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A mixtape exploring the nuances and unpleasantries
of physical intimacy. / by Jolie M-A

Lets get to it: sex is weird, complicated, sometimes unpleasant and sometimes fun. Sometimes. Being socialized as a woman, there are so many conflicting narratives surrounding it. If you’re lucky, you get the virgin/whore dichotomy, constant harassment, or the indoctrination of compulsory heterosexuality from the time you’re born. There’s also the everyday treat of being surrounded by an omniscient media that still obsessively portrays women as objects in order to make people buy stuff. Yet despite this and a katrillion other non-anecdotal problems, I think we are at the point in society where females are supposed to enjoy sex. Who am I to know really? I’m just a girl living in it. But from what I understand, we have made a lot of “progress” in the 21st century and girls are not only allowed but encouraged to be in charge of their own objectification, I mean, pleasure. Which means I can now own up to it: yes, I’ve had sex -- with both men and women -- and yes it’s been cool every once in awhile.

But despite the occasional good fuck that doesn’t make me want to die of boredom or flush my body down the toilet, I haven’t had much luck on the more empowering side of the spectrum. Believe me when I say I’ve read enough quirkily crafted feminist zines and “consent is sexy” propaganda to finally feel good about banging. Yet for some reason, I am somehow too uptight to let this happen; too unchill to outgrow the trauma enacted upon me by other people and society at large. No matter how much queer/feminist theory I read, I still can’t feel empowered by something that has been totally devastated by the culture around it. We don’t live in a vacuum (sad!) and it's hard to imagine that we have the choice to feel good about sex because that choice was never given to us in the first place. Call me old fashioned. To be honest, it makes me squeamish to write about at all. I even accidentally thought I was asexual for a hot minute. Perhaps this stems from the time-honored tradition of eliminating any nuanced discussion of sex from popular media, which is my go-to for blaming my own repression or incompatibility with the act.

Luckily, there are other people who can talk about it for me, and I’ve compiled a playlist of songs that challenge the traditional narrative that has confused and repulsed me for so long. Some tunes that make you think about sex with a somewhat less celebratory or at least more complicated perspective. Sex is cool too sometimes, but you can find those songs literally anywhere else.

”Anti Sex” - Electric Deads
The ultimate ANTI SEX anthem. 80s Danish hardcore at its finest who coincidentally went on to inspire the contemporary Mexican punk outfit ANTI-SEX.

“Too Pretty to Fuck” - The Marked Men
The only song worth listening to when you feel too attractive to ever let anyone else near you. It feels good to sometimes embrace not having sex as a choice, not just a circumstantial coincidence, and this is by far the best way to do it: repeating that you are "too pretty to fuck," which is probably true.

“Exorcism” - Turboslut
“One day I will not get off on being held down” is probably the most real and relatable sex lyrics ever written, hands down. Lets appreciate that for a moment. It was a toss up between this and another Turboslut track that takes a clip from the trial of Aileen Wournos, the “first female serial killer” who began her career murdering the johns who sexually abused her. She repeats, “and he said, do you wanna die slut?” quoting her abusers who landed her the death penalty because obviously a woman should be killed by the state after self defense against literal assault and nonconsensual sex. A flirty reminder of the US “justice” system and the perils of living in a society that refuses to see sex workers as people ;)

”Guys Are Not Proud” - The Anemic Boyfriends
Words of truth written by a 17-year-old in 1980 about how guys are gross sex-driven maniacs who will “stick it anywhere” with anything, including sheep. This work of genius includes, but is not limited to, describing men as: disgusting, always lusting, obscene, vile and unclean creeps. What more could you want??

“Don't Fuck” - Vegetable
When it comes to sex, my usual motto is, “don’t mind if I don’t.” Therefore I feel like I’m on the same page with this sadly short-lived Arizona outfit, a member of which later formed the non-binary dance punk project, Olivia Neutron John. Singer Anna Nasty shouts, “I don’t want to fuck” over a noisy barrage of chunky post punk perfection.

“Ultimate Orgasm” - Non Compos Mentis
How empowering to think that in order to feel good you don’t need a boy, a girl, a miracle toy or lousy magazine! Instead, the “ultimate orgasm” simply comes from shooting yourself in the head, which, at this point, seems easier than actually finding a suitable partner to do it with anyway. Written in 1980, I think this is the kind of empowerment subsequent feminist movements could have used.

“Fuck & Run (Demo)” - Liz Phair
Sad hetero anthem about wanting actual intimacy with a dude instead of just sex. I think maybe I was traumatized by this rhetoric as a kid, because I spent my adolescence with the antiquated notion of thinking that girls wanted boyfriends and dudes just wanted to bone. There is part of me that probably still thinks that deep down. This message is prevalent in all types of media, but I think Liz Phair does it best and continues to sing about sex and relationships in more nuanced ways throughout 1993’s incredible Exile in Guyville.

”And Breeding” - Priests
Thank you to Katie from Priests for drawing our attention to both the squandered potential of Y2K and the travesty of bad/pointless sex. She wrote this treasure about “feeling terrible malaise from social rituals, work, formal education, fucking to have children,” the terror of which you can really FEEL as she repeatedly shrieks "FUCKING and BREEDING," an enjoyable number of times throughout the song.

