Columns > Published on February 14th, 2020

9 Sexy Poems to Read with Your Valentine

Did you forget to buy your significant other a Valentine’s Day present? Need a last-minute plan for making a night at home special? Set on wooing your literary darling? Never fear: poetry is here! Whether you read these poems aloud to your partner, send them this link, or hand-write your favorite and try to pass it off as you own (don’t do that), these 9 sexy poems should help make your V-Day special.

1. ""The Platonic Blow"" W. H. Auden

Let’s open with a bang, shall we? Er, rather, a blow. Because this poem not only cuts right to the sweaty, graphic chase, it also points out a pretty important note for a list like this: like most things erotica, horror, and/or comedy, the success of the delivery is dependent largely on who you are, who you’re with, and what mood you’re in. Is it scary, or is it funny? Depends on if others are laughing. Is it hot, or is it bizarre? Depends on what you’re into. I don’t know how you’ll feel about “The Platonic Blow,” but I do know you’ll feel some sort of way. I found it outrageously, delightfully hilarious (and occasionally gross), but to be fair, I was reading it aloud to my husband in a comically formal voice. It was a blast. To each his or his own.

2. ""Hum for the Bolt"" by Jamaal May

If overt ribaldry isn’t your style, you might dig “Hum.” It’s subtle but clear, brilliantly drawn, and absolutely elegant. Not to mention sexy as hell. With enough dimension to read several times, it’s one of my favorites.

3. ""To His Mistress Going to Bed"" by John Donne

“Those set our hairs, ​but these our flesh upright.”

What poetry list would be complete without a classic? Modern works don’t own the patent on sexy. Sixteenth-century cleric John Donne is known not just for his thoughts on love, religion, and death, but sexuality, too. Old doesn’t mean boring.

4. ""Warming Her Pearls"" by Carol Ann Duffy

What in life is sexier than longing? Well, unrequited longing, maybe. There’s nothing more erotic than wanting, and this poem draws that wanting taut near to breaking, without breaking, and so it lingers long after you finish the poem. Get out your fans, folks. It’s gonna be a hot one.

5. ""Please Master"" by Allen Ginsberg

The kinky crowd needs a place on this list, as do the beat poets. How about a twofer? This one is explicit, although it has more emotion which gives it a more serious tone than (how I read) “The Platonic Blow.” If you miss that emotion, give it a listen (not at work!) as read by the poet.

6. ""Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes"" by Billy Collins

A little too bold? Billy Collins veers us back to subtlety with this poem that appears to be an irreverent fantasy about a classical poet but is actually a rather exquisite analogy for analyzing poetry. Sexy and smart.

7. ""lady i will touch you"" by e.e. cummings

If you like your poetry a little less commercial and a little more, I don’t know, deconstructed, e.e. cummings has a wealth of sensual, romantic poems. Perhaps his most famous is “lady i will touch you,” and it is lovely.

8. ""Two Lyrics From Kilroy's Carnival: A Masque (I Aria)"" by Delmore Schwartz

Kiss me there where prid​e is glittering

This is a two-part poem, and only the first part is sexy, though both parts are good. I like “Aria” for several reasons. The main one is because it presents intimacy as a sort of longing to be healed and whole, which I think makes the sensuality more powerful in some ways. I also love the way Schwartz employs rhyme and structure. It’s a refreshing poem.

9. ""Love Sonnet XI"" by Pablo Neruda

I’ll end on a personal favorite. Pablo Neruda’s collection of love sonnets is a book I return to again and again, and “Sonnet XI” is one I have dog-eared. Neruda’s mix of romance and sex is frank, passionate, and always beautiful. If you know Spanish, it's well worth reading in its original language (scroll down). And if you love the poem as much as I do, it’s also worth looking up several different English translations, because translation is an art all its own. And as in sex, in translation, minutiae change everything.

What’s your favorite sexy poem? I hope you all enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

About the author

Annie Neugebauer likes to make things as challenging as possible for herself by writing horror, poetry, literary, and speculative fiction—often blended together in ways ye olde publishing gods have strictly forbidden. She’s a two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author with work appearing and forthcoming in more than a hundred publications, including magazines such as Cemetery Dance, Apex, and Black Static, as well as anthologies such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volumes 3 & 4 and #1 Amazon bestsellers Killing It Softly and Fire. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and in addition to LitReactor, a columnist for Writer Unboxed. She’s represented by Alec Shane of Writers House. She needs to make new friends because her current ones are tired of hearing about House of Leaves. You can visit her at for news, poems, organizational tools for writers, and more.

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