We are beyond devastated by Prince’s passing. Not only were we major fans, but as Sex and Relationship coaches we appreciate that he did so much to confront the puritanism and hypocrisy of our culture’s relationship to sex. In particular, his emphasis on female pleasure and empowerment, and the way he made so many women feel every time he slithered on a stage or screen, made it clear that there is so many more sensual possibilities than what we are generally presented with in mainstream culture. In our mourning and celebration of his life and work, we have been listening to his music nonstop and noticing all of the profound lessons he shared in such a powerful medium. These are just a few of his songs that hit on some key elements we find in our practice. May his legacy live on in all of our (sex) lives.
- Head (1980) – The Importance of Reciprocation and A Broad Sexual Repertoire
This song is about head, which makes it important no matter what. This amazing story song recounts a chance meeting of “virgin on my way to be wed” and Prince. Soon after she gives him, well, head, on her way to her nuptials. After Prince gets her wedding dress a little sullied, she turns around and marries him instead. But at this point the chorus changes to “Now morning, noon, and night I give you head.” Singing a song where a woman is receiving oral pleasure morning, noon and night remains out of the norm, but in 1980, it was revolutionary. Aside from this, Head, and many of Prince’s other songs offer examples of a wide variety of sexual acts and variations, everything from taking a bath to getting on top, and we often see couples whose sex lives suffer because they are expecting intercourse to always please everyone, all the time. Prince lyrics are a great reminder of all of the ways erotic satisfaction can take place outside of a session of missionary.
- Cream (1991) – Relationships that are willing to break the rules are the best
Relationships that are the most successful are constantly open to negotiation and change and they are willing to break societal rules if it means the relationship will flourish. Or as Prince puts it “Make the rules…Then break them all ’cause you are the best.” In this vein we encourage our clients to make a relationship contract, and we also encourage them to always feel like they change that contract if it no longer serves them. When couples come to the table openly and honestly and express their needs, they often find ways to get what they want that may break certain social taboos. We also want to add that this song is just dirty good. Cream – what a dirty and wonderful way to celebrate all of the messy, sticky, awesomeness of sex.
- Kiss (1986) – Give (or make) the extra time and don’t forget the Kiss
Oh the sweet, simple, and often forgotten sensual act that is so important at the beginning of a relationship and often neglected later on. Kisses can be so many things from sweet to seductive to teasing to ridiculously dirty. We have seen so many couples that are desperate to reconnect and have forgotten how even one erotically charged kiss can change everything. We see many clients who are doing such elaborate things to make their partners happy, often sacrificing more than they can sustain, when they could just be truly giving their “extra time” and their “Kiss.”
- If I Was Your Girlfriend (1987) – Don’t Let Social Scripts Get in the Way of Intimacy
Oh how we love this song. It has so many erotic layers and twists and turns. Prince begs and pleads to be let into his female partners world in ways that are usually reserved for platonic friendships between women. This song illustrates the ways that we often keep our intimate partners at a distance that is supposed to keep some mystery alive, but can result in creating walls and distance. When Prince asks, “Would U let me dress U” it is somehow equally hot as undressing. And when he clarifies, “I mean, help U pick out your clothes/Before we go out” he is extending an offer to be in a partnership that defies societal rules about gender and how women are supposed to vanish and transform themselves for going out. But he stresses that he is not being domineering, “Not that you’re helpless/But sometimes, sometimes/Those are the things that bein’ in love’s about.” Being in lasting love is often more about these little daily moments, the time spent getting ready, than the actual going out, Prince shows how excitement and sensual energy can be woven through even the most mundane of interactions.
- Darling Nikki (1984) – Fantasize and Experiment
As teenager who listened to pop songs in the 80’s, we were amongst many whose fantasies were stoked by the thought of “So many devices, anything that money could buy.” He also put forth the culturally impossible thought that a woman could use a man for sex and want him only for that.
- 1999 (1982) – Seize The Day
If there is any one lesson that can be taken from Prince’s life and untimely death, it is that life is too short to remain unhappy and unfulfilled. Or as he puts it, Yeah, everybody’s got a bomb/We could all die any day/But before I’ll let that happen,/I’ll dance my life away.
This list could go on and on. Feel free to add all of the ones we didn’t include as comments.