Sex is a cornerstone of humanity, as it’s both essential to our survival and just really damn fun. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that sex is generally still seen as immensely controversial (especially regarding “non-traditional” practices and orientations).
Luckily, we have rock and metal music to help rewrite the rules and promote sexual liberation, inclusion, experimentation and knowledge. Undoubtedly, it’s been an integral part of those genres since they began, and it’s only become more prevalent over the past few decades.
That’s exactly where these 10 tracks come in since they admirably and appealingly celebrate intercourse in virtually all its forms.
Halestorm, “Do Not Disturb”
Fronted by the now-legendary Lzzy Hale, hard rock/glam metal troupe Halestorm crafted an anthemic ode to lustful physical expression with this second single from their last studio LP, 2018’s Vicious.
During the verses, she sings seductively about making out, revealing hidden tattoos and undressing amidst confessing, “I love your accent / I wonder what it'll sound like when you cum.” Once the appropriately rowdier chorus kicks in, she champions bringing in “your girlfriend too” because “three is better than two.”
It’s as much a salute to female carnal agency as it is consensual group sex, so what’s not to love?
Naturally, this one lives up to the German provocateurs’ penchant for abrasive sonic debauchery, yet there’s also considerable sensuality and tolerance within its recognition of our animalistic desires.
Backed by a catchy electro-industrial score, singular vocalist Till Lindemann gruffly bellows about the inevitable and disgusting – but undeniably life-affirming – need for shared bodily satisfaction. Roughly translated, he commandingly utters, “I look at you and I get sick / Everywhere this buxom flesh” prior to ultimately cheering, “We only live once / We love life / We love love / We live during sex (sex, sex, sex).”
I mean, he’s not wrong.
The Beatles, “Why Don't We Do It in the Road?”
Despite their initially wholesome image, the Fab Four were never strangers to copulation. (Just look at their nightly activities in Hamburg, the “four of fish and finger pies” line from “Penny Lane” or the far-reaching theory that “Please Please Me” is about reciprocating oral sex.)
However, they’ve never suggested it as blatantly as on 1968’s “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” wherein McCartney relentlessly and huskily chants the rhetorical request over a simple rock arrangement.
Reportedly, he was inspired to write it after admiring the unashamed simplicity of two monkeys fornicating on a street in India. Go figure.
Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love"
Taken from 1969’s Led Zeppelin II – quite a fitting year for this discussion – and inspired by Muddy Waters’ “You Need Love,” it’s a quintessential classic rock banger about banging.
Obviously, Plant’s voice and Page’s guitarwork are inherently arousing, making specific enticements such as “A-way down inside / A-honey you need it / I'm gonna give ya every inch of my love” and “Shake for me, girl / I wanna be your backdoor man” even more erotic.
Plus, Plant’s risqué panting could be seen as encouraging the idea that males, too, should feel free to make noise as they’re making love.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Fetish (XXX)”
Sadomasochism and bondage are highly popular sexual perversions. Thankfully, we have this raucous track from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to normalize them.
Jett wastes no time honoring her depravity, as she dominantly belts out: “Oh, look good in latex / Get off having rough sex / Surprise, round and round the bed / Restrained while I fuck your head.” Later, she tells her partner, “Gaze down, it’s time to be my dog” and “Relax while I pound your ass,” so there’s even some roleplaying and role reversal going on.
Sometimes, the most twisted techniques are the most enjoyable, right?
Aerosmith, “Love in an Elevator”
Likewise, countless couples get off on the risk of being caught in the act at a public place, and Aerosmith’s song from 1989’s hugely successful Pump does an irresistible job paying tribute to that.
Granted, the verses aren’t especially explicit, yet its descriptions of forbidden fornication are titillating enough. That said, it’s the chorus’ cunningly hooky double entendre about cunnilingus (“Love in an elevator / Livin' it up when I'm goin' down”) that makes it unforgettable.
The tune became the band’s first to top Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, so clearly people liked its music as much as its message.
The oldest and gentlest entry here, 1967’s “Triad” sees singer/songwriter David Crosby penning a folky testament to the freedom and satisfaction of a ménage à trois.
It’s expectedly warm, soulful and easygoing, with Crosby logically pondering why he and his two female partners can’t avoid all the turmoil and be a collective unit. He croons, “You want to know how it will be / Me and her, or you and me” before admitting, “It breaks all the rules you learned in school / But I don't really see / Why can't we go on as three?”
It’s a fair question.
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear the coitally unshackled Prince discuss self-love and sex toys on this cut from Purple Rain.
The R&B/hard rock instrumentation is sparse yet steamy as he playfully details watching the titular “sex fiend … masturbating with a magazine” in “a hotel lobby.” Immediately, she takes him to her “castle” and shows him “many devices” while they “grind.”
At the time, “Darling Nikki” upset Tipper Gore so much that she used it as justification for putting Parental Advisory stickers on album covers. Hopefully, it also led to more acceptance toward the acts it depicts.
Garbage, “Sex Is Not the Enemy”
Garbage have frequently alluded to erogenous autonomy in their music (such as on “Queer” and “Cherry Lips”). However, the catchily exuberant “Sex is Not the Enemy” is their most overtly political and candid.
As implied by sentiments such as, “I won't feel dirty and buy into their misery / I won't be shamed 'cause I believe that love is free,” they wrote it to protest conservative views on “gay rights and women’s reproductive rights,” as well as double standards regarding public displays of male and female nudity.
As always, vocalist Shirley Manson sounds like a confidently outspoken badass the whole time.
David Bowie, “Sweet Head”
As its name suggests, this discarded track from the iconic Ziggy Stardust record is as empoweringly edgy and erotic as anything else the chameleonic "Thin White Duke" ever did.
Its bigoted, Clockwork Orange-inspired opening verse notwithstanding, the piece is an electrifyingly hip salute to an immensely salacious but common form of foreplay. The back-and-forth groove works wonders behind Bowie’s high-pitched shrieks about being “your rubber peacock angelic whore”; he also warns, “Look south the way your mother dwells / If she knew what’s going down, she’d give you hell.”
It perfectly captures the sexual emancipation and dangers of the time.