The sexiest songs to be featured in movies

Salma Hayek From Dusk Till Dawn
Screengrab via YouTube

An incredibly sexy scene in a movie is amplified by the sexy music playing underneath it. Indeed, music is probably at least partially responsible for 90 percent of births since the first notes were ever played. One can think of multiple scenes in numerous films that simply would not have the heft they do without a well-placed song to provide the audience with the aphrodisiac needed to get into the action on screen.

Directors are aware of this plot device and take full advantage of the power of music to get viewers in the mood along with the characters. For your aural pleasure, We Got This Covered’s staff has compiled a list of the sexiest songs to be featured in movies, so grab a glass of champagne, turn down the lights, and slip into something comfortable.

It’s about to get steamy in here.

“I Still Believe” by Tim Cappello (The Lost Boys)

The Lost Boys is an iconic movie that perfectly captures the ups and downs of the young outsider’s experience. The film’s most iconic scene takes viewers to a raucous party where a topless, baby oil-covered Tim Cappello rocks out to “I Still Believe” while playing the saxophone. This sequence perfectly captures the film’s tone and themes of exploration, and with lyrics like “This is our crime, this is our sin,” it’s hard to deny that the scene has some very sensual undertones. – Jonathon Greenall

“Down in Mexico” by The Coasters (Death Proof)

Tension, anticipation, exhilaration, and sexiness galore. It’s a slow build-up to the moment, and it might be a bit one-sided (okay, almost totally one-sided), but the promised dance to Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) by Butterfly (Vanessa Ferlito) is more than worth the wait. Stuntman Mike is just confident, stoic, and engaged enough to make both sides of the dance sexy, while the way Butterfly slowly and seductively dances about him remains a memorable, classic, and definitely Tarantino-esque moment. (It is his movie, after all). It doesn’t hurt that it’s set in Austin (back before Californians took it over for good), with the song and setting mixing in perfect harmony, the name-drops of Antone’s and Guero’s, and the sight of Shiner Bocks hitting all the right notes. – Habeab Kurdi

“Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” performed by Mariah Carey (Glitter)

Whether or not you enjoy the film Glitter ultimately boils down to how big of a Mariah Carey fan you are. However, one thing is clear: the soundtrack, while one of her weaker albums commercially, boasts some of the five-octave singer’s sexiest musical work. Channeling the ’80s club and funk scene on this track, Carey opts for her airy, whispery vocals while turning down the subject’s advances with the innocent, titular claim. The song is spunky, suggestive, and is sure to make you sweat out on the dance floor. Clearly Carey knows she’s hot, and while she’s always down for a fun date, that’s not an invitation to get comfy. – Demi Phillips

“Not Afraid Anymore” by Halsey (Fifty Shades Darker)

Fifty Shades Darker is the sequel to the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey, and this song was played during the scene in which Christian Grey learns that Anastasia Steele accepted his proposal after getting him his birthday gift. It was during the film’s most climatic scene, as the two rekindled their love after Grey survived a helicopter crash in Portland ⏤ the perfect song to play during the final sex scenes in the film. – Erielle Sudario

“Secret” by Maroon 5 (The Wedding Date)

When in doubt about who to bring to your sister’s wedding, never underestimate the effective and deceptive powers of the male escort. This is what 2005’s The Wedding Date teaches us, at least through the lens of Debra Messing’s Kat, a woman so set on showing her family and ex-fiancé how well her love life is going that she hires Dermot Mulroney’s gorgeous Nick to be her date. As spectators, we enjoy watching Nick and Kat navigate a variety of social situations together requiring close physical contact and wickedly suggestive glances ⏤ all in the name of keeping up appearances, of course, and not because they’re going to fall in love by the film’s end. In fact, it comes as a complete surprise when the two realize that they might actually be falling for each other, a moment that occurs on board a boat docked in Kat’s parents’ driveway. Even sexier than the striptease that ensues is the song that plays during their seductive dance: Maroon 5’s “Secret,” which nicely underlines the fact that although Kat and Nick don’t know each other very well, they want each other ⏤ “sooo bad.” Given how beautiful they both are, we want them to want each other, too, and as they let their bodies do the talking, we know exactly where the rest of this film is going. Name a sexier hookup song. I’ll wait. – Josh Conrad

“Béla Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus (The Hunger)

