Sex, Love, and
Rock ’n’ Roll
The right song, show, dance
tune, or riff can arouse her.
Men, listen for your cue
By Rachael Maddux
MUSIC AND SEX ARE AS INTERTWINED
as two lovers’ legs. Sure, men are the stereo
typical record geeks, but music pierces women
just as deeply. From Frank, Elvis, and the Bea
tles right up through Justin Bieber, every girl
has her early days of swooning and squealing.
As we grow out of those first flushes of longing,
the role of music in our lives shifts. It becomes
a source of ecstasy and identity, of comfort and
power, a force as intense and complex and
potentially transcendent as sex itself.
Just as we women have a “type” when it
comes to men, the same is true with our
musicians. Some prefer the sensitive sort with
the scruffy face and coffee shop gig, while others
fall for the wild man with the dirty stories and
whiskey breath. Still others fancy the high
energy type who keeps us dancing all night and
then pulls us out of bed for a run in the morning.
When dating, we’re often less concerned
with muscle tone or facial symmetry than with
ears—specifically, what a guy pipes into his.
You’d be hardpressed to find any female music
fan who hasn’t vetted a potential conquest’s
tastes. It’s not judgment; it’s knowing yourself.
Bonding over a shared love of music can be
heady. We meet a guy at our favorite band’s
show and there’s already an endorphin high of
the deeply loved music exploding onstage
before us. Add the dark room and the crush of
the crowd all but mandating body contact, and
half the work is done. But even in workaday
scenarios, like when we hear a man humming
our favorite song, meeting someone who loves
the music we love can be like an express pass
into his brain, his heart. Also his pants.
Here’s the thing, though: A man’s taste in
music is hardly a perfect predictor of compati
bility, chemistry, or even civility. (After all,
Charles Manson had a solid record collection.)
A wellfitting band Tshirt or a thoughtful play
list can mean a man is someone whose finger
we’d want on our click wheel. But in the end, in
music as in sex, it’s a matter of circumstance, of
total dumb chance, of the right chemicals
squirting out into our brains at the right time.
Sometimes all a woman wants or needs is some
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frothy 3minute pop nonsense to help her bur
row through a stupid life rut, and sometimes all
she needs is a guy who’ll do the same.
We run a risk when we blur the lines between
our men and our music. Sometimes love festers
and spoils, and the collateral damage isn’t so
much to our hearts or our precious time but to
whatever music got dragged into the mess with
us. What came first, the scene or the soundtrack?
Thank God you have more music; as useful as
it can be in sparking love or lust, it’s even more
capable of totally obliterating bad memories.
Then sometimes the risk pays off: When I
first met the man who’s now my husband, we
were teenagers. At about the same time we
found ourselves falling in love with each other,
we were also falling in love with music—music
that we still share, albums that still transport
us back to our earliest days together: Wilco’s
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Neil Young’s Harvest, the
White Stripes’s White Blood Cells . These
beloved albums are now some of my alltime
favorites; I can no more imagine my life with
out them than I can imagine my life without
my husband. Do I love them because I love
him? Do I love him because I love them? The
answer to both questions, of course, is yes.
RACHAEL MADDUX’S GREATEST HITS CAN BE
FOUND AT RACHAELMADDUX. TUMBLR.COM.