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O listen to him and his saxophone
Our musical genital unicorn
He's very well hung with his golden horn
Leonard Cohen, "Song of Destruction"

A short riff on the saxophone used to indicate the arrival or presence of a sexy person. The riff can be as subtle as how loudly the music is played.

The muted trumpet can be used to similar effect.

The history of this trope comes from the fact that jazz and R&B were played in brothels and burlesque houses. The musicians were supposed to play music to, ahem, enhance the experience. Many jazz musicians' nicknames were often euphemisms, like Jelly Roll Morton, which reflected their roots as brothel musicians.

A Sister Trope to Bow Chicka Wow Wow.

Compare other Mood Motifs.

May overlap with Creepy Jazz Music when Evil Is Sexy.

Not to Be Confused with the device in Brave New Worldnote , nor a character having sex with a saxophone, nor Sexy Sax Man - though this trope can certainly apply to the music they play with their sax - nor a sex hotline.


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  • An ad for Zoosk features a woman fantasizing about a sexy scene with a guy, accompanied by a sultry saxophone riff. And the riff promptly cuts off as soon as they smack their skulls into each other during an attempted kiss, and again when he bumps her head into a bedpost.
  • Long Long Man, a series of ads for a Japanese brand of gummy candies, chronicles the love story of a woman who's having doubts about her boyfriend's choice of the shorter variety of the gummy when she sees another man preferring the longer variety, with "Long, Long Maaaaaannnn~" being sung in the background. Cue sax riff.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The saxophone is Rouge's leitmotif in both the Japanese version and the 4Kids dub of Sonic X.
  • This occasionally plays in Yo-kai Watch. For example, in the scene where B3-NK1 sticks his sword into Robonyan to find a screw.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the novel Brave New World, the hedonistic dystopia actually renamed the musical instrument the sexophone. (That is if it really is the same instrument and not something...different.)
  • Played with in Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:
    "There emerged from the car a pair of the sort of legs which soundtrack editors are unable to see without needing to slap a smoky saxophone solo all over, for reasons which no one besides soundtrack editors has ever been able to understand. In this particular case, however, the saxophone would have been silenced by the proximity of the kazoo which the same soundtrack editor would almost certainly have slapped all over the progress of the vehicle".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boy Meets World uses this once when Topanga enters the room in a sexy nightgown to show that she is finally ready to have sex with Cory, in one of her very few fanservice-y moments in the show.
  • Used once in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Buffy, under the influence of a love spell, enters the library wearing a raincoat, heels, a smile, and nothing else. Interestingly, the sax riff telegraphs her intent (to seduce Xander) every bit as much as her arrival.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). An In-Universe version occurs in "Callisto Soul", when a lingerie-clad dancer is trained by Gren with the assistance of a sax player.
    Gren: Feel those notes nibble your neck...
  • When discussing Rep. Weiner's tweets on The Daily Show, a shirtless cameraman shows up in the background playing the sax riff from George Michael‎'s song "Careless Whisper".
  • The second version of the closing ident for MTE—an imprint of MCA Television—used in the early to mid 1990s, was typically punctuated by a saucy saxophone riff. Among the series that used this was HBO series Dream On.
  • In Flower Boy Ramyun Shop a sexy saxophone tune plays when Eun Bi pulls Chi Soo in for a kiss, as she was playing his own game (of seducing people because he can and then dropping them) against him.
  • On The Joe Schmo Show, a musical theme that began with this was used regularly when showing scenes of something that was sexy or wasn't actually, but they wanted to play it as it was for comedy.
  • The Munsters used this at least once, when Grampa's latest invention turned Herman into a woman.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 has made a few jokes about this.
    • In The Brain That Wouldn't Die, this type of music plays (as the Villain Protagonist trolls for potential victims) and Tom Servo quips, "It's a sleazy morning out there. You're listening to KPORN, Holmes and Reems in the Morning, playing sleazy, slutty music all morning long. Here's one by Skinny and the Sweat Beads..."
      • Mike brings the riff back later when the music makes its reappearance. "Stay tuned for the obscene phone call of the day, on KPORN".
    • In The Horrors of Spider Island, there's a muted trumpet playing as a bikini-clad model takes a shower. Crow quips, "Those musicians who play muted trumpet solos must love these movies".
      • And "I wasn't even being sexy until the dirty sax music started!"
    • Tom Servo was prone to doing the mute-trumpet riff on occasion, to add sexual subtext to the scene where it really didn't belong. His voice actor, Kevin Murphy, continues the tradition in various RiffTrax.
  • In the miniseries adaptation of James Clavell's Noble House, one of these was used at the beginning of nearly every scene where Venus Poon showed up.
  • Used a lot in Scrubs, along with copious amounts of Gaussian Girl and Hot Wind whenever an attractive female character is first introduced.
  • Used in the song "History is Made at Night" from the Show Within a Show from Smash, Bombshell.
  • The theme tune to Square One TV (not the remixed version, which replaced it with a synthesizer).
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series. In "Tomorrow is Yesterday", an air force officer from the 20th Century is beamed on board Enterprise, and the first bizarre thing he witnesses is one of the miniskirted Bridge Bunnies striding down a corridor, accompanied by a few bars of muted trumpet.
      Christopher: (dumbfounded) A woman?
      Kirk: Crewman.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Royale" features some sexy saxophone playing when the characters of the simulation play out a romantic scene. The music is a nod to the fact that the simulation is taken from a trashy novel.
    • Also happens in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy", where the Doctor programs himself to randomly daydream. Given that the Doctor's programming would make him Genre Savvy as hell about this kind of information, it's perfectly logical that an extremely exaggerated version of this trope plays when he slips into a daydream about Seven of Nine, B'Elanna, and Janeway all shamelessly flirting with him. It's hilarious.

