Although sex can be somewhat of a taboo subject, that certainly hasn’t stopped musicians from writing songs about it.
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Songs about sex fascinate and excite people, so it’s no surprise that so many of them have become recognizable, enduring hits.
Sex is a fundamental part of life and perhaps the most important thing that keeps us from going extinct, so we’ve compiled some of the best songs that use it as inspiration.
Keep in mind, that these twenty songs are a tiny sample of the many songs about sex that are out there, but we’ve selected a few that are the most popular and timeless.
This beautiful, romantic song by Marvin Gaye is one of the most recognized songs about sex ever recorded. It has been used in countless movies and television shows as the soundtrack to two people realizing their attraction to one another.
The song was released in August, 1973 as the first track of the album of the same name. The smooth, lush song features a blending of funk and soul, and it helped solidify Marvin Gaye as a star and sex symbol.
This sexy song was part of Donna Summer’s second album, which was released in 1975 and shared the same title as the song. The song has an alluring vibe and explicit lyrics, and it has been used in a number of films and other pieces of media over the years as well.
It was also one of the earliest disco hits to be released in extended form, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame once named it as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock & roll.
This classic track by the legendary singer Madonna is a sensitive song about approaching sex as if it’s your very first time. The song was released in 1984 as the lead single of the album by the same name.
The song was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg; the latter of which has stated that the song was partially inspired by his own personal romantic experiences. The famous song is a great splash of 80’s pop that invites you to dance along and get lost in its lyrics.
This sexy song was released in 1987 as the first single to English singer and songwriter George Michael’s debut solo album, Faith.
The song’s vibe and lyrics were so sexual that BBC radio actually restricted its play due to concerns that it would promote promiscuity. Even so, this hit song is one of the most popular and well known pop songs inspired by the reproductive act.
This saucy song was released as a single in 1965 and was a product of the writing partnership between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The song is about sexual frustration and is thought to have one of the greatest hooks of all time.
Initially, the song was only played on pirate radio stations due to the fact that its lyrics were considered too sexually suggestive. However, that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most recognizable hit rock songs in history.
Practically everything Prince ever wrote could be interpreted as being about sex, and this track is just one of his many sexy offerings. The song was released in 1991 as part of this 13th studio album, Diamonds and Pearls.
The song’s title itself is a euphemism for sex reaching its climax, and the lyrics have plenty of references to sex, sexual positions, and one-night-stands. The song came in at number 97 in VH1’s list of the 100 greatest songs of the 1990s.
This sexy synth-pop tune was released in 1983 as the debut single of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The song’s lyrics are so explicit that it was rumored to have been banned by BBC radio, although this fact has been disputed.
The song’s lyrics discuss holding oneself back in relation to sexual release, so you can see why giving it airplay may have been controversial. The song has been used in media over the years, and it was prominently featured in the hit Ben Stiller movie, Zoolander.
This catchy R&B song was released in 1996 on the singer Ginuwine’s debut album entitled Ginuwine… The Bachelor. The song represented the breakthrough for the prominent music producer Timbaland.
The song is funky, upbeat, memorable, and features plenty of sexual innuendo. The song manages to be both very sexy and subtle enough to not be overly graphic, which is a difficult balance to strike.
However, if you’re paying attention, there’s no doubt what the song is referring to.
This song is part of the ‘quiet-storm’ subgenre of R&B music, and it was released in 1983 by The Isley Brothers on their album of the same name. The song covers topics like sex, fantasy, and ecstasy over a mellow drum beat and delicate synths.
The song was written by the legendary Isley brothers themselves and features lyrics that are both romantic and sexy and bring thoughts to mind about being intimate with that special someone.
Why not end this sexy list with one of the most well known rock songs of all time? This unmistakable tune was released by Def Leppard on their 1987 album, Hysteria and is considered by many to be their signature song.
The lyrics primarily cover the subject of feeling extreme sexual attraction toward someone and being unable to resist them, which is a topic many people have experienced at certain times in their lives.
The song has remained popular to this day and continues to be frequently used in movies and television, and it was ranked as the second-best song of the 1980’s on VH1’s list in 2006.
Rihanna is no stranger to a sex anthem – see “Sex With Me” for proof – but her most famous is probably 2011’s “S&M”. In the raunchy track, the singer lets her partner know that she’s getting a little bored with the regular way of making love, and she’d like to start introducing some… other elements.
