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20 Slow Jams To Set The Mood

Vibes are everything.

Music

Music has always had a way of evoking all the feels. When you’re down bad, mid-breakup, there’s nobody propping you up quite like music. The same goes for when you’re feeling love or lusty. When you look back in time, you’ll likely associate songs with the struggle. I mean, just think of the days of delicately crafting a playlist (to burn) that stimulated one emotion or another, allowing you to vibe out was a vibe in and of itself. It's the equivalent of that scene from Say Anything with John Cusack.


There’s nothing like a good soundtrack, so consider this your soundtrack to slow-burning, passionate sex. Each of the 20 songs below for sure passed the vibe check – from today’s R&B to a sprinkle of indie rock and throwback (because you can never go wrong with some “oldie but goodie.”). Download these songs via your favorite streaming app, set the mood with your favorite wine, and hit play the next time you have a cute, in-house dinner date or purely a sex date – whichever is preferable on your menu that evening.

Try to keep in mind: vibes over everything. In no particular order, here are 20 slow jams that are as sensual as they are vibey.

"You Right" x Doja Cat & The Weeknd

In true Doja Cat style and, hell, even The Weeknd for that matter, this song comes equipped with a futuristic sound, immoral message, and overall it somehow sets a very sensual mood. The whole song is about infidelity but that never stopped a song from doing numbers – the people seem to love a lowkey sneaky link song. Plus, with this one in particular you can’t help but admire the audacity.

"Like I Want You" x Giveon

"Falsetto" x The Dream

"Hrs and Hrs" x Muni Long

It may be too soon to refer to this as a TikTok classic, but in due time it will certainly become that. For now, we’ll simply classify Muni Long's "Hrs and Hrs" as a TikTok hit. This song went up right before Valentine’s Day, and we were all taken by its cathartic melodic sounds.

"So Anxious" x Ginuwine

"Anointed" x Miguel

"Customer" x Raheem DeVaughn

"Nothing Without You" x Tanerélle

This neo-soul jam by Tanerélle is so vulnerable and raw – it puts the blues in R&B. It’s the way love was intended to be, both beautiful and authentic. It’s a love letter. It’s Boyz II Men's “On Bended Knees” but from a woman’s POV in a new era with a different sound.

"Slow Down" x VanJess & Lucky Daye

"Company" x Tinashe

"pov" x Ariana Grande

Say what you want about Ariana Grande but she never misses. However, she does have some songs that are more prominent than others, especially when it comes to a more gentle vibe. This is one of my favorites because not only is it a lyrical manifestation of self-love wrapped in a love song, but the beat is very soothing.

"Bluff" x Kelela

"Wild Irish Roses" x Smino

"Body" x Summer Walker

Summer Walker knows how to make a toxic love anthem. With "Body" though, there's a subtle vulnerability to her usual choice of subject matter as there's a hint of more self-awareness. She is aware that she shouldn't want or what she feels she needs, but she is revelatory in the fact that it's her body in the driver's seat. The sensual feel of the song and the lyrics are what make it an addition to this playlist.

"PILLOWTALK" x ZAYN 

"Sativa" x Jhené Aiko ft. Rae Sremmurd

"Just Another Interlude" x Bryson Tiller

The 'trapsoul' genre is a bad bitch genre, indeed. Bryson Tiller has created something special, to say the least! This song reminds me how much I miss rappers riding the R&B wave with the roughneck rhythm and blues. Not going to lie, this song is personal for me! It tells the story of long-term lovers who can’t help but find their way back to one another despite it only ever resulting in a situationship – they know other people are only temporary. We’ve all been here before. I can’t think of one person who can’t relate to this seemingly perfect summer bop.

"Vibin' Out with ((( O )))" x FKJ

"Get You" x Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis

"Leave the Door Open" x Silk Sonic

Remember what I said about oldies being goodies? Yeah, well, this is definitely not an old song but the whole intention behind it is to provide old-school sounds in a modern era. And though I can count on Bruna Mars to always, always deliver in this niche this one hits something different – providing the sounds and simplicity of the '60s and '70s. By simplicity, I mean lyrics didn’t have to be super intricate; they just put whatever they were feeling out on paper and somehow it sounded seductive. Seriously, my guy said he had some weed, potato chips, and romantic dick – we ate it up.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

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