Now Reading
6 lame, laughable or disappointing gay sex scenes in cinema, ranked (NSFW)

6 lame, laughable or disappointing gay sex scenes in cinema, ranked (NSFW)

Bruno and Diesel: ‘We’re the quiet, stay-at-home types’ | Photo: Universal Pictures

6 I Love You Philip Morris (2009)

When straight actors known for their ‘comedy’ get anywhere near LGBTI themes, it’s usually a recipe for disaster. (See Adam Sandler playing a straight guy pretending to be gay for insurance reasons in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.)

Not so in the Jim Carrey-fronted I Love Your Philip Morris, which sensitively tells the story of the real-life Steven Russell, the openly gay con artist and multiple prison escapee.

It’s a black comedy, but Carrey wisely leaves the screwball absurdity of The Mask and Ace Ventura behind, instead channeling the kind of nuance and restraint he so perfectly captures in The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind et al.

One notable exception, though, is an early hook up between Steven and a very, very eager muscly moustached bottom that’s all kinds of filthy. To be clear, the scene is sexy. If you’ve never considered Jim hot before, you might after this.

But unfortunately, his comic instincts get the better of him upon climax, and the acting gets unruly and, for this viewer, cringe-inducing. But it’s still hot. In a very basic way. And you have to salute the filmmakers for having the bottle to leave it in.

5 Call Me By Your Name (2017)

A year on, it’s still somewhat unfathomable that, in what is now one of the most iconic movies about same-sex love ever, sex is almost completely tiptoed-around.

It’s especially notable in the scene where teen intellectual Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and 20-something academic Oliver (Armie Hammer) consummate the relationship. The camera respectfully and silently trails out of Elio’s bedroom window into the perfect night beyond before anything really happens, and it’s hard not to at least have mixed feelings about it.

‘To put our gaze upon their lovemaking would have been a sort of unkind intrusion,’ director Luca Guadagnino has said. It is indeed a respectful, tasteful and tender moment. But showing the physical act can still communicate such values. (Read: Weekend).

Was the scene cut to make the film more palatable to straight audiences? Many believed so. I’m on the fence. Look at the peach scene.

In it, Elio ejaculates in a piece of fruit and Oliver goes to taste it. (Does he actually do it? I’m still unsure). It’s tame compared to the novel, and yet, it’s about as homoerotic a moment as Hollywood’s ever witnessed.

4 Bent (1997)

Some will think it controversial that I’ve included this tender drama in this list. To be transparent, like CMBYN, I think Bent is an excellent film.

In it, Max (Clive Owen) and Horst (Lothaire Bluteau) play two prisoners at Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany who fall in love. While they daren’t act on their physical longing for each other, they are able to simultaneously bring themselves to orgasm by simply describing, in hushed tones, what they’d like to do to each other.

As a curious tween, I once stayed up until the middle of the night to watch this film. I had the TV on mute, and absolutely no idea what was going on.

In fact, I still don’t. (And that opening sequence of Mick Jagger in drag – WTF?!).

The idea of totally hands-free masturbation is hot in theory. But it’s achieved so effortlessly here that I can’t take it seriously.

Perhaps, after many tantric sex classes, it’s possible. But I’m not personally convinced. That said, I’m all for being proven wrong. If anyone in ownership of a penis can make themselves ejaculate with just their minds, please get in touch. I’d like to write a feature about you.

3 The Rules of Attraction

CMBYN isn’t the only film in this list to be so restrained in its approach to gay sex as to arouse suspicion. The Rules of Attraction – a 2002 college drama based on Bret Easton-Ellis’s novel – is the most guilty of it of all.

In the scene in question, Ian Somerhalder’s bisexual student Paul Denton has a night of passion with a family friend. But the sex is depicted via metaphor (apparently): specifically, via the guys dancing around on a bed to George Michael’s Faith in their underwear.

There’s more disappointment in store in that it’s only inferred Paul may have seduced James Van Der Beek’s straight-presenting, sociopathic drug dealer character Sean Bateman (the younger brother of American Psycho’s Patrick), so as to leave the truth open to interpretation.

But back to that bed scene – there is something weirdly cute and arousing about it. I would accept it for the cool, creative move that it is, were gay sex shown elsewhere in the film, but it’s not. (Straight sex, meanwhile, is).

2 Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Let’s get one think straight, so to speak. Brokeback Mountain is possibly the best movie about a same-sex relationship ever made. I’m doubtless that for many, the scene where the main characters finally do the deed is spot on. But for me, it’s unpleasant and distressing.

Badly-acted, however, it is not. When Ennis (the late Heath Ledger) impulsively tops fellow horny sheepherder Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) with nothing more than spit for lube, Jake sounds convincingly, well, pained. The look of haunted reluctance on Ennis’s face, meanwhile, is beyond powerful.

I get why it’s so unsexy, and therefore drably-lit. Losing your virginity usually is. In that respect, at least, it’s realistic.

What irks me is how director Ang Lee sets it up; how it betrays his own heterosexuality. Jack and Ennis instinctively adopt sexual roles with no discourse. ‘Is that how it always works?’ is a question I’ve fielded from many a straight person since. No, it’s not.

Predictably, Jack then proceeds to be the needier half of the couple, while Ennis is always emotionally unavailable. And while this gruelling scene doesn’t shy away from depicting penetration, nicer scenes of intimacy that occur later do not. Short shrift much?

Image result for bruno gay sex scene

1 Bruno (2009)

Yeah, I laughed out loud when I saw the above gif as well.

To be fair, like all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s output, there are moments of genius in Bruno. I remember enjoying it when it came out in cinemas almost a decade ago.

But in a prime example of how quickly culture evolves (and expands and retracts…), I can’t imagine the acrobatic sex scenes between mincing Austrian fashion journalist Bruno and Diesel, his ‘Pygmy flight attendant’ boyfriend, being well-received if released for the first time today.

This series of eye-popping, hypersexualized and racially dubious stereotypes – culminating in Bruno pouring a glass of Champagne from his highly passive lover’s backside – occurs within the first five minutes a film that rarely feels like it’s laughing with gay men, but at them. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt Baron Cohen to break his habit of distant inscrutability when out of character for once to clarify this.

There is, of course, humor to be extracted from gay sex. And hey – if you’re into exercise bike-powered dildo machines, or copulation via catapult, good for you. There’s nothing wrong with the sexual kinks depicted in the movie, so long as it’s all consensual. But the tone here is mocking. And obviously, we aren’t all into things like that.

Maybe it would land differently had it been helmed by queer voices. But when I watch the film today, I can hear the echoing, guffawing laughter of straight bros. And while this ‘mockumentary’ does make some valiant attempts to spotlight real homophobia in the world, make no mistake, Bruno – one of the highest-grossing films featuring an LGBTI character ever released – was made with straight people in mind.