Long gone are the days when horny teens would argue whether this or that verse was about poontang. Nowadays, most top 10 hits are completely explicit, and they openly mention action between the sheets. The art of subtleness seems lost, yet it doesn’t seem to bother most people who enjoy pop music in the 21st century. We swallow pretty much everything that comes out of La La Land — music-wise included.
Nevertheless, mentioning sex is still controversial, even if it’s in pretty much every line of every chorus when you turn on the radio in your car. We’ve indeed come a long way in terms of sexual liberties since the mid-1900s. However, talking about dongs and asses will still make people’s cheeks blush. It’s just the way we are. But why is it so? Why does sex trend in almost every song and yet still make us so uncomfortable?
The simple answer would be that sex sells. We all know it, and we all enjoy it. However, we’re not all that crazy about easy answers. They are, in most cases, wrong. We, humans, are way more complex than we give ourselves credit for. Allow us to, therefore, take you on a little musical journey across the shores of dirty verses and horny pop stars. So, fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight — it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Songs About Sex
What better song to start talking about sex in music than Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On? This is the unofficial soundtrack of any sex scene in any movie, TV show, or commercial. You don’t have to listen to the lyrics to understand what Marvin’s breakout hit is about. The perfect blend of funk and soul will immediately paint a clear picture for you.
Another great example of music that includes sex as its main topic is Donna Summer’s Love To Love You Baby. With its explicit and sexual lyrics, this piece of music is probably on 99% of all sex playlists across the world. Moreover, you’ll hear it play in its many incarnations and versions in nightclubs in any country or continent.
A text like this would be pretty much empty without the queen of sex and controversy. Madonna is one of those artists that you either love or hate. Nevertheless, you can’t argue her importance in making sex the main subject of modern pop. The finest example of her work bursting with sexual content is Like a Virgin.
Active for well-over half a century now, The Rolling Stones are one of the most famous rock groups of all time. But aside from their cool guitar licks and four-four time beats, Jagger’s lyrics were often controversial and about intercourse. As such, we still feel what the Brits were about all those years ago when he sang (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
Why Sex Is a Controversial Topic
As we’ve mentioned, during the mid-1900s, there was a major shift in social and sexual liberties in the United States. From gay rights to anti-war protests, most teens and young adults would oppose the conservative views of their elders. However, even if things are much more relaxed nowadays, some things remain controversial. One of those is definitely sex. We still blush and turn our heads away when someone mentions it.
Nevertheless, we still enjoy it and love to think about it in private. But what does this have to do with music, one might ask. Well, it’s simple. How is sex so controversial when it’s in every relevant pop song of 2022? The answer is quite logical. Our society protects sex like forbidden fruit, making us long for it even more. It’s the same age-old tale. The artists and songwriters just reflect the world around them, and we’re all horny as fudge.
Where It Started and Its Ripple Effect
The root of this problem lies in rock music. Yep! Before riffs and four-four time beats, explicit lyrics weren’t that common. Sure, there were always dirty songs around and in every culture. However, they didn’t have any effect on the mindset of the majority of the people. It wasn’t until distorted guitars would enter the scene and provide cover for quirky frontmen and women singing about sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.
Ever since the Beatles and Stones, every decade in pop culture would have its sex symbols. But what was the end product of such phenomena? Well, more and more people would loosen up their views on carnal pleasures, love, and lust. This same process is still going on strong. The music industry is producing more and more love songs that delve into the adult category, continuously reshaping how we act and think about sex.
Music About Sex — Did It Help?
The main reason why sex is controversial in music is that it’s easy to assume that it makes false assumptions about intercourse. Young people might get bad ideas while listening to songs, so they might act inappropriately. But this argument is wrong just as much as its relative, that is, that violent video games create school shooters.
Sex in pop songs can be more than beneficial, explaining to young people that it’s perfectly fine to be horny and experiment. In case it wasn’t, we’d still be living in Victorian times, where women were forced to wear clothes covering their whole body. Sex isn’t a sin. It’s also not just a way to procreate. It’s a basic human need that everyone should experience freely.
Sex and Music in the Present Times
Just like sex, music is an integral part of life for many of us. Hence, it’s easy to understand why we intend to mix it. From making unique playlists that we play in the background when we enjoy intercourse with our partners to songs that help us loosen and hook up in clubs — sex and music go hand-in-hand.
But sex in music is much more than setting the mood to make love. It’s a way to send a strong message about who you are. Explicit lyrics allow various minority groups to express themselves and announce their rightful existence in society. The perfect example of that in present times would be Hozier’s 2013 pop-chart-conquering hit Take Me To Church.