When compared to rock and hip-hop, country music may seem like the innocent, God-fearing genre next door, but boudoir ballads and risqué country-rockers have been a part of the format for decades — often making waves on the charts. Right now, Florida Georgia Line are at a staggering 14 straight weeks atop Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart with “H.O.L.Y.,” their single that alludes to an orgasm. But long before the duo merged sexuality with spirituality — actually, before they were even born — Conway Twitty was being more blatant about it, singing about exploring a woman’s body, while Dolly Parton flat-out asked, “Could I use you for a while?” Below are our picks for the 25 best country songs about sex, from hits by Twitty, Parton and Loretta Lynn, to Eric Church, Faith Hill and Miranda Lambert.
It’s a familiar story: A young woman spends an idyllic summer on her grandpa’s farm and meets a guy working his way through college. “I was thirsting for knowledge,” Carter sings sweetly on this ballad, “and he had a car.” You know the rest. Romance ensues, but it’s short and sweet when he leaves in September. The memories, at least, will last a lifetime. “Like strawberry wine and 17/ The hot July moon saw everything/ My first taste of love/Oh, bittersweet.” — J.R.
Conway Twitty already had a cannon full of songs about getting horizontal, including “You’ve Never Been This Far Before,” “I’m Not Through Loving You Yet” and “I’d Love To Lay You Down,” when he added another blush-worthy tune to his roster in 1982. "Slow Hand" tells of treating a lover right by taking his time and "not come and go in a heated rush." The track was Twitty’s last song to spend more than a week at the top of the charts. – M.N.
For those poor guys who just can't quite satisfy their ladies, there's always George Strait. In this 1985 hootenanny, King George cast himself as the hot-blooded lover who sweeps in to "put out old flames." The wordplay — the song was penned by Mack Vickery and Wayne Kemp — is glorious, and Strait delivers it all with a wink. Which is what makes "The Fireman" such a four-alarm blaze. He's the Man, and he knows it, but he never engages in self-serving bluster. Despite that "fire-engine red T-Bird automobile" he brags about. — J.H.
First released as an R&B scorcher by soul singer Bettye LaVette, “He Made a Woman Out of Me” practically drips with sex. Gentry worked it over with her signature Southern sultriness, savoring the candor of its verses. “When I meet another young man/Wantin’ to love and run/ My mind goes back to Joe Henry James/And the heck of a job he done.” Jeannie C. Riley, Ry Cooder, and Julie Roberts all put their stamp on it, too, but no one can match Gentry’s take. — J.R.
Dierks Bentley’s husky rasp turns almost any song into a seduction, but on this 2009 slow burner, Bentley makes it abundantly clear that he’s not talking about helping his lady fall asleep — quite the opposite. The PG-rated video only hints at the pleasures he has in mind when he sings, "You can make me work for it girl if you want to/Just leave a trail for me to follow you into the bedroom." — M.N.
She’s written about love in just about every shade, but sex is rarely on such candid display in Parton’s songwriting the way it is on this single from 1977’s Here You Come Again. Of course, the song’s greater theme is the search for lasting love, but there’s no mistaking her intentions in the opening lines: “Hello, are you free tonight?/I like your looks, I love your smile/Could I use you for a while?It’s all wrong, but it’s all right.” — J.R.
Don’t bother knocking, if this house is rocking. Country is full of candy-coated, gauzy love songs that pussyfoot around sex. This would not be one of those. Church vows to come home from the road and get reacquainted with his wife with such passion that a fire hose couldn’t put out the flames between these two. In this bluesy 2015 track, they don’t even make it to the bed, as Church promises to "Crash right through the front door/back you up against the wall." — M.N.
It doesn't get much more sensual than Gene Watson's 1975 signature hit, a languid waltz in which the golden-throated Texan vividly depicts a humid day of unhurried pleasure in New Orleans. A gumbo vendor passes below a hotel window, unaware that the man and woman above are completely spent, sleeping in their "damp, tangled sheets" as the sun bears down on the city. It turns out to be a very casual encounter with a "Bourbon Street lady," whom Watson notes – with a hint of sadness – is no longer full of mystery once the deed is done. Still, it doesn't stop them from getting high in the park and going another round, because why not? — J.F.
