The 5 Most Unhinged Saltburn Sexual Scenes, Ranked
The most jarring moment was actually improvised.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for Saltburn.
After watching Saltburn, I had one thought ringing in my mind: Thank God he didn’t f*ck that corpse. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, hear me out. Throughout the film, Oliver Quick (played by Barry Keoghan) grew increasingly obsessed with his popular aristocratic classmate Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). Once Felix invited Oliver to his family’s estate, Saltburn, a psychosexual drama began to unfold — one that resulted in four deaths, thousands of lies, and a surprising amount of strange erotic behavior.
At the same time, a complicated web of sexual desire and power stirred between Oliver and the other characters. As Oliver adjusted to life at Saltburn and ingratiated himself with the Catton family, the sex scenes got progressively weirder.
And according to Emerald Fennell, Saltburn’s director, the shock value of the film was intentional. “If it feels real, if it feels like something you really might do alone in the grips of desire, then it doesn’t feel too much for me,” Fennell told Vanity Fair in November. “For that completely overwhelming carnal desire to take hold, there has to be an element of revulsion, there has to be an element of transgression.”
From Oliver’s peeping Tom proclivities to his vampiric thirst, here are Saltburn’s most unhinged sex scenes, ranked from only slightly alarming to unforgettably jaw-dropping.
5. Farleigh & Oliver’s Hookup
Consent was murky at best when Oliver dug his claws into his nemesis. When Farleigh woke up, he was surprised to find Oliver in his room, on top of him. At the time, Oliver blamed Farleigh for telling Felix about Oliver’s dalliance with Venetia (more on that later), and he was trying to use sex as a way to reestablish control.
In this scene, Oliver repeatedly asked Farleigh if he would “behave” from now on. At first, Farleigh said no, but eventually he acquiesced. “I’m going to behave. F*ck,” he told Oliver, as Oliver began to get *handsy* with Farleigh. All in all, this was definitely a disconcerting scene, but not nearly as shocking as some of the others.
4. Peeping Oliver
Throughout the film, Oliver had a bad habit of watching Felix hook up with girls, unbeknownst to Felix or the girls involved. These voyeuristic tendencies popped up at school and Saltburn — underscoring Oliver’s obsession with Felix.
At one point, Oliver smoked a cigarette in the garden, watching through a window as Felix brought a girl back to his room. Later, Oliver followed Felix and another girl through the hedge maze at Saltburn, watching them in silence for a bit before he interrupted.
3. The Vampire Scene
During his Saltburn stay, Oliver got close with the Catton family, including Oliver’s sister Venetia. One night, they met in the garden, and things got hot and heavy.
After Oliver told Venetia, “I could just eat you,” she clarified that it was “not the right time of the month.” His response? “It’s lucky for you I’m a vampire.” Cue a very bloody oral sex scene.
The scene was met with mixed reviews online. On one hand, it was definitely jarring — but some audiences had a different take on the garden rendezvous. On TikTok, one fan wrote, “went into saltburn expecting to be disturbed. instead left with new standards. the scene where she was on her period??? let’s normalize that. he did nothing wrong.”
No matter how you feel about period sex and Oliver’s ultimately murderous intentions, his moral compass in this scene is up for debate.
2. The Bathtub Scene
Oliver’s voyeuristic tendencies reached a new level when he caught Felix masturbating while in the bath. He watched it all go down from a slightly ajar door, and when Felix started to drain the tub and left the room, Oliver drank up the remaining bath water and semen, slurping from the drain.
It was one of the first truly shocking moments of the film, with plenty of TikTokers losing it over the now infamous “bathtub scene.”
In a November interview with Variety, Elordi joked about the scene: “I was like, ‘Thank God, it’s mine.’ I was very proud. I was very proud to have Barry Keoghan guzzling it like that.”
For those curious about the logistics of the scene, Keoghan was actually drinking “yogurt and a bit of milk and some water,” according to the film’s production designer, Suzie Davies. "He did it four times and really went for it. Every one he did was a different kind of slurp," she told Business Insider.
As for the sound, some of the wet gurgling noise came from raw octopus. “As so much of it is about texture, this is where things like the octopus came in,” Saltburn’s supervising sound editor Nina Hartstone told Vulture.
“The octopus was raw, and it’s something that’s got very many textures to play with, and a cavity in its head,” Hartstone added, “We didn’t shy away from experimenting with creating as many sticky sounds as we could using oil and the octopus. You have to do an awful lot of recording to find the absolute right sounds.”
1. Grave Humping
The final sexual scene of Saltburn was also the most unhinged. After Felix died (thanks to Oliver poisoning him), a sequence of Oliver grieving his friend got weird. In the scene, Oliver laid on top of Felix’s freshly dug grave, hugging the ground in the pouring rain. Slowly, he stripped out of his clothes, until he eventually started humping the grave.
Turns out, the scene was actually improv. “The gravesite was sort of like a collaboration with me and Emerald,” Keoghan told Variety. “On the day, I was like, ‘Can I try something?’ I wanted to see what the next level of obsession was. So I asked for a closed set. I wanted to see where it went. It could have gone completely wrong but I think it moved the story.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Fennell said that the script originally called for Keoghan to kiss and finger the cemetery plot. But they changed their minds the day of filming. “I spoke to Barry in the morning, and I just said, ‘I don’t know, Barry. I think that he would... unzip. And Barry just said, ‘Yup.’”
Keoghan added to EW, “I was totally on board for it.”
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