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12 Movies Like "Fifty Shades of Grey" That Explore Sex, Lust, & Sensuality



When “Fifty Shades of Grey” hit theaters, many were skeptical of erotic romance novels being adapted for the big screen. But, ultimately, sex sells in the entertainment industry.

Viewers love sexual innuendo, whether it’s the mushy rom-coms that cut to the morning after, or the wedding night scene from “Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1” where vampire husband Edward shares his first night with human wife Bella and breaks the bed. We cling to the over-fantasized situations explored in films. But, when it came to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the physical relationship the two protagonists had was one many people experience behind closed doors.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” introduced us to Anastasia, a college student with no previous sexual experiences that suddenly finds herself exploring the world of BDSM. Through her story, many learned that there's nothing wrong with experimenting with a partner as long as there's open communication along the way.

I commend women like Anastasia who are open about their sexual fantasies. Sex and intimacy shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Especially with a partner, or partners. Remember folks, at the end of the day, safe sex is great sex.

And, if you want to let your imagination run wild, read books like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” because as Rachel Green from “Friends” would agree, “There’s nothing wrong with a woman enjoying a little erotica.”

I think it’s easy to say that the “Fifty Shades” franchise pushed the boundaries of sexual interaction on the big screen. But, if you're lusting for a new film that explores sexual desires, check out my recommendations below.

While some of the movies on this list are on the level of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” other movies simply have sensual tones and offer a more dramatic or lighthearted view on sex.



1. Secretary

Before “Fifty Shades of Grey, there was “Secretary.” In terms of genre, “Secretary” offers a little bit of everything including eroticism, romance, and even comedy. This classic film stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Hollaway, a socially awkward and self-harming young woman.

Lee applies for a secretary position at E. Edward Grey’s (James Spader) law firm. While Grey trains Lee to perform her daily tasks to perfection, the two discover that they share similar interests. “Secretary” makes our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as arguably the original mainstream BDSM film and the one that appears to have inspired “Fifty Shades of Grey” the most.

You can stream, rent, or buy “Secretary” on Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.

Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures

2. “Nymphomaniac”

“Nymphomaniac” makes our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as the third and final installment in director Lars von Trier’s “Depression Trilogy” preceded by “Melancholia”

“Nymphomaniac” stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard. Gainsbourg portrays Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is one day found beaten in an alleyway by a man named Seligman.

As the two bond, Joe begins to tell Seligman her story, recounting all her sexual and erotic experiences from her first sexual encounter to the present. Joe’s love for sex has led her to dark places and her story has involved many characters along the way, many who have taught her something about herself.

The film has many familiar faces, including Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, and William DeFoe.With a total runtime of four hours and one minute, the film is meant to be watched in two parts, “Nymphomaniac: Volume I” and “Nymphomaniac: Volume II.”

You can stream, buy or rent “Nymphomaniac” on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Prime.



3. “Three”

“Three” joins our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as is a lesser-known German film written and directed by Tom Tykwer. The film follows a young couple, Hanna and Simon, who have been in a long-term relationship for years. But, when a “third wheel” enters the picture he challenges the structure of their relationship forever.

The film explores the construct of sexuality and love against a backdrop of intense eroticism.

You can buy or rent “Three” on iTunes and Amazon Prime.



4. “Addicted”

Starring Sharon Leal, “Addicted” tells the story of Zoe Reynard. She has a perfect life, including a loving husband, two beautiful children, and a successful career.

But things aren't at all what they seem. Despite having a decently healthy sex life with her husband, Zoe is never truly satisfied in the bedroom. She struggles with her feelings of suppressed pleasure.

Soon, Zoe begins a sexual relationship Quinton, a sexy artist she meets at an art show. Despite already cheating on her husband with Quinton, she begins a relationship with another man, Corey.Zoe begins to lose a handle on her secret life of adultery and it dangerously impacts her life at home.“Addicted” makes our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as an albeit subdued alternative, but still erotic at times.

You can buy or rent “Addicted” on iTunes, Amazon Prime, or Vudu.

sam goldwyn company

sam goldwyn company

5. “Lolita”

“Lolita” makes our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as a controversial novel as well as film. It depicts a man’s inappropriate obsession and eventual relationship with an underage-seductive girl. Despite its controversy, the novel is considered one of the greatest works of literature of the 20th century. The film stars Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain.

The film is set in the 1940s and follows the story of Humbert, a European middle-aged professor new to America. He moves in with a widow, Charlotte Haze and her adolescent daughter, Dolores. He is instantly drawn to Dolores, having an unhealthy attraction to younger girls. Eventually, he marries Charlotte in order to be closer to Dolores.

Charlotte's surprising death allows for Humbert to pursue Dolores and the two begin a sexual relationship. As their physical relationship progresses, he nicknames Dolores “Lolita.”Eventually, their relationship runs into problems as Dolores matures and decides to leave Humbert. In time, the two will cross paths again.

You can buy or rent “Lolita” on iTunes and Amazon Prime.

Entertainment One Films US

Entertainment One Films US

6. “Two Night Stand”

“Two Night Stand” stars Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton, “Two Night Stand” leaves the audience with one central message, communicate with your significant other, especially when it comes to the topic of sex.

After Megan and Alec meet online, the two decide to meet up for one simple thing, one night of sex with no strings attached.

The next morning, Megan is unable to leave Alec’s apartment when a snowstorm hits New York City. Forced to spend the rest of the day together until the storm passes, Megan and Alec realize they have little in common.