This is the song that gave us the iconic lyric: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me”.
Rihanna has said in interviews that the suggestive lyrics aren’t meant to be taken entirely literally, and are really a metaphor for self-confidence and ignoring criticism. The music video played further into this idea, using sadomasochistic imagery to comment on Rihanna’s relationship with the press.
Whilst many songs about sex are full of fire and heat, this track from English singer-songwriter dodie is a gentle description of the emotional intimacy that can come with the track. She describes how it feels to have sex with someone that you are in love with, and the deep trust that can accompany it.
dodie began her music career on YouTube. She debuted “Intertwined” on her channel in 2016, before the track was officially released later that year as part of her debut EP of the same name.
Mraz’s partner knows exactly what to do to get a song written about her. The singer describes a playful night between the two of them, in which Mraz slowly explores his partner’s body as they work their way towards the main event.
The song wasn’t actually inspired by any particular night of passion though – Mraz came up with the idea at a burlesque show.
Watching the performance, Mraz wondered if he had any music that would be played in any ‘exotic’ clubs and realized that he probably didn’t have a suitable track. He set himself a challenge to create one, and “Butterfly” was born.
It doesn’t get much more explicit than this. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion describe exactly how they want men to please them in their 2020 collaboration, garnering both praise for their sex-positive message and their overtly sexual lyrics. Despite the controversy, a BBC News critics poll named “WAP” the best song of 2020, and the track went 7x platinum.
The track samples Frank Ski’s 1993 single “Whores In This House”, flipping the meaning of the word to talk about women who enjoy sex and are unapologetic about it. The song went through a rumored 50 rewrites before the final version was decided on.
This call and response track sees Furtado and Timbaland exchange flirty comments back and forth as they discuss jumping in bed together. They each call each other “promiscuous” and swap teasing remarks that reference the sex they eventually plan to have. Furtado has said that in the writing process the track was called “the BlackBerry song”, referencing the mobile phone model, because every line in the song could be put in a flirtatious text to someone.
Inspired by Gaga’s own sexual fantasies, “Sexxx Dreams” features Gaga confessing to someone that she’s had erotic dreams about them and she’d like to make them a reality, whilst also confessing infidelity to the person that she’s currently with. The track comes from Gaga’s third studio album, Artpop, and was praised for its futuristic synthpop sound.
The song went through a number of changes, as Gaga’s team couldn’t follow the track in its first few iterations. The rewrites helped to make it clear that Gaga was alternating between talking to her boyfriend and girlfriend and also establishing a constant chorus.
Monáe lays it all out on the table in this funk track. She tells the object of her desire exactly how attracted to them she is, and exactly what she’s like in bed: “powerful with a little bit of tender”. However, she credits it all to the way they make her feel.
“Make Me Feel” marked Monáe’s return after a three-year break and was the lead single to her third studio album, Dirty Computer. The song has been compared to the work of Prince, and has been embraced by the queer community and called a “bisexual anthem”.
This R&B ballad describes an intimate encounter between a man and a woman, in which Usher expresses a wish to make it last all night. Opening with a spoken phone call to the girl he’s driving to see, he then sings from his car about everything he’s anticipating. Considered one of Usher’s best tracks, the song was created and recorded in just four hours.
This steamy ballad from the British pop star sees Lipa describing all the ways in which she’s irresistible to her ex-boyfriend. Even though he knows he shouldn’t let her in, Lipa says that he can’t help it – she’s just that good in bed.
“Hotter Than Hell” was the track that got Lipa her deal with Warner Bros. Records and became her first entry on the UK Singles Chart. Lipa has also expressed that it helped her find her “dark pop” sound which informed the making of her debut album.
The epic 16-minute track caused a stir when it was first released in 1975, due to some interesting vocalizations from Summer. As the refrain is repeated, Summer can be heard moaning and gasping in the background as if she is having an orgasm. This caused much speculation about the recording process, with Summer repeatedly being quizzed about it in interviews.
Summer has said that she imagined herself as Marilyn Monroe in the track to help channel the hypersexual character. Parts of the track were recorded with Summer completely alone in the studio, laying on the floor with the lights dimmed.