First, a warning: When I tell you that for the past week I have been able to think of nothing but this one particular song, I am only slightly exaggerating. If there is too long a silence, too brief a pause, the song creeps into my brain and I cannot be helped. I just want you to know what you’re getting yourself into before we begin.
It started, as so many online legends do, with a Reddit post. “My (20F) girlfriend of two years told me the music that I (25M) play during sex is weird and a major turn off,” Redditor u/TylerLife titled his post. “When I first started having sex I researched into ways to be better as I was a little stiff and pretty much had no idea what I was doing,” he writes. Wonderful! We celebrate a lifelong learner! After reading that playing music during sex could put him at ease, he created a playlist of songs to which he was “comfortable matching the rhythm.” All was fine and good until he learned that his girlfriend had been questioning his taste in sexy music throughout their two-year relationship: “There is one song in particular, which actually happens to be my favourite, that my girlfriend hates and says turns her off in a major way.”
He defends the song — which we’ll get to in a second — as “a good love making song with good rhythm.” He wonders whether he should have asked for her input on the music they play during sex. ( … Yes.) “I pretty much played this tune every single time,” he continues, “so the amount of times she must have not been enjoying it, when I thought the complete opposite is annoying but also embarrassing in ways.” Without further ado, here is the song:
You’re welcome, or I’m sorry, or I told you so, or please, forgive me. As you just experienced for yourself, “Cbat,” by Hudson Mohawke, starts perfectly fine, I guess, in terms of songs to have sex to. And then, it begins: a squeaking, borderline arrhythmic melody (??) that one commenter dubbed “robot dolphin sounds.” Another said it “sounds like a mouse caught in the talon of an owl slowly dying.” Another still aptly described the sound as “two awkward balloons fucking.” It’s bizarre and undeniably catchy, and the post was immediately shared on TikTok.
So began the onslaught of questions: Why this song? Was he thrusting to the beat or the melody line? Two years?!? Many fixated on the part of the post where he said that recently, he and his girlfriend were having sex sans music, but he was “still thrusting” to “Cbat.” “She recognised this and asked me to stop,” he writes. So … it had to have been the robot-dolphin-balloon-fucking sounds, right? Others have called out one particularly distressing detail of the original post: He played the song with “other partners”?! However, he says they “never complained.” Help!!
Over the past week, “Cbat,” by Hudson Mohawke, has taken over my TikTok “For You” page. As of writing this, the 11-year-old song is currently No. 1 on both Spotify’s Viral 50 playlist and iTunes’ top-ten electronic songs. Regardless of whether the entire story is made up — part of me hopes this is a perverted little fairy tale — “Cbat,” by Hudson Mohawke, has become inescapable. “It’s not a song I would’ve put on a sex playlist,” Mohawke recently told NBC News, “but kink-shaming is none of my business.”
And sure, the world is sopping wet with horny anthems — had he never heard of D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”? — but who among us hasn’t gotten freaky to a questionable soundtrack? You’ve never been mid-coitus before realizing Hulu started auto-playing the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale? You’ve never exchanged smooches in bed only to remember that your nightly affirmations podcast is still on? You’ve never been moving and grooving to some sexy music, only to be interrupted by a Spotify ad for Burger King? (These are all true stories with some identifying details changed to protect my anonymity.) Honestly, I am more upset by the copious use of the phrase “love making” in the original Reddit post than I am by the song choice.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the internet’s love-hate affair with “Cbat” resulted in the end of another relationship. In an update posted to Reddit on Sunday, u/TylerLife revealed that he and his girlfriend have since broken up after she found out about the viral post. As did her sister. And their parents. “What made it more awkward,” he writes, “is that they recognised the song,” adding that he’d previously played it for his now-ex-girlfriend’s family at a dinner.
Fortunately, u/TylerLife has shared what he claims is his full sex playlist. In addition to the infamous “Cbat,” the list includes “Angel,” by Shaggy, “Fade,” by Kanye West, “Love in This Club,” by Usher, “Get Busy,” by Sean Paul, a house remix of Kelis’s “Milkshake,” and another song by Hudson Mohawke that opens with a baby noise. If we’ve learned anything here, it’s that any song can be a horny song if you work hard, believe in yourself, and don’t tell the internet about it.