The 22 Sexiest Queer Movies of All Time

These days, queer movies come in all shapes and styles, from handsomely mounted biopics (“Milk”) to kid-friendly rom-coms (“Love, Simon“). That’s a good thing; you want queer art to enjoy variety and novelty, and appeal to all audiences in the LGBTQ community. But sometimes, you want something very specific from a queer film; you want it to be sexy as hell.

When queer movies started bubbling into the mainstream in the early ’90s via movies like “Philadelphia,” they tended to be slightly sanitized, lacking much in the way of physical depictions of intimacy. (In “Philadelphia,” Hanks’ lead character famously never kisses his partner.) That’s changed as the years have gone on. Thanks to films like “Brokeback Mountain,” there’s now a ton of modern examples of queer films that aren’t shy about their leads getting it on. But there’s a longer history of sexy queer cinema that goes back well before the ’90s, even if many of those movies were made from independent creators and were little seen.

Some of these movies even faced censorship due to their content, like the short film “Un Chant D’Amour,” which only featured gay scenes via symbolism. Other films, like Chantal Akerman’s “Je, Tu, Il, Elle,” or Pedro Almodóvar’s “Law of Desire,” broke boundaries in how explicitly they featured gay love. There’s always discourse bubbling about the “necessity” of sex scenes in cinema, but films like Akerman’s or Almodóvar’s prove why these intimate portrayls can be vital tools — conveying something about the characters, and about queer life, that you couldn’t if everyone kept their clothes on.

In celebration of Pride Month, IndieWire rounded up the 22 hottest, steamiest, and/or sexiest films in the queer canon. Titles range from cult hits and arthouse fare like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Querelle,” to more mainstream works like “Bound” and “Call Me By Your Name.” Some of the movies are balls-to-the-walls sexy, like John Cameron Mitchell’s unsimulated “Shortbus.” Others, like “Cruel Intentions,” don’t have explicit queer sex depicted in them, but get their erotic power through queer kisses and mounting sexual tension. Regardless of the films’ content, all share something in common; they’re so hot it’s hard to watch without blushing.

Entries are listed chronologically, from early queer classics like “Un Chant D’Amour” to modern favorites like “God’s Own Country.”

With editorial contributions by Alison Foreman.

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