Tove Lo’s ‘bitches’ Is A Summer Bop About Women Having Casual Sex With Other Women

Tove Lo’s ‘bitches’ Is A Summer Bop About Women Having Casual Sex With Other Women

Tove Lo’s new track “bitches” has some interesting lyrical storytelling. It kicks off with her demanding an appreciation for what we soon come to realize is her pussy.

Appreciate it
Touch me like you know what you do and you don’t
But I’m feeling jaded
Know your own love, I don’t fuck with no glove
So why complicate it?
Let me be your guide when you eat my pussy out
‘Cause I’ve had one or two, even a few
Yeah, more than you

So far so good, right? Worship that pussy! I’m on board. Then Charli XCX comes in and it starts to become clear that this might be her second bisexual bop of the summer. In the video, she’s in a rainbow-lit room, just to drive the point home, singing “All these girls stare at me, drop lip/Dripping in harmony, like fifth/Lay ’em down, feel ’em up/And they slide away, so easy.”

The chorus, though….the chorus. 

Bitches, I don’t trust ’em
But they give me what I want for the night
Bitches, I don’t trust ’em
But I tell ’em and they do what I like
Why
Bitches, I don’t trust ’em
But they give me what I want for the night
Bitches, I don’t trust ’em
But I tell ’em and they do what I like
Why

Sure, “bitch” doesn’t necessarily have to mean a woman, but as Tove Lo continues, the imagery is, IMO, pretty damn specific.

They can’t fake it
Drying off the seat when they getting up to leave
So (wet) they get noticed
I’m better if they blunt, I don’t really wanna hunt
So why complicate it?
I call it respect when you givin’ what you get
So, baby, spread your legs
I’ll do the same
Already coming
 
Tove Lo, who identifies as bisexual, has created an ode to oral sex with women, both giving and receiving. And while it might seem like it’s the same concept as “Girls,” Lo and co. (Charli, Icona Pop, Elliphant, and ALMA), the song is actually not about bisexuality being acceptable or fun to try on, but instead, casual sex in general — casual sex with a woman. 
 
As opposed to “Girls,” Lo wrote “bitches” and also had Rough Night director Lucia Aniello direct the video, which has Lo and her collaborators teaching a guy (Aniello’s husband, Broad City star Paul Downs) how to properly go down on his wife. It’s funny and feminist and with a decidedly queer aesthetic. 
 

It’s rare queer women have a song that celebrates sex positivity in this way, which is to say, without salaciousness and the sense that the desired audience is actually not queer women at all. Miley Cyrus’ “Bang Me Box” and Rihanna’s “Te Amo” are perhaps the only real mainstream offerings, but both are in relation to one specific partner, whereas “bitches” is about the idea of hooking up in general. Lo’s focus on women is a revelation in this way, though it’s arguably a somewhat misogynistic POV that’s akin to Young M.A.’s lines about women giving her head. So while Lo specifies she wants “one night” with a woman, it’s not because that woman is a woman — it’s because she’s interested in getting her proverbial rocks off and keeping things moving. It’s not in juxtaposition to a relationship with men; not a scenario tinged with titillation. In fact, there is no mention of men in the song at all. It passes the Bechdel test!

Lesbian and bisexual women have very few songs that are explicitly about getting it on with one another.  The most notable are likely lost on millennials: Melissa Ferrick’s “Drive,” k.d. lang’s “Constant Craving,” The Butchies’ “Sex (I’m a Lesbian),” Meshell Ndegeocello’s “Beautiful.” Melissa Etheridge’s 2014 “All The Way Home” was apparently so explicit it got her album banned from Barnes and Noble. (“I’m gonna take off honey take the brake off/When I break down the door/Your hips slide like a riptide/honey I’m a surfboard/I said honey I’m a surfboard.”) 

Lo’s addition to the Sapphic sex song canon is one of sex positivity and sexual freedom that is queer-inclusive without having to call attention to it. Lo’s interest is made clear, and now non-monogamous queer women can participate in the highly popular music genre that is “songs about fucking” without feeling like it’s the bad kind of naughty.


Trish Bendix

Trish Bendix is the Managing Editor of INTO.

twitter