Lesbian Sex Scenes that Made Movie History


Aimée and Jaguar (1999)

Though it is not the first Holocaust-themed lesbian film (that would be 1984’s November Moon), Aimée and Jaguar is the better one, and the sexual relationship between the two women plays a crucial role in the plot. Based on a true story and set in Nazi Berlin, the film isn’t a romance so much as a historical drama.

The love story of Lilly Wust (Juliane Köhler), a German woman married to a Nazi soldier, and her Jewish lover, Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader), who is a spy for the resistance, Aimée and Jaguar was directed by Max Färberböck and based on the book by Erica Fischer. Of course the relationship is doomed; the setting and period made that a foregone conclusion, and the two women are actually discovered in bed together by Lilly’s husband, which precipitates a crisis in her marriage and her life.

Though their love story ends tragically, their relationship gives audiences a framework in which to view that period of history, as well as a glimpse at the lives of women who loved women in a different – and very dangerous – time.

Better Than Chocolate (1999)

This Canadian feel-good flick from director Anne Wheeler is all about bringing the happy. It’s far from a great film, but its sheer exuberant joy is probably responsible for its status as the ultimate lesbian date movie and frequent appearance on lesbian “favorite films” lists.

It stars Karyn Dwyer as Maggie, who works at a lesbian bookstore, and Christina Cox (Blood Ties) as Kim, a vagabond artist. Complications ensue, although of the comedic rather than tragic variety.

And then there’s the sex. The sex scene where the two women paint each other with chocolate? A first, last and only in North American cinema history.

Chutney Popcorn (1999)

Nisha Ganatra’s Chutney Popcorn isn’t necessarily groundbreaking in the sense of its depictions of lesbian sex, but it’s one of the few lesbian films with an Indian-American lead. Ganatra co-stars in her first film with Jill Hennessy ( Law & Order, Crossing Jordan ) as an Indian-American lesbian carrying a baby for her infertile sister.

It also has some of the sexiest behind-the-scenes material. Hennessy told the Advocate at the time that she encouraged Ganatra to play the part when the original actress backed out. She told her: “Nish, we’ve got chemistry, babe. Don’t fight it.”

Hennessy also remembered inadvertently running her foot up and down the boom operator’s thigh during the filming of the sex scene, when interestingly everyone in the mostly female crew “managed to show up for work and was crammed in the bedroom watching.”

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