Lesbian Sex Scenes that Made Movie History

 
 

Before Personal Best

Of course Personal Best wasn’t the first time two women had sex in the movies. From the merest hint of sexual obsession between Louise Brooks and Alice Roberts in Pandora’s Box (1929), to a tuxedo-clad Marlene Dietrich’s full-mouthed kiss on a woman’s lips in Morocco (1930), to the possessive yearning of Beryl Reid for a young Susannah York in The Killing of Sister George (1968), several films hinted at lesbian sex, and some even showed women in bed together.

Maedchen in Uniform (1931)

Probably the most famous of all early lesbian films, Leontine Sagan’s Maedchen in Uniform was the first doomed boarding school lesbian love story, although by the time this film was released in the U.S., most of the lesbianism had been edited out.

It even had two different endings filmed, one in which the schoolgirl kills herself, and one in which her schoolmates save her, and she survives. Guess which one got shown in the United States? Maedchen in Uniform was written, produced and directed entirely by women.

The Pit of Loneliness (1951)

Released as Olivia in France in 1951 and three years later in the United States with lots and lots of cuts, this film was retitled The Pit of Loneliness to cash in on the notoriety of the lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness. It was actually based on a screenplay by the novelist Colette, and it tells the story of a French boarding school student’s lesbian affair — doomed of course — with one of her teachers.

It was directed by a woman, Jacqueline Audry (Gigi). Some of the scenes removed for the American release were cited as being too sexually explicit, although they were little more than kisses and longing glances.

Lilith (1964)

A mental hospital drama, Lilith stars Jean Seberg and Ann Meacham as patients in an institution having yet another doomed lesbian affair. Fortunately, Warren Beatty comes along and saves Seberg from a fate worse than, well, being confined to a mental institution. And in this case, he literally saves her by pulling Meacham off her, and then having sex with her himself.

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