29 of This Year’s Steamiest Movie and TV Moments
This has been a pretty great year for romance on screen! This year’s most romantic scenes in TV and movies have seen everything from sweet, adorable first kisses and long-simmering slow burns to scenes that have seriously steamed up our screens. Whether they’re sweeping us away on the big screen or turning up the heat on TV, these sexy, romantic scenes have sent pulses racing – or just inspired a chorus of “awwww”s.
Some of the year’s best romantic scenes have introduced us to new couples we didn’t even realize we needed until now, while others have been the very satisfying culmination of several years’ worth of sexual tension. Either way, they’re incredible examples of why onscreen chemistry matters so much, and they’ve been among 2022’s most unforgettable moments in pop culture. That’s why we’re celebrating these scenes as the year wraps up! From soft, cozy moments to scenes so hot they’ll melt your screens (and in no particular order), here are some of our favorite romantic moments from TV and movies in 2022.
“Sanditon” may have been saved from cancellation, but its second season returned with a twist: leading man Sidney dies off screen after actor Theo James chose not to reprise the role. Instead, Sidney’s star-crossed former love Charlotte spends much of the season learning to live with having loved deeply and grieved equally deeply, while two very different new love interests enter her life. By the end of the season, it’s clear where her heart now lies: with Alexander, the Captain von Trapp-esque widower she works for. It’s telling that their tender and passionate first kiss happens after Alexander finally opens up to Charlotte about his own past, allowing them to look to the future.
"Our Flag Means Death"
There are so, so many “ship” puns to be made about HBO Max’s gleefully weird pirate comedy, so we’ll just say that few people probably expected it to give us one of the year’s most charming and cheer-worthy romances. When wannabe pirate Stede Bonnet crosses paths with the notorious Edward Teach, aka Captain Blackbeard, an unexpected bond forms between them. After their piracy fails and they’re captured to be turned into official “privateers,” the pair share a tender moment on a beach, where Ed admits that what makes him happiest is being with Stede, then plants a very sweet kiss on him.
Kate and Anthony’s enemies-to-lovers arc in the second season of “Bridgerton” is chock-full of longing glances, held gazes, and sexual tension so thick, you could cut it with a knife. As the season winds down, though, things finally get physical. It’s hard to choose which moment between them is the best of the best: Their devastating first kiss after the failed wedding? Their super-sexy rendezvous in the gazebo? In the end, though, this is an epic romance, so it’s only right that it ends with an equally epic declaration of love, encompassing the journey they’ve been on together, and a kiss that signals the start of their happily ever after, just minutes before the season’s credits roll.
Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist – no, not Tony Stark, but Tom Swift, the messy and brilliant protagonist of The CW’s short-lived sci-fi mystery. Even while dealing with tangled family drama and high-tech, high-stakes missions, Tom finds time for a personal life. Never is that more evident than when he returns from a gala to find boyfriend Justin lounging in his workshop with Champagne, leading to a hookup – right there on Tom’s motorcycle – so steamy, it’s almost hard to believe it made it onto network TV.
"Roswell, New Mexico"
The CW’s “Roswell” reboot telegraphed its two central romances from the very first episode, but one of the show’s best relationships turned out to be one that took years to blossom. Deadpan, loyal doctor Kyle is the first to catch feelings, but it’s alien hero Isobel who finally makes the first move. After sharing a flirty dance, Kyle admits that he thinks Isobel is beautiful, leading her to take things into her own hands and plant a long-awaited kiss on him.
"A League of Their Own"
From their very first meeting, there’s a definite spark between baseball players Carson and Greta, and it’s kicked into high gear after Greta shocks Carson by kissing her in the very first episode. It takes a while for their connection to build, especially as Carson figures out her sexuality (and deals with lingering guilt over her husband, who’s away at war). When they manage to get assigned to room together on a trip, though, they’re finally able to take their time with a hookup that’s both giddy and sexy.
It’s based on “Pride and Prejudice,” so you know the romance will be good in this rom-com! By the end of the movie, Noah and Will have gone from loathing each other to falling for each other, just like the story we know and love. After helping get their friends back together, they share a slow dance on the beach at sunset, culminating with the kind of romantic, beautifully framed kiss that’s the stuff rom-com dreams are made of.
