A good Valentine’s Day playlist should feature a mix of fast and slow songs. It should build mood – take it easy at first, slide into something a little more daring, explode near the end, and come down with ease. It shouldn’t last more than an hour. And it should include plenty of songs about sex. Especially that. Here are some of our favorite songs about getting it on.
1. “Let’s Get It On” – Marvin Gaye
It’s the one everyone goes to, and for good reason. Gaye’s 1973 classic is pretty much the R&B legend saying “Hey, baby, let’s fuck” for four minutes straight. But it’s the sexiest come-on you’ve ever heard. Frankly, Gaye could be singing about finding us a better rate on our mortgage, and it would still put us in the mood. That the song is about sex makes it all the much sweeter.
2. “Ignition (Remix)” – R. Kelly
It’s the song where Kelly croons “I’m about to take my key and stick it in the ignition.” He’s not talking about his car. But the song is a celebration of sweaty fun – whether it’s on the dance floor, at a backstage party, or in the bedroom with a couple of groupies. Dude’s a freak, no doubt about it. But this is his greatest song, all about getting freaky and not caring who’s there.
3. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard
Of course you’re gonna be sticky sweet after they shake the bottle. Duh. The Lep’s 1987 ode to down-and-dirty sex doesn’t really hide its intentions, even if it is a little confusing (“livin’ like a lover with a radar phone”?). The band’s best song is heavily processed through oodles of digital filters, but its raw carnal energy manages to seep through anyway. One lump or two?
4. “Sexual Healing” – Marvin Gaye
Yep, him again. Gaye was one horny dude. And on his last big hit, he pretty much uses the ol’ I’m-gonna-die-if-don’t-have-sex-soon trick. Lyrically, it’s not very subtle (“open up and let me in”), but it’s dripping with musical winks (check out those trickling synths). Stick around to the end, when Gaye tells the girl there ain’t no way he’s taking care of business by himself.
5. “Work It” – Missy Elliott
What’s Missy saying during the backward part of the chorus? Some guesses are dirtier than others (though the truth may be it’s just the other part of the chorus reversed). Still, the fact that it might be something nasty further bolsters this song’s sex drive. More obvious: “Love the way my ass go bum-bump-bum-bump-bump/Think you can handle this badonk-a-donk-donk?”
6. “Love to Love You Baby” – Donna Summer
The original disco queen pretty much has a 16-minute orgasm on this 1975 classic. Really. There’s not much more to it than Giorgio Moroder’s sputtering synth riff, which rides a steady groove while Summer moans and groans on top of it. For 16 minutes. (Time magazine once counted 22 orgasms.) Perfect for your mix, especially when things really start to heat up.
7. “Sledgehammer” – Peter Gabriel
You didn’t think this song was about a hand tool, did you? You know, the one that looks like a giant hammer? The onetime Genesis frontman wants to nail something all right, but it’s not, um, a nail. Like Marvin Gaye, Gabriel isn’t very discreet: “Open up your fruit cage, where the fruit is as sweet as can be.” Meanwhile, his old bandmates were singing about illegal aliens.
8. “Like a Virgin” – Madonna
Quentin Tarantino summed it up best in his Reservoir Dogs script: “The pain is reminding a fuck machine what it once was like to be a virgin.” We’re not exactly sure if that’s what Madonna had in mind on her first No. 1 hit. But the way she “oohs” and “aahs” (not to mention the way she writhed around onstage at the MTV Music Awards in 1984) tells us it’s pretty darn close.
9. “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” – Rod Stewart
Stewart’s never been a tactful guy (go back and listen to his kiss-off to a groupie on the Faces’ “Stay With Me”). But he’s positively lecherous here. “Spread your wings and let me come inside,” he commands the “virgin child” he’s singing to. Eww. That’s Stewart’s girlfriend (and former Bond girl) Britt Ekland saying something in French at the end of the song. Oui!
10. “I Want Your Sex” – George Michael
In a public bathroom? In a park? Apparently it doesn’t matter to the ’80s hitmaker. This song from Michael’s first solo album is his sorta clunky way of saying, “I want to have relations with you.” “Sex is natural, sex is fun, sex is best when it’s one on one,” he sings. Sure, it’s a tribute to monogamy. But it’s also a declaration to getting it on – whenever, wherever you feel like it.