”50/50” - Love Trina (feat Trey Songz)
If anyone excels at singing about sex, it is the Miami’s queen of rap, Miss Trina. Spitting some of the best, if not raunchiest verses I’ve ever heard, she never hesitates to stress the importance of getting hers, whether it be money or oral sex. The premise of this particular song is that love, specifically love-making, should be totally reciprocal. It's non-negotiable, and a very enjoyable message to receive as Trina commands it in her unmistakable and beautiful voice. Trey Songz joins her in the chorus that blatantly states, “sex is what I’m talking about.” Where it's never 70/30, or 60/40, but 50/50, “when the clothes come off / I’m doing you and you’re doing me.”

”Sex” - Urinals
I put this song on a mix CD for myself in high school and would drive around Miami listening to it wondering what sex was like, thinking maybe this was an accurate description. Years later, after actually doing sex a few times, it turns out I was kind of right. The Urinals are one of the best bands in the world and their abstract blurred vision of “wilting,” “writhing,” and “pulselike tendons” gets it more right than most songs I think.

”I'm A Virgin” - Frankie Cosmos & The Emptiness
This pseudo cover of Madonna's pop masterpiece is hardly as confessional as any FC original, but still manages to sound like one. Yet while the original pop diva often urges us to like, embrace sex and be a woman and bone all the time, Frankie Cosmos's deep and diary-like approach to making music about sex is slightly less celebratory. While charting her ongoing relationship with her boyfriend and fellow bandmate (very confusing as to how they are still together actually considering how much cooler she seems than any boy on the planet), she sings frankly about some of the more difficult aspects of love and physical intimacy.

“Sex Jazz” - Mika Miko
To be honest, I have no idea what they are actually singing about here, but the now defunct and criminally underrated Mika Miko definitely deserve a spot on the list if only because my insane stalker crush on their singer when I was 16. The group consisted of five L.A. women (including queers and WOC) who simply knew how to rock. Pretty sure that band also taught me how to dress thanks to their impeccable style and the hours I spent alone on my mom’s computer at 4 a.m. watching their music videos and poaching all their outfits.

“He's So Frisky” - Dolly Mixture
This is probably an example of British humor (“humour”) and sarcasm -- right? -- because the idea of a dude being so frisky for me is my actual worst nightmare. There is just something sinister about this beautifully angelic song that has me thinking these ladies were simply “taking the piss” of men and the idea of being someone's “number one.” Regardless of the message (or lack thereof), the Dolly Mixture were one of the sickest bands to ever come out of Britain in the 80s, and any moment taken to appreciate their femme coolness is a good one.

”Sexual Dreaming” - Death of Samantha
Let's say hypothetically you feel really sexually repressed all of the time, so you block out all waking thoughts of your desires and squish them into your subconscious. It’s an amazing strategy, and one that's been working for me for years, but also results in many of these unwanted thoughts finding their way into my dreams. However, thanks to this classic 80's era Homestead Records band, ending one’s inappropriate nighttime fantasies becomes relatable song fodder. Thanks guys!

“Animal Fuck” - Good Throb
Another example of a lil’ signature dark “brit humour,” as they like to say, this time from my favorite current UK outfit. Here we find Good Throb’s lead singer (a feminist activist and confirmed by many sources as one of the smartest gals in punk) sardonically talking about procreating and finding a mate culminating in the rager chorus of her just screaming “ANIMAL FUCK.” Bollocks, am I right ladies??

“Sex Sux (Amen)” - The Vaselines

“Sex Is For Making Babies” - God Is My Co-Pilot
A histrionic gem of a "song" that basically just disparages heteros, as the 90s queer punk (ahem, “queercore”) outfit repeatedly screams that "sex is for making babies." An ever pleasant reminder to those of us who aren’t interested in procreating to back off Doing It, obviously. You can even hear them break down and start giggling toward the end which is very endearing.

“I Can't Touch You Anymore” - The Magnetic Fields
What 69 themed mix would be complete without a piece of gay heartbreak from Stephin Merritt's seminal 69 Love Songs? For those of us who have experienced trauma or other unpleasant forays in human contact, sometimes this is the only sentiment that rings true when it comes to a loved one.

“Sex” - Weird TV
A short-lived burst of punk from the 2k10 scene in Olympia. I went to see Weird TV in a basement in SF by myself before they broke up. At the show, I got harassed by some gross punk dude and felt what could only be described as pure shame and embarrassment. That is the opposite of how I feel listening this song, which seems like it was created as a manifestation of pure power demolition instead. Also, the drummer of Weird TV now plays in Brooklyn’s JJ Doll, another vengeful and unapologetically feminine musical devastation.

“Teen Love” - No Trend
A cute reminder of how love and sex is often just a relationship for posturing and social capital which will eventually result in death. The kind of romance to be expected from a band of weirdo nihilists who were frequently booed off stage and authored a psychotic 17-minute prog rock anthem that repeats “things really are that bad, no matter how you look at them.” Sometimes love feels like a negotiation of power relations, and as No Trend reminds us, sometimes that’s just what it is, happily ever after!

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