This article originally appeared on Noisey UK. There is an episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie contemplates breaking up with somebody because the sex is really awkward (for some reason she does not consider breaking up with him because his name sounds just like "burger" and he's a man-baby, but I digress). She describes the experience as "quiet—so quiet I could hear the M11 bus," and the knowing soft porn bass lines that tend to creep in whenever Samantha raises an eyebrow and says something sexy like "woof" are noticeably absent.
Whether it's "Colorblind" in Cruel Intentions or Rinaldo's "Lascia ch'io pianga" in Antichrist, music is a constant presence in pretty much any on-screen sex scene, dictating whether the vibe is extremely emotional —like in Twilight when a honeymoon montage takes place to a piano ballad and Edward, the 100-year-old virgin, smashes the shit out of the bed—or really silly like in Knocked Up when Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen bonk to "Rock Lobster." Silence, by contrast, is usually a whopping great indicator of unsatisfactory coitus, but I'm officially calling bullshit on this. The biggest lie the film industry ever sold anybody is that shagging to music is good and hot.
Fiction and reality are, of course, very different. As far as the cinematic experience goes, music has a very clear purpose. It's there to make sex seem like a faintly less ridiculous affair than it actually is. I watched an old episode of Footballers' Wives the other day where two characters bang on a pool table in complete silence and the realism was harrowing. The sound of zippers being undone, the clothes being bunched up ungracefully, the grunting. If you paid £7.80 to see that at Vue you'd demand your money back. The film industry would go bankrupt.
In real life, music is only ever introduced as to disguise the fact that you're having sex from the people you live with. And even then it's more a matter of courtesy than effectiveness. Instead of hearing a minimum of two pairs of genitals slapping together on a rattling IKEA bed frame, they will hear a minimum of two pairs of genitals slapping together on a rattling IKEA bed frame to the lilting tones of Radiohead's In Rainbows – which is sort of better, but also, is it really? Does Thom Yorke warbling about death really offset the fact that you know someone is about to ejaculate in a room that definitely contains at least one bowl filled with remnants of pasta and mayonnaise? As for the people doing The Business, they are not enjoying it at all. They are very much regretting putting their iPod on shuffle in a moment of blind erotic panic and having to pound through "A Horse With No Name" as a result. They catch themselves thrusting to the beat and become self-conscious, like when you suddenly become acutely aware of your own blinking, and it's like, well, you can't go off beat now because that's jarring but also the rhythm is a bit too fast and now you're huffing out of breath.
Everywhere, all the time, people are having their most treasured compositions tainted by jackrabbiting and sloppy oral work. Even songs by artists supposedly designed to be sexed to—Ginuwine, Rihanna, The Weeknd—become cringe-worthy events filled with a level earnestness that may or may not end in tears or a murder. I once ended up necking passionately to the It Follows soundtrack and it has done some permanent damage to my psyche, but that's a story for another day.
And so, in an effort to conclusively prove with science the hypothesis that "sex music" is actually not good and hot at all but in fact bad and rubbish, I decided to Ask the Internet for stories about the worst songs people have attempted to get off to. I believe you will find the results of my important research quite striking.
"I knew I was about to break up with her and I thought: 'why not? I've always wanted to do this'. So I put on What's The Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis. It was no more mediocre than the other sex we'd had. I remember the music more than the sex tbh." — Sophie
"I met this five foot four MMA fighter in Zante and he would put on his own EDM album. He had grey satin sheets and a copy of The Game on his bedside. Another strong contender is actually just 'Energy' by Drake, which he kindly put on continuous repeat for the occasion. You can probably imagine this romance ended swiftly." — Amelia
"I used to date a guy who exclusively made us fuck to 'Ocean' by John Butler Trio. He also legitimately had patchouli-flavoured condoms that were rank. And a Bob Marley flag. But I got my 'revenge' by breaking up to him with Pig Destroyer playing in the background and fucking his housemate the same night." — Ed
"I lost my virginity when I was 14 listening to Nirvana MTV Unplugged. 'Lake of Fire' came on and started skipping 'Where the bad, bad, bad, bad, ft-f-f-f-f-f folks go when they d-d-d-d-d die.' I got so wound up I paused mid-thrust to skip the track with my free hand. That was literally the first time I had sex." — Jay
"I had sex to the whole Kings of Leon album, Only by the Night, and I'll die admitting it. I also had outdoor sex on a residential street to 'Birthday Sex'." — Femi
"So I was kinda dating this normcore Bushwick hipster. We were more like 'just friends' plus our exes were exes so it was always just funny. We decided to hook up completely sober and I think he was worried his roommates would hear us boning in his room so he plugged in his iPod and just set it to play and fucking "American Pie" by Don McLean comes on and we're fully fucking while Don is asking if I wrote the book of love and if I have faith in god above if the Bible tells me so, and I'm straight up, in my head, like this is the worst moment of my life. As the chorus starts I think, what the fuck dude I cannot do this why did you put "American Pie" onn and he then he called me his brother to annoy me over how platonic we are – HE LOOKED AT ME WITH HIS DICK STILL INSIDE ME, "AMERICAN PIE" STILL PLAYING, AND SAID "HEY BROTHER" – and my vagina basically shrivelled up and we never had sex again. To this day, he claims it was just the first song on his iPod because it began with an 'A' but there's just no excuse for putting "American Pie" on during sex. — Helen
"A skinny white middle class postgrad once sang me 'Ignition (Remix)' on an acoustic guitar before what was genuinely the worst sex of my life." Sirin
"'Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time'." — Monica
"Last weekend, I had intensely coked-up sex to Big Baby D.R.A.M and Lil Yachty's 'Broccoli' at 4AM with a girl I met off Tinder, and I think I was rapping some of the words, during, before she legit looked me in the eye and said to me – also during – 'you remind me of Hermione Granger'." — Jessica.
"I was watching an episode of Doctors in the waiting room of an emergency gynaecology ward. Midsummer sun streamed through the window and the panicked bustle of the room made Doctors difficult to follow. I had never been in such a ward, had barely been in any kind of ward at all, in fact. It was stuffy, stifling, and not where I'd expected to end up on a rare day off work. But here I was, watching Doctors, wondering where I'd be in a few hours time. Out of the ward, hopefully.
I could, and still can, pin my being there on one person: R Kelly. He would, it turned out, continue to haunt me for years to come, but in that moment I imagined banishing him to Siberia, imprisoning him in a publicity-free gulag. There had been an accident, and that accident was why I was in the ward, sweat-stained and anxious, seething with resentment and experiencing the full effects of sugar withdrawal while Doctors played out inconsequentially in the distance. The accident, the full details of which we needn't go into here, for varying and numerous reasons, had played out to the sounds of R Kelly. Specifically, to R Kelly's festive single, 'A Love Letter Christmas'. Spotify had led two young lovers astray, and here we were, colours, so many colours, coalescing, while R fucking Kelly warbled on and on about being a snowman.
Things happened quickly. Things then went very slowly. Doctors ended but the day went on. Hours went by. The ward receded into view. Bridges were crossed and trains were caught. It had all been alright. It hadn't been a disaster." — Jack
So, as you can see, shagging to music can only lead to disappointment or the hospital. Please stop it.
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Editor's note: This article claims that the snooker table sex scene from Footballers' Wives is not set to music when it is, in fact, set to music. Really horrific someone-in-a- Bond-film-quietly-about-to-foil-a-baddie music. But all the other noises are pushed so far into the foreground that the soundtrack is absolutely eviscerated and all the viewer manages to internalise is Tanya and whatshisface wet kissing in withering silence.
(Lead image via YouTube)