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A Sex Playlist Should Start and Stop at Post-Coital Music

Setting the mood isn’t nearly as important as not ruining it after you’ve blown each other’s backs out

Everyone loves to roast sex playlists. This is fair, considering anyone who has the time to pick out background music for their own fucking is probably not doing enough of it. But the obvious counterpoint is that, if you’re going to have music scoring your time in poundtown, you can’t leave the algorithm in charge.

This is especially critical for the music that’s played after you bang it out. You don’t want to risk some ballad about love or that whale noises collection you’re not ready to talk about yet to start playing while you’re still under the covers. The post-coital song shuffle is really its own game of Russian roulette, and it can get very weird, very quickly, so you may as well be prepared. 

“When you hear bad guitar after great sex, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve made a huge mistake,’” comedian Amamah Sardar tells me. On one particular occasion, she says she realized she wasn’t just listening to any bad guitar, but specifically the cringey soft acoustic sounds of the Kanye, Rihanna and Paul McCartney collaboration “FourFive Seconds.” (She didn’t comment on whether or not the sex lasted longer than that.) 

For many of us, the further you go back in time, the worse post-coital music gets. For instance, when Michelle lost her virginity 20 years ago, her boyfriend played 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” immediately afterward. “He also had a waterbed,” she remembers. “So I literally lost my virginity on a waterbed listening to 50 Cent, but ‘In Da Club’ came on after we were done.”

Sometimes the music isn’t always bad, but it’s more an issue of timing, says Stephanie. When she was dating men 14 years ago, her boyfriend played Modest Mouse’s “Dramamine” after they finished the deed. “I mean, damn. It’s a good song, but bad placement. With lyrics like, ‘We kiss on the mouth but still cough down our sleeves,’ what’s not to love?” With her current partner, music is less of an issue: “It’s more like, ‘Let’s cuddle and fall asleep, or do you want to watch the new episode of Severance?’”

That said, not everyone lets bad post-coital music slide. When comedian Sharron Palm was denied a post-sex glass of water because her partner was too busy listening to the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth, “I was like, ‘That’s an interesting choice, can I put something in the queue?’” she says. “Typically, I could maybe be into that, but not after being up for 13 hours and then asking for a glass of water that he didn’t get me because he was too busy ‘feeling this moment.’ Sir, I’m parched!”

Sharron’s sister and fellow comedian Gina Palm is similarly assertive when it comes to music and men, and opts to put on her own tunes when a guy won’t leave her place. “I like to play ‘Closing Time.’ It sends a message, but it’s also a jam.” However, when a guy stays the night, she prefers no music at all. “If we just smashed, I want you to sit in silence and reflect.”

If stone-cold silence doesn’t work for you, I would recommend jazz music, or really anything instrumental. Whether you’re into that sort of thing or not, it’s good music to fall asleep to; it also fits the vibe for finding your underwear and making a swift exit. Because sometimes we need a soundtrack for that, too.