October 4, 2022

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Sexiest Moments in Film and TV of 2022

Image by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist

The discussion of sex on screen feels never-ending. Do today’s movies have enough sex in them? Are the glory days of the erotic thriller over? Is Bridgerton hotter or less hot than it was last season? Wherever you fall in these discussions, one thing is certain: We can always find moments that make our hearts beat a little bit faster in TV and film. Over the course of 2022, we’ll be chronicling our favorite steamy moments—be they actual sex scenes or just flirtations that cue those butterflies. Without further ado, read on.

ALSO READ: The Best Movies of 2022 (So Far) and The Best TV Shows of 2022 (So Far)

bridgerton sexy, simone ashley and jonathan bailey in bridgerton
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Bridgerton banked on the enemies-to-lovers trope to stoke Season 2’s slow-burn sexual tension, and hoo boy, did it work to a frustrating degree, both for the audience and its two lovebirds. Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) simply can’t stand each other, yet their chemistry is obvious and magnetic. It lands them in sticky situations like pulling each other out of a mud pit, touching a bosom after a bee sting, taking indiscreet whiffs of scent trails, and blowing up Anthony’s wedding day to Kate’s younger sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) because they just can’t help themselves. But Episode 5 contains their sexiest moment of the season: After trying to call off his wedding to Edwina, Anthony stares directly at a reciprocating Kate the real reason for it: “You are the bane of my existence… and the object of all my desires.” One, duh?? And two, *shrill screams*. They don’t even kiss, just breathe on each other and brush noses, and yet it might be the hottest scene Bridgerton has done to date. None of that physical stuff, just intense longing. —Leanne Butkovic

first kiss on business proposal, kim sejeong in business proposal
SBS/Netflix

Ha-ri and Tae-moo’s first kiss in Business Proposal

The “fake dating contract” to “actually, we’re in love now” conceit is no doubt ridiculous, but the webtoon-turned-Netflix Korean rom-com Business Proposal makes all of the construct’s predictability downright addictive. Omitting some of the more convoluted details, here’s the setup: The focused president of a major food conglomerate Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop) works too damn much and so his grandpa, hoping he’ll find love, sets him up on blind dates, where he meets his own company’s quirky food researcher Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong). Neither like each other very much, but to get his grandpa off his back, Tae-moo enlists Ha-ri into being his (fake) fiancée, where they bicker and bristle and, oops, fall for each other, though Ha-ri tells herself it’ll never work because of their power dynamic. Still, in Episode 7 she catches Tae-moo off guard and goes in for their first kiss. They make out in a hidden white-walled corner of their office, Tae-moo hunched over and softly grabbing Ha-ri’s face while she looks totally enrapt in the moment. It is both very cute and very sexy, and even as Ha-ri immediately calls it a mistake and runs away flustered, we know it’s the first big step in many more hot encounters to come. —LB

ke huy quan in everything everywhere all at once
A24

Evelyn and Waymond flirting in Everything Everywhere All at Once

There’s a little bit of everything in Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s multiverse genre mashup Everything Everywhere All at Once, from Chinese martial arts fight choreography to an extended Ratatouille bit. The emotional arc of the film pops up in unexpected places as Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn Wang journeys through alternate universes to try to repair her relationship with her family. In one of these universes, she’s a movie megastar attending her own premiere when she runs into old flame Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan), and the two slip outside to talk about what could have been. As the lights dim and the colors take on the dreamy green hue popularized by the swooning tragic romances of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, Evelyn and Waymond bend closer and closer together as if pulled by a magnetic field. Against the gonzo action sequences of the rest of the film, these scenes have a lovelorn depth that’ll take your breath away. —Emma Stefansky

brad pitt in the lost city
Paramount Pictures

Brad Pitt in The Lost City

The Lost City was a welcome surprise after the late winter doldrums, drawing us back to the theater to watch an adventure-romance that felt like a throwback. The flirtation between Sandra Bullock’s frumpy romance author and Channing Tatum’s hapless himbo cover model is both hilarious and enticing, their every interaction drawing you further toward rooting for that classic end-of-movie smooch. (And, leeches aside, we’re not complaining about the mid-movie appearance of Tatum’s butt either.) But, for a little while, the chemistry between our leads is interrupted by the appearance of Brad Pitt’s long-maned mountain man/ex-Navy SEAL/professional jungle rescue operative/personal trainer Jack Trainer (yes, that’s his name), who swan-dives into the middle of The Lost City‘s action like a sexy Bear Grylls, the type who would carry Bullock off into the sunset with his burly arms if this movie went the way you think it’s going. He’s not in the movie for long, but you’ll still be swooning after his exit. —ES