This twist on the typical May-December romance casts a "teenage kid" losing his virginity to "a lonely widow woman," as she turns him from a boy into a man during a passionate seasonal affair. The 1993 chart-topper, which Brooks co-wrote with his ex-wife Sandy Mahl and Pat Alger, originally centered on a neglected married woman, but Brooks changed it to a widow to make her more sympathetic. The seed of the song came from "a girl who was a senior, I was a junior," Brooks revealed earlier this year. 'Nuff said. — M.N.
“It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now. . .” Booty calls don’t get much more explicit than this evocation of horny late-night drunk-dialing, which the three Lady Antebellum members co-wrote with Josh (“Before He Cheats”) Kear. Between the relatable sentiment and quiet-storm arrangement that would have fit right in on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, small wonder that “Need You Now” topped the charts and won four Grammy Awards. Singers Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley trade off on the vocal, which just makes it that much more universal. After all, guys aren’t the only ones who drunk-dial when they shouldn’t. “Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all,” indeed. — D.M.
Young and his woman are all set for a fancy night out, but their desire gets the best of them before the waiter can even bring the first course in this 2009 chart topper. These lovers are going straight for dessert as soon as they get back home, if you get the drift. And the menu sounds like it includes a second helping, as Young croons "Honey, there ain't nothing like you lovin' me all night long."— M.N.
There's an entire wing of the publishing industry devoted to the subject of the late Billie Joe Spears' 1975 Number One: spicing up a marriage that's fallen into a predictable routine. Husky-voiced Spears, embodying the under-nourished wife, makes a suggestion to her husband in hopes of rekindling their spark: let's do it outside under the moonlight, like we used to. She's still turned on by him and hoping for at least one more romp on the blanket where their love began. "Just because we are married, don't mean we can't slip around," she encourages him, motioning toward the door. Because when the tingle subsides, there's no thrill quite like the one that carries a threat of indecent exposure. — J.F.
Never one to beat around the bush, Lane raises eyebrows on this brazen ode to what she wants. (Spoiler alert: It ain’t a relationship.) Taken from her breakthrough 2014 album, All or Nothin’, the swaggering anthem is refreshing in its frankness, a wink and a nod to the truth that sometimes carnal desires are enough. “I ain’t lookin’ for love,” she brags, “just a little danger.” And just so we’re on the same page: “You can call me anything you want to/Just don’t call me after tonight.” — J.R.
Everybody from Perry Como to Isaac Hayes has covered this Kris Kristofferson classic over the years, a somber-yet-seductive ode to a farewell romp. But no one has ever gotten closer to the heart of the matter than Ray Price on this definitive version. Laid upon a velvety, blow-cushioning bed of strings, Price’s voice quavers with emotion as he pleads for his departing lover to “hold your warm and tender body close to mine, and make believe you love me one more time.” While Kristofferson’s lyrics say all the right, stoic things about getting along and moving on, Price's delivery conveys more than just resignation. Heartbreak aside, he is by God gonna enjoy this one last good time. — D.M.
Chris Stapleton’s first big pre-fame co-write is this wholesome ode to monogamous, devotional gettin’ it on – which plays like a sweeter and less-skeevy country equivalent of Rod Stewart’s leering “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright).” Like that song, “Your Man” sketches out what the singer has in mind, and Turner sells it with admirable ease as a man who’s “been thinkin’ ’bout this all day long.” Turner appears at his lady love’s door with the fire in his eyes and a request to turn the lights down low, a seduction made even stronger by his deep drawl. — D.M.
It was a "slow and steady rush" indeed when Faith Hill and a strategically placed set of satin sheets created what was (at least at the time) the sexiest country music video ever. With or without the video, the song is a scorcher, as the powerhouse vocalist sings of "melting into" her guy — so close that she can feel him breathe. Spending 53 weeks on the charts, "Breathe" was declared Billboard's Number One single of any genre in all of 2000. — B.D.
The title to Big & Rich's 2004 breakout single was as brash as the duo themselves — and left nothing to the imagination. Here was a song about sex, with a chorus that would end up on truck bumper stickers from Nashville to New York. The at-times silly "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" may not have been sexy, per se, but its rhythm — among the first contemporary country songs to look to hip-hop beats — pulsed with just the right amount of oomph. "I'm a thoroughbred, that's what she said," sang Big Kenny in the climactic third verse, and you knew exactly what finish line he was racing toward.— J.H.
