(by Carl Frankel and Sheri Winston)
Because Prince was the rare artist-celebrity who was both deeply religious and openly sexual, his untimely passing has placed a sudden spotlight on the topic of sacred sex. His view of the relationship between sex and God provides invaluable insights to people who want to practice sacred sex, but aren’t sure how to do it.
Many religious faiths are vehemently sex-negative—anti-sex and anti-pleasure. You can only get to heaven, these traditions tell you, by transcending the body and its shameful desires. Because these attitudes have permeated our culture, many people see sex as sinful and the farthest thing from sacred.
Prince was the absolute opposite of sex-negative. He believed that sex was one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. For him, all sex was sacred. He believed that we can have sex that both feels amazing and connects us with the Divine. That’s a pretty radical belief in a world where sex has become deeply associated with sin.
Here are four takeaways from the Gospel of Prince about how to have sex that is both hot and holy.
First: Sacred sex isn’t ‘sex light.’ It’s not sex with the raw, lewd, hot stuff stripped out. Prince made it clear that sex can be sacred and wildly profane at the same time. Since sexual desire was a gift from God, unbridled lust was one of many possible ways to praise Him. (An especially fun way!)
In Darling Nikki, he meets the song’s protagonist when she’s “in a hotel lobby, masturbating with a magazine.” They go upstairs and have a “funky time.” She’s quite the bedmate: Prince’s body “will never be the same.”
Sounds like quite the delightfully raunchy encounter, right? Only the song ends with a surprise—these words played backward:
“Hello, how are you? I’m fine, ‘cause I know/
That the Lord is coming soon, coming, coming soon.”
Prince is suggesting that no matter how hot and dirty the sex gets, God is fine with it. Although Nikki turned him into a “dirty little Prince” whose one desire was to “grind grind grind,” that didn’t make him a sinner. He was “fine.” His journey into lust wouldn’t keep God from “coming soon.”
Great news! You can get down and dirty and still have it be sacred.
Second: There’s a big gap between Prince’s view of sex as inherently sacred and the notion many people have of sacred sex as a sort of special sauce that elevates the usual sexual experience. Although many people associate sacred sex with ancient erotic traditions like Tantra, that’s not required. In Adore, Prince writes:
“When we be makin’ love/
I only hear the sounds/
Heavenly angels cryin’ up above/
Tears of joy pourin’ down on us.”
There’s no mention here of special breathing techniques or any of the other sacred-sex moves you can study up on in the esoteric traditions. Prince and his partner were madly in love and making love. That was good enough to make it sacred. How do we know? Because the angels wept with joy for them.
Special techniques can help—a lot, actually—but sex doesn’t become spiritual just because you paint by the sacred-sex numbers. Sex is sanctified by what your soul brings to it.
Third: Prince believed that the body is inherently sacred—both a gift from God and a path to God. In The Human Body, he writes:
“Can U get me excited?/
Excited enough 2 thank the God above 4 the human body.”
Here, too, we see him making his familiar sex-and-God connection. If you turn me on enough, he’s saying, the spirit will come over me and I’ll cry “Hallelujah!”
We can follow Prince’s lead on this one, too. Sacred sex transmutes physical arousal into powerful feelings of gratitude to God for giving us hearts that can love as intensely as they do, and bodies that can experience such amazing pleasure.
Fourth: For Prince, sex was right up there alongside salvation as part of God’s grand plan—so much so, in fact, that the Second Coming, as imagined by Prince, sounds suspiciously like a sex party.
“Stand up everybody, this is your life
Let me take u to another world, let me take u tonight
U don’t need no money, u don’t need no clothes
The Second Coming, anything goes
Sexuality is all u’ll ever need
Sexuality—let your body be free.”
That’s right, folks—Prince basically had his God presiding over an orgy. A holy orgy. Talk about radical sex-positivity!
Which brings us to our fourth takeaway: If you want to practice sacred sex, be like Prince and be sex-positive.
Prince left us many gifts, including his vast musical output and his amazing performances. Perhaps his greatest gift, though, was his unshakable belief that sex didn’t cause our downfall. Quite the opposite, actually—it’s what brings us back to the Garden.