16 Songs That Are Actually Incredibly Sexy, As Opposed To Simply Being About Sex

Is there any topic more ubiquitous in music than sex? I feel like every other song I hear is either about wanting sex, having sex, losing sex, or mimicking having sex on the dance floor. I have no problem whatsoever with songs that take on the universal human urge to get sweaty with other people, even ones that are explicit (I’m looking at you, Ms. Minaj), but I feel compelled to ask: are these songs actually sexy? I mean, Starland Vocal Band’s 1976 hit “Afternoon Delight” is basically an anthem to having sex in the afternoon, an activity I fully support. But when the band sings, “Thinkin’ of you’s working up an appetite, Looking forward to a little afternoon delight,” does hearing those words make anyone actually want to have sex in the afternoon? Or ever?

Although it's beyond easy to find songs that are explicitly about sex, it’s actually much harder to find songs that are, themselves, sexy. This list is my attempt to corral some of the best truly, deeply sexy songs out there. Some of these songs are about sex and others aren’t, but they all somehow manage to push the listener past “Hey, this song is about sexual intercourse” and straight to "I need to have sex right now, preferably while this song is still playing." So without further ado, here it is, your new favorite Sexy McSexytime playlist:*

1. “Wicked Game” – Chris Isaak

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I’m starting here because “Wicked Game” is, hands down, the sexiest song of all time. “The world was on fire and no one could save me but you,” Isaak croons against a moody, twanging guitar, his voice shifting between soft throatiness and pleading falsetto as he attempts to resist the undertow of a powerful attraction. It's enough to make just about anyone melt. For those of us who entered adolescence in the early- and mid-'90s, “Wicked Game” practically is branded on our sexual consciousnesses. How many people experienced their first sexual awakening while watching Isaak and Helena Christensen roll around on the beach in Herb Ritts’s classic (and NSFW) video? I’m pretty sure the answer to that is “any human born between 1978 and 1985.” It’s no surprise that the song has been used in a huge number of films and television shows—including David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, 90210­, and Friends—after all, it’s essentially a shorthand for sex.

2. “I’m On Fire” – Bruce Springsteen

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This deceptively simple song has Bruce Springsteen singing along to a pulsing guitar about the frustration of unfulfilled desire:  “At night I wake up with my sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of my head. Only you can cool my desire.” Who can resist that?

3. “Amongster” – Poliça

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This dreamy synthpop track from Poliça comes with a mesmerizing video—it’s juxtaposition of human flesh and slowly oozing insects feels almost pornographic. In a good way.

4. “Criminal” – Fiona Apple

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Fiona Apple’s 1997 hit introduced many of us to the singer for the first time. There are very few things more seductive than Apple’s throaty voice admitting, “I’ve been a bad, bad girl.”

5. “As Bright As Your Night Light” – Nerves Junior

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Try to resist swaying to this thrumming, psychedelic track from Kentucky band Nerves Junior.

6 & 7. “Touch me I’m going to scream Parts 1 and 2" – My Morning Jacket

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My Morning Jacket’s “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream” is actually made up of two separate songs. Part One perfectly captures an intense longing for human contact; the more up-tempo Part Two is an almost ecstatic celebration of finally being touched.

8. “Strange Mercy” – St. Vincent

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This 2011 song from St. Vincent is so moody and pretty, I can’t stand it.

9 & 10. “Moonage Daydream” and “Breaking Glass” – David Bowie

As we all know, David Bowie is sex on a stick, so he gets two songs.

Start off with a bit of psychedelic seduction with “Moonage Daydream” (1971)

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...And follow with 1978’s “Breaking Glass.”

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11. “Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star

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Hope Sandoval’s breathy vocal on this 1994 hit is everything.

12. “I Can’t Get Next To You” – Al Green

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Get next to this soulful 1971 classic by the legendary Al Green.

13. “Infinity” – The xx

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Between its dueling vocals and pulsing beat, this 2009 song by English band The xx oozes sex. The fact that the twanging guitar riff is reminiscent of “Wicked Game” doesn’t hurt either.

14. “When I’m Small” – Phantogram

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“When I’m Small”’s juxtaposition of rough static with singer Sarah Barthel’s sweet voice will send shivers down your spine.

15.“You Look So Fine” – Garbage

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Let’s be honest: Shirley Manson could sing “Old McDonald Had A Farm,” and it would still be hot as hell.

16. “Age of Kings” – The Mountain Goats

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The lyrics to this meditative 2011 song, backed by swelling strings, are pure poetry. Sexy poetry.


*Of course, “sexiness” is an entirely subjective concept, and what I find sexy might make you want to stick needles in your ears. That’s incredibly unlikely, as I have flawless musical taste, but if this playlist doesn’t stoke your libido, take the challenge on for yourself. What songs make it on your “Not just about sex but actually sexy” list?

Image: YouTube

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