Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life

"Sex and music are the greatest stress relievers."—Unknown


My friends and I are huge music fans. Basically any genre, at any time, can get some sort of shout-out but, because I was a freshman in college in 1992 (and a lot of my crew is around my age), the 90s—especially when it comes to R&B and hip-hop—is considered to be a truly a golden era. On so many levels. For that reason, it's fairly common that either I or a friend will initiate a round of "So, where were you when?" where we'll mention a particular song and then share the memories we have from around the time that it came out.

Recently, what came up was the total NSFW explicit version of "Call Me" by Too Short featuring Lil' Kim (from 1997). If you've never heard that song before, I'll put it to you this way—if you've never had sex before, you'll definitely feel like you did by the time "Call Me" ends (which reminds me, ALL female rappers need to give Lil' Kim her props; her flow was the sickest. There's no debating that…ever). Anyway, as my friend was asking me if that was the kind of music I would "get down to" back in the day, I shared that jams like Jodeci's "U & I" (1991); Usher's "Nice and Slow" (1997); Sade's "No Ordinary Love"; Mary J. Blige's (featuring Jodeci) "If Loving You Is All I Have To Do" (1992), and "Make Love to Me" by Lorenzo (1992) was more my speed. As we both went back and forth with different songs that we could directly connect different sexual memories to, that got me to wondering why music seemed to be such a powerful aphrodisiac and seduction tool (I mean, when's the last time you watched a sex scene that didn't have any background music?).

If reading this intro has you now wondering the same thing, here's what my research on the topic revealed.

Men Look Better When There’s Music Playing


I've never had a one-night stand before. I've never been much of a clubber either. But I do recall some college parties where I would first meet someone and think they were sexy as hell, only to see them in the university center a few days later and literally be like "WTF?". I can also count the amount of times I've ever been drunk so I can't, pun intended, blame it on the alcohol. But it seems like various studies do believe that I can connect that "limited attraction" to the DJ and the music that he was playing at the party.

Take this one control group that consisted of 64 women and 32 men. Oddly enough, if the women listened to music before looking at a picture of a man for the first time, they actually found him to be more attractive than if they saw a shot of him without hearing any music beforehand. The guys? Music didn't affect their overall opinion of the women they looked at, one way or another (shocking, right?). That got me to wondering if that's why music can be so effective on a date.

Could it be that we ladies end up being drawn to a man more if we're in a club or at a concert because the music is "triggering" some feelings within us that we're actually transferring onto our date—whether we realize it or not? Goodness. That made me want to dig deeper.

Music Affects Us in the Same Way That Food and Sex Does


OK, so if music is powerful enough to alter the way we see someone, what in the world is that all about? Well, according to another article that I read, it would appear that music is able to trigger a pretty solid dopamine release within us. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps our brain to decide what movements we want to make, along with what emotions we should feel, at any given moment.

Well, within the article, another study on how music affects us, stated that, when a song that we like hits its peak, it is able to mimic a similar reaction that we encounter while we are eating a meal or while we are having sex.

I don't know about you, but a good meal or some great sex gets me pretty excited. And much to my surprise, when I thought about some of my all-time favorite songs, they do tend to bring a similar type of satisfaction—at least to my mind. And that revelation made we want to dig even deeper.

Did You Know That Music Can Determine the Kind of Sex You Have?


Yeah. This is where it gets really real. A website called Tick Pick once conducted a survey that consisted of 1,010 people who enjoyed music and were sexually active. The results? Chile, they were truly something else.

The Breakdown of People Who Were Sexually Satisfied Based on Their Preferred Music Genre

  • Country: 66.3%
  • Blues: 64.3%
  • Jazz: 63.2%
  • Reggae: 62.8%
  • Hip-Hop/Rap: 61.3%
  • R&B: 61.2%
  • EDM: 60.0%
  • Classical: 58:9%
  • Pop: 57.2%

(For the record, I didn't include every gene that was listed. You can click here to see that.)

Reportedly, blues fans lasted the longest in bed, hip-hop fans were the least likely to go down on a woman (hmm…) and, 1 in 4 folk music lovers cried during sex. People who liked listening to reggae music enjoyed being on top more than any other genre and people who enjoyed listening to country preferred the bottom the most.

There's more. Who is shocked to hear me say that hip-hop fans preferred the doggy style position the most (Lord knows there are enough rap songs that mention it), while pop fans lean most towards the missionary position? As far as who gets into the cowgirl and reverse cowgirl the most, that award goes to heavy metal. People with different tastes in music typically have sex six days a month while those with similar tastes get it in eight days a month. As far as sexual fetishes go, EDM listeners hold the top spot, hip-hop and reggae hold the fifth and sixth position, and R&B gets 10th place. Indie rock goes for BDSM the most, country music lovers are all about role playing and anal more than anyone else, pop people want the most lingerie and jazz listeners apparently have the biggest foot fetish. Something else that I found to be a trip is heavy metal fans get the top spot for using birth control the most consistently while reggae gets the 10th position, R&B gets the 12th and pop comes in at the 14th (that's out of 15 genres, y'all).

How in the heck could all of this be? A lot of it is connected to how our body naturally responds and reacts to different kinds of music tempos. For instance, there are plenty of studies that point to the fact that listening to upbeat music typically puts us in a good mood while music with a slower tempo is able to calm us down and make us feel less anxious. Not only that but, listening to music that is our personal preference can ignite feelings of passion as it encourages us to tap into our imaginative sides. All in all, music has a powerful affect on us mentally and emotionally…and clearly, sexually as well. I think one of the main reasons why this is the case can be summed in the article, "Music can complement your sex aesthetic":

"Sex is kinda like art…like the way an artist paints, draws, watercolors. They usually prefer one of these types but have dabbled in all. On top of that, you can add all these layers. When you draw, you have shapes. Then you layer colors. Then you layer shades and textures. Sex is the same thing, where you do it, what positions, who it's with, and music is another layer."

Indeed and agreed. So, before you pull out your next playlist for your next "session", think about why you're choosing the songs that you do and how it actually will influence the kind of sex you will have. According to all of this research—if you want to feel calmer, put on some slow jams. If you want your toes sucked on, jazz might be your best bet. And, if you're into role play, Dolly Parton might need to be added to the rotation. I mean, it's all according to science and research. Guess it couldn't hurt (wink).

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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