I Want Your Sex

Album: Faith (1987)
Charted: 3 2


  • In this song, Michael makes a forthright plea to his lover, making a case for why they should have sex. Among the reasons: It's natural, he's been waiting a long time and he's out of patience, everybody should do it, he loves her. Trying to get in a girl's pants is a common theme in rock and R&B music, but this is the first hit song that included the word "Sex" in the title, although Marvin Gaye knocked on the door with his 1982 hit "Sexual Healing."
  • Some critics accused Michael of ripping off Prince with this song, but Prince's hits at the time were not sexual in nature, as radio stations stuck to his songs like "Pop Life" and "Raspberry Beret" while songs like "Erotic City" and "Darling Nikki" were either B-sides or album cuts. "I Want Your Sex" did generate some controversy and was banned by the BBC; after the initial shock of hearing DJs say the title, the song was accepted and had a long chart life. Over the next few years, the sexual floodgates opened up with hit songs titled "I Wanna Sex You Up" and "I Touch Myself" free to roam the airwaves. Prince was now free to release songs like "Cream" and "Gett Off" as singles.
  • This was Michael's first single as a solo artist. His clean-cut image as a member of Wham! may have given him the benefit of the doubt among program directors that would have rejected a song with this title from many other artists. For Michael, it immediately distinguished his solo work from Wham!, where he was known for hits like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."
  • This song caused a great deal of controversy when it was initially released, but was a rare song that became accepted as the artist explained himself. Amid concerns that the song was promoting promiscuity in the age of AIDS, the BBC restricted airplay to after 9 p.m., and many US radio stations refused to play it. Michael issued a statement in response, saying, "The media has divided love and sex incredibly. The emphasis of the AIDS campaign has been on safe sex, but the campaign has missed relationships. It's missed emotion. It's missed monogamy. 'I Want Your Sex' is about attaching lust to love, not just to strangers."

    Once initial concerns about the song died down and the shock value of the title wore off, most Top 40 radio stations, as well as the BBC, warmed up to the song. The disclaimer (and a bit of editing to the original video) also appeased MTV, which at first refused to air the clip.
  • Michael didn't come out as gay until 1998, when he was arrested as part of a sting operation for performing a "lewd act." Most in the industry knew he was gay, but he resisted the label as he felt it wasn't the real issue. "To me it's always been about finding the right person," he told The Big Issue in 1996. "The only moral involved in sex is whether it's consenting or not. Anyway, who really cares whether I'm gay or straight? Do they think they've got a serious chance of shagging me or something?"
  • The album Faith hit #1 on the R&B charts, making Michael the first white solo artist to do so. Michael was very proud of this accomplishment, as acceptance in the black community was very important to him, as it was to many British singers before him, including Elton John and David Bowie. Michael's previous release was a duet with Aretha Franklin, but "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" failed to infuse Michael with soul.
  • Michael made a strong statement with the video for this song, where he wrote the words "explore monogamy" on his reported girlfriend, a make-up artist named "Kathy Jeung." It was rare for a video to include a written message to complement a song, and the technique was very powerful, especially since few people could criticize the message. In retrospect, Michael's support for monogamy seems logical, as his homosexuality became public in the '90s. With AIDS spreading and many people still uneducated about the disease, it would have been very irresponsible for a gay man to advocate promiscuous sex.
  • The album version runs 9:17 and is listed as "I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)." In the liner notes, the song is listed as the "Monogamy Mix," with the parts being "Rhythm 1 Lust" and "Rhythm 2 Brass In Love." On Part I, Michael played all of the instruments himself.
  • This was used in the movie Beverly Hills Cop II and appeared on the soundtrack.
  • In 2008, George Michael made an appearance on the TV show Eli Stone. He played himself in an episode where a high school girl is expelled for performing this song at an abstinence-only assembly. Michael went to trail to defend the girl, and said this on the witness stand: "It was inspired by a relationship. Like most of my work, it was autobiographical." He went on to add that the song advocated sexual responsibility, and questioned the practice of teaching abstinence as the only form of sex education.
  • Some of the unusual percussion sounds were generated with a very early sampling device called a Greengate DS3, which ran on an Apple II computer (back when Apple was a niche computer system for artists and geeks). With the Greengate, engineer Chris Porter was able to set up a sequence of distinctive beats and elements.
  • The rhythm track on this song was the result of a happy accident. Most of the sounds on the song were made using two synthesizers (a Roland Juno-106 and a Yamaha DX7) and a LinnDrum drum machine/sampler. The devices were connected to a MIDI unit which went a little off-kilter and started triggering some random sounds. "I went, 'Oh damn, I'll reset it,'" engineer Chris Porter said in Sound on Sound. "George said, 'Hang on a second, hang on a second! That sounds really good, doesn't it?' I said, 'It's a bit weird,' and he said, 'Yeah, but if we just take a bit out of here and a bit out of there we might be able to use it... ' We recorded a few bars of that odd squelching noise, and it then morphs into the song, at which point the bass becomes the bass part and just the Juno, LinnDrum and DX7 provide the overall soundscape."
  • This song was released as a 12" single with three sections:
    Rhythm 1: Lust
    Rhythm 2: Brass In Love
    Rhythm 3: Last Request

    The first section was the 7" single, which is what radio stations played. The full 12" version runs 13:12.
  • Andy Morahan, who also worked on "Father Figure," "Monkey" and "Faith," directed the video. George Michael said: "It was a feeling that Andy and I were making really effective pop videos at a time when videos were still shamelessly naive, considering film was an accomplished medium."

