I remember the first time I went back to Jessie’s apartment after a pretty awesome date. Like most first times, I felt excited and more than a little nervous. I already knew I liked her more than anyone I’d met in a long time, so the stakes were high. Also, we’d both eaten more cheese that evening than I consider ideal for hot sex.
I figured she was thinking along the same lines when she stopped me in the middle of wrestling with her bra clasp. (I’m about raw passion, not fine motor skills.) Instead, she crossed to her dresser, flipped her laptop open and punched up a Spotify playlist. I couldn’t help laughing a little when I recognized the beginning of Kelis’ “In Public,” one of the sillier sex jams of the early aughties. But the extra sway in her hips as she walked back to the bed shut me up.
I later found out that the playlist was straightforwardly titled “Sex Songs” — an ever-growing and evolving beast of a thing she’s been gradually adding to for years. It still forms the background to most of our bedroom-bound sex and I’ve come to regard it with considerable affection.
However, there are some drawbacks. For one thing, we’re too broke to spring for the premium version, so occasionally, there are awkward moments like:
Her: What? Why are you stopping?
Me: I’m not going to come in the middle of this Squarespace commercial. If I do, some important part of me will die and I’ll never get it back.
Mostly though, “Sex Songs” is a great arrangement. A solid collection of sex jams sets a fun, playful ambience, ably covers up any queefing, and fills in any little unwanted silences. If you don’t have such a playlist already, I definitely recommend one.
I wasn’t the first guy to hear Jessie’s playlist. But since I’m on track to be the last, I feel like I should have a hand in guiding its future. Mostly, anything that helps my wife get in the mood is fine by me but, just occasionally, I’ve had to put my foot down. Here are seven of the tracks that I refuse to listen to on “Sex Songs,” regardless of how sexy or romantic she might find them:
1. “Kiss Me,” by Ed Sheeran. I don’t like Ed Sheeran, because I’m, you know, a guy. It’s not meant for me. But I still wouldn’t have banned this song if I could be sure it would only play during tender make-outey missionary sex. Having Spotify throw this one up during anything rougher is not a lot less awkward than the Squarespace commercial. Ed Sheeran could fuck to this. Hell, he probably does. But it’s not my speed.
2. “Fuckin’ Problems,” by A$AP Rocky, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. I wish I could say I’ve had boners that a Drake verse couldn’t kill. That would be some porn star shit to me. I’m not that strong.
3. “Don’t Hold the Wall,” by Justin Timberlake. It’s sexy, but it’s more than seven minutes long. What if I finish before JT? I don’t need that kind of pressure in my sex life. It’s banned.
4. “Juicy,” by The Notorious B.I.G. This one isn’t a straight ban. I’m happy to let it back in the playlist, provided Jessie lets me declare first ‘This fuck is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’” as I take my pants off. So far, it’s still not out.
5.”Made to Love,” by John Legend. She just likes this one too much. I refuse to compete. “Honey?” *Fingersnap* “Honey, I’m right here.”
6. Anything by Angus & Julia Stone. The album Big Jet Plane got so much airplay in my home country back in 2011 and I hated it so much, I still can’t hear these guys and keep my cool. For me, they go with Jet and the Cat Empire. Whenever I hear them I become convinced that everyone in the coffee shop knows I’m Australian and hates my breathing guts. Banned. It’s banned. Angry sex has its proponents, but the cold and distant rage these siblings inspire in me isn’t what they’re talking about.
7. “Sexual Healing,” by Ben Harper. Seriously, Babe? The Ben Harper cover? I love you, so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that some stoner Don Juan from Cleveland that you had a one-night stand with was messing with your Spotify account while you were in the bathroom or something. In any case, it’s out. No sex tonight. We’re going to sit and listen to the whole of Midnight Love while you think about what you did wrong.
Kale Bogdanovs is a standup comic and also Jessica’s husband. Follow him on Twitter.
[Image of a man calling a time out via Shutterstock]