To be clear, I understand the importance of having a great soundtrack to bang to. While a 2017 study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences found the “sexiness” of music positively impacts our perception of touch, I didn’t need scientific research to tell me that. It’s the very reason why I get super-anxious upon finding myself in someone’s bedroom and being asked to pick a record. Because I know what Aladdin Sane does for me, but I don’t know if my partner holds the same amorous feelings about David Bowie—and I care.
Herein lies the problem with headphones in bed: Wearing AirPods during sex (again, I cannot believe we’re really talking about this) is a real Costanza move. It creates a barrier between you and your partner in a moment when you’re supposed to be, I don’t know, pretty intimate and on the same page. Like, based on that whole being-naked-and-trading-bodily-fluids thing. And beyond it causing a physical disconnect, it’s deeply, deeply rude.
Need further evidence of this being totally unacceptable behavior? How about the fact that the most famous perpetrator of this crime is (allegedly) Leonardo DiCaprio: For the uninitiated, back in 2016, an anonymous source told Star magazine that Leo got out his vape, blasted MGMT on his noise-canceling headphones, and “signaled for her to keep going.” Not even his status as Leonardo Di-freaking-Caprio changes the fact that my vagina shriveled up and landed itself on life support when first I read that. And if that’s a bad look for him, it’s a way worse look for regular mortals who aren’t of a notoriously mythic celebrity status.
Of course, you can think of alternate approaches: Could sharing AirPods boost intimacy, if you, say, have kids in the other room, and don’t want to wake them by blasting Ginuine’s “Pony”? Or, as the survey points out, the AirPod move also caters to couples who have different tastes in music. Is it an acceptable practice if both partners wear AirPods while getting in on? They do say “different strokes for different folks,” but, sorry—the answer to both questions remains “no.”
My hot take is that regardless of whether you’re in a long-term relationship or just having a grand night with a new special friend, you and your partner should compromise on the shared ambiance when you’re having sex. And honestly, whether it’s a matter of music selection or a matter of love, prioritize being with someone who is considerate, perceptive, and takes your preferences into account. Someone who, even if you don’t have the exact same tastes, sees you eyeing the David Bowie album and makes the wise judgment call.
Anyway, that’s how I ended up with my boyfriend and also became a really big Roxy Music fan. Thank you, and good night.
If you’re still so stumped about how to talk about sex with your partner, have them take out the headphones and use this handy-dandy guide. And one sex expert weighs in on whether you should send a Google Calendar invite for boinking.
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