Everyone’s got a favourite love song. But what’s your favourite sex song?
From Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On to The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself, sex in all its forms is routinely celebrated in song. It crosses genres and eras; while the sheet music doesn’t survive, I’ll bet cavemen were singing odes to the beast with two backs long before they invented the wheel.
Let’s Talk About Sex was the first song I can recall that did indeed, talk about sex. Not in mushy metaphor, mind, but clear, Salt (-N-Pepa) of the earth language. The first ladies of rap suggest that we “Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic/Cuz that ain't gonna stop it”. Sex is a part of life, and rather than be shameful or hidden, it should be openly discussed, including “all the good things and the bad things.” Its second verse is particularly lovely; it’s a cautionary tale about a woman who can find sex anytime she wants, but nothing deeper. I realise it was a good song to be out for girls approaching puberty, as I was; it encourages listeners to embrace a sexual dialogue, but as part of your identity, not the whole of it.
Sample lyric: Those who think it's dirty have a choice/Pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off
When I first heard Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl, I had a tut-tut moment of consternation. “What if young girls hear this and think they have to kiss other girls just to make boys like them? What about the subtext? THE SUBTEXT!” Then I remembered 1992, when my parents bought my Madonna’s Erotica album for a birthday. This was the record that came out in conjunction with the Queen of Pop’s arty coffee table book Sex. Its titular track (emphasis on the “tit”) was all about bondage and discipline, and the pleasures of pain. I spent a fair amount of time gyrating around the rumpus room to that song, without having a single clue what it all really meant. You’d think the line “I’ll give you love, I’ll hit you like a truck/I’ll give you love, I’ll teach you how to …..uh” would be a giveaway, but apparently my rhyming skills weren’t very good at age 12. So I’m not too worried about girls of the Katy Perry generation. They’ll eventually wise up.
Sample lyric: If I am in charge and I treat you like a child/Will you let yourself go wild/Let my mouth go where it wants to
The Bloodhound Gang are never ones to shy away from sex in their music. But the refrain from 1999’s The Bad Touch - “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals/So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel” – is their most famous. The song itself is full of in-your-face puns and riffs on sex and pop culture. It implores its subject to embrace their animal instincts and just go at it like rabbits. Or chimps. Indeed, the video clip shows the band prancing around Paris dressed as monkey rats, and harassing poor locals. It’s not a particularly classy song, and it may not be the kind you put on to impress a potential lover, but there’s certainly some truth in its humour.
Sample lyric: Love/The kind you clean up with a mop and bucket /Like the lost catacombs of Egypt only God knows where we stuck it
The ultimate ode to a one-night stand, this classic Acca Dacca number is my personal favourite from the band’s oeuvre. It’s brassy as hell, and frank in its, er, blow-by-blow account of the encounter (the video clip even has the subtle visual metaphor of a hot chick riding a mechanical bull). But it’s also incredibly joyful. There are no negative connotations to the sex-capades, it’s just two horny people doing what nature intended. I defy even the most miserable cynic or God-fearing prude to not feel happy when rocking out to You Shook Me All Night Long. That, and the fact it’s mostly shouted, also make it a great karaoke choice.
Sample lyric: Taking more than her share/Had me fighting for air/She told me to come but I was already there
I have often looked at pictures of 80s hair metal bands and laughed and laughed and laughed. Oh! How could any woman find them attractive, and how could any of their songs possibly be a positive representation of sex? And yet, crank up Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me and all of a sudden I wish all my clothes were velcroed so I could tear them off in a frenzy and start doing frisky push-ups. That chorus, man, that chorus! It’s made for spinning around a pole and tossing your mane of bleached, permed hair about until you pop a vein. It’s a song about good, old-fashioned, acid-wash denim, high-cut bikini sex. It’s so clean cut American, it’s almost patriotic. And it makes you wonder what that drummer was doing with his one hand.
Sample lyric: You got the peaches, I got the cream/Sweet to taste, saccharine/'Cause I'm hot, so hot, sticky sweet/ From my head, my head to my feet/Do you take sugar, one lump or two?
It’s not physically possible to listen to Figured You Out by Nickelback without throwing up a little in your own mouth. “I like your pants around your feet” begins Chad Kruger, the lamest of all bland leading vocalists. I think the band was trying to pay tribute to a girl who enjoys submission, but it’s a total misfire, and comes across as creepy and sadistic. I don’t understand how lines like “And I love your lack of self-respect/While you passed out on the deck/ I love my hands around your neck” could inspire anything beyond a restraining order. Frankly, this song makes the idea of sex so off-putting the Catholic Church should market it as a Jesus-friendly contraceptive. Except Jesus wouldn't like Nickelback, would he?
Sample lyric: I like the white stains on your dress. GROSS GROSS GROSS NO WAY I JUST RETCHED AGAIN.
Now it's over to you. Do you have any favourite songs about doing the nasty?