Why you should make a mixtape for Valentine's Day

Kate Taylor

With Valentine’s Day approaching, few romantic gestures are as simple and sweet as a home-made mix tape. But you can now use science and technology to upgrade them into weapons of mass seduction...

When I was younger, so much younger than today, nothing said “I love you” like a mixtape. It was the teenage version of an engagement ring. Even if I didn’t like the songs, I still swooned over the hand-drawn artwork, laughed at the sleeve notes, and cold-bloodedly calculated how long it’d taken to make. 

Today, technology and romance have both moved on, but music still has the power to ignite and sustain attraction. Don’t believe me? Then take it from Victor Hugo, who said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Or, take it from this recent study that found that listening to music stimulates the same part of our brain as having mad, passionate sex. 

Creating a mixtape for your partner—or someone you’d like to be your partner—seems like a simple act of affection. But, if you use a few scientific and technological tweaks, you can create a compilation that works more like a potent love spell, or aphrodisiac. Here’s how.

 

The bonding power of singalong anthems 

When choosing your mixtape songs, make sure you include tracks that your lover will sing along to. Singing boosts the production of our most important bonding hormone, Oxytocin, according to a recent study. The study measured the oxytocin levels of a group of musicians—amateur and professional—before and after a 30-minute singing session. The levels of oxytocin were significantly higher after singing, in both groups.

 

The sexiest songs 

If you’re making a mixtape for a woman, then Schubert might be the way to go. A study from 2017 found that women who listened to 19th-century piano music while looking at photographs of men, were much more likely to find the men attractive if they also enjoyed the music.

In fact, the study revealed: “Women who listened to pleasurable music were more likely to give someone a high facial attractiveness or dating desirability compared to women who listened to unpleasant music, or looked at a photograph in silence.” Men in the same study were unmoved. 

The researchers believe the women’s results are due to the phenomenon known as “misattribution of arousal”. Listening to stirring music whilst looking at men’s faces made the women’s brains believe that the men were arousing their passions, when in fact it might just have been the piano. 

 

Brain waves

Another way to ignite your listener’s passion could be through including some Binaural Beats. These instrumental tracks—often used for meditation—consist of two pieces of music, each at a different frequency, played simultaneously. 

When listened to through headphones, they are believed to induce feelings of bliss, ecstasy or even sexual arousal in the listener. Listen to a free sample, or order the Love Meditation track, here.  

 

Music and memory 

Music has the power to take you back to a certain point in your life. So, capitalise on this and choose tracks that you heard together in your early days of dating. What was playing in the restaurant on your first date? Pick that song. 

Find the soundtrack of your partner’s favourite film and include tracks that are played during the most romantic points of the film—not during break-up or sad moments!—to inspire that passionate memory in your other half’s ears. 

 

Choose your technology 

Now you’ve selected the most seductive songs, how do you share them with your Valentine? In our innocent youth, mixtapes were put on cassette and designed to be listened to by one person, probably in a teenage bedroom, accompanied by the distant thumps of a parent’s broom handle. 

That’s missing a scientific trick. Today we know that listening to music together is more pleasurable than listening alone. Shared experiences boost our production of beta-endorphins—the chemicals that give us a burst of sudden pleasure. It’s why attending a music concert is more uplifting and exhilarating than listening to a recording of the same event at home. So, to maximise the feel-good rush of your mixtape, create a version you can listen to together. 

Spotify is a good choice. On this musical app, you can create playlists and share them with specific people, or even the world (if you’re casting your romantic net particularly wide). You can also listen to Spotify playlists via Bluetooth speakers or send them to an AI device like Amazon Echo. 

If you’d like to present your lover with a tangible gift, then a USB stick is a good bet, as it can be downloaded onto a laptop (and added to a music library). For extra retro vibes, choose a quirky USB stick designed to look just like a retro cassette tape. (Mix Tape USB Stick, £20, SuckUK).

Happy listening!