7 edgy R-rated movies and series for adults only

By Gen Terblanche10 May 2024

7 edgy R-rated movies and series for adults only

Turn off the lights and enter your sexy little parental control PIN number, cos it’s grownup time again on Showmax.

Welcome to our safe space, where nothing that happens between happily consenting adults in real life life is off the table or taboo. Whether you want the naked truth about all the flavours of sex and sexuality, or you want to find out what it’s like working in adult entertainment, we’re here with choices. We have the experts, sexperts and insiders who’ll put a human face on the story, with empathy and openness. And sometimes, because it’s not all so serious, we’ll have a little fun with it, too. 

Here are seven sets of our favourite series and movies … for grownups only. 

1. Chocolate Kings

Chocolate Kings on Showmax

SAFTA-winning producer-director Vincent Moloi takes us behind the doors of The Chocolate Factory, the only agency for Black male exotic dancers in South Africa. “The series delves into the provocative and seductive aspects of this unique world, while also providing a wealth of education and entertainment. It is a captivating blend of twists and drama,” Vincent teases. 

Chocolate Kings centres on the business’s creative director Nhlanhla “Sweet Chilli” Malinga, as he strikes a balance between being a dancer by night and a man of faith by day. Nhlanhla and five of his dancers hold honest, authentic discussions around how their work (and the prejudices against it) impacts their daily lives in their roles as fathers, sons, brothers and lovers. And they show how the job shapes their perspectives on masculinity, whether they’re dancing at the club, modelling or working at private parties. 

Binge Chocolate Kings Season 1 now.

Also watch: Chocolate City. This American movie starring Michael Jai White is set in the world of male exotic dancers. Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the latest movie in the Magic Mike series, sees Channing Tatutm and Salma Hayek take centre stage together as adult entertainers. And This Body Works for Me S1-2 takes us behind the camera and inside the world of women working in adult entertainment clubs and websites in South Africa. 

2. Babylon

Margot Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy in Babylon

This dark comedy drama takes us into the world of wild, taboo-breaking excess in Hollywood. It kicks off in the roaring 20s, when no party is complete without nudity, depraved sex acts, overdoses, music and a real, live elephant. Celebrities rise and fall in this world as we follow veteran stars like womanising actor Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) and his first wife Ina (Olivia Wilde), second wife Olga Putti (Karolina Szymczak) and third wife Estelle (Katherine Waterston), along with bold newcomers like wanna-be starlet Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) and errand runner Manny (Diego Calva).

As technology and tastes change and morality shifts to become more rigid during the 1930s, everyone’s private lives start becoming a public problem thanks to gossip columnists like Elinor St John (Jean Smart). But the parties continue in tinseltown’s sleazy underworld, where rats and alligators are the new VIPs on the guest list.

Watch Babylon now.

Also watch: Don’t Worry Darling for a decadent, exploitative world where things are a little sexy, sleazy and out of control.

3. Fellow Travelers

Fellow Travelers on Showmax
(L-R): Matt Bomer as Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller and Jonathan Bailey as Tim in FELLOW TRAVELERS, “Hit Me.” Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/SHOWTIME.

Imagine combining historical romance, a political thriller, and a tale of forbidden passion. This eight-episode mini-series, based on Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel of the same name, takes us back to the 1950s in Washington DC. It’s a time of outright persecution and demonisation of anyone suspected of indulging in “un-American activities”, from homosexuality, to communism, to leading labour unions or pushing for any kind of equality between genders and races. So there are significant risks involved when WWII veteran and State Department official Hawk Fuller (Matt Bomer) meets idealistic new political staffer Tim Laughlin (Jonathan Bailey). Their connection lasts through the 1950s to the rebellious 1960s, hedonistic 1970s and the dawning Aids crisis of the 1980s. 

Everything that was forced underground bursts into life on the screen, so when this series gives us nudity and explicit scenes, it does so with an eye to normalising and celebrating something that was treated as shameful. And it resists becoming shock for shock’s sake by fully involving us in the character’s emotional lives and their losses and triumphs for 30 years. Everything in the world around them changes, but the reality of their connection stays undeniable. 

Binge Fellow Travelers Season 1 now.

Also watch: With a slightly lighter hand on the sexy stuff, Victorian-era series Gentleman Jack Season 1-2 gives us a story of love in defiance of its time between two women. And  infidelity gets a bisexual twist in the South African movie, Love Lies & Hybrids.

