Singer-songwriter Leith Ross releases viral song “We’ll Never Have Sex”

I remember the first time I heard a snippet of ‘We’ll Never Have Sex’ by Leith Ross – it was raw, it was unfinished, but it was utterly captivating in all its raw emotion and its simplicity. Like 7.5 million other TikTok users, I found Ross’ almost whispery voice and methodical guitar utterly captivating; it was like pure poetry in sound. The one-minute, 15-second video features Ross barely peeking over the body of their Waterloo acoustic, singing some of the most heartbreaking and heartbreaking lyrics I’ve ever heard – j was so spellbound that I downloaded the snippet to my phone’s library for fear of losing it due to endless scrolling.

“We’ll never have sex” is so universally understood – it tells a story of grief and resignation, but also promises a whisper of light at the end of the tunnel. Every note played on Ross’ acoustic guitar reaches deep into the heart, chasing away the shadows and healing what’s been broken. “We’ll never have sex” managed to tell my own story better than any word I could have imagined – feeling deeply for someone who dilutes your worst parts, making you better and kinder than you could never have been by yourself; never pushing, never rushing and always loving without expectation. Leith’s song became equal parts me and a girl I was madly in love with – fragments of us all bleeding into each other, both begging to be loved and not knowing how. Words full of hushed intimacy detailed everything I wanted – to be allowed to love someone who wasn’t sure I was what they needed. Honeyed sweetness and light mingle with the darkness of grief and sorrow in a moment of poignant humanity.

“We’ll Never Have Sex” is a song about love for love, a calm in the heart that could be overlooked if it weren’t burning so hot. This truth and this brutality are found in the final recording in the studio; it still has all that hypnotic lightning-in-a-bottle quality that it had when it first listened. The ambiguity of the lyrics and the poetry of the storytelling allow listeners of all kinds to find healing from the melancholy of love and loss.

Even after all this time, “We’ll Never Have Sex” hurts in all the best ways — and maybe listening to it threatens to send me spiraling back into the pits of heartbreak. But no matter how much it hurts, such a deep exploration of the heart is worth listening to.

Everyday arts writer Claire Sudol can be reached at [email protected]

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