22 Ways to Show Sex Without Actually Showing It

Photo: Robert Freeman/Getty Images, Getty Images/iStockphoto, Corbis, Jose Antonio Penas/Getty Images, Shutterstock Mina Chapman/Corbis,

This week the Cut has been diving into hot summer sex more than might be advisable, requiring many sad searches for “sexy” images to accompany our articles. As is often the case when trading in visual shorthand, stock photography proved to be a cesspool of hilarious clichés. We combed through thousands of images to neatly categorize all the ways that stock agencies get around showing anything we might actually consider arousing. Killer sperm? Yes. Women eating stone fruits? Uh-huh. Animals mounting one another? Actually, a few of those are kind of sexy. From disembodied feet at the bottom of a bed to women straddling chessboards, click through our slideshow for the many colorful ways photo services illustrate sex.