June is Pride Month here in the United States. That means that there is a whole lot of celebrating to be done and a lot of attention that needs to be paid to inclusivity, positive representation and honoring the LGBTQ community. But Pride Month is also a great time to get in touch with the films that use sexuality (both queer and straight) as the entry point for their stories and open up new conversations about human sexuality overall. Goodness knows there are plenty of them out there; why not check some of them out?
We’ve rounded up a handful of great films about sexuality that you can stream right now if you have a Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime account. From Carol to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, these films are definitely must-see material.
1. Carol (Netflix)
Critically acclaimed and focused on a young queer woman’s sexual awakening as she falls in love with an older, closeted lesbian in the 1950s, Carol is an excellent go-to if you want to start your Pride Month viewing properly.
2. Half Magic (Hulu)
Directed by and starring Heather Graham along with TV comedy queens Angela Kinsey (The Office) and Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), this film focuses on three women in their 30s and 40s reconnecting with the sexual selves, supporting one another as friends and overcoming their own insecurities to hilarious, empowering results.
3. Newness (Netflix)
Newness is an interesting entry focused on a couple who have been together for some time choosing to open their relationship and pursue new romantic experiences, both together and individually. Embracing straight and queer desires alike, the couple find that opening up their relationship has them rightfully questioning their own relationship as they search for what they really want.
4. I Am Michael (Netflix)
James Franco stars as the titular Michael, a gay activist who made national headlines when he claimed he was able to convert himself from gay to straight, later becoming a Christian pastor. Bound to incite conversations once the credits roll, I Am Michael is a thought-provoking film based on a true story that takes a harder look at human sexuality.
5. God’s Own Country (Netflix)
This sweeping, beautiful U.K. film acts as a gorgeous coming-of-age story and an exploration of the intersection of working-class life and gay, male sexuality. Frank but deeply felt in its depiction of two young men falling in love in the English countryside, God’s Own Country is for the sentimental folks out there.
6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Netflix)
Who could say no to a funny, bawdy romp like this one, where straight male sexuality is examined at every angle, heightened for comedic effect and ultimately treated just as sensitively as straight female sexuality? We don’t know about you, but we’re all in.
7. Sex and Lucía (Netflix)
Sex and Lucía gets steamy in parts, but it also has hidden depths and a great performance from Paz Vega that will make you very glad you decided to watch.
8. Love (Netflix)
Transgressive, aggressive and moody, Love is very NSFW, but also very intriguing in its exploration of modern relationship dynamics as it relates to love in its different forms. Straight, queer or somewhere in between, there’s a desire articulated here that’s for you.
9. Reaching for the Moon (Hulu)
This quiet, lovely indie drama tackles the true story of celebrated poet Elizabeth Bishop and her long-term partner, Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Set in Brazil in the 1940s, this film unpacks repressed queer female desire and they way it can flourish and possess those wrapped up by it in a way that will entrance you.
10. Brokeback Mountain (Hulu)
Like Carol, Brokeback Mountain feels like required viewing for Pride Month. If you see no other queer movies during the month of June, at least set aside time to see this one. An award-winning film about two closeted modern-day cowboys who are forced to grapple with the ripple effect of their secret relationship over the course of their lives, Brokeback Mountain will leave you breathless.
11. Afternoon Delight (Amazon Prime)
Starring Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms) and written and directed by Jill Soloway (Transparent), this film follows a discontent California housewife who undergoes a sexual reawakening — as well as some soapy melodrama — after offering a room in her home to a struggling sex worker.
In addition to these great movies, there’s plenty more on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime that focus on both LGBTQ and heterosexual identity, coming of age and more. You’ll certainly never be short for viewing material, but in our humble opinion, the movies we’ve rounded up here are definitely the best way to start.