It’s the end of date #3. You’ve had dinner, you’ve shared dessert, you’ve finished a bottle of wine, you drive home and make out in the car, you invite them inside, and before you know it, you’re sucking in your skinny fat and going at it. The big moment is about to happen, but you’re nervous, and the nervousness is only heightened by awkward silence punctuated by sloppy kissing sounds and heavy breathing. What is a pair of libidinous young bodies who have agreed to see each other naked to do?! Put on some lovemaking jams, of course. But what KIND, you ask? Surely you don’t want anything too aggressive or on-the-nose… rest easy, I’ve got you covered. Behold, a dozen albums perfectly suited for the ol’ bump & grind:
- Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” (2012) – My absolute favorite – one of the most sexually-charged albums in recent memory. Rolling Stone called Miguel “easily uninhibited enough to inherit the tradition of eccentric R&B freakiness handed down from Marvin Gaye to Prince to R. Kelly.”
- James Blake’s self-titled debut album (2011) – A beautifully dynamic, intimate, and soulful album from a young man with a voice as smooth as butter. At times quiet and subdued, at times bass-heavy and intense, reserve this one for a special sort of lovemaking, after dinner and a bottle of wine.
- Rhye’s “Woman” (2013) – Highly influenced by Sade, this is one of my recent favorites. Pitchfork calls it “sexy without being overtly sexual, erotic but not lascivious…bound to become fodder for a tasteful boudoir soundtrack, something to be slotted next to the xx, another band they’ve been frequently compared to.” Which brings me to:
- The xx’s “xx” (2009) – A friend says this is the best all-time album for every person and every situation – fills in the quiet gaps, but never overpowers and is the sexiest way to have sex ever.
- The Black Keys’ “Brothers” (2010) – A fun, badass bedroom confidence-booster. I had sex to this on ecstasy once and it was fantastic. It’s one of those albums that makes you feel sexier than you are, which, come to think of it, is sort of the whole point of putting on music during sex in the first place.
- Drake’s “Take Care” (2011) – Amazingly sexy start-to-finish. Aubrey Graham (aka Wheelchair Jimmy) is always candid, whether he’s tenderly crooning ballads or confidently spitting bars. As hilarious hip-hop blogger Big Ghost says: “We talkn bout a dude who done made songs so moist they could tenderize a steak if you left it in front of the speaker… Songs that could hydrate ya skin n cleanse ya pores n shit… Songs that could make swans appear at ya doorstep… Shit that could pasteurize milk.”
- Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (2006) – The title pretty much says it all. In the opening track, JT repeatedly asks a lady to tell him which way she likes it, so it’s a great way to get things going. Plus, my goal sophomore year of college – besides getting good grades, of course – was to hook up to the song “LoveStoned”. (Mission accomplished, BTW.)
- Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” (2012) – Frank dominated the music world last year for a reason – he is immensely talented and outrageously sexy. This was hands down my favorite album of 2012 and is always a great listen, whether it’s in the car, at a friend’s house, or in bed. Spin says the track “Sierra Leone” “sounds like the sensuality of gradual climax and makes irresponsible raw-dogging sound like the most romantic thing ever.”
- The Weeknd’s “Trilogy” (2012) – Combining his 3 debut mixtapes (House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence), The Weeknd delivers angsty, sexy PBR&B (a music blogger buzzword used to describe an emerging subgenre of R&B closely associated with hipster culture). Pitchfork calls it “weird, morning-after tales of lust, hurt, and over-indulgence complemented by lush, downcast music”. Mmmmm.
- Maxwell’s “BLACKsummers’night” (2009) – A contemporary bedroom staple, Rolling Stone calls this one “an R&B album about love, not just sex, for grown-ups who know the difference”.
- Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” (1973) – Because DUH. This is a copulation classic. Big Sean says it best: “Just to set the mood, I brought some Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”
- R. Kelly’s entire discography. That’s right – I’m talking about the man who brought us Bump N Grind…who gave us song titles like Feelin’ On Yo Booty …who wrote the lyric “You remind me of my Jeep / I wanna ride it”. Call me lazy, but it’s just too hard to pick one album. Choose this for a special person though – one who has a sense of humor and who won’t be offended by lyrics like these.
In addition to this list, I also asked some good friends what their favorite sexytime music is and why they found it to be a good choice for the ol’ horizontal polka. (Spoiler alert: no one said polka.)
“I’ve been super into The Neighbourhood for boning. It’s sorta dark and mysterious and I love that.”
“I’ve been listening to Little Dragon excessively for ultimate sexiness. I’ve never had a bad time listening to something because I am pretty controlling and once they see me move to the music, they are sold.”
“My first go-to is always Biggie (aka The Notorious B.I.G.). Something about what the dude spits gives you that extra oomph. Try not to get weird while listening to “Hypnotize”, I dare you. You will fail, and it will be the sexiest failure.”
“At my peak of DJing the bedroom, I used to put on “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place” by Explosions In The Sky cause that shit was epic as fuck, but also some great ones were “( )” by Sigur Ros (that one might have even been subconsciously chosen simply because the title actually just looks like a vagina) and “Mr. Beast” by Mogwai. All that post-rock shit is always good cause of the dramatic buildups if you wanna have that epic I-love-you sex so that girls can imagine they are in the Notebook.”
“I was such an audio snob that I only wanted to listen to vinyl during sex, so I would have to periodically stop and flip the record over, which was obviously awkward as fuck – and, as I’m typing out, sounds like some sort of hipster joke almost writing itself.”
“One time when my girlfriend and I started dating, I put on Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” to be funny (this was early 2009 – you couldn’t escape this song at that point), but I ended up putting that whole record on a few times because it ended up being pretty well suited for that.”
“I’ve only had one boyfriend who really liked to put on tunes when we were gettin’ down, and he liked to put on songs like this. Which I thought was very sweet at the time, but now I’m like, k…
“When my boyfriend and I started dating he would put on some SERIOUS rap music and we’d make out for what felt like hours. So I guess that counts, and it was always THE BEST.”
…and a couple people told me why they prefer NOT to put music on during sex.
“I attribute my lack of desire to put on music to how unsexy it is to hear music out of MacBook Pro speakers while you are trying not to knee the computer off the bed the entire time. You really need that shit blasting at you out of some nice speakers.”
“I don’t put on music as much because if shit ever goes sour with a girl, I don’t wanna ruin that band or record for myself.”
By that same token, if you’re playing music from iTunes, make sure you know what’s coming next…
“When the Death from Above 1979 album “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” ended during a serious no-no part smashing together session, “Organic Hallucinosis” by the death metal band Decapitated came on, seemingly twice as loud. It starts with an all-in, no count-off, wall-of-metal sound, blast beat, dissonant guitars and all. What else was I to do but commit the worst lover move ever and stop smashing parts to change the music! I had to! Thanks iTunes. I’ll see you in court.”
I still maintain that albums are a better choice than playlists – they’re cohesive and fluid, and you never have to worry about what song’s coming next (which is also why I avoid Pandora or Spotify radio). But if you’re amazing (and cautious!) at making playlists, by all means, craft an epic masterpiece incorporating all of the music listed in this post and tell me how it goes! And DO NOT forget to include Ciara’s “Body Party” and Usher’s “Climax”.
Happy humping 😉
By Carmen O’Connor