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.