Everyone asks for different things when it comes to sex. Whether you’re into candlelight and rose petals, or just prefer a flat surface, I think we can all agree that the backing track can make or break the moment.

Still, I think most of us can sympathize with the difficulty of choosing just the right song for just the right moment. Picking the music can pack on the pressure, and being unprepared in this scenario can lead to some interesting alternatives (I would not recommend having sex to primetime news coverage). For better or for worse, music can be the ultimate mental lubricant.

But what makes a song sexy? What makes a song work on a sex playlist? Where’s the line between hot and cringey and why is it so easy to cross? 

Reader, these are all questions your author/playlist curator agonized over. I even attempted some comprehensive research on the topic, but once the data showed that most Americans really prefer to get down to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and the Weeknd, statistics were ditched. Consider this their honorable mentions, since unfortunately they don’t make the list, but we still think it captures the energy of a good night, from start to finish. 

"The First Taste" — Fiona Apple

A pick for the indie girl inside us all, Fiona Apple’s "The First Taste" is the perfect song to set the ever elusive "mood." With slow grinding percussion and Fiona Apple’s plush, smoky voice begging her partner to come pick her up, basically dripping with sexual tension, "The First Taste" could turn anybody on. 

"Pynk" — Janelle Monae and Grimes

A sensual ​​celebration of queerness and a bold deconstruction of gender norms, "Pynk" is as thought–provoking as it is sexy. But with its sly, slithery beat and flirtatiously fluttery vocals, it’s as intimate as the sweetest love songs can be.

"Bouncin" — Tinashe 

A more uptempo club number that makes you want to dance, sweat, and kiss a stranger. 

"Kerosene" — Yves Tumor 

If you’ve ever wanted to "live in somebody’s dreams," this song is for you. It’s crazily horny, hopelessly romantic, and it’s really such a good song that it could totally steal the moment. 

"What’s Your Pleasure" — Jessie Ware

Stop. Go. Fast. Slow. 

"No Ordinary Love" — Sade

In the opinion of this author, no sex playlist could leave off Sade and her unmistakable alto. "No Ordinary Love" is the ultimate Sade song, cool and sexy, with all the focus on the emotion in her voice. If I can’t convince you, just know that this song was once called "musical viagra."

"Screwin (with Omarion)" — Summer Walker 

A couple screws each other and then screws each other over in Summer Walker’s ode to a deliciously toxic relationship. 

"Je t'aime...moi non plus" — Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg 

The only song on our list that the governments of Spain, the UK, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, and even the Pope himself banned! Almost 50 years later, it’s never really been topped for sheer, raw chemistry. 

"Pink Matter" / "Novacane" — Frank Ocean

As a person who had Frank Ocean hit the top of her Spotify Wrapped four years in a row, the choice between the luscious and smooth "Pink Matter" and the ode to the girl with the "stripper booty with a rack like woowwww" was paralyzing. But these songs are really just opposite sides of the same spectrum, each one equally sensual. There’s no sexier moment on this playlist than Frank Ocean moaning the word "pleasure" over and over again halfway through "Pink Matter," and no more seductive beat than the thumping drums in "Novacane." 

"Hentai" — Rosalía 

Impossible to pick the sexiest Rosalía song, but "Hentai" makes a good case for itself. 

"Skin" — Rihanna 

This song wants to know why you still have your clothes on. "Skin" saunters from the club to the bedroom. Slow until it’s not, sultry until it means business, sensual until its climatic solo, "Skin" could be the only song on this playlist. 

"Pony" — Ginuwine 

You either think this song is corny, or you know how to have fun. Sex is always better with somebody you can laugh with, i.e. the person you can play this song with.

"Two Weeks" — FKA twigs 

The sexiest song on this playlist indisputably is FKA twig’s "Two Weeks." A song truly and only about sex, twigs delivers lines like “My thighs are apart for when you're ready to breathe in” with endless charisma and disarming bluntness. There’s no other song on this list that can make you feel like intruding on a personal moment just by listening. 

Every person will find different songs or artists attractive to them, but hopefully these songs have some real crossover appeal. And one final word of advice as before you take this playlist into the real world; shell out for ad–free Spotify. Nothing ruins a good vibe more than 30 seconds of advertising.