Hot List: The 10 Steamiest Gay Male Scenes in Films

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday November 21, 2021
Originally published on November 18, 2021

Love scenes in motion pictures are as old as those flickering images, but while some gay depictions of amour did appear in the early silents, the evil censors (calling out the Catholic Legion of Decency) cast a firm grip on Hollywood and the mere mention of homosexuality became verboten thanks to the production code. But while religion policed what moviegoers could and couldn't see, filmmakers had their own way of weaving in the homoerotic. Idiot watchdogs were just too stupid to see it. Case in point: This scene from the 1948 classic western "Red River," directed by Howard Hawks, where Montgomery Clift has his "gun" admired by John Ireland. The scene oozes gay tension.

In the late '60s, as the production code was justly reduced to rubble, filmmakers were finally allowed to explore previously taboo topics. The first all-gay movie ("Boys in the Band") begat the first gay kiss in a major studio film ("Sunday Bloody Sunday"). Bob Fosse's "Cabaret" provided one of the first explorations of bisexuality. As we entered the '80s, films like "Making Love" and "Parting Glances" explored gay love on an entirely new level, albeit tamely. By decade's end, sex scenes in queer-themed films had begun to emerge, and in the '90s, with the birth of the New Queer Cinema, they were bolder and racier than ever.

This is a list of the steamiest scenes from gay-themed movies. As with any list, it's a matter of personal taste and made to provoke dialogue. Create your own list and share it with us. And — FYI — our Female Top 10 is forthcoming.

Honorable Mentions go to sequences from Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain," David Moreton's "Edge of Seventeen," Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine," Ken Russell's "Women in Love," Eytan Fox's "The Bubble," Santiago Giralt's "Jess and James," Robin Campillo's "BPM (Beats Per Minute)," Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight," John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus," Camille Vidal-Naquet's "Sauvage/Wild," and Tom Ford's "A Single Man."

Now, the Top 10 — chronologically.

Note that seven of the 10 scenes noted below were available via YouTube, but because of the graphic nature of three of the selections, trailers are linked for these three selections. We suggest you stream them or purchase a copy to see the scenes.

The Damned (1969)

Luchino Visconti's sweeping WW2 drama, "The Damned," boasts the infamous 10-minute 'Night of the Long Knives' sequence, where a host of male SS officers engage in a night of celebration which includes drag, naked romping, debauchery, and gay sex with one another. Visconti, a homosexual, knew just how to film young hot German dudes having a gay old time. Of course, it's followed by a horrific slaughter, so skip that part.

Querelle (1982)

This spellbinding Rainer Werner Fassbinder masterpiece (his last film) deserves more than one viewing, since the master blends genres like mad. The Genet-inspired film is a dark comedy, a psychotic melodrama, and a camp thriller. Bisexual Brad Davis plays the titular character, a sailor who is also a thief and murderer who allows himself to be sodomized, enjoys it, and then falls for a construction worker played by Hanno Pöschl.

The entire film plays like an erection tease, especially for fetishists, but when Davis finally kisses Pöschl it's a truly unforgettable moment.

The Fourth Man (1984)

Paul Verhoeven has made many a homoerotic film, deliberately or otherwise ("Soldier of Orange," "Starship Troopers"), but none were as yummy as "The Fourth Man (De Vierde Man)," a psychological thriller starring Jeroen Krabbé as a bisexual novelist and Thom Hoffman as the object of his lust. When Krabbé finally lifts Hoffman's shirt and begins touching his chest, pulses start racing and the scene gets more explicit from there, leading to one of the best kisses ever captured on celluloid.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1986)

1986 was a breakthrough year for Daniel Day Lewis, with both James Ivory's "A Room with a View" and Stephen Frears' "My Beautiful Laundrette" catapulting him into leading roles. In the latter, he plays Johnny, a street punk who romances Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a Pakistani dude who manages his uncle's launderette. The most memorable moment has Omar's Uncle dancing with his mistress Rachel in the next room, wondering, "Where are those two buggers?" while Omar and Johnny go at it on one of the washers, Johnny drinking champagne and spitting it into Omars mouth. Has there ever been anything so naughty? And has DDL ever been sexier?

Law of Desire (1987)

Note: below is the film's trailer:

"Law of Desire (La ley del deseo)" was Pedro Almodóvar's first (and, arguably, only) work that has dealt exclusively with a gay love story. Eusebio Poncela is a celebrated film director with whom Antonio Banderas becomes obsessed after they have sex (in a sizzling scene). His uncontrollable passion leads to a finale that is twisted, affecting, and transcendent — and oh so passionate. Also, a young Banderas in his tightie whities is never a bad thing.

Currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Maurice (1987)

James Ivory was a lot more groundbreaking than he's given credit for. His adaptation of E.M. Forster's "Maurice" is one of the most enticing films ever made that deals with coming out. And there is nothing more heart-poundingly stimulating than the anticipation felt in the scene where sex-stud Scudder (Rupert Graves) climbs up the ladder and into sex-starved Maurice's (James Wilby) window, tells him, "I know, Sir," and starts ravaging him. It's one of the hottest scenes ever captured on film. And the natural nudity comes a few scenes later, post-coital.

The Living End (1992)

Note: Clip below is of entire film. Scene begins at the 51:55 mark)

Luke (Mike Dytri) and Jon (Craig Gilmore) are gay, HIV positive and on a reckless road trip in Gregg Araki's subversive film "The Living End." made at a time when AIDS was still a death sentence. The film features a memorable shower scene where Jon asks Luke to "put it inside me," and then asks to be choked. It's sick. It's hot. It's brief. Araki keeps the camera in medium close-up and lets it linger.

Bent (1997)

Onstage, it is said that the sex scene between Richard Gere and David Duke from the Broadway production of Martin Sherman's "Bent" was an incredible experience. Onscreen, in director Sean Mathias' adaptation, the moment is sizzling, which is maddening when you consider the setting — a Nazi concentration camp. Two gay prisoners Max (Clive Owen) and Horst (Lothaire Bluteau) stand next to one another, shirtless, and without ever looking at one another or touching they reach orgasm — with words, only words, and two powerful actors. Oh, and Mathias' intercutting. And the magic of the close-up.

Stranger By the Lake (2014)

Note: below is the film's trailer:

Alain Guiraudie's bold, thrilling look at the obsessive/compulsive desires of gay men is titillating and truly disquieting. This gorgeous film is loaded with nudity and sex, raw and dirty, but is ultimately a meditation on desire, death, apathy, and solitude. 45 minutes into this provocative work, the protagonist, played by Pierre Deladonchamps, finally has intense, unsafe sex with Cristophe Paou, the man he's been crushing on — who may or may not be a murderer. The scene is graphic, erotically charged and borderline pornographic. It's also one of the steamiest excepts you are bound to ever see.

Currently available to stream on Amazon Prime with 7-day Free Strand Releasing Trial.

God's Own Country (2017)

Note: below is the film's trailer:

Francis Lee's feature film debut, "God's Own Country," is an entrancing, gritty slow burn experience.

Rough, gruff, repressed, and self-hating Josh O'Connor meets brooding Romanian Alec Secareanu, who tames him and teaches him to love. It all starts with the intense first sexual encounter about 45 minutes into the film. Both actors plunge fearlessly into the moment, and the rest of the work is filled with nudity galore, but it's the intimacy that stays with you.

Currently available to stream on Hulu.

Frank J. Avella is a film journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep and a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. Frank is a recipient of the International Writers Residency in Assisi, Italy, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, and a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship. His short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide ( and won awards. His screenplays (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW) have also won numerous awards in 16 countries. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.