This was the song that got the attention of Warner Bros. Records, which signed Prince to a contract in 1977 when he was just 18 years old. Prince had made a name for himself playing in bands and on sessions around Minneapolis, and when he shopped his demo around, it got a lot of interest. The deal he signed with Warner Bros. gave him a tremendous amount of creative freedom: he sang, produced and played all the instruments on his first album For You, which was released in 1978 when he was 19. "Soft and Wet" was the first single, and despite a title that kept it from consideration at some radio stations, the song charted at #92 on the Hot 100 and #12 R&B.
It was a successful debut, but the rest of the album didn't get much attention, in part because Prince had a hard time promoting it since he couldn't clone himself for live performances and he didn't have a band. He didn't put a group together and tour until late 1979, after his second album was released.
Prince paints a very graphic picture of lovemaking in this song, leaving little to the imagination. The prurient lyric was an early indicator of his sexually charged music, but his later songs were often far more nuanced as his songwriting developed.
This is one of the few Prince songs with another writer also getting composer credit. Chris Moon, who owned the Moonsound studio in Minneapolis where Prince recorded the first version of this song, was given credit for co-writing the lyric.