While Loretta Lynn has never been one to mince words or tread lightly in her songs – see “The Pill,” “Dear Uncle Sam,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” – it was her 1972 single “Rated X” that may have covered the most uncharted lyrical territory for mainstream country music audiences. Just four years after Tammy Wynette was still only spelling the word, the Coal Miner’s Daughter sang about divorce by boldly addressing both the prudish judgment (“All they're thinking of is your experience of love, their minds eat up with sin”) and the one-sided double standard faced by divorcees (“The women all look at you like you're bad and the men all hope you are”). Although a song about a divorced woman “being loose and free” was certainly controversial to many in the early Seventies, it quickly became Lynn’s sixth solo number one single and eventually went on to be recorded by the White Stripes in 2001 and Neko Case in 2004.— W.H.
“Help Me Make It Through the Night” didn’t exactly raise any eyebrows when it was originally released on Kris Kristofferson’s 1970 debut album. However, the song soon ruffled its own share of feathers when the proto-ode to “friends with benefits” and its message of companionship-in-lieu-of-intimacy was sung from a female perspective via covers from Joan Baez, Gladys Knight, and Dottie West. Many critics took issue with the song’s candid sexuality (“I don’t care who’s right or wrong, I don’t try to understand, Let the devil take tomorrow, ‘Cause tonight I need a friend”) but outlaw country artist Sammi Smith defied the tight-laced naysayers when she made the song a Top 10 hit on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts in 1971. — W.H.
Miranda Lambert relies on tried-and-true car metaphors to describe her passionate encounters in this lo-fi soul cut. The singer plays the part of a ride in need of a jumpstart, while her partner arrives "in a rescue truck… with a master key/ And revved it up for me." After that, knobs are twiddled, switches are flipped and wires are crossed, to the point where Lambert forgets the gearhead language in her account: "Kissing on my wrist all the way to my neck/ Running your fingers through my hair." — E.L.
"Raining on Sunday" first appeared on Radney Foster's See What You Want To See album in 1999 with backing vocals from Darius Rucker. Foster's lyrics mingle the carnal and the spiritual, presenting a Sunday spent in bed with a lover as an escape from life's relentless pace: "Let the water wash our bodies clean/ And love wash our souls." Keith Urban later recorded the song for his Golden Road album, turning it into a Top Five country hit and amping up the sensuality with a steamy video. At a CMA Songwriters Event in New York City in 2014, Foster thanked Urban for making the song a national success, joking that he now "makes pancakes Sunday morning in the Keith Urban memorial kitchen."— E.L.
Gary Allan's 2003 album, See If I Care takes its title from a vengeful, wounded tale of post-relationship despair, but "Nothing on But the Radio" offers a cheerfully bawdy antidote to that tune's lonely gloom. Here, Allan sings about a hot-and-heavy couple overcome by the "flames of desire," matching suggestive lines with a fiddle-heavy groove. The nasty ending of "See If I Care" is a distant memory here — or an ominous taste of what's to come when the honeymoon period wears off. — E.L.
Many country songs have explored the treacherous aftermath of a breakup that's not quite over, but few have pulled it off with the pained grace of Womack, who reaches back to the glory of Seventies country ballads on "I May Hate Myself in the Morning." As the singer returns to sleep with an old flame, she alternates between acknowledging she's making a mistake — "I know it's wrong" — and rationalizing the tryst: "Why can't two friends remember the good times once again?" — E.L.
Country power couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw set the romance bar high with 1997's "It's Your Love" — then pole vaulted right over it with 1999's "Let's Make Love." They've both spent all day dreaming about it, so it's time to spend all night doing it. "Until the sun comes up, let's make love," they harmonize. The accompanying video is G-rated, showing the couple walking around Paris, gazing into each other's eyes, holding hands and laughing. Surely there was a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on their hotel room door when the cameras stopped rolling.
Although Conway Twitty was best known for selling the sizzle through his many flirtatious duets with Loretta Lynn (together the duo released 11 studio albums and won four consecutive CMA Vocal Duo of the Year awards), it was his 1973 solo single “You’ve Never Been This Far Before” that drew the deepest blush. Seeking to assuage a nervous paramour through her “first time,” Twitty’s reassuring refrains are both amorous (“I taste your tender kisses”) and unambiguous (“my trembling fingers touch forbidden places”). While many conservative radio stations firmly prohibited their deejays from playing the risqué ballad, it did not keep the song from becoming Twitty’s tenth solo Number One and his first (and only) crossover hit to land on Top 40 radio, as it went on to reach Number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.— W.H.