6 Eighties Songs You Didn't Know Were About Sex

Ahhhh…the eighties.  Remember that time?  Driving your Hot Wheels up the street to have play My Little Pony v. HeMan with your best friend?  (Just me?)

You could just walk out the front door and as long as you were back by dark, no one called the police?  And the music – oh the music. You and your best friend would grab your air mikes and your headband and aerobisize – singing along with no idea what the lyrics meant.

It was so fun and innocent.  Oh…but wait.  Then you got older and realized that your favorites were rife with innuendo…

Some of my favorites:

She-Bop (1983) – Cyndi Lauper

I was a huge Cyndi fan (still am).  She was on the soundtrack for one of my favorite movies of all time – The Goonies.  If they’re smart, the producers of the remake will invite her back.  I can remember “bopping” along with this song a lot in my youth.  And yes – I’m just talking about my head.  Apparently though, Cyndi wasn’t – this song is about (insert shocked noise here) masturbation.

Like a Virgin (1984) – Madonna

I was also a huge Madge fan (although I must admit, not so much any more).  I can remember being embarrassed about liking her in high school.  But when Like A Virgin came out – I was all there with my off the shoulder shirt and tights (which, BTW, I still rock).  And of course, I completely believed that Madge was a virgin.  Not just “like” one.


Physical (1981) – Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton John in Grease is just (slightly) before my time.  When I became aware of her, she was all into the leotards, head bands and leg warmers.  This song is supposed to be about physical fitness.  But come on.  “Let’s get physical”??  Nice try Olivia.

Touch Me (1986) – Samantha Fox

Touch me now…I wanna feel your body.  Right.  OK – I knew what this song was about.  You know.  Like making out.  Second base even.  Don’t tell my mom though.

Dancing with Myself (1982)– Billy Idol

Like Cyndi’s song…I *thought* this song was just about a guy who liked to dance alone.  I didn’t realize that “dancing alone” meant…dancing alone.

All of these songs were precursors for today’s music – some of which is much bolder (and some of which actually even say the word “sex” among other choice words).  Many even come with “sanatized” versions that even Grandma would approve of.  Of course, the kids and I listen to them both ways (I blame my mother for introducing me to the songs of the eighties…)

The kids and I listen to:

Milkshake (2003) – Kelis

This song came out two years before my eldest was born, and I listened to it regularly even then.  The song is, of course, about young Kelis shaking her “wares” and gaining some attention of the males in her neighborhood.

Kiwi (2007) – Maroon 5

I am a huge Maroon 5 fan.  I *almost* went to see them in concert, but unfortunately, Hubs is not quite as big a fan.  My sister has suggested that next time I call her (and I will).  I actually had no idea what this song was about the first five hundred times I listened to it.  But one day, in the car, I listened closely to the lyrics and figured it out.  (In case you haven’t, it’s about oral sex – don’t tell my mom).

F$*k You (2009)- Lily Allen

This is one of my favorites – and it was the ringtone for the Goblin King for a bit (until it came on one day in the car when I was unprepared).  See…I usually sing with the song, so it’s been easy enough to convince the kids that she’s actually saying “Thank You”.  I should note though – this song isn’t about sex.  It’s about assholes.

Without You (2002) – Eminem

Ok…this song isn’t about sex either.  It’s about Eminem flipping a ton of people the bird set to music.  The thing that (in my mind) makes it controversial is that although the original has some very questionable language, a sanitized version appeared on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, making it accessible to even your toddler…(well played Eminem, well played).

And just for fun, here’s the Despicable Me 2 trailer…

What about you?  What song did you listen to in your youth that you’ve since figured out isn’t so innocent?  What songs to you listen to with your kids that even your mom wouldn’t approve of? What’s your ex’s ringtone?


  1. Ever since I found out what She-Bop was about, I can’t think of the song–or Cyndi Lauper–without thinking of that particular, um, topic. LOL

  2. Oh how I love the 80’s – totally my era and seriously wasn’t that whole era really based on sex lol

  3. Ohmy 🙂 Look at how clips are made, what techniques are used the cutter! It seemed like the pinnacle of technical thought. Separately pleased with the man on the bike in the clip physical. So I understand the athlete!

  4. This was a super fun trip down memory lane. One of my youth and one of my college years.

  5. It’s funny when you grow up and re-listen to music that you grew up with, and think “wow, I didn’t catch that then!”

  6. It’s like the movies. Going back to watch them as an adult causes the story to be completely different.

  7. HAHA! Very fun post, Liv! I know there are several that I heard as an adult and went, “Oh, wow…”

    Like leannelc in the comment above, I was quite naive…I, too, never realized “centerfold” was about a men'[s magazine spread (pun intended) until I was much older!

    Thanks for today’s grin! <3

  8. I love most of these. I didn’t catch the “Dancing With Myself” or “She-Bop” until I was older. However, I thought “I Touch Myself” was along the same ranks, but I think it’s better. I think it’s more. I think it’s more about complete adoration and maybe even love.
    It’s deep. So to speak.

  9. This is SUCH a fun post! I love this – that Lily Allen song is possibly one of my most favourite sassy anthems ever. Cyndi’s self love anthem is so good too – this really cheered up my day!

    Lottie xx

  10. Ahhhhh the 80s! It’s always surprising to look back on songs, TV and movies from that decade.

  11. Great point. A few things I noticed looking at your choices and that’s that I really love that song by Billy Idol, and doesn’t Samantha Fox kind of look like Amy Schumer?

    There’s absolutely no way I would’ve known what She Bop was really about.

  12. I’m so naive that I didn’t know that “my angel is a centrefold” meant in a men’s magazine(I thought Dolly magazine) – oh to be that innocent again….

  13. When I was a kid in the 80s, loved the song turning Japanese by The Vapors. I only learned what it was about once I became an adult. I still think it’s so weird.

  14. This is one of the best collections in recent times, I have met! Pleasant remembering 🙂

  15. Haha – I love this post! I have a friend who got well into adulthood without working out what Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax is about. We ended up talking her through the lyrics, very slowly, waiting for the penny to drop.

  16. I was a disco diva in the 80s in my late teens – so yes, I was aware of the meanings of the songs – our favourite was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” – very sex orientated!!

    I loved Madonna when she burst on the scene …Papa Don’t Preach was another sex orientated song of hers. LOL!

    1. Author

      I forgot that one! That was one of the ones that I was totally surprised when I actually listened to the words!!

  17. I remember dancing beside my booth in Papa Ginos to lets get physical by Olivia Newton John. My parents asked me if I knew what it was about and I said exercise. Which was sort of right.

  18. Omg… Haha I love this! Very funny, I had no idea! 🙂

  19. Oh my gosh, I LOVE that Cyndi was singing about masturbation! And Billy Idol too?! I wish I had known back then, it’s like I would have been in on their secret:)

  20. No George Michael “I want your sex?”, Van Halen is going to be contacting you also rumor has it they are ticked off you didn’t include “Panama” on this list! Actually I think Panama is about a car, great stuff here!

    1. Author

      Well…that was one of my favorites – but he was clearly talking about sex…and not singing around it. And as for Van Halen…well…

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