How to Get Your 'Sex Dance' On
In the popular 1987 movie, "Dirty Dancing," there's a powerful scene where Baby (played by Jennifer Grey) tells Johnny (played by Patrick Swayze) how she feels about their burgeoning romance. Immediately after, they dance in a supposedly unchoreographed but certainly provocative sequence to Solomon Burke's 1962 hit single, "Cry to Me."
Fast forward to the 2011 movie, "Crazy, Stupid, Love," Jacob (played by Ryan Gosling) used the lift from "Dirty Dancing" with Hannah (played by Emma Stone). He said it worked for him with all girls and no one doubted it.
Just loosen up your body and let the rhythm take you when you're dancing with your partner.
The act of dancing can be a form of active foreplay before intimate moments. And you don't need to be a pro to heat up the bedroom with your moves. Toss aside whatever notions you have concerning choreography, technique and embarrassment, and dance out of your comfort zone with playfulness and sass.
"Dancing is about integrating your mind, body and soul with each other," said Sari Cooper, L.C.S.W.-R., an AASECT-certified sex therapist and the director of the Center for Love and Sex in New York City.
Observe and move
Dancing is sexy and Hollywood knows it. To get in the mood, Cooper said she recommends watching scenes with someone totally into the music—who exudes a lot of sexiness.
Her list of famous dance scenes that don't have a big choreographic display included Rosie Perez and her iconic opening dance moves for Spike Lee's 1989 movie, "Do the Right Thing."
"Sexually speaking, dancing can build sexual tension and anticipation for the behavior, which is always a great way for integrating sensuality, joy and playfulness," said Erika Evans, Ph.D., L.M.F.T., an expert in human sexuality with a marriage and family practice in Philadelphia.
Face it, you're sexy
"You are literally establishing a rhythm between the two of you. What can be sexier than that?" Evans said.
Allowing yourself to feel sexy is about attitude, not your body, she noted. Your partner wants you, so don't let your mind convince you otherwise.
Cooper, who additionally has a background as a professional dancer and choreographer, understands the social expectations and rules of dance.
These same internal conflicts are shared by her clients in sex therapy when they want to ensure they are doing sex steps correctly and that their bodies look like the latest cultural ideal or fit into what is considered normal.
Get out of your head
"Like sex, it's critical that you are present," Evans said. "I think sayings like 'dance like no one is watching' really capture the spirit of how to overcome the potential embarrassment of dancing. Remember, just loosen up your body and let the rhythm take you when you're dancing with your partner."
If you feel your skills aren't up to snuff, don't worry, just follow a few basic steps and add some extras to gain confidence, such as:
- Invest in some sexy lighting.
- Light some scented candles.
- Make space to let your moves flow.
- Turn up the volume of the songs you should enjoy playing loud.
- Use props. A chair can raise the bar and all you have to do is sit back and move a bit.
- Wear suggestive clothing.
"Lean into the potential joy," Evans said. "If that really feels impossible then take a dance class with your partner."
For her, one of the tricks is to sign up for a dance class in a style neither of you are familiar with because it will put you both in unfamiliar territory.
An improvisational type of dance can help you find your own natural movement. Cooper suggested modern forms such as Authentic Movement and Ecstatic Dance, where there are no techniques, you simply follow an innate desire.
Dancing is about having fun and building connections with someone so it doesn't matter if it's a sexier song or an upbeat classic.
Although lessons are an option, you don't have to go that route. Just turn on the music and make some solo movements. Think it's a little silly? You won't feel the same way after you've watched Tom Cruise in his iconic dancing-in-your-underwear scene in the 1983 movie, "Risky Business," where Bob Seger is belting out "Old Time Rock & Roll."
Watch that scene on YouTube and try to replicate that confidence when attempting to dance with your partner.
"You can be silly, you can try different moves, if you have permission, you can hold this person and let the chemistry between you be the catalyst for movement," Evans said.
Start fulfilling your fantasies
Mexican actress Karla Souza ("How to Get Away with Murder") admitted in an interview that one of her sexual fantasies is a sensory experience, where dancing and water are present, as in the 2012 comedy-drama movie, "Magic Mike."
Mike has been electrifying screens with his magic for years, and in his 2023 movie, "Magic Mike's Last Dance," there's a scene with Channing Tatum and a sensual Salma Hayek pushing the boundaries of striptease one step further. Their moves suggested sex, but they didn't even kiss.
Evans advised keeping in mind that you only need basic skills, no choreography, to dance in a club. If you want to start on the club dance floor and then take it to the bedroom, that can work for your goals, too.
Don't let the romance die
"Embrace the moment with your partner," Evans said. "If you're having a romantic moment at home and want to dance, this is about having fun with your partner."
Before you start flexing your muscles, bear in mind that fictional movies take a lot of time and rehearsal to make things look perfect and easy. In real life, It's best to stick with simple, fun and sexy steps to avoid accidents.
You don't need to start with an intimate moment, give the upbeat music a chance. There's still a lot of connection you'll make even though you're not touching. Later, you can turn up the volume to some quieter songs.
"You can absolutely take your time," Evans said. "Dancing is about having fun and building connections with someone so it doesn't matter if it's a sexier song or an upbeat classic. Just stay present, out of your head and focus on the fun."
In the 1994 movie, "Pulp Fiction," John Travolta and Uma Thurman, "don't touch one another nor are they doing the exact same moves, but you feel them vibing with themselves and one another as they improvise variations on the twist to Chuck Berry's 'You Never Can Tell,'" Cooper said.
A few songs to be sexy, fun and playful
A very quick 'n' dirty bit of research online suggested there have been something like a billion songs recorded so there's no excuse for not coming up with one or two tunes that'll get things moving. But if you're looking for a wee bit of inspiration, here's a top 15 that we had fun coming up with in the editorial office:
- "You Can Leave Your Hat On"—Joe Cocker
- "The Way You Make Me Feel"—Michael Jackson
- "(I've Had) The Time of My Live"—Bill Medley
- "Love On the Brain"—Rihanna
- "The Jack"—AC/DC
- "If I Ain't Got You"—Alicia Keys
- "Gimme More"—Britney Spears
- "Whole Lotta Love"—Led Zeppelin
- "Earned It"—The Weeknd
- "Buttons"—The Pussycat Dolls
- "Feeling Good"—Nina Simone
- "Hands To Myself"—Selena Gomez
- "Turn Me On"—Norah Jones