  • Billy Joel's "Christie Lee" crosses over with this in an interesting way, as Joe the saxophonist finds out to his misfortune.
  • George Michael's "Careless Whisper" IS the sexophone Standard Snippet. Arguably a case of Lyrical Dissonance, as the song is really about the terrible guilt and shame the narrator feels from cheating on a lover.
  • Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" IS the other sexophone Standard Snippet. It's a melancholic jazz song about the gloomy London street, which the lyrics and city theme could be applied to romance, relationships, and lost loves, but listeners are more hooked to the particularly long saxophone riff - played as a solo for eight bars between each set of verses - performed by Raphael Ravenscroft; so much so that upon its release, saxophone sales went up just to play that riff.
  • Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty", though the girls in the video are clearly playing trumpets.
  • "You Got It All" by The Jets is a serenade to a Second Love with a saxophone riff in its intro.
  • Fifth Harmony's "Worth It", which, as many have pointed out when it first came out, sounds quite a bit like "Talk Dirty".
  • Etta James' song "I Just Want To Make Love To You" features a prominent saxophone throughout. Many might recognise the song from the Female Gaze Diet Coke commercials.
  • If you think "Destination Calabria" by Alex Gaudino, sung by Crystal Waters, is not this in its saxophone, it's just because you haven't see the music video.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This is one of Aksana's theme songs.
  • In a rare male version, this was the theme music for "wrestling porn star" Val Venis.
  • Before that, that was the theme music for The Model Rick Martel. Venis's theme is actually Martel's theme sped up.

  • In contrast to the high-energy "walk-up music" used by most baseball players, starting in May 2014, Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick opted for "Careless Whisper" by George Michael. The fans seem to approve.

  • All over the place in City of Angels, especially the intro to "Lost and Found".
  • Evita has a saxophone theme during the song I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You, the scene where Eva seduces Peron.
  • Funny Girl: It's part of a nightclub act rather than something more risque, but the fairly stripperiffic song "Cornet Man" is unsurprisingly about a man who plays the cornet (basically a mellower-sounding version of the trumpet). Also, some of the lyrics can be taken as double-entendres suggesting the Cornet Man has reasons other than simply a "gig" to "leave his wife and kiddies" and go on the road, though it's not clear whether these were intentional or the song has fallen victim to Have a Gay Old Time syndrome.
  • One of the strippers the young Gypsy Rose Lee meets in Gypsy uses a trumpet as part of her routine.
    "I (bump) and I (bump), and I , (bump), (bump), (bump), but I do it with a horn!"
  • A very early example occurs in Jules Massenet's 1881 opera Hérodiade (based on a novel by Gustave Flaubert). King Herod's aria "vision fugitive," about his lust for his stepdaughter Salome, features a suggestive alto saxophone part to represent his thoughts of her.
  • Miss Saigon features a wailing saxophone song just prior to the leads having sex. They later recall they night they met, singing "a song, played on a solo saxophone..." to the tune of the riff.

