the sex and nudity section within the parental guidance information of IMDb.

We included only films with at least 30 severe votes and films had to be a certificate 15 or above. The threshold was 25 for films in 2020 as there have been a limited number of releases due to the pandemic.

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