With the ultimate sexcapade comes the ultimate playlist — that’s what 13 year old me thought as I sat in geometry class crafting the perfect progression of Spotify songs to accompany my first time. Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”? Perfect. The entire soundtrack from 50 Shades of Grey (though I had never seen it before)? Epic. Playing these songs in the background was going to transform my future hookups into movie scenes. We’d be undressing each other in a choreographed ballet, reaching multiple Hollywood orgasms and knocking things off tables to “Unchained Melody.”
I forgot about this playlist for years. It was called “Music to Study to” to spare myself embarrassment from my adolescent peers on Spotify, when really it should’ve been titled, “Music to Nervously Figure out Which One is the Right Hole.” With such a playlist forgotten, my first sexual encounters were played out to Prince and Frank Ocean albums on shuffle. If I was messing around with a hipster, he’d ride over on his bike, slide a Moody Blues vinyl on his record player and later we’d have a post-coitus brunch. If there was no music to conduct a fuck session, the sound of wet flip flops running at the pool or the fart of gooey slime would punctuate our experience.
“Music to Study to” was discovered again as a freshman at Cornell when I went down on some astronomy problem sets and “S&M” by Rihanna came on. Suddenly I remembered the original purpose of the playlist.
Since I was with someone I trusted at the time, I decided it would be spicy to try out my virgin sex playlist and see what the vibe was. The only catch was that I left my partner ignorant of the situation. He thought it was just any other collection of sexual songs. It started off fine with some “Hot in Herre” by Nelly and a bit of Justin Timberlake during foreplay. It got a little weird when Darude Sandstorm came on as he ate me out: His tongue just got faster and more funky with each beep boop of the synthesizer until he nearly passed out from exhaustion. I guess not everyone can handle the Sandstorm.
Perhaps he thought it was just a meme. He only asked, “What the fuck is this playlist?” when “Hey There Delilah” started blasting. The poor guy couldn’t take it anymore.
There’s an art to a great sex playlist without making it as corny as high fructose syrup. The horizontal mambo is still a mambo, especially if you don’t feel like dancing it to the smack of slobber and heavy breathing. The mood of the song is the most important piece. Pay attention to each song’s change of tempo. You don’t want to be doing missionary for 20 minutes at 50 bpm. You want something dynamic. It’s not about the speed of the chase, but the rate of acceleration.
Moreover, songs depend on the person you’re boinking. If you know their music taste and they’re not some one night stand with a Chi Phi brother, you can sculpt a unique playlist for boinking them. Hell, you could have a unique playlist for everyone you’re currently hooking up with. For example: a lineup of ’80s ballads for when you fondle Robert’s testicles, R&B to clap the ass of Lola and maybe even angelic harp music if you are making sweet Christian love to Jesus.
As we hopefully have all figured out, sex is not like it is in the movies, so why should the soundtracks be the same? Keep it on the lighthearted side and have fun while boinking. Most importantly, think about what makes you feel like a sex machine.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Boink! runs monthly this semester. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.