What distinguishes good sex from bad sex is everything else. It’s the context; where you are and how you feel, the lighting and the smell, whether you’re doing it up against the wall or in a plush king-size bed
One particular aspect of sex that goes under-appreciated is sound. As with cinema, when it comes to sex, the soundtrack can make all the difference. Putting on some music while you get it on can mask the sound for people nearby, pump you up or relax you, and give you a tempo to move your bodies to.
The right music can turn ordinary sex into an extraordinary and memorable experience, but not all music is a great fit. Regardless of what you typically listen to, some music is just better suited for doing the deed, whether it’s the lyrics, the instruments or some ineffable sexy quality to the song.
To help you experience the musically assisted sex of your dreams, here are eight songs that are certified sexy (with an alternate option for each if you’re not feeling the main choice).
After playing these tracks during sex, you might not be able to think of them the same way again. You’ve been warned.
1. The xx’s “Intro”
This is best for pre-sex makeout sessions. “Pale British indie trio” doesn’t exactly scream hot to most people, but listening to “Intro,” the first track on the xx’s debut album, will make you a changed man. It’s lush, it’s soothing, it’s dreamy. It’s like falling back onto the perfect couch (if the couch were a hypnotic trance). There are longer mixes of this song, and no, you wouldn’t be in the wrong for seeking them out because, like sex, 130 seconds just isn’t long enough
Or try Interpol’s “Untitled” if you are looking for another intro track to a critically acclaimed rock album. Interpol’s “Untitled” has a slightly different vibe. It is sparser and has more drive. It’s a great kickoff, too.
2. The Weekend’s “High for this”
This is best for sex with some kinky vibes. It seems nobody has released more sex music in the past decade than the Weeknd. But if you’re not familiar with his earlier work, you’re missing out. Before he became a household name, the man born Abel Tesfaye, was putting out darkly sultry R’n’B sex bangers like “High for this.” There’s something undeniably hot about his BDSM-tinged, drug-fuelled orgy music, and “High for this” is a standout in that regard.
Or try the Weekend’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” His early stuff might be sexier, but his later material isn’t exactly chaste. It’s much less sparse if you like a fuller beat.
3. Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids”
This is best for hour-long tantric sex sessions. Most of the songs on this list are in the three-to-five-minute range, but by comparison, “Pyramids” is a tantric masterpiece. Think 10 minutes of non-stop brilliance, to be more exact. The lyrics are decidedly more “strip club” than “ancient Egypt,” but in Ocean’s hands, the song is no less epic for it. And that keyboard riff? Pure sex.
Or try Frank Ocean’s “Nature Feels.” It is a standout from Ocean’s debut mixtape that samples MGMT’s perfect “Electric Feel.” “Nature Feels” isn’t available on Spotify, but it may be worth making the extra effort to hear.
4. Beyonce’s “Partition”
This is best for sex before a night out together. For one of the most famous people in America, Beyoncé got impressively open about her sex life on “Partition,” a song about having car sex with her husband in a limo en route to the club. The song’s sexy vibes don’t begin and end at its eye-popping frankness, however, the taut minimalist beat spills over into a booming bass thrum and the chorus’ supplications whisper in your ears. Oh, and there’s some French voiceover about female pleasure, too.
Or try Kanye West featuring the Weeknd’s “Drunk in Love (Remix).” With all due respect to Bey, Jay-Z’s verse ruins the original. Here, Kanye drops an unbelievably earnest sext to Kim K before the Weeknd (yes, him again) croons us home.
5. Drake’s “Passionfruit”
This is best for sex after a night out together. Drake has been on the “sexy jams” circuit for years now, but perhaps none of his songs fits the mould better than “Passionfruit,” whose beat sounds like someone dipped a preloaded iPhone ringtone in a vat of honey.
Or try Kanye West’s “Fade.”
“Fade” has some of the vibes of the “Passionfruit” beat - pitch-shifted way down - and a lot of house music energy. If you can handle Post Malone and auto-tune Kanye, this is a lot of fun. So is the video.
6. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s get it on”
This is best for sex when you haven’t seen each other in a while. This list wouldn’t exist without the man who put songs about sex on the map. Lots of sexy songs are long on raunch and short on actual passion, but with “Let’s Get It On,” Marvin Gaye showed everyone how to do a sex song right. You can feel the aching sense of longing in his voice as he exhorts his would-be partner for some love, after “trying to hold back these feelings for so long.”
Or try Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing (Kygo Remix).” Purists will scream, but the beauty of Marvin’s voice is it sounds good in basically any context. If straight Marvin feels a little too slow and dusty for you, this boppy Kygo remix might hit the spot.
7. Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”
This is best for celebration sex. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, hit a home run with the soulful and seductive “Redbone,” a song that feels like it might have time-travelled to us from Marvin Gaye’s era as a pump-up jam beyond compare. Of course, given the lyrical content of the chorus, white people should not sing along, but who the hell is singing along to a sex playlist during sex?
Or try D'Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” Looking for similar throwback vibes with a slower tempo? This slinky-smooth D'Angelo jam is what you’re looking for. It feels like lazy morning sex with your spouse on a day off.
8. Arian Grande featuring Nicki Minaj’s “Side to Side”
This is best for sex with a forbidden crush in a genre that has been dominated for decades by horny male musicians. Ariana’s anthem might not be the sexiest, sound-wise, but bullies its way on via sheer audacity. The lyrics are about how hard it is to walk after getting a serious pounding from her new beau. And Nicki’s verse, where she talks about riding d*ck like a bicycle, doesn’t hurt either.
Or try Lizzo’s “Juice.” Looking for another female-driven sex song, but one that’s a bit more laid-back and sensual? Lizzo’s got some juice for you to squeeze. Warning: This track will get stuck in your head.