The song’s origin is from an incident at a Hole concert where Courtney Love was crowd surfing and ended up getting sexually assaulted by the crowd. Love was wearing a dress and in photos appeared to be smiling, triggering people to say she was “asking for it” and that she “enjoyed it”, despite her later comments on those pictures saying she was actually terrified.
Courtney love spoke about the incident’s relation to the song in an interview saying: “We had just gotten off tour with Mudhoney, and I decided to stage-dive. I was wearing a dress and I didn’t realize what I was engendering in the audience. It was a huge audience and they were kind of going ape-shit. So I just dove off the stage, and suddenly, it was like my dress was being torn off of me, my underwear was being torn off of me, people were putting their fingers inside of me and grabbing my breasts really hard, screaming things in my ears like "pussy-whore-cunt”. When I got back onstage I was naked. I felt like Karen Finley. But the worst thing of all was that I saw a photograph of it later. Someone took a picture of me right when this was happening, and I had this big smile on my face like I was pretending it wasn’t happening. So later I wrote a song called “Asking for It” based on the whole experience. I can’t compare it to rape because it’s not the same. But in a way it was. I was raped by an audience, figuratively, literally, and yet, was I asking for it?"
I love hole and the album this song is featured on, Live Through This, for the raw sound that’s fueled by Courtney Love’s voice. Instrumentally the song isn’t exactly trailblazing; in fact, I feel like the melodic guitar played throughout the song reminds me heavily of something that would’ve been in the album In Utero by Nirvana. Stylistically there are a lot of similarities, and it’s also worth noting that these two bands were contemporaries of one another; similarities, of course, are bound to come up. I still really appreciate the light hearted melody that's paired with menacing lyrics and Love's vengeful voice, both of which are used by Hole to constantly create this contrast between hard and soft. It’s clear Hole was aiming to make a mainstream impact with this album, losing a little authenticity but still keeping the same intensity it had in their debut album, Pretty on the Inside (1991). Regardless, this song is still impactful with lyrics that are sadly still relevant today and vocals by one of the best singers in the grunge era.