Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bad Sex Has Its Good Points

It's that time of year again, when the Literary Review awards writers with the 'Bad Sex Awards.' The delicate balance of weaving details of a sexual encounter into a work of fiction can sometimes go very, very wrong. At least, it produces a small distraction from the narrative, maybe even raises a chuckle at the misplaced choice of words. At worst the book is abandoned in disgust or disbelief. Of course, the bonus from writing the most awkward, unbelievable sex scenes of the year is that it might garner a little free publicity and who knows, maybe some new fans. After all, it takes different (literary) strokes for different folks...

The first thing that arises out of the nominations for this year's bad sex awards – the excruciating writing highlighted by the Literary Review each year – is just how fecund their writers' imaginations are. If they have done half the things they have ascribed to their characters, their spectacles must have steamed up.

There are agile tongues, rooms that begin to shake, warm wet caves, volcanic releases, moist meat, bottomless swamps of dead fish and yellow lilies in bloom and cellars filled with a heady store of wines and spirits emitting wafts of gaseous bouquets. And that is before you get to massaging, kneading, stretching, rubbing, pinching, flicking, feathering, licking, kissing and gently biting – which occurs in just one sentence thanks to David Guterson.

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