"Sin" has been commonly a staple of Nine Inch Nails live performances for many years; setlist.fm lists it as the artist's eighth most played live song. Its versions on the single differentiate heavily from the album cut, with more an EBM sound with distorted vocals and alternate instrumentation that became the foundation for its many live renditions, as opposed to the synth-pop style featured on Pretty Hate Machine.
Stylized as 5in, it is the fourth official Nine Inch Nails release and final single for Pretty Hate Machine, containing three variations of the track and Nine Inch Nails' first cover song. The spine of the US version refers to the single as "Sin Long, Dub & Short". The lyric "Stale incense, old sweat, and lies..." directly quotes the short story "In the Hills, the Cities" by Clive Barker, from Books of Blood. All three versions were produced by Keith LeBlanc and Adrian Sherwood of Tackhead.
Image from the "Sin" music video showing one of the gay lovers
A music video, directed by Brett Turnbull and produced by Sarah Bayliss was released, using the "(short)" remix of the song. It features two girls dancing with each other at the beginning, cutting to a black-and-white footage of a woman, naked except for what looks like straps to spelunking gear and a halogen lamp, walking a wrist-bound Trent Reznor with a bag over his head through what looks like an industrial warehouse complex and eventually to strap him into an Aerotrim where he spins him throughout the video. These scenes are intercut with two young gay lovers, a man and woman wearing ritualistic dressings and dancing, as well as visuals of a piercedphallus and clitoris, all reflecting the song's dark, sexual aspects.
Though the video never aired, an edited version appears on Closure. The original video later became available through TVT's website.