221: Sexual Suicide

Unreleased (1985) / Crystal Ball (1998)
A non-fiction book of the same name was written by George Gilder in the 1970s. Gilder’s main premise is sex before marriage and polygamy are destroying civilisation, and will eventually lead to its collapse. Not a theory you expect Prince to have subscribed to so it’s unlikely to be referenced here, but what is the meaning of this song? I’ve found two common interpretations and they hinge on how the chorus is transcribed. Folk who read the lyrics as “people gonna talk sexual suicide” think it’s Prince’s brag that leaving him is akin to killing your sexlife. While those who believe it’s “I’m gonna take a sexual suicide” reckon he’s vowing celibacy if dumped. I hear “talk” so I’m happy with the first bragging interpretation, but if the countless online lyric sites are right, and the sexual suicide is his, then surely masturbation is being referenced rather than celibacy? Not in a literal Michael Hutchence way, but in a petite mort by his own hand way? Remember, this is mid-80s Prince and onanism euphemisms were his stock in trade. Whatever the meaning, this Parade outtake is a perfectly formed peach. A four-in-a-bed romp between Eric Leeds’ sax, a filthy dose of bass, the synths from Girls & Boys and a drumbeat that Prince learnt from Sheila E. Horny in all senses of the word. George Gilder would hate it.