Ariana Grandes Positions shows the power of women writing about their own orgasms – British GQ

Posted: October 30, 2020 at 10:57 pm


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Big news: Ariana Grandes in love. Shes also really, really in the mood. This intel does not come from an anonymous source close to the singer. Its broadcasted all throughout her sixth studio album, Positions, a record that boasts the happiest music weve heard from Grande in a while and the naughtiest lyrics weve heard her angelic voice sing, well, ever. Two tracks in, on 34+35 (do the maths), she sings, Can you stay up all night? Fuck me til the daylight, setting the tone for more subsequent filth on tracks such as Nasty. Grandes desire is spelled out in explicit, occasionally eye-popping terms in the best way possible putting a popped cherry on top of a very sexy year for women in music.

Its not like the realm of sex is new territory for Grande. Dont pretend you thought Side To Side was a song about riding bikes. But now, shes moved on from the creative euphemisms and is following Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallions lead, singing pussy, dick and fuck like a kinky lullaby. Its not like this is new territory for female artists in 2020 either. Remember when Dua Lipa sang, When youre going down I get so up on Good In Bed at the start of the year? Or when she begged for someone to put their hands on her in Pretty Please? Dont tell me youve already forgotten about WAP and the subsequent debate it sparked as to whether its appropriate for women to talk about what they want from sex in music. If youre still looking for some clarity on that debate, the answer is: yes, it is.

While conservative commentators may feign shock at this development in mainstream music, as one of lifes most basic pleasures, people have made music about sex for much longer than you might expect. Now finding new viral fame on TikTok, blues singer Lucille Bogan was singing lyrics that wouldn't seem out of place as extra verses in WAP in the 1930s. Take this gem from Till The Cows Come Home for example: If you suck my pussy, Baby I'll suck your dick. In 1975, Donna Summer faked 22 orgasms on Love To Love You Baby. In 1981, Grace Jones asked a man to Pull Up To The Bumper" and put a long black limousine in places automobiles have no business being. Then Madonna felt Like A Virgin, before releasing the suitably named Erotica and the even sexier Bedtime Stories. In the midst of Madonnas sexual awakening, Salt-N-Pepa straight up said, Lets Talk About Sex. Two became one with the Spice Girls in 1996. In 2002, Khia gave in depth instructions for oral sex in My Neck, My Back.

The list goes on, and thats only covering the women who have sung horny lyrics. Surprise! Those women are vastly outnumbered by men who have done exactly the same thing. There are the obvious tracks such as Marvin Gayes Lets Get It On and Boyz II Mens Ill Make Love To You, but for a more direct comparison to todays eXXXtra explicit lyrics mainstream, N.W.A.s now infamous album Niggaz4Life is a masterclass in misogynistic approaches to sex. It is incredibly vulgar and, at many points, down right offensive to women, who are merely seen as disposable objects for male pleasure, epitomised by the reprehensible interlude To Kill A Hooker. The sex talk on this album isnt fun because it only pleases one party, while the other is degraded and, essentially, abused. MC Ren raps about a 14-year-old girl on She Swallowed It. See, Cardi B asking you to park that big Mack truck right in this little garage isnt so bad after all, is it?

Those are the ghosts of musics raunchy past, but lets circle back to Grandes foray into dirty talk. And Cardi B and Megans. And Dua Lipas. And Doja Cats. There have arguably been more songs from women talking vividly about sex in the charts than ever before in 2020, with the concept evolving from what was once a titillating novelty to a part of everyday discourse. The most obvious explanation for the rise in female pleasure in music, and the increased demand for it, is that recent conversations around equality and sex positivity have simply loosened up taboos. From Lily Allen launching a range of sex toys to Rihannas Savage X Fenty line of underwear, more women are taking ownership of their sexuality, which means more women want to talk about it and listen to other women talk about it. The onus is no longer on performing sexy for the male gaze; its about genuinely feeling sexy for personal empowerment and pleasure.

Who this music is written by and for is also crucial: Like A Virgin was written by two men. While Summer is credited as a songwriter on Love To Love You Baby, it was actually only the title that she came up with Giorgio Moroder wrote the full song and, at first, it was so explicit that she only agreed to record it as a demo for someone else. Even Rihannas recent tracks Birthday Cake and Sex With Me were written by teams comprised practically entirely of men, bar Fenty herself.

Look at the songwriting credits on Grandes Positions and youll see that representation is much more balanced. Grande is credited as the lead songwriter on almost every track and, on the particularly cheeky songs such as 34+35 and Nasty, shes joined by her longtime collaborators Victoria Mont (who also got pretty raunchy on her debut album Jaguar this summer) and, on the former, Tayla Parx. As David Levesley notes, Dua Lipa made a concerted effort to involve as many women as possible in the creation of Future Nostalgia, which gave us Good In Bed and Pretty Please. Were not just hearing women sing about sex more frequently in music, were specifically hearing it from their perspective, rather than that of a horny man ventriloquising the imagined desires of women.

Perhaps thats whats most shocking about this new wave of sexually empowered pop: not the content itself, but rather the fact that the men arent in control of it. Were some men outraged by WAP because they feared it would turn young girls into nymphomaniacs with no self-respect, or were they simply offended to hear that their own sexual desires werent being prioritised? Is it fair to be angry at women using words like pussy in reference to their own bodies, when men have been using it derogatorily for decades? Some food for thought. Listen to Grandes new album while you mull it over. You might even pick up some tips.

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Ariana Grandes Positions shows the power of women writing about their own orgasms - British GQ

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:57 pm