4. Koek

Sandra Prinsloo as Moekie and Cindy Swanepoel as Christelle in Koek

Koek might be the most fun you can have with someone else’s clothes off! Everyone involved in showrunner Christiaan Olwagen’s Showmax Original series is having the time of their lives. Sandra Prinsloo chomps the scenery and dreams up schemes in full drag as leopard print-wearing mob boss, organ trafficker, and dirty dancing club madame deluxe Moekie Koekemoer. And Cindy Swanepoel pulls many a daring move out of her derriere as frumpy 40-year-old doctor Christelle, who’s forced to turn to the pole (and some less savoury shenanigans behind the velvet curtain that’ll make dark use of her surgery skills) when her plot to find out what her cheating husband is doing behind her back goes … um… t*ts up. 

While Koek is a drama with a plot as sticky and twisted as a koeksister, the visual flair, in-your-face honesty, and ear for what South Africans say and how we think make this a recipe to remember. Someone has clearly been eavesdropping to what moms actually talk about in the school drop-off queue! And then there’s the intriguing, shifting relationship between Christelle and Moekie. These aren’t your granny’s jiggly milktarts. 

Binge Koek Season 1 now.

Also watch: For a closer look at sex work in the suburbs among the middle-aged and middle class, try Emma Thompson’s movie Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, which follows a woman’s later-in-life experience of physical pleasure after a lifetime of marital blahs. Thomas Jane’s Hung Season 1-3 takes us under the covers with a man who starts making bank with his biggest asset. There’s more swinging shenanigans and sexploration among the married couples in comedy movie Swaaibraai.

5. Wyfie

Wyfie is on Showmax

There’s a first time for everything in long-running Showmax Original drama series Wyfie. Meet four young women at a South African university who are eager to tick them all off: that first kiss with a guy, your first kiss with a girl, your first time in bed with a stranger, your first crush, your first time doing the walk of shame without your underwear (breezy), and your first time struggling with forbidden love. It’s going to be an education. 

Wyfie is all about challenging who you think you are. For our four roommates, it’s about finding themselves and their true desires through all the noise of what men want (and take) from women, and overturning the traditions that have groomed them into accepting life in a trap. And it’s about the unlikely friends we make along the way when we push back. Get ready for a look at life that’s never covered in the curriculum. 

Stream Wyfie Season 1 now. New episodes on Tuesdays.

Also watch: Mindy Kaling is behind comedy series The Sex Lives of College Girls Season 1-2, which takes a more lighthearted look at growing up, breaking traditions, and exploring your sexuality during your university days. And British dramedy Everything I Know About Love follows four 20-something roommates in their first house-share in London as they explore dating in the big city in the early early 2010s, when apps are a novel way to meet strangers who could break your heart or be your one true love.

Dating, mating and marriage

Looking for entertaining dramas that spotlight modern dating and the games that adults play? Our Showmax Originals have it all – honesty, humour and an eye for beauty in love scenes that had Twitter (X) in a flutter. Adulting Season 1-2 gives us the lowdown on what (and who) South Africa’s men are chasing in their 30s, and how they’re defining what it means to be a man.

Single Kiasi Season 1-3 is Kenya’s cheeky answer to what women want, as it follows three inseparable best friends through all the ups and downs of love, marriage and divorce, always supporting one another and challenging the expectations placed on women. The Wife Season 1-3, based on the bestselling novels by Dudu Busani-Dube, gives us the passionate and complex story of seven brothers and their criminal empire, through the eyes of the women who love them. And while the rating is a little gentler, there’s just as much daring dating on the go between South African men and women in Unmarried Season 1-3.

Also watch: For more shameless and provocative views of modern dating and sexual politics, dive into women’s lives on New York’s dating scene in the classic Sex and the City Season 1-6 and its follow-up And Just Like That Season 1-2, or try HBO’s Looking Season 1 as it strips down what it’s like for men who love men in San Francisco. 

Sex talk gets real

Showmax hosts a number of dynamic, daring documentaries about who’s doing it, where, and how. It’s a full sex education class in the privacy of your own home, with plenty to think about, debate and explore.

Showmax Original smash hit series Sex in Afrikaans Season 1 pops the conservative mask off the Afrikaans community as 10 panellists and a group of adult entertainers talk about all the ways in which we (and their clients) really pursue pleasure, even in Pretoria. Kim Windvogel and journalist Romantha Botha ask celebs and civilians what the rest of South Africa does between the sheets in a frank and sympathetic discussion in Sex & Pleasure Season 1.

And one actress and model is on a global mission to demystify sex around the world (including South Africa) in Planet Sex With Cara Delevingne Season 1. The series gets scientific about everything from the gender orgasm gap to how colourism continues to shove darker-skinned women to the back of the queue. 

Now turn out the lights, and let us turn on your screen in ways you’d never imagined!

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