The Not-So-Subtle-Sex Beg

Every mix I’ve ever made for a woman has carried one of two implicit messages:
(a) Sleep with me.
(b) Please don’t ever stop sleeping with me.
You need at least one track that’s designed to induce erotic and limbic abandon in its recipient. I always go with “The One” by Cee-Lo Green, a joyously blunt proposition camouflaged as a feminist dance anthem.

The Make-Her-Yearn Track

Before a guy was able to lurk on Facebook after a break-up, he’d sit by the phone, thinking surely she’d dig out that mix he gave her. So always include one song ripe with sexual nostalgia. My go-to was “Last Good Taste” by Dayna Kurtz, in the hope that Kurtz’s sultry, yearning growl would induce the desired state: a thirst for whisky and the bad decisions it engenders.

The Next-Level Entreaty

Me and my pal Rich were drinking one night and complaining about our love lives. I mentioned that I was having trouble getting my girlfriend to take me seriously; he put on Etta James’s epic cover of “Take It to the Limit.” Her voice rose rapturously over a gospel choir. Soon I was complaining to Rich that I needed more space.

The Happy Backslide Anthem

I realise the Marvin Gaye classic “Sexual Healing” is the designated anthem for make-up sex, but the song has two inherent flaws. First, it’s a cliché. Second, it’s only four minutes long. A better option is “And the Healing Has Begun” by Van Morrison. Over an aching violin, Van makes an impassioned plea for reconciliation. The whole endeavour exudes a sensual sloppiness that just feels right for backsliding. Bonus: it clocks in at eight minutes.

The Jujitsu Confession

Men take women for granted in most relationships. Period. We stop paying attention. We stop listening. Eventually the woman gets fed up, and fighting ensues.
It is at this thorny juncture that you need a song designed to acknowledge culpability, a kind of musical apologia. Consider “Angel from Montgomery” by Bonnie Raitt and John Prine, a stunning acoustic duet about a couple looking back on the wreckage of their failed marriage.

The Full Emotional Monty

Just in case make-up sex devolves into acrimony, include “You Don’t Miss Your Water” by Otis Redding. It’s heart-crushing blues, and when I hear it, I still think of my varsity girlfriend, naked and beautiful in the blue light of midnight. I may have listened to the song too late, but it went on the first mix I ever made for my wife.

*Steve Almond is the author of Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.