If ever there was a pop song guaranteed to send parents and school principals scrambling to turn off the radio or pull the DJ’s plug, it was The Divinyls‘ “I Touch Myself (When I Think About You)“.
Sexy, unsubtle and downright subversive, “Touch” was a censor’s nightmare when it was released in 1991. It got banned from playlists everywhere, but only briefly: the catchy anthem to female masturbation (and oral sex) touched a nerve, so to speak, that was impossible to ignore or silence.
“Touch” ultimately became a worldwide dance-floor hit and an enduring radio staple, not to mention a predictable sing-a-long everywhere from weddings to gay bars to pre-teen sleepovers. Be honest: how many of you sang it around the house to taunt your parents or tease your boyfriend?
You’ll probably hear “Touch” on the radio again today, following news of the early passing of the song’s sultry singer and co-writer, Chrissy Amphlett. Only 53, the Aussie singer lived with MS and was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
Chrissy was one of those sexy tough chicks — like Deborah Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett, et al — who pushed a lot of different boundaries — in music, sexual culture, fashion — and helped redefine what’s acceptable to talk about, and sing about, in public.
One of those women who admired Chrissy’s gutsy life was fellow Aussie Marnie Franks, whose boutique lingerie label Thousand Dancers creates undergarments inspired by rock goddesses.
That’s the TD “Chrissy” set above. It’s made from a soft, light silk habotai and features ruffled trim and a colorful digital print. Two styles of briefs are priced at $40; the matching soft bra doesn’t appear to be in the store at the moment.
(Thousand Dancers is hard to find in North America, which is a big shame since most of its catalogue is inspired by and devoted to the incomparable New York icon Patti Smith. You can shop via the TD online store of through the Australian e-comm site Dirty Pretty Things.)
Interestingly, and fittingly, Chrissy Amphlett left a legacy that far outweighs her status as 1990s’ sex goddess. In interviews in the years before her death, Chrissy expressed hope that “I Touch Myself” would become not just a sexual anthem, but as a cheeky way to encourage women to conduct breast self-exams.
So go ahead, play “Touch” today and sing along with your mom, your grandma, your teacher, your co-workers. It’s a healthy thing.