The Science Behind Your Sex Playlist.
Yes, there is an ideal BPM for getting it on.
Finding the perfect playlist for life’s more intimate moments is practically an art form; few things feel more personal than your Spotify playlist its an every-so-suggestive (or, conversely, starkly blunt) title. Music has a big impact on sex, and not just in the ways you may realize.
For one, it can help set the mood—and especially if you’re trying to woo a partner. Research published in the journal Media Psychology found that when people listen to sexually suggestive music, they’re more likely to view people in a sexual light—your Sonos can operate as a mating call, and your playlist can be an aphrodisiac. Never underestimate the power of good lighting and the right soundtrack as key elements for satisfying foreplay.
And then, once you’re doing the deed, music continues to play a role. A study conducted by a U.K. supplement brand used Spotify data to analyze playlists with titles that connoted sex (using words like sexy, horny, etc.) and found the most popular tracks for getting it on. The Weeknd took the top two places with the songs “Earned It” and “Often,” and Jeremih came in third with “All the Time.” The top 20 songs on the list have a moderate BPM (beats per minute) of 110—the same tempo as the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”—which, who knows, could be the unexpected addition your sex playlist has been needing to help keep you in rhythm.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that every sex playlist requires a good mix of tempos; especially when you take foreplay into consideration, intimacy, at its best, is not a one-speed activity. There’s a reason why James Blake, Frank Ocean, and other artists not known for dance floor music tend to get us in the mood; their sultry quality mimics the build-up and tension that comes along with an intimate encounter.
Ultimately, a good playlist won’t just get you in the mood—it will help you to have better sex, too. A study published in the journal Nature found that music uses the same reward pathways in the brain as food, drug, and sexual pleasure. So when you combine two and two, there’s only bound to be more pleasure all around. As clinical psychologist and sex researcher David W. Wahl, Ph.D., wrote in Psychology Today, music helps release dopamine, making it a mood-booster, and it can foster more emotional intimacy, resulting in more sexual satisfaction.
The time spent making your sex playlist—no matter what cheeky name you give it—is well worth the effort. But if you require a little curatorial assistance, allow us to help.