My wide and varied musical obsessions are well known amongst my IRL friends. A gathering, a writing sprint, a meal, a Dance Break, and I’ll have appropriate (well, usually appropriate), unconventional, outdated, weird, or otherwise-awesome tunes to go along with things. I have more playlists than are healthy for any one person. Music is always on here: I write to music. I make soundtracks for almost every project, critical or creative.

Why not share?

(If you have any suggestions for songs, themes, or bands, don’t be shy with ‘em! Drop me a note, and you might find yourself featured here in a guest list.)

Music for Writing Sex Scenes

Your fictional characters have reached that point in the plot, whether it’s for the first time after a tense build-up, or it’s yet another hot encounter in an ongoing series of them. This is no time for your I *Heart* the 90s! mix or the newest Now That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 426 collection. Instead, these ten selections might get things in the right mood:

  1. Alexander Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy (Le Poème de l’extase), Op. 54

Scriabin called this piece “the Joy of Liberated Action” and noted that the “stronger the pulse beat of life and the more rapid the precipitation of rhythms, the more clearly the awareness comes to the Spirit that it is consubstantial with creativity itself.” I mean, damn, come on. At almost 20 minutes, it’s perfectly timed for a long, ecstatic orgy of a writing sprint.

2. Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras

I’m not overly fond of operatic singing (I know, I know), but here it’s entwined so magnificently with the overall orchestration. There’s passion, there’s longing, there’s joy, all within a musical exploration of Brazilian elements with traditional classical baroque arrangements.

3. Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes

Chopin’s Noctures for writing like this is kind of cheating, and definitely banal, but that’s for good reason. They’re both simple and lush, and not so otherworldly that a good, sweaty tumble would desecrate the musical goings-on. I love Maria João Pires’s recordings.

4. Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Pieces Op 43 No 5, Erotica

Those drops-of-water notes, sweetly, subtly building just a little. It’s more “first soul kiss” erotic than “full-out sweaty fucking” erotic, but balance in all things is key, is it not?

5. Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity,” from The Planets

Hey, even Holst called this piece “a happy ending,” and with that big, bold, grand sound, it-

Oh, Jesus, it just totally works as a big ol’ sex metaphor.

6. Arnold Schoenberg’s Pelleas et Melisande

Several composers did their versions of Pelleas et Melisande, including Debussy’s opera. For writing, especially sex scenes, I prefer Schoenberg’s tonal poem, an almost-forty minute symphonic movement. It has a tragic end, of course, but the build-up is amazing. No double meaning intended. Much.

7. Richard Strauss’s Salome, Op. 54

This piece was banned in several different venues, and had to be modified in others before it could be performed. “The Dance of the Seven Veils” alone is enough for a sex-writing soundtrack, and a full philharmonic arrangement of this might blow your mind. And possibly your ovaries.

8. Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet Number 8 in C minor

It’s poignant, but not too much so… a little yearning works in this case. So does the style of the way the violin is played. We all should be so lucky as to be fingered like that.

9. Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie, “Joie du sang des étoiles” (Joy of the Blood of the Stars)

This piece has been called “unrestrained” and “untamed.” Exactly. Messiaen said that to him, it represented the union of two lovers transformed on a cosmic scale. Go with it.

10. Maurice Ravel’s Bolero

This piece is sex, from beginning to end.

Note: I tried to only pick one piece from one composer, but you can’t go wrong with a whole mess of Ravel, Strauss (Richard, not Johann!), Debussy, and Chopin.

Spotify Playlist: Music for Writing Sex Scenes

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