By Stacey Paris
November 30, 2010

Women often need context to get into the mood, says psychologist Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, of the Case School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland. “And providing a setting to flow into a sexual experience is very helpful.” If youve seen Body Heat, for instance, you know that watching a sexy movie with the object of your desire can lead to flow. Heres a list of movies that fuel the fires of several renowned female critics, including Jami Bernard, editor of The X List: The National Society of Film Critics Guide to the Movies that Turn Us On.

The Big Easy (1987)
A rule-bending New Orleans cop (Dennis Quaid) and a by-the-book assistant DA (Ellen Barkin) become uneasy partners and genuine lovers.

The sexiness
A seduction that feels real, complete with missteps, stops, and starts, and escalating sexual tension.

What the critic says
“That scene where he promises ‘Darlin, your luck is about to change! is so hot you dont even notice that no one takes any clothes off.” — Jami Bernard, New York Daily News

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Two brothers (Jeff and Beau Bridges) liven up their tired lounge act with the addition of a sultry female singer (Michelle Pfeiffer).

The sexiness
A smoldering rendition of “Makin Whoopee” followed by the real thing.

What the critic says
“Its not that women want to have sex on top of a piano—ouch!—but we wouldnt mind if it were with sexy Jeff Bridges. When he and Pfeiffer finally hook up, its beautiful music to our ears.” —Jami Bernard

In the Cut (2003)
A thriller where a teacher (Meg Ryan) falls for a tough cop (Mark Ruffalo) during a murder investigation that gets deadlier and more disturbing by the minute.

The sexiness
Intense, unvarnished sex; the romance follows.

What the critic says
“Director Jane Campion knows that eroticism begins in the mind. So this English professors attraction to a homicide cop isnt just about his talent for sex; its the sex and the talk afterward with a woman in love with the power of language. This is rare sex, even rarer talk, and an extraordinary meeting of bodies and minds.” —Sheila Benson, Seattle Weekly

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
A neo-Western about a frontiersman (Warren Beatty) who teams up with a shrewd madam (Julie Christie) to start a brothel.

The sexiness
A sensual aura that pervades the entire film.

What the critic says
“Sometimes the look of a picture alone can be erotic. And McCabe & Mrs. Miller may be the most lushly beautiful-looking picture ever made. Any film that can make a story about a struggling 19th-century mining town look this sensual must be doing something right.” —Stephanie Zacharek,