His bulging trousers and stiff… (on bad sex writing)


It’s tough to write good sex scenes.

Does it sound gratuitous with clichés and dirty words? Is there excessive description of body-parts and noises? It’s a potential minefield of banality out there.

I remember reading some of Eric V. Lustbader’s books in my Secondary School days, with no guiding markers on what constituted “good” sex writing, (heck, as long as they were titillating and brutal to an adolescent mind) but nowadays, I’m assuming there is a politically correct standard here in such matters.

Who are the ethical guardians of good/bad sex writing then? Did you know there is a yearly “Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award” whose aim is “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” (I like the last bit)

Here’s this year’s winner, the late Norman Mailer on Adolf Hitler’s conception (taken from “Castle in the Forest”):

So Klara turned head to foot, and put her most unmentionable part down on his hard-breathing nose and mouth, and took his old battering ram into her lips.

Uncle was now as soft as a coil of excrement. She sucked on him nonetheless… The Hound began to come to life. Right in her mouth. It surprised her. Alois had been so limp. But now he was a man again! His mouth lathered with her sap, he turned around and embraced her face with all the passion of his own lips and face, ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety.

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