December 8, 2008
My Favorite Time Of Year

Hurray! It’s finally here! The Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award is hands down my favorite book prize, because it finds the most astoundingly bad passages of writing I’ve ever read—and they’re hilarious. Winners often have a good sense of humor about the whole thing, as evidenced by the 2006 champion, who showed up to accept the prize and claimed “I hope to win it every year.” (I firmly disagree with their choice of Mr. Ian Hollingshead as that year’s victor. As you can see by their shortlist excerpts, virtually every other author was far more ludicrous.)

Male authors almost monopolize the Bad Sex Award, both in wins and nominations, and many of these same authors love to have the female recipient of their hero’s attentions 1) cry after coming and 2) come torrentially from no discernibly appealing sensations. You really should head over to the Guardian’s website and spend a solid hour reading all the various excerpts, but I couldn’t resist including a piece of my favorite, from Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs by Irvine Welsh:

She ordered me to roll over as she gets on top, shouting – I’M ON TOP, I’M ON FUCKING TOP OF YOU, SKINNER, YOU CUNT, and she fucks me, but she’s really just fucking herself into a bitter orgasm.

High five! If I had nickel for every time I’ve screamed “I’m on fucking top of you, you cunt”…

Lindsey Irvine points out that virtually any passage of sex writing sounds stupid if isolated and taken out of context (although there’s really no excuse for some of the moments highlighted by the Bad Sex committee) and also suggests that we should applaud and encourage writing about sex rather than ridiculing it. I agree—it would be wonderful to have an equivalent “Good Sex” Award that focused on sexy scenes in mainstream literature. I don’t agree, however, that writers should get a free pass just for attempting sex scenes. John Updike’s been writing for decades and still can’t get it right; his is not the fledgling attempt of an amateur writer, but the lazy, misguided, or arrogant writing of someone so established he just doesn’t really give a fuck. Pun intended.

[Heads up via Tango), photo by icecream]

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  • Jake Holden says :


    Haha that’s some classic Irvine Welsh foul mouthed filth there.

    Maybe you’ve just never been in the right relationship/situation 😛

  • Angus says :

    This is some really bad sex. My only complaint is – again – the link to the Witches of Eastwick review. I admire Lizzie Kurnik’s review for the most part, and she has all the valid points in all the right spots, but really, did she have to go on about how all men’s bodies are disgusting? From Boinkology, which I kind of thought would be a site more conducive to positive body image [not to mention avoidance of outright lies and untruths, such as “it will generally be acknowledged as a truth that in the matter of corruption, ugliness, leaky, hairy, unspeakable emanantions, eruptions, degradations and still more corruption, MEN TAKE THE CAKE.”], I’m kind of disappointed.

  • Monica says :

    I’m not down with that either, and I remember thinking it seemed so juvenile when I first read it–it’s basically just an update of “ewwww boys have cooties.” I should have put a disclaimer or something…but I also think most of Boinkology’s readers are intelligent enough to know that Boinkology (as an entity) isn’t endorsing the entire content of everything one contributor (ie me) links to. It’s more just a quick reference for readers who are unfamiliar with criticisms of Updike’s work. As you say yourself, most of it spot-on.

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Lux Alptraum
Monica Shores