The ultimate sex playlist – choosing the best music for getting it on

The used panty marketplace

Anyone who’s ever had a roommate blasting video games in the next room can tell you that when you’re trying to get sexy, ambiance is everything. Any time you’re getting ready for a romp to remember, the sound of the waves, windchimes on a breeze, or even the murmur of a party in the next room can set the mood you’re eager to create.

For some of us, that means adding a little night music. And if you don’t have jams you put on to get in the zone at least once and awhile, you’re missing out big time. Sure, good sex can override the sound of every truck in reverse, roommate’s podcast habits, traffic jam, and yapping dog – but sex to the right tunes skyrocket your game to the next level.

Maybe it’s got something to do with what Margaret Atwood said in Oryx and Crake: one of the two essential building blocks of human nature is music. Who knows. Maybe it’s the rhythm that underlies every tune, or the undulating repetition of a nice beat that helps us unleash our inner animals.

Honestly, I need a fan just thinking about my favorite sex song (“Drive by Melissa Ferrick, in case you were curious). And it’s this call to sexy music that made it no surprise to learn that, according to one study, 92% of Top 10 Billboard Hits were about sex – or as the report so unsexily called it, contained “reproductive messages.” 

But even though these songs are about sex, are they actually sexy? And what kind of music really sets the best stage for getting it on? I have a hunch it’s not just songs stuffed with explicit innuendo, but I could be wrong. And even my own favorite song, while it’s about sex, the beat and breathiness of it is what makes it so sexy.

And honestly, my sex life used to be full of much nerdier content, like Edith Piaf and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. But I learned I’m not the only one who thought doing “the mash potato” sounded sexy as hell. In 2012, that classic soundtrack was still topping the list of most common songs to get it on to.

Times change, though, and Patrick Swayze’s jams can’t always top the sexy charts. Maybe that’s a good thing. As we become more global and diverse, millennials are the ones dominating all our conversations about sex – myself included. And with us, we’re ushering in a new era of frisky fresh tracks.

I’ll be honest: I only sometimes put on music while having sex. I have one playlist of favorite bops, but I don’t always turn to them. My husband’s the same way; we like to put on music, but it doesn’t exactly top our list of bedroom priorities. 

When I asked him what kind of music he likes to get it on to, he threw out a few suggestions before pointing to Frank Ocean as the ultimate mood setter. And I totally see why. It’s the two parts slow, three parts sultry, and just a twist of melancholy that gets you totally in the mood for some cunnilingus...

Maybe it’s just us. So in the quest to figure out what everyone else grooves to, I dug into the internet to learn whether there’s some kind of science backing up what the sexiest music is for late night lovin’.

The answers were more than a little surprising.

Different strokes for different folks

I’ll come out and say it: there’s no cookie cutter choice for having the most wild sex. There was that one rumor that was kicked around the internet for awhile that says people who listen to jazz have the most sex, but I’m not quite buying it. The dubiously cited “studies” are impossible to find. My guess? A jazz fiend started spreading those rumors to get more hookups. 

Although jazz is supposedly meant to up your creativity – a great bedroom trait, if you ask me – the ups and downs and often shrill notes could just end up keeping you from finding your flow. I could be wrong, because at least some people swear by having sex to jazz. 

But while there’s limited data on which songs are best for getting frisky, there is plenty of research on the most popular songs in the U.S. and U.K. to have sex to. 

The biggest hits for getting it on?

The studies on this scintillating scoop were all done by Spotify, so we have no way of telling what those of us who haven’t fallen under the site’s spell go for. That being said, Spotify isn’t exactly a small sample pool. They have nearly 250 million regular monthly listeners whose sexy habits helped shed some light on our favorite jams.

By analyzing over 2 million playlists (!) with the word “sex” in them, Spotify revealed the 2015 most popular sex song was “Intro” by The xx. Totally not surprised. The stats got an update In 2016. In the U.S., we all got obsessed with the song “Sex” by Cheat Codes and Kriss Kross Amsterdam, which topped our sexy playlist charts.

Meanwhile across the pond, listeners liked to grind to our queen Rihanna and her song “Sex with Me.” With such straightforward titles, it’s pretty easy to understand why those two earned the top spots in each country that year.

