The Nineteenth Annual Bad Sex Awards

November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Literary Review magazine’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award will be presented on 6 December, at the Naval and Military Club .

It is a spoof of awards culture. It was originally founded by Auberon Waugh, then the editor of Literary Review, 19 years ago. He was reviewing a novel a week and was convinced that publishers were encouraging novelists to include extraneous sex scenes to sell copies.

The 2011 winner will be announced at a London ceremony on December 6. Shortlisted passages include David Guterson’s description of caresses in Ed King, and Murakami’s observation, in 1Q84, that “a freshly made ear and a freshly made vagina look very much alike”.

The first thing that arises out of the nominations for this year’s bad sex awards 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.

Among this year’s contenders, Murakami (“I’m still erect now, and it shows no sign of subsiding. Neither Sonny and Cher nor three-digit multiplication nor complex mathematics had managed to bring it down”) faces stiff competition from Stephen King, for this scene: “‘Is it over, or is there more?’ ‘A little more,’ I said. ‘I don’t know how much. I haven’t been with a woman in a long time.’ It turned out there was quite a bit more … At the end she began to gasp. ‘Oh dear, oh my dear, oh my dear dear God, oh sugar!'”

I sensed her embarrassment, but even more I sensed the sweet, rich blood that was flowing out of her. It’s okay, I whispered … I was immersed in the slush of her moist meat … Her body stiffened but I forced her legs apart and pushed my face into her groin. The smell was overpowering. It was as if her cunt was a cellar filled with a heady store of wines and spirits, all emitting wafts of gaseous bouquets that recalled all the possible eruptions of the body. She smelt of farting and diarrhoea, shitting and pissing, burping, bile and vomit. I forced my tongue into this churning compost. Her blood was calling me. My tongue furiously worked the craters of her cunt and I felt the blood, coarse and thick, trickle onto my lips and into my mouth and onto my tongue and down my gut and I forced my lips over her clit and sucked on it till I felt I was drawing her into my very body and the blood kept flowing onto my lips and into my mouth and my guts and I rubbed my face across the hair and skin and meat of her and as I licked at her cunt and arse I opened my mouth wide and bit into her thigh and I did not hear her squeal for all I was aware of was the clean neat puncture and the blood that began to flow from it which fell onto my tongue and into my mouth and my gut, and her blood pumped through me and calmed the agonies in my belly and head and I knew I was alive; and laughing, drawing away from her I was aware that above me a body was heaving and I pushed my face back into her, all my fingers, my tongue, my chin, inside her: a bitter cool spray washed across my face. Her body convulsed, shuddered, trembled once more, and then fell to stillness. She had come.

This gem comes from Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas

All the nominees were invited to the “In and Out” award ceremony and a couple usually attended, depending on the spirit in which they took the accolade. “I don’t think anyone claims to take it in a bad way.” the convener said.

Last year’s winner was Rowan Somerville for passages in his novel, The Shape of Her, including a sex scene in which: “like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her”. He collected his trophy. “There is nothing more English than bad sex,” said Somerville, who was born in London and has an Irish father. “So on behalf of the nation, I thank you.”


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