In a darker vein (get it?), Bauhaus’ epically goth hit number “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” may not be anyone’s idea of a Valentine, but it made thousands of little black hearts swoon when they saw it accompany the vampiric lovemaking of David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve (not to mention their victims John Stephen Hill and Ann Magnuson) in Tony Scott’s 1983 erotic horror film The Hunger. Sure, Hill and Magnuson end up exsaguinated, and Bowie and Deneuve are a great warning why you shouldn’t go home with that couple that “really likes your vibe,” but hey ⏤ what a way to go. And what better soundtrack than the best ’70s darkwave vampire song ever made? – Beau Paul

“Earned It” by The Weeknd (Fifty Shades of Grey)

From the movie to the soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey touches on everything sexy. Known to make the best bedroom music, The Weeknd’s entire repertoire perfectly matches everything in this franchise, especially with “Earned It” as the epitome of gentle seductive music, perfectly matching the mysterious and sexy energy across the film. – Francisca Santos

“Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis (Moonlight)

To create a truly memorable musical moment in a movie, the song has to be the main character of the scene in question. It must add to the narrative in such a way that removing it will create a noticeable gap, making it feel like something is missing. That’s exactly what happens in this scene from the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight. As Chiron and Kevin reconnect after years apart, the song Kevin plays on the jukebox of this quintessential American diner translates everything he can’t bring himself to tell Chiron through dialogue. Motown classic “Hello Stranger,” written and performed by Barbara Lewis, echoes the feelings so aptly conveyed by Trevante Rhodes and André Holland’s unmistakable chemistry and completes Barry Jenkins’ intimate and lyrical style of directing. Because oftentimes there’s nothing sexier than a pointed look, the result is a scene of pure electricity, which gradually melts away with the help of its soundtrack into a familiar love and the promise of a future the characters have been waiting for since they fell in love as teenagers. – Francisca Tinoco

“After Dark” by Tito and the Tarantula (From Dusk Till Dawn)

The sexiest song isn’t so much about the actual song so much as it is the scene itself. The music is there to set the tone, and it can make or break a sexy scene. Try replacing “Take My Breath Away” with the Benny Hill theme song to ruin Top Gun‘s famous love scene and you will see my point. As awful as the movie is, Tito & Tarantula’s “After Dark” has the perfect sultry guitar licks to introduce Salma Hayek in her jaw-dropping, Mayan-goddess snake dance complete with pyro that screams ’90s excess. (The Quentin Tarantino foot fetish, I could live without.) In the words of Fat Bastard, “Dead sex-ay!” – Matt Tuck

“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel (Say Anything…)

1989’s Cameron Crowe-directed Say Anything sees a young John Cusack and Ione Skye navigating the tumultuous nature of love in what could have been a typical opposites attract story. Instead, a magnificent use of “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel shows the audience that not only are grandiose gestures of love worthwhile, but they can also be pretty damn sexy. Where romance scenes can often be based on self-assurance and confidence, Gabriel’s synth-pop crooning instead provides the perfect soundtrack for taking risks and vulnerability. – Aidan O’Brien

“Siboney” by Connie Francis (2046)

Siboney plays briefly in multiple parts of the film 2046, adding a dimension to the emotions of the characters, especially Zhang Ziyi’s character. The Spanish lyrics of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, sung by Connie Francis, speak of longing, though Lecuona had actually written it about his beloved homeland of Cuba. However, the music encapsulates desire with its slow yet stimulating rhythm. The percussion serves to bring that desire a life, as if creating an obsessive pulse to imitate the one shared by sensual lovers. The film itself is a journey through such longing, allowing Siboney to serve as a perfect subtle backdrop to Wong Kar Wai’s film on fading memories of love. Another reason to appreciate this choice of song, especially this 1960 version, is that Spanish music was prevalent in 1960’s Hong Kong, which is when and where this film takes place. – Curtis Roberts

“Wild Horses” by The Sundays (Fear)

Okay, so maybe there’s not anything inherently sexy about a teenaged Reese Witherspoon getting fingerbanged on a rollercoaster by Marky Mark (as Mark Wahlberg was still largely known at the time). Going out on a limb, some might argue that the idea is even kind of hilarious. But when set to the ethereal 1992 cover of Rolling Stone’s “Wild Horses” by the alternative rock band The Sundays, it completely elevates and transforms the scene into a sexy, albeit haunting one, which also sets the tone for the rest of the film. And though we won’t spoil it, as the title Fear suggests, what comes next is hardly an innocent adolescent love story. – Stacey Ritzen

“Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard)

Whitney Houston’s version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” correctly holds court as one of the most heart-rending musical moments in cinema. However, let’s not erase the film’s horniness from the record. At its core, it’s a movie about forbidden love and it works because of how the sexual tension between Houston and Kevin Costner (who handpicked the singer for the role) builds slowly and excruciatingly. It’s also a rare movie about a fictional musician that has the bangers to back it up, spawning multiple hits including the original “Queen of the Night.” The song is Whitney at her most confident, chanting, “I’ve got more than enough to make you drop to your knees,” in a metal bustier. It’s a good thing Costner’s Frank was ready to fight. – Tricia Gilbride

“Out Tonight” by Rosario Dawson (Rent)

When thinking about sexy music, rock was never anyone’s first choice ⏤ that is, until “Out Tonight” from Rent came along to change some minds. With this song, Mimi Marquez celebrates her autonomy, freely showcasing her body with bold and sexy dance moves that leave anyone watching with their eyes stuck to the screen. Later, she uses this same song to seduce Roger, letting her voice take on a whispery (and highly suggestive) tone at times, as she climbs on a table to promptly kiss him. Witnessing this much boldness, anyone would be helpless to resist her advances. – Rafaela Coimbra

“Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen (Exotica)

Every inch, every millimeter of Mia Kirchner’s skin is covered up as she enters stage left. Only her angelic face and ivory hands are exposed. Fulfilling the schoolgirl fantasy, she is dressed in a plaid skirt, white button-down shirt, and a tie. She even has a little book bag to set down. The theme of the movie, the mood, the guilt, the sad, intense longing of Francis — our main character — are all laid out in this scene, and everybody knows. So many questions are presented in the story of Exotica, and few are answered. But if the sight of Christina dancing to Leonard Cohen doesn’t get you going, check your pulse. – Misty Contreras

“How Does It Feel” performed by Matt Bomer (Magic Mike XXL)

Whenever Matt Bomer is in a film, expecting to be blown away every time he appears is a given. But everything pales in comparison to him stripping and singing D’Angelo’s “How Does it Feel” in 2015’s Magic Mike XXL. The most seductive fictional stripper performing on the sexiest song ever? Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me? – Apeksha Bagchi

“Si No Te Hubieras Ido” by Marco Antonio Solís (Y Tu Mama También)

Alfonso Cuarón’s 2001 coming-of-age road movie stars Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal, then in their early twenties, as Tenoch and Julio, teenaged best friends who meet Luisa (Maribel Verdú), the wife of Tenoch’s cousin. The infatuated boys half-jokingly invite her on an impromptu road trip to a secluded (and possibly made-up) beach town, a proposition Luisa eventually takes them up on.

In lesser hands, Y Tu Mama También could have stalled out in dudebro fantasyland. But Cuarón’s camera repeatedly captures male sexuality at its most furtive, fumbly, and endearingly vulnerable, closer to slapstick than softcore; we’re lifted out of adolescent-horndog perspective, into Luisa’s bemused point of view.

The film’s climax takes place at night at a beachside cantina. Luisa is tipsy, tired, and a little fed up with the boys’ patter. Burdened by an unspoken tragedy that’s loomed over her for most of the movie, and seeking her own catharsis, Luisa fires up the jukebox.

At first, her back is turned. The soft chords of a rock ballad slide forth, and she absorbs the song for a few seconds. She then turns to face the camera, and her eyes meet ours.

The camera pulls back as she moves forward, her arms open, her hands held aloft with shots of tequila, her body swaying deftly on every womanly axis as the song shifts into high gear. Her gaze doesn’t so much break the fourth wall as incinerate it. It’s a moment of breathtaking self-possession, startling, even, as Luisa invites the boys to dance with her, but on her level, on her terms. And… let’s just say, they do.

The song in question, written and sung by Marco Antonio Solís, is “Si No Te Hubieras Ido,” (“If You Hadn’t Gone”), which accelerates from a steady, guitar-driven opener into a soaring, hungry, strings-swept grito of raw tenderness and grief. Not an obvious choice of seductive soundtrack, maybe, but that’s exactly why it’s so potent in this scene. For Luisa, and what she imparts to Tenoch and Julio, is that sex involves a whole person. What she demands is no less than heightened awareness of our shared impermanence; less like a discharge of the reflexes, more like a state of grace. –Sarah Fisch