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Bad Sex Wins Prize

14 November, 2007

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award? I’d never heard of it, but yes, it exists.

This annual award is presented to the novelist whom the judges—editors of London’s Literary Review—believe has written the worst description of a sex scene.

The purpose of the award is to discourage authors from including in literary novels passages of a sexual nature that are unconvincing, crude, tasteless, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant. Past ‘winners’ include Tom Wolfe, Sebastian Faulks, Mark Haddon and Melvyn Bragg.

The 2006 winner was Iain Hollingshead, for this passage in Twentysomething. This example suggests that you think carefully about how you want to portray a sex scene in your work. The judges were particularly upset about Hollingshead including the odd term, ‘bulging trousers’. However, I liked the phrase, ‘flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles’.

She’s wearing a short, floaty skirt that’s more suited to July than February. She leans forward to peck me on the cheek, which feels weird, as she’s never kissed me on the cheek before. We’d kissed properly the first time we met. And that was over three years ago.

But the peck on the cheek turns into a quick peck on the lips. She hugs me tight. I can feel her breasts against her chest. I cup my hands round her face and start to kiss her properly, She slides one of her slender legs in between mine. Oh Jack, she was moaning now, her curves pushed up against me, her crotch taut against my bulging trousers, her hands gripping fistfuls of my hair. She reaches for my belt. I groan too, in expectation. And then I’m inside her, and everything is pure white as we’re lost in a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.


 

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