Netflix and chill is all well and good, but sometimes you both know you’re after the same thing and pretending to binge another season is a waste of time. You’re already in the bedroom, the TV is off, and, if you’re doing it right, everything else is coming off too. To help things along and have a little background noise to keep that mood high–and maybe spare the neighbors the sounds to come–it helps to have a playlist at the ready.
Here are the classics, both old and new, that belong on any soundtrack to set the night’s bedside acrobatics to.
Best Sex Songs in 2020/2021
Foreplay Mood Setters
The night has barely begun and so have you. You need a lineup of songs that get you and your lover edging into the evening’s theme. Are you in the mood for a quick roll around in the sheets? Something steady and supple? Is it a ‘bang until the bed breaks’ kind of night? Whatever you’re revving each other up for, make sure you have a couple of these on the playlist:
Yeah, we all know this one. Everyone recognizes those opening strings–‘wow-wow-wow-waow’–and Gaye crooning in with, “I’ve been really tryin’, baby…” This was a genuine sultry sing-a-long when it was new, but these days it’s become a cheesy parody of itself. So why keep it on the playlist? Because some couples love cheese! If you’re as deep in the relationship as you plan to be in your partner, you’re at the stage where you can open your night on a laugh. Hit play on this one when you’ve got a rose in your teeth and a Fabio pose on the bed.
If the 80’s poured all its sexual tension and synthesizers into one song, this would be it. Under the sound effects and Michael’s high Wham! notes, the song comes down to one thing, and that’s the title itself. “I want your sex, I want your love, I want your sex,” the song tells us, in case we missed it. This is for couples who are more lighthearted in their lust. Not in it to get hardcore or dramatic, but because it’s just another fun thing to do with each other. To quote Michael, not everybody does it, but everybody should.
Back again with Marvin Gaye, and this time, the tone’s gotten a little more tongue in cheek. Among other places, ideally. He sings about how he’s hot like an oven, how his mind needs relieving, and his baby has just the medicine to cure him. Because, “Sexual healing is good for me, makes me feel so fine…” It’s definitely the sort of song you want in the background after a long, sour day for you or your partner, and you need a little coital pick-me-up to take the edge off. That, or a thematic soundtrack for a naughty bedside doctor.
Definitely one of the oldest of the old school foreplay tunes. It isn’t a high-energy song as much as it is mounting tension melody. It’s what you would have playing when you feel that telltale itch getting itchier, when you’re dancing up close to each other in the bedroom, when you’re taking your time peeling off your clothes–or having them peeled off for you–or you’re providing the service yourself. It’s the sort of music you play in the lulls between hotter moments. Not so placid you lose your steam, but not so urgent you rush into the next part of the seduction.
Okay, let’s wipe off the dust. The classics are fine, but we need to get some new blood in here. That, and a lot more heat. Snoop Dogg’s song is all about making his many lovers hot and bothered. It’s a musical ode to all the sweat, the fever, the fantasy, the build-up, the drip-drip-dripping of each others’ respective bodily fluids both before and during the act itself. Somehow, he makes it sound slickly sexy rather than just plain nasty. You want this one playing if you’re both inching close to dropping the pretense and staining up the bed sheets.
This is the song to start getting up close with. Maybe you really are doing as the song suggests, bringing your baby’s body in close, there to satisfy every need. Maybe it’s just the tone, a mix between lust and honest yearning. You’re selling yourself, selling the whole idea of a little bump and grind, a little skin to skin. It’s a song that isn’t as much about actually stripping down and getting in bed with each other as much as it is about taking the next, sensual step toward a relationship, and all the intimate, titillating contact that entails.
It’s time to go a little harder and a little sweeter–so to speak. This one is a tune that’s sugar-dusted, chocolate- dipped, and candy-coated with some of the most risque treats 50 Cent could dream up for lyrics. But what takes it out of the realm of a pure solo fantasy for one half of a couple is the sprinkling in of Olivia’s echoed verses. Two partners singing about how, “I’ll take you to the candy shop […] keep going ’til you hit the spot,” makes it very clear that you’re both promising a sweet, sexy payoff for each other.
Odds are, your girl knows this one even if you don’t. Whether you were a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey or not, this song was a standout favorite for the soundtrack. Hardly a surprise when you have The Weeknd singing in your ear about how you deserve the finer things simply for being you, for being perfect, for being the perfect kind of night. It’s a song meant for special occasions. A celebration, a popped question, an anniversary. The kind of soft, silken melody you would want backing you up as you unwrap each other for the evening ahead.
“Ladies first,” is the general rule of courtesy in most things, and this song proves Snoop Dogg is nothing if not a gentleman. He opens the tune on a promise–“I’m gonna take my time, she gon’ get hers before I,”–and then he proceeds to slide smooth and sleek into the narrative of his unhurried, unworried seduction. Of another man’s woman, no less! The whole mood of the song is about focusing on your lover’s needs first, of slyly teasing out the coital pleasure, and of making sure that they’ve hit a climax well before you worry about getting off yourself.
Bringing up the tail end of the foreplay tunes, The Weeknd offers us one more soft-sweet round of tenderness. Even with the expected splash of tension–“I can feel that body shake, and the heat between your legs,”–this is definitely the song to go with if you’re romancing a partner who’s been burned by past lovers. This is the mood-setter for when you need to take things slow. Not just for the erotic payoff, but because you know better than to rush. When that tingle and warmth starts coming through your lover, you get to relish it right along with them.
