As a formally and classically trained musician, studying orchestral music was pretty mandatory including The Masters: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and others; the music we hear today has its roots in the classics.
I remember watching the movie, “10,” starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derrick and it was, I guess, a bit ahead of its time and probably gave the movie censors a fit. One of the highlights of the movie was the notion of making love while listening to Bolero. Musically, the piece is… sensual but not in some kind of “bump and grind” way – and that, too, is also a title of another song that’s, ah, more to the point of things.
For anyone who saw “10,” let’s see a show of hands for all those who did, indeed, tried to make love while Bolero played in the background! Yeah… me, too, and let’s say that the results were… mixed, at best. There’s a lot of music out there one can make love to but there’s a kind of a trick to it.
We listen to music but for music to be able to arouse – and in any way that’s applicable – you have to be able to feel the music; it has to touch you in certain ways and in certain places: It has to move you and the more it moves you toward sensuality, eroticism, and sex itself, the better. Then, there’s a particular way to listen to music that’s involved – hear it, feel it, but not being focused on the music. This can be difficult if one isn’t able to, well, kinda multitask and sex is one of those things that doesn’t always lends itself to multitasking, not through any fault of the people involved but it’s just the way the mind tends to work.
It’s like, “Look, we’re either gonna listen to the music or we’re gonna (add something sexual here)! Make up my mind already!” So it didn’t surprise me a whole lot that the partners I tried this with were either paying attention to Bolero… or paying attention to what I was doing. For myself, the “listening without listening” thing was just second nature – it’s one of the things you wind up learning and more so when a piece of music says, “with feeling” and now you’re trying to do this while playing your instrument and while listening to the interactions of the other instruments (if applicable).
I recall asking my high school band director, when we went from marching band mode to concert band mode, “When they say ‘with feeling’, who’s feelings are we talking about? Yours as the director? Mine as the performer? The concert band as a whole?”
He laughed and said, “Good question but to find the answer, listen to the original piece done by, say, the Philadelphia Orchestra – and, as a matter of fact, we all should listen to it!”
Um, my fellow band members weren’t happy that I managed to pile something else on us – learning the piece we were playing was difficult enough. But we listened and, as instructed, listened for ‘with feeling’ meant. It’s reading the music, playing your instrument, keeping an eye on the “maestro,” and listening to your fellow performers so that the band, as a whole, can play the ‘with feeling’ parts as one single entity… and no matter how you, personally, are actually feeling.
Now think about trying to apply this to having sex. Bolero isn’t what I’d call a complicated piece, you know, not like listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. It’s… sensual. Moving. Has a feel to it along the lines of mood music. Kinda. If the sex that’s needed is the, ah, very vigorous type, Bolero isn’t the piece of music you wanna be listening to. If the sex that’s needed is, indeed, the slow, sensual kind, yeah, it could work but the timing of the piece might not be all that slow – it’s written in 3/4 time and a time signature probably best known for waltzes and, yeah, it was originally written for ballet. So it could be slow enough and it might not be. But there’s another trick here and that’s to ignore the piece’s timing – your body is almost going to want to move in time with the piece’s “beat” when it should be moving to its feel or, really, how it’s making you feel and with the hope that your partner will not only be able to feel it in some way but can get in sync with your sense or feel for the music.
Oh, yeah – it would help if ya had a liking for this kind of music. My “Bolero partners,” well, they weren’t fans of this type of music; never listened to this type of music, never heard of it – unless they watched “10” – and some of them hadn’t. Sex, like so many other things, is about timing and, of course, it’s the kind of timing that one employs more by feel than anything else unless, um, you’re one of those people who are prone to think about the number of seconds or minutes required to orally induce your partner to orgasm. If so, well, hmm – Bolero’s time signature and the flow of the piece is going to throw you way off.
Having sex – or making love, if you prefer – to Ravel’s Bolero is quite the exercise and, in a lot ways, it can be counterintuitive; long and slow sex can be, well, very slow and Bolero’s signature just might be “too fast.” It sounds kinda Zen, perhaps, but it’s about being one with the music, letting it surround you and be immersed in it… while doing sex stuff. Listening without listening; feeling both the emotion of the piece while mixing in the emotions of passion and lust and love (if applicable). It’s being able to figure out what Bolero is saying to you, while your partner is, hopefully, trying to do the same thing – and then, again, being in sync with each other and the music… while not losing focus or being distracted.
Don’t feel some kind of way if you can’t do it: Most people can’t and my first time making love to Bolero was, um, quite the learning experience; it’s kinda like having to learn how to make love all over again – and I’ll leave it at that.
If you were to give this a try, I’d recommend that you first listen to Bolero and pay attention to how it feels to you and if you can get a partner to listen to it as well, so much the better. As a musician, well, this is kinda easy for me to do and so much that I often catch myself getting the feel of a piece of music and it’s interesting since I’ve learned to do that without having to think about it. That and I also happen to love this kind of music. There are, of course, all kinds of music that can be… suitable for lovemaking but if there’s a piece that gained some notoriety, it’s Ravel’s Bolero.
And, yeah – that part of the movie was pretty hot and sensual. Bo Derrick was just drop-dead gorgeous and sensuality just oozed out of her while Dudley, well, hmm, okay, it just wasn’t all that hard to figure out why he was so obsessed with her as well as why he also felt that he wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being intimate with her. Don’t take my word for it – if you can, watch the movie even if it’s just to refresh your memory.