13 Songs You Maybe Didn't Realize Were About Masturbation
Yep, that's what Carly Rae Jepsen's new single is about.
Carly Rae Jepsen, patron saint of indie-pop, has a new single, “Party for One,” a metaphor for post-breakup sexual awakening that doesn’t even bother with being coy. “If you don’t care about me / Making love to myself / Back on my beat,” she sings. Needless to say, the track is about more than tucking in for a good rom-com, and it has all the trappings of a self-pleasure anthem for our current moment. And it joins a long and robust lineage of pop songs centered on the carnal desires that we satisfy, uh, solo.
Here are the 12 other best songs about masturbation, by men and women, ranked for your listening (and general) pleasure.
12. Kelly Rowland, “Feelin Me Right Now”
Kelly Rowland has already proven herself a master of the R&B subgenre of specific sexual fantasies with “Kisses Down Low” (cunnilingus) and “Feelin Me Right Now,” in which she falls in love looking in the mirror to an equally self-assured beat. Do you, Kelly.
11. Britney Spears, “Touch of My Hand”
One of Spears’ better efforts, In the Zone featured this unnecessarily controversial track. (There could’ve been a little more outrage about her being the subject of pinup photos while she was still underage.) For Brit stans who track every psychic up and down in her life, it’s kind of heartening to hear her unapologetically “flirting with the verge of obscene,” i.e., learning the orgasmic power of her digits, even if the pop tart makes masturbation sound downright criminal.
10. Buzzcocks, “Orgasm Addict”
The only true punk entry on this list, Buzzcocks’ delightfully catchy “Orgasm Addict” doesn’t pussyfoot around with its story of a horned-up kid, from the sounds of climaxing to the queasy-making line, “And your mother wants to know / What are those stains on your jeans?"
9. Nicki Minaj (featuring Beyoncé), “Feeling Myself”
No one feels herself quite like Nicki Minaj, and here with the help of Bey on the hook and as a producer, she serves up all manner of swagger with heaps of earworm-y hip-hop. It was only a matter of time until the popular rabbit vibrator got a pop shout-out.
8. Tweet (featuring Missy Elliott), “Oops (Oh My)”
This R&B jam with an assist at height-of-her-powers Missy Elliott was covert enough to become a Billboard top 10 hit in 2002. The most memorable thing about it now isn’t Tweet talking about dropping her skirt and touching her legs while thinking about a “buttery brown” man she met, but Timbaland’s forward-thinking, funky chopped-up production.
7. Elvis Costello, “Pump It Up”
Costello can intellectualize the simplest of activities, and on this tune, he makes going “Down in the pleasure center / Hell-bent or heaven-sent” seem positively literary.
6. Divinyls, “I Touch Myself”
The title of the Divinyls hit doesn’t leave anything to the imagination, but the jangly guitar work warrants endless listens.
5. Violent Femmes, “Blister in the Sun”
Violent Femmes insist their hit isn’t about whacking it, but I mean, c’mon. The song packs so much into two and a half minutes like that soft acoustic section that suddenly explodes. Oh, and this: “Body and beats, I stain my sheets / I don't even know why.”
4. Prince, “Darling Nikki”
Prince wasn’t shy about a raunchy image, but somehow he made it all smooth and sultry. His Purple Rain ode to a “sex fiend” he met in a hotel lobby while she was “masturbating with a magazine” is much sweeter than it has any right to be.
3. FKA Twigs, “Kicks”
Avant-garde R&B chanteuse FKA Twigs turns mundane romantic struggles into something akin to a horror movie—but in a cool, sexy way. On the closing track of her phenomenal LP1, she gets her kicks while her man’s out, taunting him in a breathy vocal accompanied by nightmarish screams.
2. Tori Amos, “Icicle”
Tori Amos is at her best when she’s on the edge of absurdity. Of course the blunt female singer-songwriter included a song about touching herself with allusions to the Bible on her second studio album. “Well, I think the Good Book is missing some pages,” she sings with characteristic flippancy. “And when they say ‘take of his body’ / I think I'll take from mine instead.” And of course it’s a classical-style piano ballad, and of course the album is titled Under the Pink. And the track is poignant and weird and sexy and funny and, well, kind of perfect.
1. Cyndi Lauper, “She Bop”
Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual might be pop’s defining feminist statement of the 1980s. Case in point: “She Bop,” a lighthearted synth bop off the artist’s debut with an irresistible melody that nevertheless scandalized parents with its lyrics dedicated to the joys of spending quality time alone in the sheets—bopping of a nonmusical kind that Lauper clearly relishes circling around with sly references. “Yeah, I wanna go south and get me some more / Hey, they say that a stitch in time saves nine / They say I better stop or I'll go blind,” she sings. The heavy panting in the mix, however, makes it clear that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her ritual.