Enrique Iglesias is in a drenched white V-neck whispering, “Let me be your hero.” It’s a kind of pornography for heterosexual women. In fact, music has been known to cause sexual arousal particularly in women, which explains the loud screams and jumping around girls do when a favorite song comes on at a party. So, where do these favorite songs–these erotic art pieces come from? Does each woman have her own musical G-spot or are we all attracted to the same kinds of rhythms? There is a frenzy and a deep kind of excitement that I can only describe in the emotion music can evoke—the anticipation it creates and the nostalgia it can bring.
Women are fundamentally more invested in things when their emotions are heightened, explaining such a strong response to music. Both lyrics and melody work to convey a specific emotion. Songs that can increase arousal may fulfill a woman’s romantic or sexual fantasy–for example Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” or Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body”, to throw-back to a few. I know that, personally, I find myself emotionally reactive to Coldplay songs, because they can be lulling and gentle, which is probably a reflection of romantic desire.
The primary instruments used in music is important in what kind of emotion is exhibited. Music with heavy drumming, for example, can be exciting and cause anticipation. Music with a strong string influence can create a kind of forbidden romanticism. Pianos can be melancholic. The genre of music can also create specific effects, pop can produce a playfulness, while rock may cause frustration and angst–once again all evoking a heightened sexuality in female listeners.
In addition music can recall the memories associated with them increasing the nostalgia and romanticism attached to the pieces. I mean, how can anyone not get excited if by the off-chance Chris Brown’s “Forever” comes on—floods of memories of awkward middle school dances and jean skirts suddenly come into focus—or maybe that’s just me…
Along with contemporary female artists who attest to music being an erotic experience, like in Lana Del Rey’s “Radio,” women have always been portrayed allegorically to react in a frenzied, sexually excited way when they hear music. Take, Henry Matisse’s “La Danse” or in pieces of theater like the “Crucible”, in which women, perceived as witches and suspected of participating in orgiastic behavior were actually group dancing.
Studies show that women are highly sensitive to what they hear in comparison when it comes to “being in the mood.” In one study conducted by Dr. Rachel Herz, at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, had 150 male and female participants. While both men and women said that touching was the most important sensory experience when it comes to arousal, when told to rate the importance of what they heard, the results were extremely different. For women, music ranked as high in arousal as hearing sexual sounds and imagined scenarios.
So perhaps, this explains the GNO or why women often prefer clubs over pubs. Or maybe it’s our sensitive side that compels us to let the rhythm take us over like “Bailamos.”