While sex sells, it's not always the message entertainers are selling people. When you discover that songs you thought were about sex definitely aren't, it doesn't necessarily make them any less enjoyable. If anything, I think the wit and subtle meanings of lyrics add to how much I enjoy a song. But more than anything, I like being in the know.
When you "get" the lyrics to a song, you somehow feel cooler. Likewise, when you misinterpret lyrics, it's not uncommon to get a little red in the face. This doesn't mean you're stuck in high school, it just means you like to be on the pulse of culture, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, misinterpretations of lyrics can be embarrassing, especially when you think the song is about sex, and well, it's totally not.
The last thing you want to do is make a Snapchat video to what you think is a sexy soundtrack, only to find out that the song you're doing your best Beyoncé-inspired hair flips to is not about sex. Talk about a gaffe! Although men think about sex about 19 times a day and women think about it roughly ten times a day, according to BBC, sex was not on the brains of these artists (or songwriters) while penning the lyrics to these songs.
1"Like A Virgin" by Madonna
Although Madonna isn't one to shy away from selling sex, this song's lyrics are not actually about losing your virginity. Penned by Billy Steinberg, Buzzfeed reports that "Like A Virgin" is a song about Steinberg's emotional state after a failed relationship left him in the arms of someone else. This new relationship made him feel "shiny and new." You know, like a virgin (now start gyrating to the beat).
2"Hey Ya!" by Outkast
You thought this jam was about having casual sex in the back of a Caddy. But, as Andre 3000 told MTV in 2004, it's really about couples who stay in a broken relationship. "It’s about some people who stay together in relationships because of tradition, because somebody told them, ‘You guys are supposed to stay together.’ But you pretty much end up being unhappy for the rest of your life." So that's why Andre 3000 "don't wanna meet your daddy." It all makes sense now.
3"Harder To Breathe" by Maroon 5
Oh, how awesome would it be if heartthrob Adam Levine was talking about rough sex here? Alas, he's not. In 2002, the singer told MTV that the song was dedicated to a record company executive who was putting pressure on Levine to produce one more track. “That song comes sheerly from wanting to throw something,” Levine told MTV. That's still kinda hot. No?
4"Hotel California" by The Eagles
As a recent Angeleno transplant, I've been driving around trying to find this sexy hotel and get some action. But it turns out the hotel is fictitious. Hotel California is not one hedonistic playground in the palms. Nope, Don Henley, who penned the classic rock track told Rolling Stone the song is about greed and self-destruction that can run rampant in the music industry. Well, that's no fun.
5"Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd
The 25-year-old sure knows how to woo the ladies. But The Weeknd is likely singing about cocaine in "Can't Feel My Face"— though he has not confirmed this. Radio.com noted that lyrics in The Weeknd's song "Kissland" suggests that the singer has had a history with cocaine and other uppers. It doesn't take a Cambridge scholar to analyze the lyrics in "Can't Feel My Face," but with such a sexy singer, people jump to the conclusion that the lyrics are sexually charged. Perhaps this isn't the most appropriate song to receive a nomination from the 29th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for best song of the year.
6"Every Breath You Take" by The Police
I grew up thinking this song was romantic. Yikes! What does that say about me? But come on, the hook of this classic is deeply sexy. And the lyrics might suggest a little Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired sex. But no. I was wrong. Buzzfeed noted the tantric sex guru, Sting, said the song was about a "possessive and controlling stalker." So not sexy.
7"In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
Not only did this 1980s' hit make Phil Collins seem cool, it landed him a shout-out in the 2000 Eminem song, "Stan." But "In The Air Tonight" isn't about sex or having an orgasm. There also seems to be no validity to the urban legend that this track is about a mysterious drowning. In the VH1 series "Classic Albums," Collins said the song wasn't about anything. "It’s so frustrating," Collins told VH1, "because this is one song out of all the songs I’ve ever written that I really don’t know what it’s about!"
And now you're in the know.