Here are 10 songs that gave me sexxxy feelings in 2017… What were your faves this year? (Pro tip: you can listen to all 10 of these, plus all the songs I’ve profiled in previous years of 12 Days of Girly Juice, in my Spotify playlist!)
Shady Elders – The Night Air
I made a note way back in February to include this song in this list; I’ve loved it for that long. It’s a sultry, spacey unfolding of sound. I especially love jerking off to it when I’m stoned off my ass. Marijuana makes the slick beats and smooth vocals coalesce so it feels like someone is playing my vulva like a jazzy old Fender. I can’t listen to this without wanting to roll my hips, close my eyes, and sink into sin.
Betti – Ordinary
In the tradition of Amy Winehouse and Adele, Betti’s hearkening back to the ’60s with this mellow and melodramatic love song. And like many mid-century hits, this one describes a relationship that borders on toxic and abusive, but is painted as quixotically romantic. “We argue til midnight, and make love til daylight,” Betti sings; “Fold your clothes out the dryer; one wrong move, and I’ll light them on fire.” I’ve never been in a relationship this mercurial, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Sometimes I like to imagine this song is about a consensual D/s relationship – or a relationship between two kinksters so closeted, they don’t even realize the capricious game they’re playing is a function of their kinks. It makes me feel a little less conflicted about lyrics like, “We break up just so we can make up… We’re so perfectly fucked up, one step short of crazy.”
Hippo Campus – Boyish (Acoustic)
There’s no way I could omit Hippo Campus from this list. Their music isn’t “sexy,” per se, but it’s most of what I’ve listened to all year. This jazzy acoustic rendition of “Boyish” is the closest thing they have to an anthem of lust – and in classic Hippo Campus fashion, it’s difficult to entirely parse what the song is trying to express. But it sounds sexy, anyway.
There are lyrical elements that remind me of various kink scenarios: “Daddy’s coming home but mama’s looking guilty,” for example, or “Wolf-child’s heavy with the weight of the world, storing all his love in an adolescent girl.” Then there are lines that allude to the tropes of toxic masculinity, like, “I never really knew if I did something wrong; all I ever heard was it wasn’t my fault.” I can never quite decide if I think this song is about a complicated, conflicted man, or a literal werewolf, or the latter as a metaphor for the former. In any case, this version is beautiful. (And I have a hell of a crush on Hippo Campus’ graceful, goofy guitarist, Nathan Stocker. Hnnng.)
Sleeping At Last – Venus
This is a song about finally finding a planet you’ve been sleuthing out in your telescope for ages, but it seems intentionally written like a love song. It’s a metaphor for that moment when you spot someone from across a room and instantly realize they’re going to matter to you. “After a while, I thought I’d never find you; I convinced myself that I would never find you… and suddenly I saw you,” Sleeping At Last mastermind Ryan O’Neal murmurs romantically as the first verse resolves. I’ve listened to this song dozens of times and it gives me chills every. fucking. time because I know that feeling so damn well.
“Venus” reminds me, too, of the electric exploration of a new partner’s body the first time you get them naked: the constellations of freckles and hairs, the sparks of sensation when you discover an erogenous zone, the effervescent present moment that extinguishes all external distractions. You are entirely focused on this beautiful person’s beautiful body – like you’ve got a telescope trained on them and nothing else fucking matters.
Oliver Nelson – Stolen Moments
This track was the theme song for a late-night show I used to listen to on a local jazz radio station when I was in high school. When insomnia loomed over me, and I felt too scared or sad to lie in the dark by my lonesome, I would turn the radio on – and there would always be someone at the station, growling in a rough baritone between meticulously-chosen jazz tracks. This was one of my faves, and still is.
Fucking to jazz feels inherently classy, like you’re doing it under a streetlight’s smoky beams in a gritty 1970s movie. Jazz is also a safer choice than some others on this list (see: Nick Jonas) if you’re wary of sexual partners judging you for your taste. I can’t imagine anyone complaining if you wanted to fuck to this sultry, stunning tune – and if they did, surely you wouldn’t want to fuck them anyway.
DVSN – Sept. 5th
I had a boyfriend this year who told me he wished every band sounded like DVSN. He used to blast their music while we had sex (along with Alina Baraz; see below) so I deeply associate their pulsating R&B jams with deliciously slow-paced kink trysts in a basement apartment that smelled of sandalwood and marijuana.
“I could make it better, if I could have sex with you,” the singer of this track warbles in the chorus. This notion resonates with me. Sometimes sex is like medicine. But medicine that goes down smooth.
Paul Cook & the Chronicles – Ships Pass
Has there ever been a sadder song about one-night stands? I’m no expert, but I don’t think so. This one hits the nail on the head, perfectly capturing that empty feeling that follows an ill-advised hookup with a stranger when what you really want is something more substantial. “It’s cold outside your window, but warm between your thighs,” Paul Cook croons. “We both know what’s happening, but we leave it aside.”
I spent a lot of time this year contemplating what kinds of sex I want to have, and why. I’ve come to the conclusion, again and again, that one-off hookups are not my heart’s desire or my genitals’ jam. For me, they’re like throwing back a few McDonald’s fries when you’re aching for a steak and a heap of roasted veggies. But sometimes you’re starving and there is nothing else available, and that is both dissatisfying and sad. “I will find someone who stays with me all night… Yeah, I will find somebody just right,” Cook promises himself, but it rings hollow. You never know how long it’ll be until the next special person crests over the horizon of your life.
Nick Jonas – Teacher
This year I went to a Body Pride workshop, at the end of which we were encouraged to choose a song that made us feel sexy and dance around doing a naked photoshoot. This is the song I picked. It’s impossibly slick and sexy, overflowing with funk, like a modern-day “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.” If you listen to this while you walk down the street, you will end up strutting like a supermodel. There’s no way around it.
As you might infer from the title of the song, “Teacher” also pings a lot of my subby kinks. With lyrics like “It’s like your mama never taught you how to love – so let me teach you” and “This game we’re playing makes me wanna break the rules,” my boy Nick fuels the fire of my staunch belief that he’s a big ol’ kinkster. You can pry my Daddy Dom Nick Jonas headcanons from my cold, dead, submissive-babygirl hands.
Dirty Projects – Little Bubble
This song does things to my vagina. I don’t know what else to tell ya.
Alina Baraz – Buzzin’
I’ve put a song of Alina’s on this list every year this list has existed. What can I say: girl knows how to make a sexy track. I don’t have much to say about this one except that I can’t listen to it without wanting to make out with someone, grind against a cute person’s thigh while they press against me, and/or party down on a great vibe. Alina nailed it again.
What sexy music did you love this year?