The Benefits Of Bedroom Music & How To Create A Sex Playlist
Improving Intimacy With Sound
If the past few years have left you with a lowered libido or more despondent mood, you’re not alone. Thankfully, music can boost both.
Not only does music improve our state of mind and reduce stress, but studies have shown that it also uses the same reward pathways as sex. This means that our emotional response to music is governed by the same “hedonic system.” And, to us, that sounds like more than enough reason to merge the two for a doubly pleasurable experience.
But this doesn’t mean that there’s not an art to creating ambiance—have you ever tried to have sex to a carelessly created soundtrack? Or worse, a randomized one? It’s jarring. You never meant to play Maxwell alongside Macklemore but there you are, pants around your ankles, waddling to the other side of the room to press “skip.”
Mood ruined, moment passed.
Instead, we can mindfully incorporate music into our sexual experiences for two-fold titillation.
“Playing music during sex or foreplay can stimulate several different happy hormone chemicals in our brains,” says Jackie Golob, a mental health counselor and sex & relationship therapist at the Minneapolis-based Centre for Sexual Wellness. Especially for those who are more inclined to auditory experiences than visual ones, Golob explains, “It may be an added turn-on for some folks and this can enhance sexual arousal, desire, [and] pleasure.” Think: music, lyrics, and dirty talk.
The synergy between intimacy and music is one that women-founded sexual wellness brand Dame has explored and implemented. As the creator of well-engineered sex toys and accessories, Dame has also crafted a handful of public playlists on Spotify—with apropo titles like “JUICY 💦” and the most-followed “Solo Playtime 💘”—to complement its products.
“Adding music to the mix can make the experience of intimacy that much more pleasurable,” says Alexandra Fine, CEO and co-founder of Dame. Because listening to a certain song or album can also trigger a memory or sensory experience, Fine further explains that its incorporation can be great for fantasies or role play. “All of these factors combined can help enhance our play, inviting our bodies to move in new ways.” Whether you’re solo or with a partner, music can help you relax or get excited—whichever mood you want.
To make the most of our sexual experiences using music, here are a few tips.
Determine Our Desire
To begin curating our sex soundtracks, Fine suggests that we first understand our need: “What do you look for in pleasure? How can music help you relax, set the mood for play, or set a tempo?” She adds that, as a dancer, she loves to move her hips and that music can help stimulate that same movement in bed.
We can ask ourselves, do we want our sex to feel familiar or experimental? Tender or wild? Do we want to feel bold or timid? Are we seeking to surrender or feel in control?
“There is so much we can get from music,” says Fine. “Focus on what you’re looking to explore in that moment, and what kind of music might help you get there.”
Match The Music To The Moment
As a general guide, Golob advises that we mimic the selected music with our movements or their tempos to our themes. “If you are going to start with slow rub-downs, start with slow music,” she says. “If you’re thinking of setting the mood at dinner, start with relaxing, soft, romantic songs that you know you and your partner will love.” For married couples, they can even play their wedding song, dance together, and see how much closer they feel to one another before moving to the bedroom.
Once there, if the blunt nature of sexually explicit lyrics excite us, we shouldn’t hesitate to unabashedly play them. And, says Golob, if we feel comfortable being motivated by the literal cadence of music, we can pursue that too: “What’s your rhythm in the bedroom, and how can you match that with songs that feel right based on the beat?” You might find that you need several different playlists to take you through the evening.
If in need of inspiration for song selections, fellow sex essentials brand Maude also crafts playlists and Dipsea, the app for short-form sexy audio stories, highlights chosen “Jams” (and “Jams 2.0”) on its Instagram account.
Make It A Joint Effort
If getting intimate with a partner instead of going solo, invite them into the playlist-making process, says Golob. “Create the playlist by asking what songs turn them on. Do they like fast, slow? Are there certain positions with [certain] songs that they like together?” Well+Good also advises compromising on sex playlists, since compatibility in the bedroom doesn’t always make for musical like-mindedness.
Even if you and your partner are long-distance, Spotify currently allows users to make collaborative playlists in which invitees, no matter their location, can contribute their personally selected song choices to a shared collection. Consider using one of these as a teasing tool by adding tunes and building anticipation for you and your partner’s time together. For increased intimacy, we’d suggest making the playlist private so that it doesn’t appear publicly on your profile for all your other friends and followers to see.
Music can stimulate feelings of euphoria and craving, both of which are undoubtedly welcomed elements when it comes to sex. And using it can improve our intimacy both mentally and physically, from confidence-boosting lyrics to rhythm-keeping beats. Not sure where to start? Golob advises working backwards: “Think about where you want to end up and [ask] how do I get there?”
Have some bedroom playlist songs you’d like to share? Drop your recs in the comments below!
Danielle Cheesman was born and raised in New Jersey, where she lived until moving to Philadelphia to study journalism at Temple University. She has spent her years writing and developing editorial visions for music, art, and lifestyle brands. Now residing in Los Angeles, you can usually find her taking pictures, making playlists, or cuddling her pup. Say hi on Instagram!