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Music, Sex, and the Brain

Ever wonder why music turns people on and have that affect on people anyway? If yes, then you have come to the right place.

Music is an aphrodisiac that is structural and requires comprehending each note and rhythm to stimulate the largest sex organ aka the brain. Scientifically, it has been proven that music activates various parts of the brain that has an overall positive impact on a person’s mood, desire, sleep, and physical health, but there are some champion anatomical structures that especially help us in enhancing desire.

Nucleus accumbens is one of the structures that is responsible for seeking pleasure and reward and addiction. Music increases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens which also explains why people often choose music as an escape or relaxing tool as it has an “addictive” effect on them. Another one of our champions is the hypothalamus that links our nervous system to the endocrine system which releases hormones that regulates mood, heart rate, body temperature, and the libido – all of which prepares our body to have sex. The next hero is the amygdala, the emotional center, which associates positive emotions and memories with happy and joyful music, strengthening the connection with nucleus accumbens that further enhances dopamine release in the brain. Amygdala is also responsible for creating memories and emotions associated with songs. This is why everyone has a unique taste of music that helps them relax, vibe or feel sexy. One is more likely to find those songs sexy which boost their confidence and self-esteem and help them relax.

Listening to music on the dance floor also has a similar effect, which explains why people dig the vibe of clubs and parties.

Music and dance both act on the putamen (a structure in the brain) that processes rhythm and regulates body movement and coordination that in turn increases the release of dopamine which thereby helps in relaxing the body and enhancing the desire.

Dancing is also great way to lose control and enjoy in a social setting helping one to step out of the stress of performance, feel sexy in their skin and regulating their mood (and moves)! Furthermore, music that is suggestive of sex or has sexual lyrics serves as a great distraction or aid that can help a person adorn new personalities that helps in breaking sexual inhibitions, uplifting the mood and improving sex drive. Sometimes, people with similar taste in music find this feature sexually attractive which increases their sexual desire and receptiveness to experiment during sex.

So, is it a good idea to work on having a sex playlist? YES! The auditory sense is highly underrated and should be incorporated for a multi-sensory sexperience. In fact, I encourage my clients to curate playlist(s) that help them relax and feel sexy as their experiences grow. This could be a fun partnered bonding activity too where you all can learn about each other’s taste in music and find a middle ground that helps you all get in the mood to groove. You can keep different playlists for different moods and occasions. Not only does this help in breaking communication barriers but also helps with enhancing partnered intimacy.

While all of this sounds great, it may not work for everyone. Music also has the potential to turn off people. This is probably music and sex playlists can be tricky and sometimes a deal breaker in many modern relationships. People grow up listening to different kinds of music and associating it with a range of emotions and memories which means music not only contributes in enhancing physical arousal but also regulating emotional arousal. Hence, it is important to learn the importance of music in one’s life and how it influences their sexual desire.

If you are planning to introduce music in partnered relationships, be mindful of each others taste before you start playing something out of the blue.

Finding a middle ground and/or similarities is always, always recommended to not make it a bad experience for all the involved parties. Consider it as a fun, partnered activity that improves both intimacy and bonding. Remember two things when using music to spice your sex life:

  1. Always match the music considering the mood, preference and the moment.

  2. Co-create a playlist with your partners. Throw in some details about positions and things you would like to try when playing a certain song can help build anticipation and improve sexual drive as well.

Music and sex are great, but assuming that music has the magic powers to cure low sexual desire or sexual relationship concerns is setting oneself for failure. In such situations, working with a sex and relationship counselor/therapist and occupational therapist are some ways to understand what works and does not work for you and why.

Desire is a unique and complex element of sexuality–what works for one may not work for others. So, not all people may be into the idea of playing music when having sex and that is okay! As long as you are communicating and open to exploring, music will show you its charm.

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