Comments: 15

  • Victoria Ana-tolian Semenenko 02.10.1976 from UkraineIn reality "I Want Your Sex" 1987 trilogy was inspired by dating exactly Brooke Shields in 1985.
  • Victoria Ana-tolian Semenenko 02.10.1976 from UkraineAn important notice also is that "I want your sex" 1987 official video looks to be really much alike to "9 1/2 weeks" 1986 film story starring Kim Bessinger and Mickey Rourke. And there is so many alikeness that George Michael video can be accused of plagiat
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineAnd I insiste that "I want your sex" trilogy was NEVER about three different persons that actually obvious of rythmes names as stages of male's feelings as thinking about willing sex.
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineSo the officially confirmed fact is there really was a Spanish model invited for naked scenes so video was produced in a way to make public believe like they were the same woman.
    But as me like George's true baby am also Real Life Victory as Nonviolent Victory there were Russisn and Chinese threats if nuclear war also just for a purpose to make appear exactly an Asian person as an official and especially stable George's life partner. A kind of reference for that you'll find in "Pretty woman" (1990) story when Edwards car is actually blocked or burried by exactly Chinese. As well "Pretty woman" story despite representing George's fantasy as mine too about being a father figure for me also remains a lot about that dating with Brooke Shields on Chicago hotel roof in 1985.
    Brooke told wore a blouse George liked a lot and were talking a lot about fashion during that dinner.
    I would like to remain as Real Life Victory am engaged in Saint George's story as that Victory who in original legend brought a Greek hero to a source of water as a source of life.
    Means George to Brooke so Vivian in the film saying "this is a fate".
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineA very important notice in reality "I want your sex" trilogy was inspired by dating with exactly Brooke Shields in 1985. So the fact is George was even offended in Chicago hotel by her guard as mother too who watched too much carefully after her virginity. Despite continued to see her for some more dates in New York but finally split saying he needed to occupy more of his career.
    Brooke being still rather naive 19 years virgin as sheltered girl believed he was a very gentle person who respected her as she wrote in her memoire.
    So the split happened at Gracy Jones party after Boy George was mocking on a couple about the rumor. Means George put Brooke into a limo to say good-bye despite there was a moment she believed like "everything" could ever really happen in the car.
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineAlso got to say that meaning of this song was completely perverted by medias at the time and reactions were truly exagerated just because it was never about occasional sex but about sex in a stable relationship.

    And they say there was a Spanish model invited to this video for naked scenes.
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineHad to notice an important thing that at the time there were two versions of video for this song (as for "One More Try" and "Father Figure" too). And one of the versions I call a provocative one started with walking girl's back. So an Australian journalist was even asking him in 1988 if his own bottom was seen there and George answered that it depends which version you'd watched.
  • Michelle from UsaWhen this song came out I was 16. I remember that they couldn't play it on the radio until after 10 pm. This was the first song that changed my teenage mind that sex wasn't a "dirty" topic.
  • Viktoria Semenenko from UkraineAnd I remember how was telling him may be just need a Bible as you are saint.
  • Ma from FloridaMichael said to Paula Yates he was monogamous at the time, and on the Ross show he was scared of getting STDs. He emphasized monogamy aspect. I don't think it was because he leaned toward men, as he had a gf, it was just an ethical thing. He doesn't always come off as typical gay anyway. Most gays do NOT embrace monogamy and gay lobby actually encourages promiscuity.
  • Xyzzy from Redwood Empire, CaCorrecting myself... VH/1's Pop-Up Video doesn't mention the "explore __" segment, but does say that George Michael wrote the song in response to people telling kids to not have sex because of the threat of AIDS, as he wanted to send the message that promiscuity was the threat, not sex itself.
  • Xyzzy from Redwood Empire, CaThe article has a few inaccuracies that I guess were written by a younger person... AIDS was "beginning" to spread in 1981 (not 1987) and most people knew that it was being transmitted by sex, needle sharing, and blood transfusions in heteros & gays by the mid-80s. George Michael being gay would've had nothing to do with the decision to write "explore monogamy" as nobody could've imagined back then that a gay person could ever be open about their orientation. (Also, I've read that he originally wrote "explore pleasure" but MTV pressured him to change it to "explore monogamy" -- I think that VH1's "Pop-Up Video" mentions it in their version of IWYS.)
  • Mare Soir from Oceanside, CaThere are three parts to this song. I think this song is about three different people and their respective friendship/fling/relationship. It's got to be one of the most sensual songs ever. Wow. George Michael is the sexiest and most intelligent artist out there. He had it going on then and he still does. He personifies love.
  • Manda from Oc, CaIn the LA Times June 14, 2008 photo montage about his notable songs that went along with the article about George's tour 'TwentyFive Live," he remarked on "I Want Your Sex": "I hate that song. I think it sounds like bad Prince. I was so obsessed with Prince at the time, with the sparsity of those records."
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiDuring the song's U.S. chart run, the producers of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 radio show subtly rearranged the show's usual structure to accommodate radio stations that refused to play the song, while causing minimal disruption to the rest of the show. (Here's a link to the cue sheet for the first AT40 episode where this song appeared, including an attached memo to radio station program directors describing how to skip over the song.)
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