"The Lost City"
This goofy comedy has fun playing with all the beloved tropes of romance novels and romantic comedies, so it’s only fitting for it to end with a classic rom-com smooch. After narrowly escaping kidnappers, killers, and a volcanic eruption, romance author Loretta and cover model Alan head out on a book tour based on their adventures. Taking a break on a beach, Alan teasingly narrates the scene, banters a bit about the use of the verb “throb,” and sweeps Loretta into the perfect movie-ending kiss.
"Mr. Malcolm's List"
It wouldn’t be a period romance without a breathtakingly romantic final sequence, would it? After a series of half-truths and misunderstandings drive a wedge between Jeremy and Selina, he’s finally convinced to go after her, realizing she has been his perfect match all along. Like any good Regency hero, he pursues her carriage on horseback, finally getting her to stop so he can confess, propose, and, yes, grovel a little bit before she accepts his proposal with a quip, a kiss, and a classic epic zoom-out to end the movie.
When we say the characters on “Stranger Things” would go to hell and back for each other, we mean it pretty literally! Hopper’s torment in a Soviet prison ends when Joyce rescues him, alongside everyone’s favorite conspiracy theorist Murray, but when they finally get some time to talk alone, it’s not fighting evil that’s on their minds. Instead, they flirt a little over their missed dinner date. Then, the “adults in the room” take a page out of the teenage playbook with a crash-together makeout session that has been years in the making.
"A League of Their Own"
While the white women of the Rockford Peaches have a built-in community of like-minded women, Black pitcher Max spends much of the season struggling to fit in anywhere, even among her friends, neighbors, and family members. It’s when she finally gets up the courage to attend a party at her uncle Bert’s house that she finds the joyful queer community she’s been missing – and the romance, too. Even better: she spots a beautiful woman named Es, asks her to dance, and shares a sultry kiss with her right there on the dance floor, surrounded by people finding joy in being their true selves.
"Everything Everywhere All at Once"
The breakout hit movie isn’t exactly a romance, but it gives us one of the year’s most romantic, instantly quotable lines. Across several parts of the multiverse, the relationship between married couple Evelyn and Waymond goes through several iterations, some more painful than others. In one universe, where “Evelyn” becomes a movie star and “Waymond” is a successful CEO, the CEO version of Waymond learns about the existence of the “main” universe where he and Evelyn run a failing laundromat that’s getting audited. His response is simple, heartbreaking, and devastatingly romantic: “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.”
The Netflix rom-com/legal dramedy was over far too soon, but not before giving us (and leading lady Ingrid) plenty of options in the romance department. While Ingrid spends much of the season dating wealthy, sweet Nick – and forming an intriguing, slow-burn bond with sustainability-minded corporate heir Z – it’s her hot-and-cold relationship with colleague Jeff that she just can’t ignore. After they’re the only two left in the whole office, pulling a Thanksgiving all-nighter to close a crucial deal, they share an impulsive, celebratory kiss, which quickly turns into a heated, forbidden hookup right there in the conference room.
Asha and Ravi check off plenty of classic rom-com tropes: fake dating that turns into real feelings, avoiding meddling parents, an impending wedding causing stress, a romantic kiss in the rain, and a mistake that tears them apart. So of course, the end of the movie is in that grand tradition of all our favorite rom-coms. Ravi makes the “grand gesture,” admitting his mistakes and his love for her in front of everyone, and it all ends with an epic Bollywood dance number and an equally epic kiss.
"Roswell, New Mexico"
Over four seasons, Michael and Alex have taken the phrase “star-crossed lovers” pretty literally. Even once they’ve gotten together for good, plenty’s still keeping them apart – this time, a mysterious alien force and an alternate dimension. After Michael ventures into a dangerous pocket dimension to find Alex, they’re reunited with a relieved, romantic kiss that reminds us about the chemistry that has always made this ship special.
