Many women, men, and nonbinary individuals have curated playlists dedicated to their sexual encounters. Not everyone listens to music during sex, but for those who do, neuropsychologist Dr. Rhonda Freeman says that people listen to music before and during sex because the music affects 3 different regions of the brain: the pleasure system, the bonding system, and the limbic system (the region that is responsible for processing emotions). The pleasure felt during sex, as well as the pleasure from listening to music, both release dopamine, the neurotransmitter released when a person’s brain is expecting a reward.
This suggests that those who listen to music while having sex are doing it because it amplifies the amount of satisfaction they are experiencing. Sarai*, a 19yo student from Rhode Island (she/her), says, “Music is a love language and in a way it really can change a mood drastically. From anger to passion to sadness to sex; it’s all because of the power music holds over our psyches and bodies.”
But what kind of music is the best to listen to during sex? Tracey Cox: English author, columnist, and sex expert says that “Neuroscientists have found people respond more to a beat when it’s played by lower pitched instruments. Physiologically, people’s bodies love deep bass sounds, which, if loud enough, also produces vibration and make it powerfully arousing.”
This being said, the same study concluded that nearly 50% of participants found rap music and metal music to be their biggest turn-offs, but R&B, rock, and pop music were the most popular genres for sex. The study was conducted in 2016, and as of 2020, that opinion seems to continue to hold true. A 2020 sex playlist by Spotify user arthurzinho2205 includes many songs by R&B artists such as SZA and H.E.R., pop artists such as ZAYN, and even songs that were explicitly about sex, such as “I Wanna F*** You” by Snoop Dogg ft. Akon.
But what does hold for people who perhaps are tired of hearing the same cliched songs played over and over in sex playlists, or are simply attuned to music of a different genre? This is where bedroom pop comes in.
Bedroom pop is a music genre or aesthetic that is categorized by its heavy reverbs, lo-fi quality, soulful, contemplative lyrics, and dreamlike vibes. It is best defined by the way bedroom pop artists record their music in their own bedroom, hence the name, rather than in a recording booth or studio. Alix*, a 20yo student based in Pennsylvania who co-owns a nonprofit record label specifically catering to DIY musicians and bedroom artists (she/her), credits the genre’s typical substantial use of reverb to its ability to allow the listener to get aroused for sex: “I think it uses newer production techniques that are more easily available to people using their laptops to create an atmosphere inspired by older dream pop. The sound isn’t the same, but the atmosphere is, and that’s key. So reverb goes into that, but also [...] a lack of dead space in the mix or melody, soft melodies based on very traceable chord progressions but with a bunch of different layers accentuating them, a scant use of distortion, and a slow tempo that is very easy to keep in rhythm with. It doesn’t even have to fit the lyrical bill [...] But if the lyrics are cheesy, romantic, or sexual, it fits perfectly, because a lot of bedroom pop is created to fit a certain theme, mood, or emotion; it’s designed to be that way.”
Well said, Alix. That being said, here are 10 bedroom pop songs that I believe would be perfect to have sex to.
- Everytime by Boy Pablo (Roy Pablo, 2017)
- Velvet Light by Jakob Ogawa (Velvet Light, 2018)
- Tinder Song by Victor Internet (Tinder Song, 2017)
- For You by Cavetown (Sleepyhead, 2020)
- midnight love by girl in red (midnight love, 2020)
- Flamin’ Hot Cheetos by Clairo (diary 001, 2018)
- Let It Pass by Jakob Ogawa (Bedroom Tapes, 2017)
- you say i’m in love by Bane’s World (you say i’m in love, 2016)
- Lucky Love by Michael Seyer (bad bonez, 2018)
- Driving to Hawaii by Summer Salt (Driving to Hawaii, 2014)
These songs are both great for sex and for downtime listening purposes. I hope I have been able to convince you to put on some bedroom pop over Ginuwine or Marvin Gaye next time you “get it on”.
My ultimate Sex Playlist: