Once upon a time, before The Sopranos helped usher in the era of peak TV, HBO was known for its broadcast of popular films — and for the robust offering of, ahem, adult content in the late night hours. Then, the internet grew more and more popular and curious youths could do a simple Google search instead of sneaking downstairs to try to catch an episode of Cathouse or Taxicab Confessions or Real Sex. And HBO pivoted its brand to become synonymous with highbrow, expensive, scripted television, so the network began to lean less and less on its soft-core content. In 2018, HBO quietly removed its sexiest series from its streaming apps HBO Go and HBO Max, and the racy AF shows did not make the migration to HBO Max in 2020, either.
A spokesperson for the network told the Los Angeles Times that the decision to pull the explicit content wasn't necessarily for family friendly reasons, it was really due to popularity: “Over the past several years HBO has been winding down its late-night adult fare," the rep wrote. "While we’re greatly ramping up our other original program offerings, there hasn’t been a strong demand for this kind of adult programming, perhaps because it’s easily available elsewhere."
But while you can't get that explicitly sexy content on HBO Max, there are plenty of steamy movies available to watch on the streaming service. From classic '80s and '90s erotic thrillers to foreign imports — plus the ab-tastic cinema of Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike. No, they're not necessarily as wall-to-wall adult-oriented as some other films, but listen — sometimes anticipation is as satisfying as the real thing. Plus, if you need more than that, you have the entire internet at your fingertips.
Update: This story was originally published on September 3, 2020.