Ronan Watters Explores the History of Sex as Depicted in Mainstream Cinema.

We love sex on the screen. Whether it is the latest arthouse offering from Cannes or the countless free “movies” you can find online at various websites, the answer is clear, we are obsessed as a species with watching others doing the act. The cinema has quite an interesting history when it comes to how sex has been shown on the screen throughout its existence. I decided to look at the origins of sex on the screen and how it developed over cinematic time. The timeline that I am about to present to you is one that became even more interesting to me as I compiled it. It is not an all encompassing timeline, as we would be here forever, but it includes films that I believe are important for paving the way for sex on the screen.


The Kiss (1896)

You have seen this 120 plus year old dirty film, haven’t you? As the title suggests, The Kiss was the film considered to contain cinema’s first sex scene, a scandalous kiss. While the film by today’s standard is about as offensive as Mickey Mouse, it was considered an immoral abomination when first released. Film critics, audience members, religious figures, you name it, everyone back in 1896 was repulsed by this film. One critic even described the film as “absolutely disgusting”. How far we have come.