    Video Games 
  • Martine's theme in The 7th Guest, reprised when Carl encounters her ghost in The 11th Hour.
  • Bully plays a sexophone riff whenever the hero finishes a mission that ends with getting a kiss from one of the girls.
  • Chulip: A sax riff plays whenever a successful kiss is made.
  • In Deadly Premonition a very sultry (but hectic) jazz piece with heavy sax plays as the leitmotif for the Laura Palmer character. It's also used in the scene where Emily takes off her shirt to show that she doesn't have the Raincoat Killer's tattoo on her back, which betrays that scene's real purpose.
  • Candy's theme in Donkey Kong 64 uses the muted trumpet variation.
  • In Fantasia: Music Evolved, before or during the song "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix, the player can substitute the saxophone from the "Eddie Kramer Orchestral Mix" for Jimi's vocals and the song would sound more instrumental and sexy... in a game for ten-plus-year-olds. And this is coming from a guy whose song origins in "Fire" date back to when Noel Redding invited Jimi to stay at the house of Redding's mother at New Year's Eve and to the events that followed.
  • Guilty Gear: Slayer has 2 themes, Haven't You Got Eyes In Your Head? from XX and Jack-a-Dandy from Xrd, feature a pretty wicked one.
  • The King of Fighters: Iori Yagami has his themes which play usually jazz-themed with a sweet saxophone solo. Many of these tunes have the words "Arashi no Saxophone" ("Stormy Saxophone") in the title.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work has a song called "Saxy Sex".
  • The Consort in Mass Effect is introduced with a saxophone solo, while the camera follows her lower backside up a staircase.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
  • Spoofed in Mother 3, as it is the leitmotif of the not-quite-so-sexy Magypsies. The saxophone there had a weird, reverberated, distorted kind of sound to it. Later on in the game, it even serves as a Musical Spoiler as to the true identity of Fassad as Locria, the seventh Magypsy. And then there's Flint's attack instrument...
  • The Plunger Thing from Paper Mario: Color Splash has this music playing while it plunges every enemy on the field.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 4 has the track Muscle Blues, which is essentially the theme song for a character's fairly gay Shadow.
    • The Hiimdaisy comic, along with the fandub, manages to make the above so much funnier. "I'm Kanji Tatsumi, and I enjoy naked men! Oh yeah~"
    • Ayase/Alana in Persona. "Ow, my chest hurts!"
    • Lisa/Ginko in Persona 2 also has the Tempt/Seduce like Ayase above, with the sexophone to match. She can also drag Maya and an unwilling/embarrassed Yukino to do a triple seduce... with the sexophone to match.
  • Pokémon X and Y:
    • This plays when using the move Attract.
    • The moves Disarming Voice and Captivate also involve sax riffs.
  • In Saints Row IV, the romance cut scenes end with this playing.
  • In the arcade game Silent Scope, a short riff plays when you find a woman in the background and point your sniper rifle at her. It helps that the character you're playing as gasps "Wow!" at the same time. (You get a bonus life point for this.)
  • In Sly Cooper, this often happens when Carmelita Fox shows up.
  • In Spore, a cheesy sax riff plays when the player mates in Creature Stage. If this sounds steamy to you, you'll be disappointed to find that the mating dance consists of the two creatures waving their butts at each other.
  • Here's this gem from the ESRB's description of Trauma Team: Female patients are asked to explain their symptoms, then lift up their shirts for closer inspection. The scene contains no nudity, but a saxophone can be heard playing in the background as a male doctor makes the following remarks: "Can she really be that thin?," "dayum!," and — after doctor's heart rate increases — "It's only natural... I'm a straight male".

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Lampshaded by Ben and Kerry of and Hamilton, Ontario's Y108: "What is Kenny G. doing in everyone's bedroom ever?"
  • Cracked's summary of the Terminator movies includes this line:
    Two naked men appear and come after her. Luckily, no saxophones are playing at the time, so it becomes an action movie.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The same three-note sting is played every time someone on 6teen looks "sexy", whether female or male.
  • This appears several times in a Big Hero 6: The Series episode where Aunt Cass gets a date.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Party Poopers" had saxophone music briefly play when Molly Coddle tears off the dress the Cute Dolls gave her to wear at their party.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Beauty and the Beet", this is used for sexy scientist Rhoda Dendron.
  • One would occasionally be played for Rosie O'Gravy from Dog City. Specifically whenever Ace Hart has an internal monologue in which he thinks fondly of her. Given the animated segments of the series parody classic detective stories, this is perhaps not surprising.
  • The Sexophone is played in The Emperor's New School whenever Kuzco sees Malina.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", Peter wishes for his own personal soundtrack from a genie. The music engages in some Mickey Mousing, but when Peter and Lois are about to get intimate it turns into funky Sexophone music.
    • Then there's the two of them engaging in "phone sax", which is playing sexy saxophone songs over the phone to each other. Lois does it with her vagina.
      Peter: Don't wash the mouthpiece.
    • In another episode, Peter watches a film with Allison Janney, and a sexy sax is heard as she steps out of a cab and the camera pans upward. However, her legs seem to go on forever, leading to a note that gets held for so long, the sax player has to pause a moment to catch his breath.
  • Kim Possible: Shego makes an entrance (at 1:20) as a distraction, with squealing trumpet.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: A Running Gag on the show is Mrs. Murawski gushing over her hand-made desk, which often prompts a snippet of suggestive saxophone music.
  • Both played straight and averted in The Ren & Stimpy Show. The sexophone was used both upon arrivals of attractive women, as well as various scenes involving Stimpy (e.g.a scene of him stripping off his fur before going skinny-dipping).
  • Showed up as a joke in Star Wars: Clone Wars: A snatch of "stripper music" plays when C-3PO first shows off his new gold plating.
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan (co-created by Clone Wars' showrunner), this also happens when the similarly gold-plated Corus (Ilana's mech form) is cleaned off with water and also sparkles.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs used this a lot, Animaniacs especially (like whenever Minerva Mink and Hello Nurse were around).
  • The same sexy saxophone riff shows up in all of MGM's golden age cartoons whenever an attractive female shows up, like Tom and Jerry and shorts by Tex Avery.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Talk Dirty

The song "Talk Dirty" features a saxophone riff in its chorus, even though the girls in the music video are clearly playing trumpets.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Sexophone

Media sources: