Music Lists

Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar" and Other Hits That Are 100% Sexual Innuendos

Back in my day, we just sang about doin' it.

When it comes to music, it's as if I have a boomer's soul.

Despite falling neatly in the middle of the millennial generation, I was raised on Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, and the Everly Brothers–which is to say, I understand nothing. Why is Billie EIlish so sad? What does Lizzo dream about? Who said Ed Sheeran was allowed to have a career? What's "DaBaby?" And then there's Harry Styles.

Oh, Harry Styles: a beacon of (maybe) bisexual boy band energy and tutu-wearing gender fluidity. I can dig it. But then he released "Watermelon Sugar." Rolling Stone greeted its arrival by saying "Harry Styles Yearns for Taste of 'Watermelon Sugar.'" They wrote that the "track has the singer nostalgic for 'that summer feeling,' yearning for berries and the taste of watermelon sugar." Aw, so wholesome, so sweet.

And then Buzzfeed ruined it–ruined me, temporarily. Curating Twitter's best Harry Styles decoders, they revealed the truth: "Watermelon Sugar" is about oral sex. What is "watermelon sugar," exactly, in this context? According to Urban Dictionary, it's a "term used for male prec-m while giving oral sex."

Can it be true? Let's look at the second verse and the bridge: "Strawberries on a summer evenin' / Baby, you're the end of June / I want your belly and that summer feelin' / Getting washed away in you."

I...want...your...belly? Then the pre-chorus and chorus go: "Breathe me in / Breathe me out / I don't know if I could ever go without…Watermelon sugar high / watermelon sugar high / WATERMELON SUGAR HIGH" and oh-my-god, this song is absolutely about oral sex!

In fact, you know what? I'm into it. Good, go ahead, Harry Styles, you aspiring millennial Beatle. After all, the fab four poured their hearts out about feeling "your finger on my trigger" in "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," a "fish and finger pie in summer" in "Penny Lane," and, frankly, a ton of lyrics also about oral sex (what did you think "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" was about?").

Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar (Official Video)

And you know what other songs win innuendo bingo? A lot of modern pop hits you wouldn't expect from their bopping, innocent melodies. I feel deceived. Actually, I feel old. In my day, if you wanted to sing about sex, you would just do as Paul McCartney did in "Hi, Hi, Hi" and belt out, "Yes, I go like a rabbit, gonna grab it / Gonna do it 'til the night is done."

Ariana Grande - "Side to Side"

Ariana Grande - Side To Side ft. Nicki Minaj

Ariana Grande looks like a trendy eighth grader I'd be too afraid to pass on the sidewalk after school, but apparently "Side to Side" is about having so much sex that you can't walk properly. "That whole song is about riding leading to soreness," she confirmed at the MTV VMAs. "'Ride d*ck bicycle' is the lyric, indeed." Kids grow up so fast these days.

Hailee Steinfeld - "Love Myself"

Hailee Steinfeld - Love Myself

The immensely talented actress debuted her singing career with "Love Myself" in 2015. It made the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went Platinum all over the world...yay. It's also about female masturbation. With anthemic lyrics like "I'm gonna put my body first / And love me so hard 'til it hurts" and "I'm gonna touch the pain away / I know how to scream my own name," some even took to calling it an "ode to masturbation." Steinfeld called it an "empowerment record...ultimately about taking care of yourself and indulging yourself, whether that be emotionally or physically or with material things." Plus, masturbation, like so much masturbation.

DNCE - "Cake by the Ocean"

DNCE - Cake By The Ocean

According to Joe Jonas, the lyrics were supposed to be "sex on the beach" but the Swedish producers kept getting the phrase mixed up with "cake by the beach?" Sure. In the end, we get what he admits is a "lyrically wacky song," but a catchy one nonetheless. Still, "Red velvet, vanilla, chocolate in my life. Confetti, I'm ready; I need it every night"–what is it about former boy band stars loving to sing about sex? (Oh right, their natural sexualities were repressed and yet somehow marketed and commodified by money-grubbing record labels throughout their formative years.) Whatever, it's catchy.

Fifth Harmony - "Work from Home"

Fifth Harmony - Work from Home ft. Ty Dolla $ign

True, once you watch the music video, the lyrics' innuendo becomes pretty clear… No, it's not about skipping a day at the office. "I'll make it feel like a vacay, turn the bed into an ocean / We don't need nobody, I just need your body / Nothin' but sheets in between us, ain't no getting off early."

Beyonce - "Rocket"

Beyoncé - Rocket

Obviously, if you think a song that begins with the line "let me sit this ass on you" isn't about sex, then you're not paying attention. And we know this song came out back in 2013, but we have to respect the extended metaphor Beyonce is creating here: "Rock right up to the side of my mountain / Climb until you reach my peak baby, peak babe, peak / And reach right into the bottom of my fountain / I wanna play in your deep baby, your deep baby, deep."

And if that wasn't enough to convey that this song isn't about a rocket, there's more! "Then dip me under where you can feel my river flowing and flow / Hold me 'til I scream for air to breathe / And wash me over until my well runs dry Send all your sins all over me, babe, me baby, me / Rock it 'til waterfalls." Shoutout to all you pastors' kids who thought maybe this was about a really intense baptism!