Sex truly sells, and songwriters who are able to create something that hits the spot - so to speak - can put themselves in a position for industry recognition.
But writing great sex songs isn’t exactly easy, especially if you want to appeal to a wide cross-section of listeners. Some sex songs tend to go too far and end up bordering on skanky by leaving very little, if anything at all, to the imagination. On the other hand, there are those tunes that try to be sexy but come off as too coy or vague.
Writing a great sex song, therefore, is a delicate balancing act. It requires some know-how and skill as it relates to getting into the minds of listeners and painting images that will appeal to their primal instincts without being too dirty, distracting, or dense. We have put together a small sex-songwriting guide to help put you on the right path if you decide to try out this musical path. Here goes…
Before writing a song with a sexual theme, it is important to understand what crowd you are writing for. This will determine how raunchy or subtle you need to be with your lyrics. Generally, the younger the audience, the more outspoken and edgy you can be with your sexy lyrics. If you are aiming your song to an older crowd, you may want to create sex songs that are more euphemistic and subtle. In the event you are aiming for a more mainstream, mixed audience, you will need to work on striking the right balance, as mentioned before. To help figure this out, you can listen to songs about sex that had mainstream success to see how those songwriters went about constructing their lyrics.
Regardless of your selected sex song topic, there is a bit of art involved in describing different acts, feelings, desires, etc., without fully revealing exactly what you are talking about. Consider the song "Figured You Out" by Nickelback. In one particular part of the song, the songwriter uses a bunch of scenarios (pants around the feet, dirt on the knees, etc.) to paint a compelling narrative without explicitly revealing exactly what is being talked about. This is not necessarily being subtle; it’s more about helping the listener see exactly what you are talking about without actually spelling it out.
There are numerous words and phrases that are used in everyday language to refer to sex and sexual situations. Some are unbearably overused and will only induce eye rolls if you include them in your song lyrics. In addition, there are certain stereotypes that don't fit in with modern society. Common examples include using particular body type or physical features as the only examples of sexiness, associating certain preferences and activities with derogatory labels, pushing the narrative of men being dominant and women being submissive or docile in sexual relations. To avoid falling into the trap of writing corny or stereotypical lines, focus on themes of empowerment and sexual liberation that are more in line with current societal standards.
In writing anything sex-related, there is often a thin line between risqué and degrading. You want to keep that in mind when writing sex songs to ensure your lyrics don’t come off as manipulative or abusive. Bear in mind that where words such as "h*," and "b***h" may be tolerated in some sex songs (think W.A.P., the recent hit by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion), they may be met with derision if used in a condescending or hateful way. Furthermore, you also want to avoid sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic lyrics. These are surprisingly common in some songs about sex, especially in the hip-hop/rap genre. But if you are attempting to really create a standout sex song, you want to steer clear of such themes.
Sex is real and worthy of being enjoyed and talked about. People listening to your song will connect with your message if that realness is played out in what you are saying. With that said, unrealistic claims, such as those relating to the size of certain body parts and physical endurance (going all night?) can cause listeners to lose interest in what your song is saying. This also goes back to not being corny. The more realistic your sex song is, the more your audience will be able to relate.
A good sex song is not just one that says the right things at the right time, it is also one that gets stuck in the heads of listeners. This means working on a catchy hook that people will remember. It also means using simple, uncomplicated language to ensure the lyrics are easy to digest. Sticking to a common songwriting structure, simple rhyme scheme, and attractive melody will work in your favor as well.
There is no shortage of songs about sex. From raunchy tracks describing various intimate acts in graphic detail to subtly suggestive songs that flirt with innuendo, the choices are extensive. If you choose to write songs that fall into this category, you will need to focus on ways to make yours stand out from the pack. Following this guide will put you on the right path.