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Most Realistic Sex Scenes of 2011

A.K.A. the Top 10 Best Sex Scenes of 2011. Because what makes a sex scene great — at least in our opinion — is when there is some genuine realism in it: maybe heads get bonked or tears are shed or body parts fail or giggles erupt. Call it skinema verite.

1. Bridesmaids
If you’re a heterosexual, sexually active woman, then you’ve probably had the misfortune of bedding the kind of over-enthusiastic, jack-hammering asshole played by Jon Hamm in the first few minutes of Bridesmaids. And if you’re a heterosexual, sexually active man, then you’ve probably had the misfortune of bedding the kind of timid, spineless ragdoll played by Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids. The outtakes will really take you back.

2. Shame
Everyone loved to call this the least sexy film about sex. Which makes sense. After all, “sexiness” is all about fantasy; this movie is all about the dark realities of obsession and compulsion.

3. No Strings Attached
So few movies deal with the realities of condom use. This one did, going so far as to include Ashton Kutcher taking time out of the embrace to lie on his back, open the wrapper and put the condom on himself while Natalie Portman waits patiently on her back beside him.

4. Uncle Kent
Threesomes are great in theory. But in practice? Not so much. This little indie movie is Exhibit A.

5. Mildred Pierce
The fact that cunnilingus is portrayed in a non-porn movie is pretty miraculous. Not because oral sex doesn’t happen in real life, but because oral sex doesn’t happen in the movies. Thanks to HBO, the scene even includes the natural, human laughter that often precedes getting it on in real life.

6. Submarine
This is the best film that nobody we know saw last year. It’s a sweet, sad, funny indie from England about a virgin schoolboy falling in love for the first time. He knows that you’re supposed to make the first time “special” and so he reclines on his parents’ bed (while they’re out at the movies) surrounded by candles and heart-shaped balloons. His hilarious girlfriend responds, dead-pan, “You’re a serial killer.” No plot-spoilers here so we won’t tell you when or if his seduction techniques actually work.

7. Young Adult
Okay, so Charlize Theron getting it on with Patton Oswalt is not exactly believable. But making even a gorgeous model-actress look kind of sad, pathetic, unappealing and asymmetrical in her underwear is an homage to the inevitable imperfections of the naked human form…or at least the naked human soul.

8. Beginners
Not only do gay people kiss and have sex. Old people do too.

9. Tuesday, After Christmas
The first scene of this Romanian film about the challenges of marriage is a long, single-take shot of two people in bed, naked, just after sex — talking, kissing, caressing. You can practically smell the sweat…and the tension. It’s this latter element that drives the rest of the movie.

10. Crazy Stupid Love
No, not the Dirty Dancing homage. And not the softly-lit bedroom scene between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, where you can see him give up his playa ways and fall in love literally overnight. What we like is Steve Carell’s honest dirty talk to Marisa Tomei after he takes her back to his apartment. Because even though her character is kind of insultingly pathetic, we love the high they both get from his rampant honesty — “I’ve only had sex with one woman, in my entire life”; “So this is my crappy apartment that I had to move into after my wife left me”; and, best of all, “I want to show you off to my ex wife and make her really jealous.” She tells him it’s all so hot — and we have no trouble believing her.

Take another trip down memory lane with the top 10 best sex scenes of 2010.