By A Member of the Birds and Bees' Staff
“I'm Your Man” by Leonard Cohen needs to be on your playlist. Which one? The Playlist. The one you have for a very specific reason. You know...doing it.
That is the topic at hand: the playlist. The playlist is not a universal constant, but it seems to be a staple for males in college to have one. Those of course being males that enjoy listening to music during sex. But this crucial sex tool is not restricted to males or any age group. There are two main reasons for why a person has a playlist: 1.) s/he enjoys listening to music during sex because it adds something to the mood or motion and/or 2.) it's about to get loud and the attempt can at least be made to mask the moans, groans, and screams...and possibly the sound of a nice, hard slap on the buttocks.
This was going to be a case study of how these playlists function and differentiate per person, but my only in-depth research subject was myself... and my playlists just don't translate to most people. Having said that, I have a playlist that would make sense to a majority of the audience, but that isn't really for sex. That is the “you should have a chance to get to know me before I turn on the real music” playlist for pre-hook up conversation and the beginnings of foreplay. That is the playlist that includes R&B, Soul, light Hip-Hop, etc.
There is a conflict here. This initial playlist is full of songs I like, but the theme and genres are chosen for dual purposes: they uphold the novelty for white girls and downplay a different kind of novelty for Black girls. Yes, there are instances where Black men accept that they are getting laid based on the novelty of their skin for their lighter-skinned playmate. That's a topic for another time. So, in the end, this list is a purposeful playlist with functionality that is more political than sexual. But, as is true to life, I'd rather discuss the sex instead of the politics.
I've got two main playlists that I like to listen to during sex. One was made during my slutty period which was a lot like Picasso's Blue Period, except with more titties involved. This list is full of Death Metal, Black Metal, Industrial, and one acoustic intro song. By the time there was the necessary trust established to engage in the act, the R&B was over and the Metal could begin. The music was then a clear indicator for what was next to occur. As a friend used to say, “Let's get weird.”
The second playlist was made after my slutty period was over. This playlist is much more intimate. The tone of the composition is just as dark as the slutty playlist, but the genres are lighter and the music was more endearing than endangering. These were “Songs to Choke Your Spouse To.” Loving title, no? This list includes the Leonard Cohen song suggested earlier, Mazzy Star, Depeche Mode, The Used, Morrissey, The Gorillaz, etc.
Enough about me, more about the purpose. A person's playlist indicates a lot about them as a lover. There are those political choices made constantly that makes an R&B playlists necessary even for those that find their favorite genres to listen to during the act are all but R&B. Music is meant to set a mood. That mood at times isn't directly “sexy time.” Playlists set the tone for what is to come next and how exactly that will be. Some have an ever-growing playlist that just gets added to and put on shuffle. These people prefer a random supplement for their stroke or stride (Yeah, I like “stride” as the female counterpart to the stroke). With rhythm, the shuffle adds a layer of motivation to constantly alternate and diversify stroke and position. If “Sexual Eruption” comes on please believe the song and sex will both be doggy style.
So in what way should these list be interpreted? There are three major things to check for: genres, flow, lyrics.
1. Genres – The list that begins with Ginuwine's “Pony” eludes to a more rhythmic, “freaky” time than the loving, passionate experience suggested by the list that begins with LSG's “My Body.” When Today is the Day's “I See you” segues to Waiting Mortuary's “Heaven's Decent unto Ashes” there is a more aggressive tone than that suggested by the transition from Twista's “It Feels So Good” to Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne's “Motivation.” How the genres are mixed and intermingled in this playlist show a general trend in how the music-playing partner approaches the process of having sex. Slow R&B gives way to light Rap with R&B singers on the hooks with lyrics suggestive of hypermasculine tendencies toward sex gives way to the poppier R&B songs with faster paces and sexual lyrics, and from there it really just depends on his or her longevity for how the playlist continues. Sounds familiar, no? Feel free to give me the Dave Matthews fan's equivalent of this.
2. Flow – There is a pace established by how the songs give way to one another. This is not true for those that shuffle their playlists, but those are just strange people anyway. I have a thought on “Shufflers” needing the constant switch to stay focused and in the game, but I won't go too far into that. Here's an example if you'll forgive the social location: slow R&B gives way to light Rap with R&B singers on the hooks with lyrics suggestive of hypermasculine tendencies toward sex which then gives way to the poppier R&B songs with faster paces and sexual lyrics, and from there it really just depends on his or her longevity for how the playlist continues (if at all). Sounds familiar, no? Feel free to give me the Dave Matthews fan's equivalent of this.
3. Lyrics - “Love” isn't in the playlist from the slutty era. Not once. The music sets the mood, but it shouldn't lie. There's no Dashboard, no Fall Out Boy, no Jets to Brazil, no emo shit of any kind. Nothing worse than being mid-kiss and realizing that Duffy's “Stepping Stone” just followed Adele's “Chasing Pavements”...and is that the intro to “Bittersweet”?
In conclusion, the playlist has a crucial function that is always taken for granted. It can serve as the driving force behind the sex you are having, but more importantly, the playlist is a political choice influenced by music you like and more heavily influenced by the motivations you have for your listening partner. Why are the first three songs on his playlist “Party in the U.S.A.”, “3”, and “Paparazzi”? Because she's still drunk and excited and the music maintains that enthusiasm. The next song is The Notorious B.I.G.'s “Fuck You Tonight.” Energy and intentions displayed.