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Chloë Sevigny's orgasm in Boys Don't Cry—courtesy of Hilary Swank—almost didn't make the cut because apparently the MPAA thought it went on for too long. (God forbid a woman enjoy sex for more than two seconds!) "I was like, 'Who’s ever been hurt by an orgasm that was too long?" said director Kimberly Pierce during the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated. "I looked at Lana’s orgasm and I was like, 'Oh, this is totally about Lana’s pleasure, so there’s something about that that’s scaring them, that’s unnerving them.'"
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It's a truth universally acknowledged that one of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history involves Jason Biggs having sex with an apple pie in the aptly named American Pie—and censors were not having it. While the MPAA ultimately allowed the scene to stay in, they asked for it to contain less, um, thrusting.
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Speaking of orgies, American Psycho features group sex between Patrick Bateman and two prostitutes—which was so graphic that censors threatened not to give the movie an R rating if it stayed in. The scene ended up in the movie, but only after some careful editing (18 seconds of sex ended up being chopped for the final version).
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You know the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut? Well, it was a whole thing. Turns out the original group sex extravaganza was very risqué, and in order for it to stay in the movie, Warner Brothers digitally added extras whose sole purpose was to block out graphic content. If your mission in life is to see the orgy in all its un-edited glory, the DVD was released back in 2007 and has you covered.
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In case you missed it, Robert Downey Jr. and Heather Graham participated in an oral sex scene that was almost cut from Two Girls and a Guy. And speaking of cuts, the MPAA required a whopping 10 edits before finally letting the scene live in peace. "I don't think you'd be able to know the difference," director James Toback said. "The length of the shots has been trimmed, but not a single shot was taken out."
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Anyone who's seen Sharon Stone's Basic Instinct sex scene is probably still lifting their jaw off the ground—it's that intense. So intense, in fact, that the MPAA simply could not even (you're probably sensing a theme here), and threatened not to fork over that coveted R rating. Director Paul Verhoeven ended up keeping the scene in after some light edits, saying, "Actually, I didn't have to cut many things. But I replaced things from different angles, made it a little more elliptical, a bit less direct." Naturally, the director's cut was released on DVD and features the sex scene in its original glory.
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Blue Valentine features an oral sex scene between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, which is extremely graphic and also extremely vital to the film's realistic portrayal of a relationship. The production company fought to keep the scene in, and Ryan Gosling's thoughts on the matter were as follows: "There's plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it's a man receiving it from a woman—and they're R-rated. Ours is reversed and somehow it's perceived as pornographic.
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In hilarious news, Top Gun's original cut didn't contain any sex scenes, and test audiences were so horrified by this fact that an intimate scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis had to be filmed during reshoots. Give the people what they want! (Also, hilariously McGillis had already dyed her hair for another role, which is why the scene was shot in silhouette.)
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Requiem for a Dream's sex scene was almost cut for being too sexy, but it was almost cut for being too...intense. Which, if you've seen this movie, isn't a surprise. The film ended up being released without a rating thanks in part to the drama surrounding the sex scene, and director Darren Aronofsky (otherwise known as Jennifer Lawrence's ex-boyfriend) had this to say: "The MPAA has a place in the world, but definitely has to be re-thought. It is being run by people who really don’t know what the pulse is and where people’s minds are right now."
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Not so shockingly, censors had some issues with the explicit sex scenes in Zack and Miri Make a Porno—about two friends who, in case you hadn't guessed, make porn together. Instead of cutting the controversial scenes from the movie, director Kevin Smith appealed the rating by arguing that the sex was all in the name of LOLs—and he won his case. "It's really crazy to me that Hostel is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and shit like that," actor Seth Rogan said. "But you can't show two people having sex—that's too much."