Netflix’s breakout rom-com features plenty of sweet stories about first love and figuring out your own identity. Nowhere is this as charming as the first kiss between Nick and Charlie. Sitting side by side, just inches apart, Charlie slowly asks Nick if he could ever be interested in someone who’s not a girl. Nick’s tentative answers keep building, and they keep growing closer, until Charlie finally asks if Nick would ever kiss him. The romantic moment that follows is full of the giddy joy of first love, emphasized by the fluttering animated butterflies that surround them.
From the moment they meet, there’s definite tension between guardian-in-training Rose and her mentor, Dimitri, so it’s only a matter of time before their professionalism snaps. After Rose makes her first kill, she struggles with guilt, since her target was an old friend before being turned into an evil Strigoi. Ultimately, Dimitri is the one to give her the tattoo marking her first kill, an intimately shot scene with close-ups of his hands on her skin. With that kind of proximity, the dam finally breaks, and a slow, sweet first kiss quickly turns into something much more passionate.
"Jurassic World: Dominion"
If you think you’ve waited a long time for your favorite ship to end up together, they’ve probably got nothing on Alan and Ellie! The heroes of the original Jurassic Park trilogy return for the franchise’s final chapter, almost 30 years since they were first introduced. Now older and (mostly) wiser, Alan is still single and clearly not over Ellie, and Ellie has long since divorced her first husband. At the end of their adventure, Ellie oh so casually asks Alan to join her – and this time, he promises to come with her, leading to their (very) long-awaited first onscreen smooch.
"High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"
Sometimes, the best romances are the ones no one planned on. When the meta “High School Musical” series began, the obvious romance was between Ricky and Nini, but with Olivia Rodrigo‘s departure, a different, unexpected ship came into clearer view: Ricky and Gina, friends whose connection has slowly been evolving. After playing Kristoff and Anna opposite each other in a camp production of “Frozen,” Gina confesses her feelings for Ricky, then tells him she’s walking away unless he stops her – which he does, pulling her into a kiss that’s been years in the making. Ricky might tease, “Don’t get me started,” but we think this ship is just getting started in the best way.
"She-Hulk: Attorney at Law"
Throughout the season, Jen (aka She-Hulk) deals with a wide array of bad dates, ranging from self-absorbed bores and guys only interested in her superhero persona to downright horrific betrayals – but fortunately, she finds a worthy match in a very unexpected place: Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. Matt defeats Jen in court, flirts with her over drinks, encourages her to use her powers to help people, fights against her and then alongside her when their clients get in trouble, and offers to take her to dinner the next time he’s in town. Instead, they wind up crashing into Jen’s apartment and leaving a trail of supersuit pieces en route to her bedroom. Their chemistry sends sparks flying in ways we rarely see in Marvel projects – and the visual gag of Matt doing the “walk of shame” barefoot and in full Daredevil costume the next morning is instantly iconic.
Season 19 of “Grey’s” is something of a reboot, with a fresh batch of five new interns (and their personal drama) turning the new season into a bit of a throwback to the long-running drama’s sexy, scandalous early years. One of the couples who already have us rooting for them would be Lucas and Simone, who have been keeping each other’s secrets and slowly building a tentative connection throughout the first half of the season. Lucas interrupts an argument by finally kissing Simone – and she promptly runs off, insisting she just “can’t.” We sense a classic angst-filled “Grey’s” romance heading our way!
The new season of “Grey’s” isn’t an exact replica of the show’s early years, but there are definitely a few parallels. Among the most fun is the Alex-and-Izzie-esque hate-flirting between arrogant, confident Blue and kind-hearted, ambitious Jules. After a few episodes of needling each other constantly, it should come as no surprise that they wind up blowing off some steam together in one of those patented on-call room hookups!
"Lady Chatterley's Lover"
Based on a book so scandalous, it was banned and tried for obscenity upon first publication, Netflix’s romantic period drama has a big reputation to live up to – and does it ever. The movie centers on the forbidden affair between Connie, the neglected wife of an aristocrat, and Oliver, the estate’s gamekeeper, and it’s packed with very, very steamy scenes. Perhaps the most memorable occurs when the pair run into each other on the estate (after their affair has already begun) and get it on right there in the woods in a scene of intense, romantic passion.