Always More Bad Sex


As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a big fan of bad sex. Well, all sex really. On film, in literature, in jpegs, in chat windows…I like pretty much all forms of sex, the good and the bad both. In fact, at least when I am not one of the direct participants, bad sex has a certain sort of charm. Like a fleshy, lube slick train wreck you can’t look away from, or like supporting a baseball team that perennially watch every game hoping that THIS is the time everything breaks their way.

I am not alone in my affection for bad sex.The Literary Review has giving a yearly “Bad Sex in Fiction” award, designed to recognize serious writers who include laughable or bizarre sex scenes in otherwise first rate literary efforts. No typical dime novel or back of the skin mag sex, this is bad sex with academic pretensions, dammit. Respect this smut! In fact, some leading authors have received this coveted award and been happy to do so. After all, in today’s market, it is better to be read for bad sex then not to be read at all.

After the jump find this years nominees…and the winner.

The following is reposted from The Guardian

The Contenders

Extract from The Gate of Air by James Buchan

She stood in the afternoon light, as if the light was coming from her own body, from her breast and eyes and where her dress had been […] Jim ached with her nakedness. His arms and legs were as lifeless as fallen branches. He understood that love was a power and force of a different order from anything else beneath the sky, and could demolish not merely family relations or notions of right and wrong but also what was real and what was not. Jim’s world had been knocked a little out of its axis, and would not be restored.

She turned to him. Her face had taken on her nudity or rather had shed a veil it wore for the world. She said:

‘Perhaps you’d like to take off your shorts.’

‘Do I have to?’

‘I think you do.’

He felt that if he touched her breast she might be brought down to earth. He touched the round breast and hard bead at its tip. He felt something else fall from her, like a garment, as she leaned one knee on the bed. Light billowed out of her, and warmth in damp gusts as if from a garden after a rainstorm. She did not seem to be a woman, but something altogether stronger and sweeter. A darkness engulfed him, like a wave breaking over him in the sea shallows, and when he opened his stinging eyes he saw her pretty face before him.

‘What about your husband?’

‘Sod him.’ She seemed to have forgotten she had one.

Jim felt strong, and handsome, and armed to the teeth. He felt like a barefoot runner, a wrestler, a charioteer. He felt his childhood receding from him, and he felt not the smallest regret. No more the poor fatherless orphan for him! He was an outlaw and all the better for it!
© James Buchan

Extract from Sashenka by Simon Montefiore

Inside, the room was dark, lit only by the lurid scarlet of the electric stars atop each of the eight spires of the Kremlin outside the window. They backed on to a bed that sagged in the middle, the sheets rancid with what she later identified as old sperm and alcohol in a cocktail specially mixed for Soviet hotels. She wanted to struggle, to reprimand, to complain, but he grabbed her face and kissed her so forcefully that a lick of flame burned her to the core.

His hands pulled her dress off her shoulders and he buried his face in her neck, then her hair, scooping up between her legs. He pulled down her brassiere, cupping her breasts, sighing in bliss. ‘The blue veins are divine,’ he whispered. At that moment, a lifetime of unease about this ugly feature of her body was replaced with satisfaction. He licked them, circling her nipples hungrily. Then he disappeared up her skirt.

She pushed him away from there, once, then twice. But he kept returning. She slapped his mouth, quite hard, but he didn’t care.

‘No, no, not there, come on, no thank you, no…’ She cringed, closing her eyes bashfully.

‘You’re beautiful,’ he said.

Could that be true? Yes, he insisted and he swiped her with his tongue. No one had ever done this to her before. She shivered, barely able to control herself.

‘Lovely!’ he said.

She was so ashamed she actually hid her face in her hands. ‘Just don’t!’

‘See if you can pretend it isn’t happening!’ was his suggestion as he buried his face in her. When she finally looked down, he peered back at her, laughing. I’ve got a lover, she thought, incredulous. His irrepressible carnality enthralled her. It was like the first time with her husband, her only other lover – but then it was not like that at all. In fact, she reflected, this is me losing my real virginity at the hands of this infernal, lovable, Jewish clown who is so unlike any of the macho Bolsheviks in my life.

He’s a madman, she thought as he made love to her again. Oh my God, after twenty years of being the most rational Bolshevik woman in Moscow, this goblin has driven me crazy!

He eased out of her again, showing himself.

‘Look!’ he whispered as she did. Was this really her? There he was between her legs again, doing the most absurd, lovely things to places behind her knees, the muscle at the very top of her thighs, her ears, the middle of her back. But the kissing, just the kissing, was heavenly […] He made her forget she was a Communist.
© Simon Montefiore

Extract from To Love, Honour and Betray by Kathy Lette

Sebastian was lying across his bed with the blinds drawn wearing nothing but a towel, hands lazily laced behind his head as he watched the cricket on a small flickering television screen in the corner. His chest was the size of a South American country. A slanting tongue of lamplight lit up his lap and I could see the outline of his large appendage.