The studies get a little hard to follow after that (it looks like Spotify scrubbed all their data on listeners’ sex habits), but the other top songs mentioned besides these three jams include a blend of alt-rock and electronica:

1.“From Eden” by Hozier

2.“Menswear” by The 1975

3.“Magic” by Coldplay

4.“You & Me (Flume Remix)” by Disclosure

5.“Sweet Ophelia” by Zella Day

6.“Let’s Get Started” by Dylan Gardner

7.“Night Like This” by LP

8.“Talk is Cheap” by Chet Faker

9.“Dreams” by Fou de Toi

While these twelve sexy songs range from one hit wonders to cultural staples, and make a pretty disjointed playlist when mashed together, if you give them each a listen, it’s easy to see why most of them made the cut.

But honestly? I was overall pretty disappointed by this list – and not just because “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce didn’t land a spot anywhere on there. The thing is, I honestly hadn’t heard of most of these. And when I did give them a spin, they seemed a little boring. Expected. With beats like these, the wax and dildoes wouldn’t be coming out.

And maybe I live under a rock, but I’ve never heard of Dylan Gardner before – and when I listened to his song, I was less than impressed. It seemed awkward, lyrics-focused, and more like a song for cooking spaghetti than for wild and crazy sex. To see if it was just me, I had my roommate and husband both give it a listen – and they had the same verdict. We all agreed Dylan Gardner was absolutely not an artist worth getting sexy to.

That’s when I realized that popular doesn’t exactly translate to good sex. If you’ve seen porn, you know that in the most viewed straight stuff, the clitoris gets basically no love, and it’s all pretty basic sex stuff.

But even though I was turning my nose up at most of the songs, I kept listening to see what common thread pushed so many listeners to get frisky to them. After a bit, I did notice there was some overlap in sound and mood, and that they all had a beat or groove that was great for rhythmic motion.  

And overall, there are two categories of music that made the cut. One is all about slow-moving electronic sounds, kind of like if soul music were coming out today. The other was uptempo alt-rock jams. And though there was a divide between the genres, there were certain things that seemed to universally make a sex song good. For starters, most of these featured a change in tempo at some point, meaning they were prime choices for switching up your positions, having some sizzlin’ foreplay, or whipping out a new move.

And at least for the EDM-style songs, they were all less focused on lyrics – perfect for when you don’t want to get distracted from the task at hand. There’s a reason a song with silly lyrics like “Phone” by Lizzo isn’t on the top ten. Trust me. I’ve tried (and failed) to not get distracted by it. 

But still, I’ve got to wonder if the top hits necessarily make your sex better.

Is there an ultimate genre for sexy time?

Just because these twelve different songs were chart toppers for the majority, don’t think you have to stick to those if you want to curate the best or “safest” playlist for the next time you head home with a new beau. Instead, you’d probably do better exploring different styles to see what gets you going the most. 

In your hunt for the right jams, you should totally stick to some of your favorite classics, but at the same time, you may be surprised by something totally different to get you going. As it turns out, your best sex may not come from the latest tracks, but from the classics instead. 

Getting down to everything from classical...

I know, it sounds ridiculous. In the past few decades, classical music has mostly been written off as something more suited to your dentist’s office. But for the record, I used to have a dentist who was a major hunk. And wasn’t Mozart a legendary party animal, anyway? Between those two bits of wisdom, I think classical music would turn out to be practically bursting with opportunities to get sexy. 

If you ask some experts on the topic, they’ll tell you classical is great for the sack because those musicians knew that listening to music was a recipe for arousal. And when I think about it, I can totally see how classical plays on that. Most of it builds in urgency, and is loaded with swells and releases that change the pace and build you up to enjoy finish after finish. 

And best of all, since classical songs tend to last for awhile, you’ll be more tempted to take your time and match the pace. Plus, when you add in those multiple crescendos (you might even call them climaxes, eh?), it makes sense that you and your partners would discover ripple after ripple of pleasure. EDM.

Maybe our ancestors had the right idea with sultry string quartets, but that doesn’t mean our current trends are on the wrong track. There’s something to be said about having sex to the bump and sway of EDM – even dubstep.

I was seriously unsure about Skrillex’s ability to set the mood until I read this Bustle article. In it, one brave woman (for science!) decided to have sex to a bunch of different genres. Even though she and her partner disliked EDM as a rule, they loved having sex to it. 

