This article originally appeared on VICE Germany.
When I'm having sex, I don't really care about the music playing in the background. But the number of Spotify playlists solely dedicated to helping users on their journey to an orgasm—usually including The Weeknd's " Earned It", the world's most popular song to have sex to—makes it clear that, for many, music is a potent aphrodisiac.
In 2001, Canadian researchers found that, during sex, the same pleasure center of the brain is stimulated as when you're listening to music. That means that if you're listening to a song you love while in the moment, that should trigger double the endorphins and double the pleasure.
The creators of Bed Beats probably had this in mind when they developed their app, which aims to offer the ideal soundtrack to their users' boning. It works by measuring the rhythm and vigor of any thrusts, and intuitively syncing music with that tempo—in theory, creating the perfect sex playlist. To find out if our style was more Sampha or Seal, my boyfriend and I decided to test it out.
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After downloading the app for €2 [$1.99 USD for American users] and calling my boyfriend over to sleep with me because Pulitzers don't win themselves, we got down to figuring out how the software works. At first glance, the app's basic interface and the way its tunes are described as "high-quality custom music" ruined the mood faster than when my parents knocked on my door midway through my first time.
Also, it turns out that "high-quality custom music" doesn't mean songs you know and love, but a series of generic melodies you'd expect to hear in a supermarket or an elevator.
The app did, however, take our musical tastes into consideration—we got to choose from six different categories: chill, dance, funk, roots (essentially country-folk), smooth jazz, and trance. Your preference only takes you so far, though, as the app offers one song per genre. If you want more variation, you'll need to make an in-app purchase. We chose not to spend any more money on it and just brave the country banger if it came. I didn't really understand how the app planned to guide us through our lovemaking on a single song per genre, but there was only one way to find out.
As per the instructions, I placed my phone next to us on the mattress. While we settled into the first position, the app, to my bitter disappointment, started to bellow out some funk. Plucking string sounds playing on a relentless loop is not what I'd call orgasm-friendly, but we had no choice but to work with what we had.
As my boyfriend moved faster, I picked up the phone to see that we had jumped from a "Level 1" to a "Level 4". That's how I learned the sobering reality of the app—it plays one and the same melody, but just speeds the tempo up along with you. The thumping funk bass had also gradually incorporated more and more guitar sounds, in an attempt to sync the music with the crescendo of our movements.
We decided to change position and genre, moving on to missionary and "chill"—a rattled keyboard composition. To push things along, my boyfriend grabbed the phone and decided to make it his personal mission to reach the last level, whatever that might be. It was clear that this app was bringing a whole new dimension of romance and intimacy to our relationship.
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Soon after, we reached Level 7, and the keyboard ramped right up. But it became hard to stay focused on the task at hand—and once I started giggling, my boyfriend collapsed on top of me. We became a human ball of uncontrollable laughter, and the pseudo-sexual keyboard riffs didn't really know what to do with us anymore.
We figured that if the app measured speed in movement, we could just vigorously shake the phone to reach the highest level, without having to painfully ram into each other. I used the oldest trick in the book and rapidly pumped my left hand up and down while holding the phone. Unfortunately, the app didn't go beyond Level 7. It seemed we really had exhausted it.
Finally, we decided to get back at it with the trance song. I sat on top of my boyfriend, who had set the phone on his stomach for accurate measurement. We were soon doing it to a faux 90s techno beat, which didn't do much for me aside from making me feel like I was on the set of a low-budget porno. I asked my boyfriend to turn the app off.
While the app's "high-quality custom music" was hilarious at times, that's generally not what you're looking for in these kind of situations. "I was so focused on my rhythm that sex felt more like work," my boyfriend admitted during our evaluation afterwards.
But, to be fair, when isn't a first time hard work and kind of shitty?
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