jake johnson in minx
Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max

Jake Johnson in Minx

Many TV fans have been crushing on Jake Johnson since his goofy, adorable days as Nick Miller on New Girl, but his performance in HBO Max’s Minx should leave admirers hot and bothered. In the ’70s-set comedy, he plays Doug, a semi-seedy, business-savvy porn magazine publisher who ultimately has a heart of gold but also has a hard-on for making money. As a man who knows what he wants—making deals in leather pants and unbuttoned paisley tops with his chest hair hanging out—his performance oozes confidence and sex appeal. He looks centerfold-ready whenever he graces the screen, but that appeal climaxes in Episode 7 when he kisses his business partner Tina (Idara Victor). Those who remember his iconic first kiss with Zooey Deschanel’s Jess on New Girl—one of the best TV smooches of all time—will know that “kiss” would be an understatement here. The man puts work into using his hands, and it’s an embrace as if the world is ending and the only thing that can save it is their lip-lock. It figures the scene has already gone viral, as Johnson is the only man who knows how to halt time and space with a single embrace. —Sadie Bell

anya taylor joy in the northman
Focus Features

Olga and Amleth in The Northman

From the moment Anya Taylor-Joy’s Olga clocks Alexander Skarsgård’s Amleth sneaking onto a boat that will transport him to the land ruled by Fjölnir, the man who slayed his father, the sexual tension is palpable. Olga sees right through Amleth’s disguise—he is no prisoner set to become a slave—and from there they are bonded. She becomes his ally in his quest for vengeance, and, naturally, his lover. They consummate the intensity of their gaze one night in the woods. The rest of the slaves are having an orgy, having been taken on a sojourn by Fjölnir and his kin, but Olga and Amleth wait for each other. Together they abscond into a secluded spot, the firelight giving way to moonlight as they consummate what we know was bound to happen. Later, they do it in a hot spring with a massive waterfall cascading in the background. The Northman relies on Viking notions of fate. The sex is fated and it is hot. —Esther Zuckerman

lily james as pamela anderson, lily james in pam and tommy, pam and tommy club scene
Hulu

Perhaps this isn’t the obvious choice from the sex-fueled Pam & Tommy, but did you really think a talking penis was sexy? The beginning of Episode 2 has Pam (an astounding Lily James) at the club with friends swearing off bad boys. She’s early on in her Baywatch fame, so buying a round of shots for the whole club doesn’t even faze her. From across the club, Tommy Lee’s (Sebastian Stan) makeout with another woman is interrupted by Pam’s offering and he’s immediately taken by the stunning blonde bathed in the light of love at first sight. The rest of the night is one of those magical ones when you meet someone you have immediate, rapturous chemistry with. More shots are taken, dancing ensues, and an electric connection begins. It’s not so much about what doesn’t happen (sex) than not knowing what’s going to happen next. —Kerensa Cadenas

jacques audiard in paris 13th district
Memento

Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District hits you with sexiness the moment it starts. It opens in media res with Émilie (Lucie Zhang) lounging naked on a couch singing karaoke. She’s soon joined by Camille (Makita Samba), and their limbs entangle in a lazy, lush embrace. It’s hard to single out just one sexy moment from this film, which is all about finding connection in the physical. Émilie and Camille are roommates who immediately start sleeping with one another, complicating a dynamic that’s also rooted in friendship. In a separate storyline that eventually collides, Nora (Noémie Merlant) befriends a cam girl who looks nearly exactly like her as she tries to overcome her own sexual hurdles. Shot in black and white, it’s a tactile movie, but one that’s also very sweet. —EZ

