Sex + Dating

The Famous Sex Scenes You Probably Watched Uncomfortably With Your Parents


Few experiences in life surpass the excruciating awkwardness of unexpectedly having to sit through a movie sex scene with your parents. There you are, just enjoying a little family movie time, only to look up from your bowl of Cheetos to see an unmistakable pair of breasts on the screen. What do you do? Avert your eyes? Hope dad takes it upon himself to fast forward? Sneak off into another room in the house to die?

The circumstances that might lead to such an occasion can vary from innocent channel surfing to the allure of Oscar prestige, but once it's happened, you'll never be able to watch that movie the same way ever again -- that is, if you're able to watch it at all. Here are 10 love scenes you may have had the displeasure of viewing with parental supervision.

10. True Lies

So, to be fair, this "sex scene" isn’t a sex scene at all, but rather one of intense disrobing. Nonetheless, the experience of seeing Jamie Lee Curtis take it all off (after a few false starts) perform one of the more memorable stripteases in cinematic history for the future governor of California blindsided plenty of families who likely thought they were just settling in for a couple of hours of watching Arnold do more typical, explosion-related Arnold things. 

9. Boogie Nights

So, an informed viewer should have been prepared for this one, but the combination of critical acclaim and the presence of Burt Reynolds made it a stronger candidate for parental-approved viewing than you'd think. In terms of the most awkward scene... let's just say there are options: Heather Graham going full-frontal with Marky Mark and Mr. Reynolds, William H. Macy's wife cheating on him with, like, everyone, but the most cringe-inducing would have to be Julianne Moore's first on-camera tryst with Wahlberg, featuring enough dirty talk to make offspring of any age want to cover their ears.

 Morgan Creek Productions

8. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Holy Testicle Tuesday! The infamous sex scene in which Ace Ventura and Melissa Robinson (Courteney Cox) go to bone city amongst a room full of animals to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" took audiences by surprise. It especially took younger audiences by surprise, who then had to ask their parents what was happening and why the bed was shaking so hard. Wait, what were they doing in that bed?

 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

7. Romancing the Stone

Michael Douglas felt totally weird shooting this scene with Kathleen Turner... but not as weird as we felt watching it with our moms who had probably already commented earlier in the film about the attractiveness of Michael Douglas. “I started getting a back spasm from staying in one position take after take," Douglas explained to EW. Just to be clear, this was all filmed before Douglas got throat cancer from going down on Catherine Zeta Jones.

6. Top Gun

Fun fact about this scene: not only is it the first of two Tom Cruise movies on this list, but they actually shot this scene after the movie was completed and test audiences complained about the lack of sex in the film. How can a scene with so little nudity still be so embarrassing to watch with grown ups? There’s just so much unabashed passion… plus there is no sexier song out there than “Take My Breath Away," which you likely still feel uncomfortable hearing if your parents are in the room.

5. A History of Violence

Can you believe there’s a film out there in which mutual oral sex isn’t the most embarrassing scene? Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello find themselves in the throes of passion on a staircase of all places; rendering you uncomfortable with both the stairs leading to your childhood bedroom AND subsequent viewings of Lord of the Rings. Because, you know, you've seen Aragorn's butt now. 

4. Monster's Ball

Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry: what an unlikely combination, but that’s kind of the point of the graphic sex scene from Monster’s Ball, which was particularly noteworthy at the time because of how real and raw it was. Also noteworthy: the 45 minutes of silence between you and your parents, who wanted to check it out because of all the Oscar buzz.

 Anhelo Producciones

3. Y Tu Mamá También

Y Tu Mamá También was the holy grail of nudity before tweens had smartphone-enabled access to... just about anything. If your parents didn’t notice the R rating before renting this flick -- like my parents, for example -- you had to sit through a smattering of sex scenes throughout this entire movie. The two opening minutes were the hardest to get through, as you can actually hear the sounds of passion before you see anything, building up an intense feeling of dread that sticks with you until the threesome at the very end... that is if you didn't die of embarrassment midway through. 

2. Titanic

Can you believe Titanic was rated PG-13?! At least you had a theater full of idiot kids to gasp alongside you when realized you had to sit between your mom and dad as Leo and Kate made sweet love in the back of a car on a boat. If that didn’t do it for you, there’s also the iconic “draw me like one of your French girls” scene that showed a nation of horny young boys the classy way to try to get a lady's top off. Thank god that boat sank.

1. Jerry Maguire

The sex scene from Jerry Maguire was so absolutely traumatizing to watch with your parents because of how surprising it was. Everyone thought this was just gonna be a fun sports flick with some romance a little Jonathan Lipnicki mixed in. But everyone was wrong.

One minute, Tom Cruise is waving his huge teeth around, then BOOM Kelly Preston is riding him against a bookshelf and screaming out “NEVER! EVER! STOP! FUCKING! ME!” like a banshee. It was the kind of sex scene that caught everybody off guard and put the entire family on edge for the rest of the movie. And Jerry Maguire is a really long movie.  

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and still remembers watching all of these with his parents.