It makes sense when you think about it. EDM isn’t really that different from classical music. There’s a beat that builds up the tension, and the songs hold back from a big crescendo before releasing over and over. It’s easy to see why the most popular songs for sexy times in the U.S. were both EDM tracks.

While “Sex” by Cheat Codes feels a little underwhelming in my opinion (maybe the video’s just a little too straight for my taste), I can totally understand how having sex to it could be one serious turn-on. 

Another thing in EDM’s favor is that it’s dance music. Most of us associate these tracks with going out to a club, rubbing against our lovers, and sweating until the bar closes. With such sexy acts to back the tracks up, it’s no surprise we come to EDM for a good time again and again.

But is there anything that doesn’t work?

While whatever floats your boat is a totally valid way to get frisky, there are a few rules of thumb that can help you figure out if a song is made for the bedroom or not. Classical, EDM, and the songs that topped our Spotify playlists all had a few things in common. For starters, they mostly featured a shifting tempo to encourage a little experimentation. Likewise, lyrics were almost never the main event. And the songs on the list that did have words were mostly mumbled or repetitive. The vocals were just another noise, not an invitation to sit down and analyze some lyrics.

So if those factors make a song work in the sack, it stands to reason that songs with predictable and constant beats are a buzz-kill. Nickelback probably doesn’t inspire you to try that new position you read about last week. 

Likewise, songs where lyrics take center stage are often not what you need to spice up your love life. Maybe it’s just because we’re human, and it’s hard to keep our attention off of what people are saying, no matter what’s going on. And sometimes, lyrics can be too depressing or ridiculous to let us get in the zone. 

It’s not just my opinion at work here. There’s a fascinating study from Tick Pick that backs my feelings up. After surveying over 1000 people (mostly millennials), the study found that folks who identified as hardcore country and pop fans had the fewest fetishes, used contraceptives the least often, and were the most likely to go for missionary. While vanilla sex is perfectly fine, it is interesting to note that the kind of music that’s generally the most predictable kept kinkiness off the table. Pop and country follow certain roadmaps, so it’s easy to see why having sex to them could keep things on the straight and narrow. And because their singers are loud and clear, you might just be distracted by what’s being said rather than done.

So how do I pick the right tunes?

Although country and pop can potentially make you have some more run-of-the-mill sex, all music can be the right music to get it on to. If N*SYNC still gets you hot and bothered like no other, then you do you.

But while it’s always great to have sex to songs you know you like, be bold. Branch out. Put on something different that may inspire you, like EDM, classical, or anything with a thick beat and shifting tempos. The best sex starts with how well you know yourself.

Try playing around with different songs and diverse genres when you’re home alone. Put on something different and move your body when nobody’s watching. Be open to which songs get you moving or send jolts from your eyebrows to your toes – and which ones leave you flailing without a beat. Be sexy with yourself and move your hips. You can always lock the door if you’re feeling self conscious.

You might just be surprised by which songs get you moving. Whichever ones they are, add them to a playlist. Later, you can go back and find out which common sounds, styles, and rhythms get you hot and bothered.

If you’re feeling adventurous, plan a special solo date to play with yourself and your new soundtrack. Light some candles or incense, make sure your room is clean. Do whatever it takes for you to really feel yourself: a good outfit, a certain toy, or those used panties that you bought. Complete the scene with your new playlist, and see how it feels to enjoy yourself solo to the thumping pulse of your new tunes.

You may just find that the ones you didn’t think you’d like really get you going – or be shocked to realize ones you were hoping for were actually total duds.

For instance, while most people don’t like pronounced lyrics and find them distracting, you may just discover that songs with some super thick innuendos really get you going like no other. Or you may like clever songs like these. Whatever it is, be open to whatever songs you like the most, constantly improve your playlist, and then get ready to try those songs out with a lover (or two). Who knows? What works for you solo could be totally different than what works for your partners.

The only way you’ll find out is by playing around a little more.

Every tune can be a good one

As long as you’re into what you’re doing, there’s no wrong music to get off to. The great thing about music (and modern streaming services) is that the aural world is at our fingertips. My only advice? Whatever you do, avoid this playlist of the worst songs to have sex to. Unless boinking to “Seventy-Six Trombones” from The Music Man is right up your alley.