As the day slowly goes by, the two decide to talk about their hookup, embarrassment aside. As they begin to openly communicate, they both learn what they could individually do in the bedroom to better their next sexual experience, since they don’t plan on ever seeing each other again once the storm passes.

You can buy or rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.



7. “Eyes Wide Shut”

Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, “Eyes Wide Shut” makes our list of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as an erotic psychological drama. It tells the story of a man’s night long journey of sexual discovery.One night, while having a conversation with his wife, Bill discovers that his wife Alice almost had an affair and left him, which would have fulfilled just one of her many sexual fantasies.

Shocked and distraught, Bill sets out to have a sexual experience of his own. After several failed attempts, he meets an old friend who tells him about secret sex parties, where the guests require him to wear a blindfold while playing the piano for their entertainment.

Bill is intrigued and finds himself attending one of the secret parties, where all the men are able to hide their identities behind masks and the women walk around half naked. Unaware of the danger he’s put himself in, Bill watches as the guests partake in an orgy.Unknown to Bill, behind all the sexual encounters lay dark and sinister actions.

You can buy or rent “Eyes Wide Shut” on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.



8. “Call Me By Your Name”

Set in 1980s Italy, the film tells the story of Elio and Oliver. Elio is a 17-year-old living with his parents in rural Italy. Elio’s father is an archeology professor who every summer, invites a graduate student to spend the season with his family and intern under his wing.

Oliver, a 24-year-old American student, joins the Perlman family for the summer and begins to bond with Elio, even though the two have little in common. Elio, despite having a girlfriend, begins to feel romantic emotions towards Oliver.

The two let their desires take over and they quickly begin a secret physical relationship. They spend the rest of the summer enjoying each others company, both sexually and emotionally.

As Oliver’s stay with Elio’s family comes to a close, the two must come to terms with what that means for their relationship and decide to escape on a romantic vacation together.

You can stream, buy or rent “Call Me by Your Name” on Starz, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.

Wild Bunch/Sundance Selects

Wild Bunch/Sundance Selects

9. “Blue is the Warmest Colour”

A French film about sexual identity and coming of age, “Blue is the Warmest Colour” stars Lea Seydoux as Emma and Adele Exarchopoulos as Adele.

Adele is an introverted high school student who one day sees blue haired Emma on the street and becomes instantly attracted to the stranger. As she struggles with her sexual identity, Adele feels even more dissatisfied with her desire towards men after having intercourse with a boy from school.

Eventually, she meets Emma again, this time in a lesbian bar. The two begin a deeply intimate relationship that lasts years. The film follows them as they move in together, pursue their individual careers, and continue to learn from their maturing relationship.

You can stream, buy or rent “Blue is the Warmest Colour” on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.



10. “Room in Rome”

Starring Elena Ayana and Natasha Yarovenko, “Room in Rome” is an erotic film that tells the story of two women in Rome and their one night of passionate lovemaking.

Alba and Natasha meet at a nightclub and return to Alba’s hotel room. Despite Natasha declaring herself not a lesbian, her desire for Alba consumes her. Over the course of their one night together, they continuously explore each other’s bodies through physical intimacy while also talking and exchanging stories from their past.

Despite both having lives back home in Russia and Spain, the two contemplate what it would be like to never return home and live the rest of their lives together in Rome.

As their last night in Rome comes to an end, two complete strangers turned lovers discover more about themselves from one night of lustful pleasure and the viewer is left to wonder if their paths will ever cross again.

You can buy or rent “Room in Rome” on iTunes, and Amazon Prime.



11. “Obsessed”

Released in 2009 as a thriller, “Obsessed” has an underlying erotic feel to it. The movie stars Idris Elba as Derek Charles, a successful businessman with a beautiful wife, Sharon, and an infant son.

Charles loves his wife, portrayed by Beyonce Knowles, and his life at home couldn’t be any better. But when he meets a temp worker, Lisa, she immediately develops obsessive feelings towards him.

Lisa continually flirts and tries to seduce Charles, advances that he quickly refuses. He plans to report her to his company’s human resources department but she quits before he can do so.

Despite Lisa disappearing from his life at work, he can’t escape her. Lisa threatens his life at home and eventually, Sharon believes her husband is having an affair, tearing their relationship apart.

Derek must prove to his wife that he hasn’t been unfaithful while also attempting to keep his family safe from Lisa, who will go to great lengths to get Derek’s attention.

You can stream, buy or rent on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.



12. “The To Do List”

Set in the early 90s and starring Aubrey Plaza, “The To-Do List” follows Brandy Klark, a socially awkward high school graduate with a mission to achieve before she heads off to college in the fall.

Brandy has a crush on college boy, Rusty Waters, who is home for the summer. When he rejects her at a party she assumes it’s because of her lack of experience in the sex department. She comes up with a “To Do List” which lists off sexual experiences she wishes to complete before the end of summer, the biggest goal is having sex with Rusty.

She gets a job working at the pool, conveniently were Rusty works as well. Over the next few months, Brandy begins to experiment with many guys, with no regard of who the guys are or their feelings. As Brandy begins to check experiences off her list, she starts pushing away those who love her the most. When she finally sleeps with Rusty, she realizes her summer goal might not have been all she thought it would be.

You can buy or rent “The To Do List” on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.


If you’re looking to explore something outside of the traditional romance film, I hope you found a new movie to add to your “must-watch” list.

Remember that no relationship is the same and when it comes to physical intimacy, everyone is into something different. Behind all the sexual interactions, movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” also have a story to tell.