I recently rediscovered the song "Tell Me" by Usher, and every single time I listen to it, I feel like I'm falling in love and having a thousand orgasms at once. It’s an 8-minute ballad, with the perfect combination of Usher crooning and crescendoing in a way that feels both extremely tender and sexual. If you're looking for dirty songs to have sex to — especially if you're feeling particularly ~romantic~ — this freaky song will not disappoint.
Music helps set the mood, but it also does something more. Neuropsychologist Dr. Rhonda Freeman previously told Elite Daily music is likely to affect the brain in three regions — the pleasure system, the bonding system, and the limbic system (which processes emotions). “Those systems not only allow the pleasurable experience of sex to be amplified with music, but they also allow music to deepen your connection with your partner while subduing negative emotions,” Freeman said. If that doesn’t make you want to create a sex playlist immediately, I don’t know what will.
There are plenty of dirty songs perfect for when you and your partner are in the mood. When it comes to making a really great sex playlist, you need songs that aren't cheesy (let's please retire "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye), and they should easily fade into the background once you start getting into it with your partner. Bonus points if the beat mimics the rhythm you might already have in bed. I asked friends for the one song they'd put on their sex playlist if they had one — or their favorite song on their already-existing sex playlist — and you'll seriously need to add them to your own arsenal ASAP. They are good.
1. "Tell Me" by Usher
“And in this moment of silence, you look me in the eyes / Nothing is verbalized, so much to say / I need you so much / The more I'm away from you, the more of you I want.”
IMHO, this is the one song you absolutely need on your sex playlist. Seriously, when in doubt, Usher on a loop never fails. “Tell Me” is full of lyrics that will make you blush and could elevate your hookup into something slightly more serious. After all, Usher is crooning, “Tell me that you wanna make love,” for a good portion of the song.
2. "Novacane" by Frank Ocean
"You put me on a feelin' I never had, never had, never had (Never) / And ever since I've been tryna get it back, and pick it up and put it back."
Frank Ocean is the sex playlist MVP, and this track proves it. Although the song isn’t actually that romantic if you listen closely to the lyrics, Frank Ocean’s voice makes even the most shocking lyric choices – I can’t be the only one who associates novocaine with root canals – sound completely swoon-worthy.
3. "Pink + White" by Frank Ocean
“It's the same way you showed me / Nod my head, don't close my eyes / Halfway on a slow move / It's the same way you showed me.”
And because Frank Ocean is the MVP, he obviously needed to be on this list more than once. Nobody does R&B like Frank Ocean, and there’s nothing like R&B to get you in the mood. Plus, the tempo shifts in this ballad will ensure that things stay interesting throughout your hookup.
4. "Do I Wanna Know" by Arctic Monkeys
“Crawlin' back to you / Ever thought of callin' when / You've had a few? / 'Cause I always do.”
If your playlist (or partner of choice) calls for some unrequited love songs, “Do I Wanna Know” should be your go-to. It’s not serious enough to change your hookup into a ~talk~, but it is enough to plant the seeds for some honest pillow talk later on.
5. "Dive In" by Trey Songz
“Wanting to go deeper than you'll ever know / Wanting to feel, the way you flow / Ooh, you got that look up in your eyes / What we 'bout to do ain't no surprise.”
“Dive In” is one of the least subtle songs you could add to your sex playlist, but that’s its charm. Released back in 2012, it is truly an ageless addition to any dirty playlist.
6. "Can’t Keep My Hands To Myself" by Selena Gomez
“Can't keep my hands to myself / I mean, I could but why would I want to?”
In all honesty, this song was overplayed when it came out in 2015. But assuming you’ve had a six-year break from being inundated with “Can’t Keep My Hands To Myself,” now’s a great time to add it back into your playlists. Plus, it’s full of sexy lyrics, making it ideal for your favorite steamy playlist.
7. "Chandelier" (Piano Version) by Sia
“I'm holding on for dear life / Won't look down, won't open my eyes / Keep my glass full until morning light / 'Cause I'm just holding on for tonight.”
“Chandelier” might not be the first song you think of when it comes to setting the mood, but the piano version hits different. It’s definitely a subtler kind of sexy – there’s a pretty slim chance of any of these lyrics making you blush – yet the slower pace of this song is ideal for your more serious hookups (especially if you’re hoping for more emotional intimacy).
8. "Strange Fruit" by Elijah Blake
“I'm talkin' 'bout you and me / A little time and some privacy / Gettin' up on that late night creep / But tell nobody what we do.”
If you’re indulging in a forbidden romance, this song might just become “your song.” And even if you’re not, this song – specifically Elijah Blake singing about “dirty thoughts” – makes the idea sound very tempting.
9. "Eyes On Fire" by Blue Foundation
“I'm taking it slow / Feeding my flame / Shuffling the cards of your game.”
Don’t be fooled, this song is not about a friendly card game. The innuendo in “Eyes On Fire” is pretty subtle, but the tune makes it unmistakably sexy. Its dark and stormy vibes were good enough for the Twilight soundtrack – and they’re definitely worthy of your sex playlist.
10. "Whatever You Like" by T.I.
“I want your body, need your body / Long as you got me you won't need nobody.”
You 100% need this song on your sex playlist. Truly, it deserves a spot on any playlist – sexy or otherwise. And, if you’re ever not in the mood for the original, the cover by Anya Marina is just as good – and maybe even a little dirtier? If you need any more convincing, it was actually the song of choice for the infamous Gossip Girl threesome scene.
