Country music has a reputation as a pretty strait-laced genre. You don’t get the reputation as the “God, guns and beer” crowd without keeping it, for the most part, clean. Which means that country songwriters had to get creative, layering tracks with subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexual innuendo. To put it bluntly, country music is no stranger to talking about fucking, dating back to before the 1970s, even if the genre has been able to fly under the censors’ radar much more so than, say, hip-hop or rock music.
In fact, there is an entire subgenre called “Dirty Country,” dedicated to the raunchiest, dirtiest songs that you can imagine, but we’re talking about those mainstream hits that somehow managed to slip past the censors with creative double entendre and subtle references to sex. Some of these tracks are songs you’ll remember singing nostalgically in your childhood without any clue what the hell they were about. Others, if your parents had any sense, you didn’t hear until much later in life. Either way, we’ve rounded up the ten raunchiest songs in country music history.
10. “You’ve Never Been This Far Before,” Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty was known for being a smooth talker and a womanizer, but there’s no denying that those candy-coated vocal cords made plenty of women weak in the knees when he was at his peak. That has everything to do with his focus on (often cheesy) love songs, but Twitty was frequently dripping with sex appeal. In “You’ve Never Been This Far Before,” he sings pretty explicitly about finger-banging someone who’s likely a virgin, or, as he says, has “never been this far before.” Lord, let’s just hope that the young woman in question was over 18.
9. “Like a Wrecking Ball,” Eric Church
Thanks to bro-country acts' insistence on sexualizing every single woman they mention, even someone with a more artistic pedigree can fall prey to the current climate of everything being about trying to score with a chick. In “Like a Wrecking Ball,” Church literally wants to bang his lady friend — whom he hasn’t seen in a while thanks to being on the road — through the sheet rock of their home, hoping that the pictures start falling off the wall, and perhaps even the whole damn house will come crashing down.
8. “Whips and Things,” David Allan Coe
The senile, racist, misogynist old coot that is David Allan Coe is no stranger to racial slurs, conservative politics and general jackassery, but “Whips and Things” may be seriously beyond the pale. The first verse is a pretty graphic tale about one of Coe’s consorts who’s into heavy BDSM, then transitions into stories about — no shit — “finger fuckin’ Sally,” “pussy eatin’ Pamela” and “Suck ‘em dry Suzy.” It’s worth noting that Coe recorded an entire X-rated, racist album featuring other such jams as “Cum Stains on the Pillow” and “Don’t Bite the Dick.” In perhaps a show of karma, Coe’s career began to suffer after this album’s release, and his problems with the Internal Revenue Service escalated to the point that federal agents seized a guitar in the middle of a performance. Dear Lord, do not listen to this godawful song under any circumstances.
7. “Back That Thing Up.” Justin Moore
Forget "dirty country," now there's an entire subgenre of country music dedicated to banging chicks on the back of tailgates, but Justin Moore’s 2008 hit “Back That Thing Up” is pretty much the worst of the worst. The thrust of the song — no pun intended — is that the young woman lucky enough to be Moore’s object (literally) of affection should back her ass up and “let Daddy load it up.” Generally, double entendres are intelligent turns of phrase. None of these are.
6. “Love In the Hot Afternoon,” Gene Watson
Back in 1975, the countrypolitan sound was in full swing and Houston-area resident Gene Watson was well on his way to becoming one of country’s biggest stars. With the release of “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” a song about getting high in a New Orleans park, walking around the city and coming back to the hotel for a quick roll in the hay became a Top 5 hit. Basically, this song is a sexier, country-fried version of “Afternoon Delight.”
5. “The Pill,” Loretta Lynn
Aside from the already-progressive nature of a song about birth control in the 1970s, Loretta Lynn manages to squeak in country music’s first — and one of the few — mentions of the female orgasm. “The feelin’ good comes easy now, because I’ve got the pill,” sang Lynn, who seemed as excited about finally getting off as she did throwing out her maternity tent-dresses and not having to raise any more damn kids.
4. “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other,” Willie Nelson
Country music has a complicated (read: terrible) relationship with the mere idea of homosexuality, evidenced by the recent controversy over the supposedly “homoerotic” undertones of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and the fact that there wasn’t an openly gay mainstream country artist until Chely Wright came out of the closet in 2012. Still, leave it to Willie Nelson to comment on the fact that yes, even cowboys are gay sometimes. In 2006, Nelson became the first country artist to release a pro-LGBT anthem, “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.” It doesn’t contain any explicit references to sex, but for the country crowd, the mere mention of “gay” or “transgender," however heavily veiled, is enough to cause serious fervor.
3. “Sun Daze,” Florida Georgia Line
Florida Georgia Line pretty much wrote the book on this new wave of tunes about trying to have sex with girls in the back of trucks, but they really took it over the top with 2014’s “Sun Daze.” After turning on some Bob Marley and checking out the shirtless duo’s respective Harleys, the song’s fuck interest is supposed to “sit up on the kitchen sink” so one of these morons can stick his “pink umbrella” in her proverbial “drink.” If it seems a little sad that a man would refer to his penis as a tiny cocktail umbrella, that’s because it is.
2. “Strawberry Wine,” Deana Carter
There are plenty of twentysomething female country fans who distinctly remember being forbidden to sing along with this song despite its ubiquitous radio presence in 1995, and that’s probably for good reason. “Strawberry Wine” is decidedly about a young woman (age undisclosed) who loses her virginity to a boy working on Grandpa’s farm. So rarely is female sexuality even addressed in country music, at least in any empowering way, that “Strawberry Wine” stirred some minor controversy upon its release. It’s pretty uncomfortable to think about teenagers having sex — especially under the “hot July moon" — but most of us have an experience or two like that, which makes this track inspire some serious nostalgia.
1. “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” Sammi Smith
In 1971, when this Kris Kristofferson-penned track hit the airwaves, the idea of a woman singing about her sexual desires was pretty much verboten. In fact, when Kristofferson offered the track to Dottie West, she turned it down because it was just a little too racy. The lyrics themselves aren’t nearly as explicit as some of the other entries on this list, but this is one of the few country songs (sadly) that focus on female sexual desire beyond the needs of a man. Perhaps not surprisingly, a recording of the track by Elvis Presley wasn’t quite so controversial.
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Amy McCarthy is a food writer and country music critic who splits time between Dallas and Houston. Her music writing is regularly featured in the Houston Press and has also appeared in
Texas Monthly, Salon, VICE, Playboy, and Pitchfork.