A Sex-Positive Play List

I’m super excited about my classes beginning this semester. I get to take two electives in which I’m extremely interested, one of which is a class on sexuality. In preparation for a full semester of reading about and discussing all things sex, I’ve developed a sex-positive, badass playlist that is as representative as I can find.

I’ve gotten requests to pass on the playlist from a number of friends, so I’m posting it here.

I’m also really interested in continuing to expand it, so if you notice that there is a song you know about that I don’t have, feel free to make a suggestion in the comments. I’m currently strapped for songs by male artists that are sex-positive and respectful.

Enjoy the following playlist! (I’m having a hard time getting the new WordPress format to cooperate with YouTube videos, so I’m linking also to the song through the title).

  1. Love Myself by Hailee Seinfeld
    Everyone needs to celebrate masturbation! Can you scream your own name?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMpFmHSgC4Q
  2. Touch of my Hand by Britney Spears
    Another good masturbation anthem.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SnQcYcG41U
  3. Sexercize by Kylie Minogue
    Work it!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3VjJKKVNew
  4. Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna
    Because someone needed to make the obvious innuendo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up7pvPqNkuU
  5. Made to Love by John Legend
    An all-around beautiful song with a beautiful music video celebrating beautiful sex in diverse forms
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRpjsFcb2uo
  6. Worth It by Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink
    What could be better than women celebrating their sexuality by saying exactly what they want?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBHQbu5rbdQ
  7. Let’s Talk About Sex by Salt n’ Pepa
    Isn’t it time we destigmatized the topic?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g
  8. S & M by Rihanna
    A little celebration of some kink needs to be represented, of course.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdS6HFQ_LUc
  9. Candyman by Christina Aguilera
    Just and all around fun song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ScjucUV8v0
  10. LoveGame by Lady Gaga
    Of course Lady Gaga needs to be on here!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mB0tP1I-14
  11. Three by Britney Spears
    Not everyone is monogamous. Britney gets that.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTs6oQx1WJY
  12. Blow by Beyonce
    Possibly one of the sexiest songs on the list, and obviously an anthem to oral.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIELYkfoKy8
  13. Lick It by God-Des and She
    As much a celebration of women loving women as it is a tutorial on how to do a woman…Unfortunately, I can’t find a non-censored version of this song, but if you buy the actual version it’s explicit. 🙂
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Why2n9XtlNw
  14. Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle
    Although sex work requires a much more nuanced conversation, I included a sex-positive prostitution song because I think it needs to be represented. I would never presume that all sex workers feel positive about their work, especially given the deplorable way our nation treats them and the rampant sexism and violence of patriarchy; however, I also would never presume that all sex workers hate their jobs because that’s just not true. So, my disclaimer is that I recognize this song is a limited perspective, romanticized view of prostitution that may have limited applicability.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4LWIP7SAjY
  15. None of Your Business by Salt n’ Pepa
    For all the haters
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q96-e042bk
  16. Sugar in my Bowl by Nina Simone
    I had to end with a throwback to the dirty blues!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCTP5zjQTWE

A Story of Love and Marriage

If you compared my partner and me today to who we were as a couple when we first married, you would hardly recognize our marriage as the same marriage.

In fact, today we don’t even call it a marriage. Neither of us wears a ring, and I only refer to my partner as my “husband” when I don’t see another way around a system that still often places men as the head of the home.

We got married because we felt we had to in order to live together and escape the cult. Looking back, it wasn’t my wisest decision. I was conditioned to not just tolerate abuse but to actually consider it an expression of love. The odds of my choosing someone from within the cult who would reject that kind of power when I thought it my literal duty to grovel at his feet were probably against me.

The odds of us staying together after we left and throughout our deconversion process were also probably against us.

Every cycle of growth that one of us went through often required a redefinition of what our relationship was, but somehow we managed to stay connected and in love in spite of an unviable relationship model and significant individual changes to our worldviews.

Despite being a choice that I would never recommend to anyone else, it’s been a choice that I have never regretted.

I’ve often thought about what I would do if I were still partnered with my partner but unmarried. If I could take my current feminist consciousness and give it to my 21 year old self, would I still choose to marry?

The answer has differed over the years. At one point, it was, “Yes, because it worked out.” Then it was, “No, we wouldn’t need marriage to validate our love.” Then it was, “Yes, because of the benefits.” Then it was, “No, we weren’t mature enough. It could have been a terrible thing.”

Right now, it’s a pretty solid yes, but not because of pragmatics or some ridiculously fucked up version of ownership masquerading as romance.

Rather, I’ve come to realize that while I might disagree with the history of what marriage has been (a means of transferring property and controlling/disempowering women), I actually don’t disagree with the concept of marriage itself.

One of the things that I have always deeply felt in my own marriage is a sense of belonging.

During the height of my attempts to combat my own internalization of patriarchal relationship maps, I felt that that sense of belonging was a betrayal. I didn’t want to belong to my partner. He certainly didn’t belong to me.

But I’ve come to realize that belonging doesn’t have to signify ownership. I can belong with someone without belonging to them.

Certainly I don’t need a “marriage” for that sense of belonging to be true. However, marriage is suddenly beautiful to me because it’s one of the only ways of getting official recognition for one’s chosen family.

In general, society acts as though those who are biologically related to you somehow hold more weight than those to whom you are emotionally close. People say that “blood is thicker than water.”

That is, people say that when they have the privilege of family.

When your family rejects you or disowns you…or isn’t safe for you, then the concept that blood is thicker becomes almost laughable.

The queer community has learned through experience that the people you choose to surround yourself with can be far more like “family” than the people who contributed their DNA to yours.

Marriage is one way that someone can stand up and say, “I choose to be connected to this person. I choose them as my family.”

I never want to be viewed as the ward, property, or “ball and chain” of my partner, but that is only one story of marriage.

I do want the world to know that we are a family. I’m proud of being family with him.

That is the story of marriage that I choose.