How to set the mood with music

There’s nothing quite like lighting a few candles and turning on a skin-tingling, sexy song to build intimacy with a partner. Sex and music go together like chocolate and strawberries.

Music is a key atmospheric builder and setter when you’re having sex; inspiring different emotional responses, reducing stress, and even tapping into memory, leading to an enhanced, pleasurable experience. Whether it’s a scratch on a well-worn record or a bluetooth speaker playing from a beloved playlist, listening to music is integral to the makeup of our cultural lives, including when we’re romping under the sheets.

Here we’ll break down why music helps sexual arousal, what are some benefits of playing music during sex, and provide some tips on how to make your next playlist a banger.

Why does music arouse us?

The very basic answer to why music arouses us is in the science of our brain. Dopamine, the feel-good chemical in our brain, gets released when we hear a tune we love. Our reward system goes into overdrive, flooding our bodies with pleasure. Arousal indicators like an increased heart-rate and heavier breathing begin, which starts to activate the central nervous system, leading to more hormonal and chemical responses to get the body in motion for sex.

Benefits of playing music during sex

Let’s stick with dopamine here: if your body is feeling good all over from listening to music, any stress carried throughout starts to decrease, which leads to heightened experiences of arousal. With less stress and more arousal, inhibitions start to wane. Your body and mind start to feel looser; pleasure is at the centre of the experience, and there is more freedom to try new things—buying lube like K-Y® LUBRICANT - Naturals* or trying out sex toys—rather than to feel in control of what’s going on.

Music, too, helps ease distractions. When your favourite song is playing—or something that fits the erotic script of the experience at hand—it’s easier to slip into the atmosphere than, for example, focus on what your body looks like or if you're doing a position correctly. Music acts as a type of reinforcement: you can build your confidence and play a role while you’re having sex that you might not elsewhere and feel free to really enjoy it.

It’s amazing how music engages other sensory aspects than just auditory. Even on an emotional level, there is a connectivity between you and your partner by choosing to heighten the sexual experience with music; allowing for a spiced up routine, and perhaps lasting longer, too. It’s a way to bond—to come together, as it were.

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What to consider when selecting music

Everyone’s music tastes are different. A pop ballad might get one person hot and bothered, while a doom metal song might elicit the same response. It’s important to select music you and your partner both find sexy when positioned the right way.

Nothing hits quite like R&B. Aural foreplay, this genre pulses and lengthens notes and lyrics, mimicking sexual sounds and rhythms. Sexy R&B can provide some guidance on slowing down or speeding up, moving your bodies at the pace of the song. Melodious music, too, that builds and drives toward a climax might get you to your own orgasm.

Whatever the genre, consider creating a playlist of similarly constructed songs with well-timed transitions. Be a tracklist purist about how songs flow together. There’s nothing more off-putting than going from sultry to silence to a completely different genre. If you have a favourite motown record, consider putting it on in full so there’s no need to switch it out, and can take the guesswork out of what songs should soundtrack a hot night in.