13 International Sex Documentaries on Netflix (2018)

International documentaries allow an intimate glimpse of other cultures. Each society interprets sexuality and sexual activity in different ways. These international sex documentaries will expand your knowledge of cross-cultural perspectives on love, sexuality, pornography, and sex work.

Here are 13 provocative international documentaries about sex on Netflix streaming in the US as of August 1, 2018; many may also be available in other countries. Some are Netflix originals that will stick around, but watch the rest while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.

1. Whore’s Glory (2011)

Powerful and poignant documentary that examines the daily lives of prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico. Presents an unflinching look at the lives of these women without narration or commentary.

It’s fascinating to observe differing attitudes towards sex work in each country. For example, the Thai prostitutes seem the most pragmatic and least conflicted about their work. The Bangladeshi scenes, in contrast, are particularly heartbreaking. The soundtrack is a little grating, but still very much worth a watch. Note: Some graphic material in the Mexico segment.

2. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On (2017)

This fascinating six-part documentary series about dating, sex and tech is mostly US-focused, but Episode 5 examines an LA cam girl’s close online relationship with a longtime fan in Australia. Cue extreme awkwardness when she travels Down Under to meet him in person.

3. Mostly Sunny (2016)

Tells the remarkable story of Sunny Leone, an Indo-Canadian pornographic actress who successfully transitioned to mainstream Bollywood stardom.

The film reveals the contradictions of attitudes towards sexuality in India and in the overseas Indian community. As a result of her work in the adult film industry, Leone experiences conflict with her conservative family and is ostracized by the Indian community in her small Canadian hometown. Meanwhile, in prudish India Leone is hugely popular despite her porn-star past.

4. Strippers (2014)

Fairly superficial but entertaining series that explores the personal and professional lives of strippers in Scotland’s three biggest cities. Engaging interviews with the dancers, many from other countries, about their personal histories and motivations for getting into the business. Great Scottish location shots and accents, although if you’re American you may need to turn on subtitles!

5. Real Life Wife Swap (2004)

Real Life Wife Swap - Netflix swinger documentary

This fun docu-series explores the world of suburban British swingers and their sexual customs with refreshing candor.

6. 40 Year Old Virgins (2013)

Affecting tale of two virgins, a 29-year-old Irish woman and a 40-something British man, who embark on a radical course of sex therapy in the US with professional sex surrogates. Sensitively portrays the subjects’ bravery and determination as they travel across the pond to confront their fears of physical intimacy.

7. Rocco (2016)

Rocco - Netflix pornography documentary

Click to watch the trailer

Provocative behind-the-scenes account of legendary Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi’s final year in front of the camera. Interesting exploration of the influences of his family history, Catholic religion, and the Italian culture of machismo.

8. Escorts (2015)

Explicit look at the escort scene in Britain, where prostitution is legal. Follows the daily lives of two high-priced call girls working in a posh neighborhood of London, and the effects of their lifestyle on their families. Short and somewhat superficial but worth a watch.

9. Virgin School (2007)

Touching story of a shy 26-year-old British virgin who enrolls in sex school — an intimacy program for sexually inexperienced men in Amsterdam. The program sensitively depicts some painfully awkward moments as it follows the young man’s emotional journey and growing confidence with women.

10. Tokyo Idols (2017)

Fascinating and sometimes creepy look at the bizarre world of teen idols in Japan and their fanatical middle-aged devotees. Reveals how otaku (pop culture geeks) choose the escapist fantasy provided by these budding starlets, some as young as 10, over relationships with real women. An uncomfortable yet compelling watch.

11. Revenge Porn (2015)

This UK documentary investigates the epidemic of online misogyny in the form of revenge porn. Interesting take on a serious subject, but too much focus on the presenter, who leaks her own nude selfies to a revenge porn site to document her experience.

12. My Sex Robot (2010)

This British documentary explores the weird world of sex robots. We meet three men with robot fetishes as well as two inventors competing to make this fantasy a reality. Although current prototypes are crude, this docu makes it disturbingly easy to imagine a future in which robots become popular substitutes for human companionship.

13. Beauties of the Night (2016)

Poignant portrait of the vedettes, former queens of the racy Mexican burlesque scene. A compassionate examination of what the aging process means for women in a profession in which success is predicated on youthful beauty and erotic appeal.

Have more Netflix sex documentary recommendations? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

All images © Netflix

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