Music and sex

In the Mood for a Melody: Five Albums to Get it On To

Don’t ignore your aural sensibilities in the lead-up to lovemaking. Here are some albums that are sure to get things going.
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When you’re setting the scene for a night of romance, don’t forget to stimulate all the senses.

Whether you’re dining out or whipping up a little somethin’ in the kitchen, amazing meals are a common precursor to a roll in the hay. Especially in the beginning phases of the relationship, you generally try to spruce yourself up a bit, take a shower and spritz yourself with perfume or aftershave, and maybe even put on a naughty outfit or seductive lingerie to tantalize your lover visually. Touch, of course, is usually a big part of foreplay. Whether it’s giving a deep tissue massage, complete with oil, or cuddling on the couch, this is generally understood to be an essential part of arousing your partner and showing affection.

So what sense are you forgetting to titillate?

It may surprise you to learn that many people don’t think to put on a steamy soundtrack to complete the sensual climate that makes the difference between another ordinary “date” night and a night to remember. But for 30% of people, some aural arousal is their preferred aphrodisiac.

Some folks may prefer to curate a unique playlist with a pace that emulates the arc of the act of lovemaking itself—starting off with slow, sensual songs (like Sade), gradually getting harder and faster until an energetic frenzy is reached (Led Zeppelin). Others may prefer to put on a favorite record and listen together from start to finish. But no doubt about it, music completes the mood.

If you’re still getting to know each other, sensual mood music can be a conversation starter, fill any awkward silences or lulls in conversation, and eliminate any lingering self-consciousness. If you’re very comfortable with your lover, listening to a sexy album together can be a great foreplay activity; sitting back with a glass of wine, listening deeply while gazing into each other’s eyes, beginning to explore each other seductively... it’s a good move! Or on a night out, tease yourself by wearing a panty-vibe that responds to ambient noise. Whether you’re at the club or at a noisy restaurant, you won’t be able to wait to race home and take control of the stereo.

Having music playing during lovemaking is great because it can help set a pace. A great trick to seeming really good at sex is to simply thrust or move your pelvis in time with the song currently playing. It seems simple, but keeping a steady rhythm that gradually ebbs and flows like a great song totally works. This is why timing your playlist or album selection to accompany the part of sex you’re in is important. You don’t want a very soft, slow song playing right when you really start pounding away—or maybe you do!

Music itself is evocative by nature, eliciting strong emotions that the listener may hear and attribute to their feelings toward their lover. On a physical level, listening to music encourages a dopamine rush; this is the “pleasure chemical,” the one that creates a natural high and signals excitement to our bodies. That’s why music is a great aphrodisiac—the right sound can make our bodies and minds automatically think we’re feeling good and ready for lovin’. Beyond that, one study by German researchers found that listening to sexy music increased subjects’ tactile responsiveness. The lead researcher said of the study, “We have observed that the sexier we perceive music, the sexier we also perceive touch that is administered simultaneously.” 

Here are five great albums that could accompany any part of your journey. Select your favorite tracks and curate your own playlist or queue them up to play one after the other. 

  • Sade – Lovers Rock
  • Yes, it’s a bit cliche, but there’s a good reason Sade’s 2000 release has sold over four million copies. Her sensual voice, slow, steady beats, a light, simple touch on synth, and voluptuous lyrics brimming with subdued sultriness make Sade the queen of sexy song-crafting. If you cook your date a homemade meal, light some candles, and put on a Sade album, you’re going to seem absolutely irresistible and like the most romantic person in the world. Try it!

  • Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get it On
  • Another obvious choice, but no one can deny the charms of Marvin’s smooth voice and songs of gentle passion and guarantees to satisfy his lover. One music-streaming platform teamed up with sexpert Tracey Cox to study the effects of music and arousal. They found that Marvin Gaye was the #1 choice of participants for getting in the mood. The title track, “Let’s Get It On,” was the top song, and “Sexual Healing” was #2. It’s a little on the nose, yes, but it works.

  • Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  • This British electropop masterpiece is filled with sonic sensuality. Singer Alison Goldfrapp’s lusty vocals shimmer and shine, and rhythmic, pumping synth and basslines will encourage bodies to writhe, either on the dance floor or in bed. On “Twist,” she yelps and makes positively orgasmic noises, and then she slows it down on “Crystalline Green,” an aural caress with erotic electronic effects. 

  • Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion
  • Dave Gahan’s deep, lusty wail, Martin Gore’s incredible playing, the raw energy between them, and the ambiguous sexuality present in their flamboyant stage performances and music videos? Phew! Favorites include songs like “I Feel You,” with its piston-like, driving guitar riff, and the way Gahan bellows “Kingdom COME”; and “In Your Room,” which is a little overwhelming sonically but in a very erotic, exciting way. Perfect for taking things up a level after a bit of foreplay.

  • Led Zeppelin – Self-Titled

  • Look, even the album cover is dripping with innuendo in the form of a giant, hard, oblong... Zeppelin. Witness Robert Plant’s yowl reaching new climaxes and Jimmy Page’s winding, tangled, in-your-face playing. These British lads constructed new and old fantasies in multiple ways for adoring friends. Their music and stage presence reek of confidence and exude sex. You can’t go wrong with any Led Zeppelin album, really, or any of Robert Plant’s more sensitive solo work. The golden god is a world-renowned panty-dropper.