Movies are illusions. Tom Holland doesn’t have the proportional strength of a spider. Henry Cavill cannot fly. Sam Worthington is not a giant blue alien from Pandora. Deep down, we all understand this. The fact that we don’t care while we’re watching Spider-Man: Homecoming or Man of Steel or Avatar is part of the magic of cinema. We choose to suspend our disbelief and embrace the illusion.

Some cinematic illusions, though, are more subtle than others. Consider sex scenes. We know the participants are actors. We know the people on screen are not really in love. And yet sometimes that illusion is so believable that we begin to wonder, “Did they really just...?”

In a few rare cases, such as the British film 9 Songs, they really did just. But in the vast majority of mainstream movies, sex scenes are entirely simulated and choreographed. Still, that doesn’t stop people spreading rumors about the authenticity of some famous sex scenes. They claim that the images they contain are so explicit or erotic that the participants must have really become intimate in front of the cameras.

The 10 films that follow have been followed by those kinds of claims for years or even decades. In most cases, their directors and stars have denied them — although that hasn’t stopped the speculation, or curious viewers who seek out these movies to see what all the fuss is about.

Sex Scenes People Thought Were Real

These love scenes were so convincing, some audiences thought the sex wasn’t simulated.
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