How Sexuality is Expressed in Electronic Dance Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How Sexuality is Expressed in Electronic Dance Music is a blog that discusses the ways in which sexuality is expressed in EDM.


Since the emergence of electronic dance music (EDM) in the late 1980s, sexuality has been an integral and controversial component of the genre. From the early days of the rave scene, EDM has been associated with hedonistic visions of pleasure, excess, and liberation, which have often been acted out through sexual behavior and imagery. In recent years, however, as EDM has become more mainstream, there has been a move away from overt sexuality and towards a more family-friendly atmosphere at festivals and concerts. This shift has been accompanied by a corresponding change in the way that sexuality is expressed in EDM, from explicit references to more veiled or hidden expressions.

In this paper, we will explore how sexuality is expressed in electronic dance music. We will begin by discussing the history of sexuality in EDM, from the early days of the rave scene to the present day. We will then examine some of the ways that sexuality is expressed in EDM today, both in the music itself and in the wider culture surrounding it. Finally, we will consider some of the implications of this expression for those who participate in or consume EDM culture.

Theoretical perspective

There are a number of ways in which sexuality can be expressed in electronic dance music. In this paper, I will be discussing the ways in which sexuality is expressed in EDM from a theoretical perspective. I will be looking at the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler in particular.

Queer theory

Queer theory is a theoretical perspective that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies, feminist studies, and critical race theory. Queer theory challenges traditional understandings of gender and sexuality by looking at the ways that power operates to produce and maintain hierarchies.

Queer theorists aim to destabilize heteronormativity, the system of beliefs and practices that naturalizes heterosexuality as the only legitimate form of sexuality. To do this, queer theorists often employ deconstruction, a method of critical analysis developed by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction involves analyzing a text or concept in order to reveal its hidden assumptions and contradictions.

Queer theory has had a profound impact on the field of electronic dance music studies. In particular, queer theory has been used to challenge dominant understandings of gender and sexuality in EDM culture. For example, queer theorists have argued that the hyper-masculine persona often adopted by male DJs is actually a performance that reinscribes traditional gender norms rather than subverting them.

In addition, queer theorists have also criticized the way that EDM culture privileged heterosexuality and white male supremacy. For instance, in their article “The Whiteness of EDM,” Ethan Miller and Andrew Ross argue that “the culture surrounding contemporary electronic dance music is premised on the erasure of queer bodies and identities.” Miller and Ross go on to argue that this erasure works to reinforce hegemony by making it seem as though only heterosexual white men can enjoy EDM culture.

Overall, queer theory provides a valuable lens for understanding power dynamics within EDM culture. By deconstructing dominant narratives about gender and sexuality, queer theory can help us to see the ways that power operates to produce inequality within this cultural sphere.

Feminist theory

Feminist theory is concerned with the ways in which society represents women and how those representations are related to the position of women in society. The approach is mostly associated with second-wave feminism, which began in the early 1960s and ended in the early 1980s.

Simone de Beauvoir’s 1949 book The Second Sex is often credited with bringing feminist theory to a wider audience. In it, de Beauvoir argues that men have always tried to keep women in a state of “otherness,” defining them by what they are not (men) instead of what they are. This, de Beauvoir argues, has led to the oppression of women throughout history.

Feminist theory has since been divided into a number of different schools of thought, each with its own focus and methods. These schools include radical feminism, socialist feminism, Marxist feminism, liberal feminism, and postmodern feminism.

“I Wanna Be” by Hardwell

“I Wanna Be” is an electronic dance music song by Dutch DJ and record producer Hardwell. The song was released on June 22, 2013, as the lead single from his second studio album, Wake Up Call (2013). It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

The song is about a young man’s journey to sexual awakening. The lyrics describe the protagonist’s feelings of excitement and anticipation as he embarks on this new experience.

Hardwell uses a variety of musical elements to convey thesong’s sexual themes. The song’s bassline is throbbing and hypnotic, while the synths provide a feeling of euphoria. The chorus features a female vocalist singing the titular phrase, “I wanna be your body / I wanna feel you inside me.” This provides a sensual and intimate moment in the song, which is further enhanced by the use ofFilter house-style percussion.

“I Wanna Be” is a prime example of how sexuality is expressed in electronic dance music. The song’s catchy hooks and danceable rhythms make it enjoyable to listen to, while its explicit lyrics and suggestive soundscape provide listeners with a sexual thrill.

“Animals” by Martin Garrix

“Animals” is a song by Dutch DJ and producer Martin Garrix. The song was released as a digital download on 17 June 2013 on iTunes. The song has peaked to number 2 in the Netherlands and number 10 in the United Kingdom. It also charted in Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. The song was written by Martijn Garritsen, Gareth Dickson and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.

The song is an EDM track with a four-on-the-floor bassline. The drop features a synth riff that has been likened to that of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. The drop also features a “bouncing” bassline.

The music video for the song was uploaded onto YouTube on 17 October 2013. It features Garrix performing in various locations, including an abandoned warehouse and on top of a moving car.

“Tsunami” by DVBBS and Borgeous

Tunami by DVBBS and Borgeous is a popular EDM song that was released in 2013. The song has a catchy beat and is easy to dance to. It also has a lot of sexual innuendo. The lyrics talk about a “tsunami of love” that is coming to sweep the person away. The word “love” is used in a sexual way, as it often is in popular music.

The video for the song is also very sexualized. It features women dancing in revealing clothing, and there are shots of them touching themselves in a suggestive way. The video also features shots of the ocean and waves, which could be seen as a metaphor for the female body.


In conclusion, sexuality is expressed in electronic dance music through a variety of means. The most common form of expression is through the lyrics of the songs, which often discuss themes of love and relationships. Additionally, the music itself often contains suggestive or sexually-themed elements, such as beats that mimic the sound of intercourse. Finally, many music videos associated with electronic dance music contain sexually-charged imagery, which further reinforces the sexual nature of the genre.

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