After agonizing for, oh, about two-fifths of a second, I straddled him on the bed, pinning his arms beside him with all my body weight. ‘Remember what you said about chastity being curable if caught early enough?’

I kissed his mouth ravenously, devouring his neck, earlobes, chest. He broke free with muscular ease, unhooked my bra with composed expertise, found my nipple and flicked his tongue back and forth until it went hard. His towel fell away. Sebastian’s erect member was so big I mistook it for some sort of monument in the centre of a town. I almost started directing traffic around it. He rolled me sideways on to my back and, in one flowing motion, my tracksuit and panties were down, lassoing one ankle. His fingers edged up my thigh and then plunged inside me. My legs yielded to the weight of his body and I wrapped them around his hips, tugging him against me with a pang of hunger I hadn’t felt for so long […]

I was pulling him into me with an animal force I didn’t know I possessed. I’d been parched for so long, and he was the long, cool, sensual drink I’d craved. I twisted under him, caught in the heat and the slide and the thrill of it. There was nothing but obliterating sensation as we contorted like origami creations for the next hour, until a sweet and inward rapture spread through my thighs, leaving me tranquil, calm – serene at last.
© Kathy Lette

Extract from Triptych of a Young Wolf by Ann Allestree

Christine, on her knees, turned to see him naked before her. She was shocked anew by his fine strong body with its prodigious cover of curly black hair. Swiftly he lifted her up and pressed her to the wall. Fondling her breasts he undid her shirt, her linen trousers fell to the floor. She kicked off her moccasins and gave way to his arms. Uqba snatched at the bath towels and lay her down. Her nipples tensed as he dabbed them lightly with his tongue; her skin tingled at the brush of his lithe body slipping to her knees. ‘Open your thighs,’ he urged as he parted the folds of her vulva.

‘You are so moist down there.’ He stroked and probed her with two fingers as she felt her blood waken. He raised himself to his knees and bent to roll his tongue around her weeping orifice. He was bringing her to a pitch of ecstasy when she heard Madame Veuve, on the landing, put down the supper tray. Whiffs of onion soup strayed over them as he engulfed her. ‘Don’t stop,’ she clamoured; she was nearly there, it was in the bag. She flung her arms around his neck and pulled him down. He rubbed her slowly with the tip of his nose and his lips as she shuddered to her climax.

Uqba stood and grinned happily down at her, his own Christine, tousled and flushed in the foetal position. He was fingering his penis, but before he could plunge it deep inside her, she had knelt before him and taken the membrane into her mouth. With pursed lips and darting tongue and teeth, her fingers drumming on his buttocks and up his soft inner thigh, she was destroying him. He clung to her shoulders, trembling, as he ejaculated, moaning with each gush.
© Ann Allestree

Extract from Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson

JM comes over and pushes me gently back down on the fake fur. I try to rise up to kiss him – it’s so lovely, the kissing – but he pushes me down, again. He likes to kiss me all over before he does anything else. He starts with my eyes, and plants a tender kiss on each lid.

… He moves on to my ears, a kiss that makes my nipples stand erect, and me emit little moans that drown out to my own ears the loud, distracting sound of Cumberbatch swiping dock leaves and tearing nettles and long grasses very close to the rickety stoop.

JM’s hands are caressing my breasts, now, and I am allowed to kiss him back, but not for long, for he breaks off, to give each breast the attention it deserves. As he nibbles and pulls with his mouth, his hands find my bush, and with light fingers he flutters about there, as if he is a moth caught inside a lampshade.

Almost screaming after five agonizingly pleasurable minutes, I make a grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside, but he holds both by arms down, and puts his tongue to my core, like a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop. I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, Wagnerian crescendo overtakes me. I really do hope at this point that all the Spodders are, as requested, attending the meeting about slug clearance or whatever it is.
© Rachel Johnson

Extract from The Reserve by Russell Banks

Jordan Groves and Vanessa Von Heidenstamm did not notice the approaching darkness. They were still immersed in their lovemaking. It had begun slowly, tenderly, face-to-face, with long, lingering looks at each other, like devoted siblings at the start of a long absence taking their last leave of each other, gathering in all the details they had neglected to notice up to now. They removed their clothes, their own and each other’s, delicately, precisely, as if preparing to model for an artist, and once naked, seated side by side on the bed, they turned to face each other, and with their hands on each other’s bare shoulders, they kissed – sweetly, as if in relief and gratitude for having come to the peaceful end of a painfully protracted argument. And then they embraced and with their hands caressed each other’s breasts and backs and arms – her skin smooth and creamy and soft as fine silk, his alabaster white and tautly drawn over muscle and bone – and their separate bodies gradually lost their boundaries and merged into a third body, one that contained all their female and male differences and erased all their anatomical contrasts and inversions.
© Russell Banks


And the Winner is…


The air turned blue this evening as Tory mayor Boris Johnson’s novelist sister Rachel Johnson beat Labour’s notorious spin doctor Alastair Campbell to take this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction award.