Getting Into It (and Them)
Alright, the mood is set, you’re both all riled up and ready to get down to business. Are you about to go wild, or are you reaching for the collar to teach some discipline? Is tonight meant for a private show between the two of you, or are you setting things up for a full-blown party in the bedroom? Grab a handful of these
songs, whatever or whoever else is in reach, and get to it:
Have you wondered what it would be like to cross the feel-good essence of Phil Collins with the concentrated lovey-dovey spirit of Valentine’s Day? Then this is the song for you! Richie’s melody is just as much about having a good time as a loving time, and is intended for a lighter, more jubilant kind of romancing. You want this one on the playlist for those inevitable in-between moments when you and your partner are taking a breather between climaxes–because you absolutely are going to be at it all night long– and want to keep the mood up while you recoup.
Despite being scanter on the explicit language compared to others on the list, most of us know why this pop hit treads a dangerous–if blurred–line. The bouncy beat contrasts with lyrics that can be heard in a very iffy light concerning whether Robin Thicke’s “good girl” is actually consenting to his come-ons. That said, the song is popular for a reason. Taken in another angle, the tune is about the same kind of flirtatious ‘hard-to- get’ chemistry as ‘classier’ crooner songs like, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” It’s meant for lovers who like a little tease as much as a straightforward invitation.
Whether you really plan to invite a whole crowd into the bed or not, this one gets to the meat of a menage a trois–or is it Minaj a trois? The song spotlights the heady thrill of watching the act as much as being a participant; it plays up the harem daydream of having a pile of pretty ladies getting with each other before letting you join in. Be warned, unless your playing this for an actual, eager two-plus-more night of debauchery, this is also the kind of song to get you in trouble before it gets you into bed.
Skip the romance, cut the crap, and dive straight into the hard stuff, because this song is the anthem for the ones who know exactly what they want, how they want it, and where they want it. They are very much not here for that soft and sappy mush. It’s a song strictly for the eponymous capital F Freaks who want to do tricks to make your libido scream and make sure you do twice as many back. It’s a heavy, thumping, sticky, sweaty, skin-slapping, leather-wrapped, down, dirty, and deliciously no-nonsense erotic tune to get off and get gone to. Megan Thee Stallion will make you horny with that beautiful posture and her voice, that’s for sure.
If “FREAK” is a celebration of getting naughty and nasty, then “Closer,” is the song to play when you’ve got your partner already chained to the bedposts–unless they got you in them first. This is the song reserved for cuffs, for masks, for claw marks, for black leather and latex, for buckles and belts. It is, to put it lightly, the heaviest bondage song there is. The opening lyrics alone–“You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you, you let me penetrate you,”–gives you a pretty clear idea of what kind of ‘lovemaking’ is in store for the evening.
If you’re between being in love and being in lust, this is the song you need. It’s absolutely dripping with carnal plans for the night–among other fluids–and Brown makes no secrets about what he’s there for. On the other hand, for every dirty thought he shares, it’s made doubly clear that he doesn’t care about the club, about anyone or anybody else’s tight skirt and the prize inside it. It’s a delightedly, nastily raunchy song for partners who know what they have is unique enough to stay private, if only because it’s better than any loving they could get elsewhere.
Keeping on the privacy theme, we see Chris Brown pop up again with T.I., both mulling over a lover who’s the notorious lady on the streets and freak in the sheets. It speaks to a relationship that really is a relationship, but is no less sexual for it. The titular private show is just that–private, exclusive content for your eyes only. A show so good you wish the world knew just how lucky you are, having all that undressed, dancing with everything open and ready just for you. You’d like the world to know, sure. But not bad enough to actually share.
Deep breaths, everyone. You’ve done every lap you could, the electric buzz in your skin is pleasantly fading out, and you’re winded from the marathon. Now is the time for the cool down. Those slow, solemn melodies meant for playing your heartstrings like the sappy harp it is. These are the tunes for the lovers who are in it for more than the lovemaking. They’re in it for you as much as you’re in it for them. Have a listen and feel the love:
Between Summer’s crystalline voice and the silky synth, this song proves that the lyrics can be the same three words and still be utterly hypnotic. While she does throw in a few other words for variety–“Ooh, I’m in love […] Ooh, you and me,”–most of the song is just the title sung over and over. But it hardly matters. The sound of her creates such a lovely, ethereal vibe that she could be crooning out the numbers for pi and still make you feel dreamy and deep in love. An ideal starter tune for the first embers of the afterglow.
This is it. This is the ideal, the pinnacle, the absolute apex of afterglow songs. Listen to that gentle piano. Hear that sweet, soul-soft tone Legend pours directly from the heart. It’s a song meant for those couples who are in it for the long haul, who know they’ve found the person who isn’t just there for a hookup, but for a lifetime to come. This song caps the whole scintillating night, both of you laying drowsy in the sheets. As Legend hits that chorus, he speaks for you both–“All of me, loves all of you,”–and you couldn’t be happier.
If Legend’s song didn’t do it, this one is going to turn you both into pining, misty-eyed saps. It almost qualifies as a lullaby it’s so gentle. It’s the sort of maudlin, nostalgic song you’ll catch yourself mouthing the words to as the night softens you both to the brink of sleep. “I can’t stop loving you,” you hum along with Charles and his small background choir. While the lyrics are focused on a present heartbreak over an abandoned love, the overall tone of it speaks too much of a tenderness for here and now. For you and for her.
With that, you have a full playlist of sexy songs to choose from when tailoring just the right soundscape for your sensual night in. It takes variety to make a seductive soundtrack work. Now go get it on.