11. "One Week Of Danger" (Demo Version) by The Virgins
“Give me just one week of danger at a time / Loving isn't easy but it sure is fun.”
Don’t let the band name fool you! This song is another amazing addition to your hookup playlist. If your current situation is best described as casual, this is a great, playful track to put on the queue.
12. "Ride" by SOMO
"Everybody wonders where we've run off to / My body on your body, baby, stickin' like some glue."
Hoping for a graphic song to set the mood? “Ride” is the NSFW song for you. SOMO throws all subtlety out the window in this jam – just in case the title didn’t make that clear enough. TBH, this song might be worth listening to purely for cutting any remaining tension. (It really is that detailed; there’s no room for awkwardness.) Fair warning: The music video is nearly as racy as the song itself.
13. "Feel Like Making Love" by Bad Company
“Baby, If I think about you / I think about love / Darling, If I live without you / I live without love.”
Looking for something more old school? “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” a rock song originally released in 1975, could be the perfect choice. FYI, this song definitely ventures more into “love” than your typical dirty song. If that’s not your vibe, you might want to skip this one.
14. "Hold It Against Me" by Britney Spears
“If I said I want your body now / Would you hold it against me? / 'Cause you feel like paradise / And I need a vacation tonight.”
What’s a sex playlist without a little Britney Spears? “Hold It Against Me,” released in 2011, is still super popular – and for good reason. It’s refreshingly straightforward and perfect for a sex playlist, especially if you already feel comfortable around your partner.
15. "Breathe On Me" by Britney Spears
“Oh, this is way beyond the physical / Tonight, my senses don't make sense at all / Our imagination, taking us to places / We have never been before.”
More Britney, because why not? The first 15 seconds of the song feature Britney Spears breathing heavily and whispering “It’s so hot in here,” and, honestly, that’s all you need to know.
16. "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" by D'Angelo
“I wanna stop playing all the / Silly little games you and me play / And I am feeling right on / If you feel the same way baby / Let me know right away.”
D’Angelo takes NSFW to a whole new level in this track. But if you’re hoping to give your partner a few hints in the bedroom, this song could do the trick. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder for you to ask each other “How Does It Feel.”
17. "Vibez" by Zayn Malik
“Baby, I'ma get you right, I will / When I touch you tell me how it feel / Trust me, I'ma make it feel surreal.”
Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are known for being one of the hottest celebrity couples. And Zayn’s steamy song lyrics make that reputation inevitable. “Vibez” is one of the best examples of his gift for sexy songwriting. Plus, it’s a great, not-so-subtle way to remind your partner that whatever you do should feel “surreal” for the both of you.
18. "II. You Know I Will" by badXchannels ft. Jon Connor
“I know there's someone waiting up for you all night / But I'm not perfect and you're not finished / I'll be your mister, you can always be my mistress.”
If “complicated” is the easy way to describe your current romantic life, this is a good song to queue up. badXchannels and Jon Connor relay an entire (dysfunctional) love story in the 5-minute track that’s sure to hit you right in the feels.
19. "Howlin' For You" by The Black Keys
“I must admit, I can't explain / Any of these thoughts racin' through my brain, it's true / Baby, I'm howlin' for you.”
Ever been super attracted to someone and not sure how to put it into words? The Black Keys know that feeling well, and “Howlin’ For You” captures it perfectly.
20. "God Is A Woman" by Ariana Grande
“You, you love it how I move you / You love it how I touch you / My one, when all is said and done / You'll believe God is a woman.”
If you’re feeling super confident (or want to trick yourself into feeling that way), “God Is A Woman” should be the next song on your hookup playlist. Ariana Grande’s voice sets the perfect mood, and the sensual lyrics will soon have you both feeling some type of way.
21. "Kiss Me More" by Doja Cat ft. SZA
“Baby, hold me / 'Cause I like the way you groove, oh, oh / Oh, darlin' / Boy, you write your name, I can do the same / Ooh, I love the taste.”
Doja Cat and SZA are an unstoppable duo. “Kiss Me More” is not only a catchy song, but also the perfect reminder to ask for what you want – in and out of the bedroom. Add it to the top of your playlist to set the mood and your intentions upfront.
22. “Damage” by H.E.R.
“Holding me tight / Loving me right / Giving me life / All night.”
“Damage” isn’t just about sex. It also touches on the emotional complications that sometimes go with it. This might not sound like a huge turn on, but hear me out. The song is perfect if you’re in a more reflective mood or not planning on listening to the lyrics all that carefully. Either way, it deserves a listen.
23. “Physical” by Dua Lipa
“All night, I'll riot with you / I know you got my back and you know I got you / So come on, come on, come on / Let's get physical.”
There’s a reason Dua Lipa is a Grammy winner. Take a look at her songs, and there’s not a single skip. When it comes to updating your hookup playlist, though, “Physical” stands out as the clear choice. Even if Grammy wins don’t turn you on, this song’s dirty lyrics earn it a spot on any sex playlist.
24. “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles X Seaside_demo by SEB
“Breathe me in, breathe me out / I don't know if I could ever go without / I'm just thinking out loud / I don't know if I could ever go without / Watermelon sugar / Hi, baby, do you wanna be mine? / Maybe we can see the seaside / Wanna kick it with you (I can't even lie).”
It’s pretty obvious why this mashup went viral on TikTok. To be fair, “Watermelon Sugar” was already a sexy song on its own, but the addition of SEB’s (perfectly timed) verses make it all the more, ahem, satisfying.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to add additional songs.
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