The Literary Review’s annual award was presented to Johnson for her novel Shire Hell at a ceremony at London’s In and Out club. A lifetime achievement award was also given to John Updike after the American author realised the "unique achievement" of four consecutive nominations for the award.

Johnson was singled out for her novel’s slew of animal metaphors, including comparing her male protagonist’s "light fingers" to "a moth caught inside a lampshade", and his tongue to "a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop". Literary Review deputy editor Tom Fleming was also disturbed by the heroine’s "grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside".

"You sort of think it might be a typo, but she is actually referring to his penis as him. It’s a mixture of cliché and euphemism, but it’s also very spirited – A plus for effort," he said. "All the entries were equally awful this year, but Rachel Johnson had the worst metaphors, and the worst animal metaphors."

Johnson said it was an "absolute honour" to win, taking her place alongside former winners including Norman Mailer, Sebastian Faulks and Tom Wolfe. "I’m not feeling remotely grumpy about it. I know that men with literary reputations to polish might find it insulting," she said, "but if you’ve had a book published in the year any attention is welcome, even if it’s slightly dubious attention of this sort."

She received a plaster foot – intended to be an abstract representation of sex, according to Fleming – presented by The Wire actor Dominic West, at tonight’s ceremony, attended by 400 guests.

Updike was not present to accept his lifetime achievement award. "Four times in a row is unique," said Fleming. "He’s written great sex in the past but this seems to be gratuitous."

Updike, famous for his close attention to sex, was shortlisted this year for his novel The Widows of Eastwick, in which an abundance of sperm greets the performance of oral sex. "She said nothing then, her lovely mouth otherwise engaged, until he came, all over her face. She had gagged, and moved him outside her lips, rubbing his spurting glans across her cheeks and chin," he writes. "God, she was antique, but here they were. Her face gleamed with his jism in the spotty light of the motel room, there on the far end of East Beach, within sound of the sea."

Alastair Campbell failed to get past the judges’ first post with his debut novel All in the Mind, as did fellow shortlistees Kathy Lette, James Buchan, Simon Montefiore and Isabel Fonseca.

Johnson praised the award for discouraging authors from using "awful phrases" such as last year’s winner Norman Mailer’s "soft as a coil of excrement" description of a penis. "The truth is that anyone who writes sex scenes has [the award] at the back of their mind," she said. "It makes you even more self-conscious when you’re lubricating your book with sex."

While vowing to attempt to emulate Updike’s achievement – "he sets the bar very high" – Johnson admitted that, as yet, her new novel is so far devoid of sexual content.

She is the 16th winner of the award, established by Auberon Waugh to "gently dissuade" authors from including "unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels".



  1. “taken the membrane into her mouth.”

    Heavens to Murgatroyd. Can editors get the Bad Sex Award, too?

    Who else, when seeing the title Shire Hell, thought immediately of Sauron/Frodo fanfic? ‘The dark lord’s eye turned its burning gaze to the hobbit’s hirsute, generously formed feet … the iris flickered and flamed with a long pent-up passion.’

    When can I get my award?

  2. purple prose rocks the woarld :D

  3. Magda,

    A noble effort but I have read and written way too much fanfic porn, both slash and otherwise, to credit your efforts as award winningly bad. Compared to much I have read, your snippit is downright sensual.

    Bring me a Gandalf/Balrog sodomy scene as they plummet, then we can talk.

    Worst I ever wrote? Scully and three very curious, very well hung Greys. Let’s just say that baby wasn’t Mulder’s after all.

    I wrote some pretty bad Alladin/Genie scenes too. “Rub that lamp, Al..rub it..RUB ITTTTTTTTT….oh YEAH!”


  4. /me develops a vague curiosity about Scully and the Greys. :P

  5. *tries to bleach her brain clean of Aladdin/Genie sex scenes*

    That aside, I’m amused at Johnson’s reaction. She very nearly seems pleased. I’m put in mind of Halle Berry’s performance in Catwoman earning her a nomination for a Raspberry (for excruciatingly bad acting in a motion picture)–and she not only came to the award ceremony, she went up on stage to accept when she won.

    And never did any group laugh more joyously when she thanked the director, the producer, and her costume designer–without which, she said, she would not have won the award. :)

  6. *shares Hypatia’s curiosity about Scully and the Greys*
    *rather more curious about naked Mulder in that facial stretching dental chair from the end of Season 7*

    I’ll get back to you re: Balrog/Gandalf. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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