I was talking to Mr. D the other day (Letterkenny fans will understand the italics) about how much music seemed to be a part of our identity when we were younger. Sort of like, putting on a particular style of clothes. It became part of our “image.” The type of music we listened to, or said we listened to, spoke volumes about what was important to us, or what group we belonged to. I’m not sure if it’s quite like that anymore for young people. I assume it is. The genres we prefer, lead us to others who prefer the same, and that’s how we find our “people.”
I’ve always liked many genres, but I’ve definitely gone through phases. And my music tastes changed right alone with my clothes, hair, and make-up.
But as I sit here with my coffee this morning, I can also see how music introduced me to sexuality, at least to some degree. It makes sense I guess, as music is so “sensual.” At least for some of us (may most, I dare say), music goes in our ears and alters things emotionally, sometimes physically. It’s like a drug, actually, in that regard, and can alter or intensify our moods and feelings. I think it’s why, when some of us are in a terrible mood we either gravitate toward sad songs, to go deeper in, or happy songs, to pull ourselves out. It’s definitely why an opera can bring me to tears and a symphony can make my insides vibrate with energy.
When I was young…single digits…it was Madonna.
I’m not sure I fully grasped the sexual elements when I was young, but as I hit those pre-pubescent years…my tweens, I began to understand that Madonna was something of a “naughty” girl and that there was something alluring about her ability to buck the sexual chains. In fact, I think she’s the one that sort of, subconsciously, introduced me to those “chains.” Because of her, I knew there were things that were forbidden. And we all know what forbidding something does to the human brain.
Around the same time, there was also George Michael…another of my early favorites. I remember when his hit “I want your sex” came out. Holy whoa, right? The fact that it even made it to main stream radio back there shocked the hell out of my mother. But I gravitated toward this song, partially because I was in love with George. Sure, I was 10…and I had no idea, nor did I care that he was gay. He was hot.
Not too long after this, Salt-N-Pepa came out with “Push it.” Wow. I had those lyrics memorized in an afternoon (not that they’re complicated). But, I was hooked. Naughty, naughty. And just like “I want your sex,” I noticed that these lyrics did something to my insides. They made me “hungry” in a way. Hungry for what, I wasn’t quite sure, but my 11-year-old body had some ancient understanding it wasn’t quite letting my mind in on yet.
Then came Madonna’s “Erotica.” That base and her throaty voice just did something to me. Actually, it did something to a lot of us. The song list for this album was sultry, and I listened to it over and over. “Where life begins,” her song about oral sex, just about knocked my mother off her chair…but wow…and yum. I’d never thought about it up until that point, but afterward…I most certainly did…a lot.
It was right about this same time that her book Sex came out. I was a high school journalism student at the time, and one of my friends got a hold of a copy and brought it to school. We had high-minded conversations about how important we thought the book was, socially speaking. But inside, nothing I felt was high-minded. It was all just naughty, naughty, naughty…and oh so delicious.
I had a long-term boyfriend about this time of my life, and the majority of what I listened to was either what he listened to or super-romantic stuff like hair-band ballads, Air Supply and Chicago, hip hop love songs – the kind of things you hear at high school dances. And I found Garth Brooks (and pretty much fell in love), which returned me to country (I’d had quite a bit of it through my dad). All that romance-y stuff went right along with my feelings at the time and had me in a heady fog, right along with my hormones.
But later in high school, after the long-term boyfriend had moved away, I had a succession of boyfriends who took me through a multitude of musical/sexual journeys. There was the VW bus-driving, long-haired, nose-ringed boy who introduced me to Alice and Chains and Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. Not overtly sexual…but melancholy and passionate, and somehow, blended with my hormones, it took on a sexual tone.
Then I met an older “man” who introduced me to Enigma…and damn – I must have listened to that album every night for a year.
This “man” (he was 27, but told me he was 22…let’s not go there right now) also introduced me to Anne Rice and BDSM. It was a slight intro…just small things like restraint a little pain in the way he held me or touched me. But, I could feel the hunger for it inside…the draw to the “darker side of sex.” Lust.
And not too long later, I fucked a boy in the back of his car as he scraped his nails hard down my sides and back, pulled my hair, and bruised me with his hold, and I came for the first time with another human being. It happened to Nine Inch Nails.
This same boy went to college and sent back a mixed CD…it had a few sweet, romantic songs, including one bearing my name, which I’d never heard before and fell instantly in love with. But, amidst them, and I wasn’t prepared for it, as I listened to it for the first time on my parent’s stereo, with both of them in the other room, was Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” Yeah…the first time Reznor sang the lyrics “I wanna fuck you like animal,” I turned that shit off so fast I about broke something in myself trying to get to the off button. But…I took it downstairs and became obsessed – and quite fucking horny, as I listened to that song, knowing he’d chosen it with me in mind. Holy hell…I couldn’t wait until he came back to town.
Today, I find slow, sultry songs to be most appealing to get me in the mood for sex…but fucking? Madonna and Nine Inch Nails still hold my heart (or cunt?) for that. It’s hard not to be swayed still by those early experiences. In fact, I have a Pandora streaming station based on my initial selection of “Erotica” – and it’s a damn sexy compilation.
While music doesn’t define my image anymore (I’ve grown out of that), it still has the ability to morph my emotions and desires. And because of its importance in my life, there is definitely a very specific soundtrack playing in my memories.