ram charan and ss rajamouli in rrr

Bheem’s physical prowess on and off the dance floor in RRR

Early on in RRR, director S.S. Rajamouli’s maximalist action epic about the fight for Indian independence from colonial rule, N.T. Rama Rao Jr.’s fearless warrior Bheem captures a deadly tiger using every rippling muscle straining in his body. Even as the suspense builds, there’s a sweaty, sly eroticism at play. Clearly, Bheem is in his element. Later in the movie, which bounces from spectacle to melodrama in its three-hour-plus runtime, Bheem finds himself in an even tougher situation: trying to impress a beautiful woman at a stuffy party. Luckily, he has his loyal friend (and, occasionally, secret enemy) Raju (Ram Charan) to help him, and the duo quickly wins over the crowd with a dance-off that’s as joyful, sensual, and charming as the film’s many scenes of hand-to-hand combat. Whether they are taming beasts, cracking skulls, or embarrassing British soldiers on the dance floor, the two leads share a magnetic bond that prizes physicality above all else. —Dan Jackson

christopher walken and john turturro in severance
Apple TV+

The Macro Data Refinement and Optics and Design teams, alleged to have once participated in an uprising that resulted in disembowelment and cannibalism, are not natural friends in the severed basement halls of Lumon. But, in admiring the extensive and troubling company art collection, Irving B. (John Turturro) and Burt S. (Christopher Walken) are instantly drawn to each other, forging a pathway of personal affection (and eventually worker solidarity) in their departmentally taboo bond. In Episode 4, Burt gives Irving a personal tour of the O&D offices and whips out “The Youthful Convalescence of Kier” from the archives, and their spark connects as they… touch hands for a few seconds on the piece’s frame. And yet, it’s so sexy! The moment sizzles like the uncertain starting steps of a first love (which, for their “innies,” it is), and the memory of it through the rest of the season makes both Burt’s retirement and the big cliffhanger finale all the more tragic with the lingering regret of what was lost and what could have been. —LB

starstruck season 2, rose matafeo on a boat
HBO

The silly, messy pond kiss in Starstruck

Leave it to movie buff and rom-com scholar Rose Matafeo to give us a perfectly swoon-worthy climax to the second season of her series Starstruck. After a season of strife for our central couple, Jessie (Matafeo) and movie star Tom (Nikesh Patel), wherein Jessie’s insecurities make it impossible for her to commit to the relationship, she finally comes to her senses at an amazingly inopportune moment. Stranded in a rowboat as it starts to rain during a friend’s bachelorette gathering, Jessie decides to get out of the boat and wade over to Tom’s to confess her love. Her apology/admission is messy and borderline inarticulate, but Tom hops out of the boat and they share a really good kiss. It’s a thoroughly sexy, if fully clothed, moment. —EZ

mia goth in x, mia goth x double role
A24

Mia Goth watching Mia Goth film a sex scene in X

Ti West’s X has its roots in the slasher cinema of the 1970s as well as the era’s homemade porn movement that rocketed two salacious genres into the counterculture. As such, there’s plenty to unpack in X‘s treatment of its own historical influences, and how it depicts the changing social threads of the time—notably its depiction of female sexuality, which, in the film, can be a form of sensual entertainment, a weapon, or a pleasure that, if it’s withheld, has the power to incite someone into committing horrifying violence. One of X‘s best tricks is in its deployment of genre cinema’s weird girl Mia Goth as two characters: aspiring adult actress Maxine Minx and her doubled opposite, an elderly woman named Pearl whose husband’s bad health keeps him from taking her to bed. While the youngsters are shooting their porno, Pearl watches at the window as Maxine takes the stage, gazing enviously at her (at herself!!) as Maxine acts out fantasies Pearl can only imagine. Without context, it’s creepy enough, but knowing the backstory behind Goth’s dual role, it’s creepily hot. —ES

worst person in the world bathroom scene
NEON

There are many questions at the center of The Worst Person in the World: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Am I a bad person? What do I really want? It’s something that’s always on Julie’s (Renate Reinsve) mind as she keeps inventing and then reinventing herself through careers and lovers. After leaving the book party of her current beau Aksel, instead of going home, she ends up crashing a wedding party. Julie gets drunk on other people’s booze, pretends she’s a doctor, and flirts with a stranger. Both are partnered up so they continually test the limits of what could potentially constitute cheating. They share drinks, smell each other’s armpits, shotgun cigarette smoke into one each other’s mouths. There’s biting, laughing, and even peeing in front of one another. By the time they both stumble home, it’s nearly dawn. They don’t exchange contact information, but you know that while they didn’t cross the invisible line they set for themselves, they already went too far. —KC

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