Why “I’ll Make Love To You” makes me miss the 90s

I was ten when this song came out. I remember it clearly, and how even at that age such a sexual song seeped into our elementary school lives. I still know all of the lyrics, basically by heart, and am compelled to belt out to it every time it happens to play (aka every time I dig out my old CDs and put it on).

The last time this happened, in the serendipitous company of Vanessa and Chloe, I was struck by just how goddamn sweet, and dare I say feminist, these lyrics actually are. Compared to the song lyrics of today, these almost seem like a farce they are so damn sweet.

Take for example:

Pour the wine, light the fire
Girl, your wish is my command
I submit to your demands
I will do anything, girl, you need only ask
I’ll make love 2 you like you want me to
And I’ll hold you tight, baby, all through the night
I’ll make love 2 you when you want me to
And I will not let go ’til you tell me to

In today’s pop culture world this kind of refrain is basically unthinkable. “I’ll make love to you, when you want me to“? What the hell kind of consensual bullshit is that? “And I will not let go ’til you tell me to”–this guy is actually offering to cuddle ALL NIGHT? These kinds of men just can’t exist.

Obviously Boyz II Men’s fifteen minutes of fame has come and gone. For all I know if they were making music today these lyrics would be more like “I’m gonna ride a train on this b—-.” But I was happy to see Colorlines report that these sweet R&B guys just got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a few short weeks ago. It gives me comfort to know that 60 million people purchased their albums, and perhaps sometimes, like me, they pull them out of the back of their 90s closet and hear these super sweet and consensual lyrics.

What’s not to love about 60 million people singing the words “I’ll make love to you when you want me to” at the top of their lungs? I’d say that’s pretty good place to start with sex education.

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