Fifty Shades Of Play(list): 11 Tunes That Get Erotica Writers Going


There are a lot of playlists out there designed to help you get turned on after turning them on -- musical messes replete with Marvin Gaye, Boyz II Men and all manner of soppiness. Well, Hive has your answer to the run-of-the-mill romantic tracklist. We hit up a group of experts in the business of getting dirty to share their favorite songs to whip out a pen to. No, that's not a typo -- we hit up erotica writers.


"Dirge" by Death in Vegas, “will get you laid every time” said L. Marie Adeline.

She might be right. She is, after all, an erotic novelist—albeit new to the genre.

The Canadian journalist-turned-erotic novelist certainly nailed it when she made up her mind to turn from literary fiction to erotic. In one year her book, "S.E.C.R.E.T.," hit number one in Canada.

Not bad for an erotica-writing virgin.

"Dirge," Adeline said, works because “it’s layered...has ambiance.”

portishead-glory-box-500But, New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author, Megan Hart, disagrees. “Glory Box” by Portishead is her “favorite, all time, super-dooper, sexy song.”

What makes it a surefire sex song? “It has this slow and sexy pace, this slow and sexy rhythm, the lyrics are sexy...” she said.

Although, Hart says, the first time she heard the song she hated it because of the lyric “give me a reason to be a woman.”

“Ain’t no man gonna tell me how to feel like a women.” Hart said, laughing. But, she went from “ that sort of anti-feminist statement” to hearing that it’s about wanting someone so much that you give up yourself to that person.

Which, Hart says, is “a very sexy thing.”

The song is now on every playlist Hart creates to go with her books. She’s penned more than a dozen erotic novels and romances, crafting scenes of sweat, tears and tenderness all the while jamming to acoustic tunes played by “hot boys," top 40, classical and metal. “I don’t write without music," she said.

9780778314776_TS_smp-1In her most recent release, "Tear You Apart," which she cautions is not a romance, the playlist, when listened to in order, tells the entire story of the book.

The songs on a playlist serve, several writers said, as signposts or anchor points in their books, demarking changes in atmosphere, evoking characters, and moving the story emotionally and physically for both readers and characters.

Sometimes for the author as well.

Lauren Dane makes a tracklist during her pre-writing process. Music she said, is “an incredibly important part of my creative process” because it lets her keep “an emotional sort of direction for the story.”

She selects songs based on the feel and flavor of the sexuality between the characters in the book. “Some of it is vintage, some of it is dark, some of it is sort of flirty and sexy girl-next-door.”


Or not. “Where is Everybody” by Nine Inch Nails was on her tracklist while she wrote "Captivated." Dane describes the book as a “futuristic menage (a trois) that had sort of these dark elements...sort of tortured characters.”

But, “Where is Everybody” is not exactly a go-to get-it-on song for most people. For that, Dane’s pick is “Closer” by Kings of Leon, for its “laid back, sexy feel.”

Again with the slow-to-moderate pace rhythms, the repeated swelling chords, and the slight edge of vocals.

A pattern seemed to be emerging.

justin-timberlake-and-jay-z-suit-and-tie-cover-500Until Tymber Dalton weighed in. Her erotic writing hook, and her lifestyle, is BDSM, but almost any song can trigger a memory or capture a favorite moment. For instance, Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.”

She has a suit fetish.

“Everybody’s switch is flipped to something different.” Dalton said, although she considers Enigma and Ramstein good bands for “playing.”

0000585003_500Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment” and Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” take turns topping the epitome of a BDSM song.

She admits that it looks like she has 20 different personalities if you peek at her iPod, which has music ranging from the jazz of Thelonius Monk to the rock ballads of Meatloaf.

Dalton listens to music as she writes, using it to evoke moods or unleash scenes (and battle tinnitus, an affliction she has in common with Adeline). “The One That Got Away” by P!nk helped “unstick” a scene in one of her early, paranormal erotic books, "Love and Brimstone." She looped the song for two days while working out the details of her characters’ past life relationship.

PrideandPrejudiceLiterary erotica writer and editor, Mitzi Szereto, does not have tinnitus and does not listen to music as she writes. She needs quiet. But music serves as a pre-cursor, such as the English country-dance tunes she played to set the stage for "Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts."

While writing more gothic, atmospheric stories, she often goes with Depeche Mode. “You listen to Dave Gahan’s voice and there’s just nothing better than that," she said.

Szereto is British (surprise, surprise) and has been working in the genre for more than 12 years. The odd thing, she said, is that as a writer it’s not the lyric that draws her, but the melody. The song that “gets claws into me...they could be singing about flipping burgers, it won’t matter to me.”

Dane does care about lyrics. There have been times that she hears a song and loves it, but it’s ruined once she understands the words because “ew, is that what he’s saying?”

kellyrowland-motivation-500There’s a difference between “filthy, dirty, sexy, lyrics,” like Kelly Rowland’s and Lil Wayne’s “Motivation” with its unsubtle references to rainforests (which Dane says is clearly about oral sex) and, say, most of what Chris Brown sings, which is “ew.”

The songs Szereto suggests are “quite mood-inspiring” are not filthy-dirty, but have lovely, longing, lyrics. "Fade Away" by Seether and non-headbanging Staind, such as “It’s Been a While” and “Outside” are her choices.

Sophisticated, cocktails and drinks, jazz can set the mood prior to a romantic encounter, Szereto said, but pop should be avoided. “Lady Gaga and that whole coterie of people and that hip hop...I can’t stand that stuff. If I heard that I would just be off the mood so fast!” she said.

Other mood killers, according to the authors, include the theme from "Barney," or any repetitive kid’s song, hymns and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Because, as Hart said, when it comes to mood music, “laughter is okay...but not weird.”