Literary Review’s Bad Sex Awards, 2008

by Ibn Warraq (Dec. 2008)

The best and the worst attitudes of the English to sex were on display in recent weeks in London. The English are embarrassed about sex, and often seem to think that it is only snigger worthy, but, at the same time, they do also take pains to demystify it. There was first the Jonathan Ross Affair, and then the Literary Review evening of the Bad Sex Awards.

“O glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle, whose angles delve to hell but point to paradise. Let me sing the black banner, the blackbird’s wing, the chink, the cleft, the keyhole in the door. The fig, the fanny, the cranny, the quim – I’d come close to it now, this sudden blush, this ancient avenue, the end of all odysseys and epic aim of life, pulling at my prick now, pulling like a lodestone”.

The 2006 winner was Iain Hollingshead, who described a female character’s “crotch taut against my bulging trousers”, in Twenty Something. Hollingshead accepted a statuette and a bottle of champagne in very good humour and expressed a desire to win it every year. The previous winners include Sebastian Faulks, Giles Coren, and Tom Wolfe.

From 2007:

The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer (Little, Brown) p67-68:

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.


From Will by Christopher Rush (Beautiful Books) p132-3



From 2008:

Almost screaming after five agonizingly pleasurable minutes, I make a grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside, but he holds both my arms down, and puts his tongue to my core, like a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop. I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, Wagnerian crescendo overtakes me. I really do hope at this point that all the Spodders are, as requested, attending the meeting about slug clearance or whatever it is.

The Widows of Eastwick, by John Updike (Hamish Hamilton).

Brida, by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins).

Brida kissed him. She felt the taste of his mouth, the touch of his tongue. She was aware of every movement and sensed that he was feeling exactly the same, because the Tradition of the Sun always reveals itself to those who look at the world as if they were seeing it for the first time.

Various thoughts flashed through his mind: they were on a public footpath, someone might come by, some other person crazy enough to visit this place in the middle of winter. But anyone crazy enough to do so would also be able to understand that certain forces, once set in motion, cannot be interrupted.

He slipped his hands under her sweater and stroked her breasts. Brida surrendered herself entirely. The forces of the world were penetrating her five senses and these were becoming transformed into an overwhelming energy. They lay down on the ground between the rock, the precipice and the sea, between the life of the seagulls flying up above and the death of the stones beneath. And they began, fearlessly, to make love, because God protects the innocent.

Sashenka, by Simon Montefiore (Bantam Press).

Inside, the room was dark, lit only by the lurid scarlet of the electric stars atop each of the eight spires of the Kremlin outside the window. They backed on to a bed that sagged in the middle, the sheets rancid with what she later identified as old sperm and alcohol in a cocktail specially mixed for Soviet hotels. She wanted to struggle, to reprimand, to complain, but he grabbed her face and kissed her so forcefully that a lick of flame burned her to the core.

Could that be true? Yes, he insisted and he swiped her with his tongue. No one had ever done this to her before. She shivered, barely able to control herself.

He eased out of her again, showing himself.

To Love, Honour and Betray, by Kathy Lette (Bantam Press).

Sebastian was lying across his bed with the blinds drawn wearing nothing but a towel, hands lazily laced behind his head as he watched the cricket on a small flickering television screen in the corner. His chest was the size of a South American country. A slanting tongue of lamplight lit up his lap and I could see the outline of his large appendage.

Triptych of a Young Wolf, by Ann Allestree (Book Guild Publishing).

Uqba stood and grinned happily down at her, his own Christine, tousled and flushed in the foetal position. He was fingering his penis, but before he could plunge it deep inside her, she had knelt before him and taken the membrane into her mouth. With pursed lips and darting tongue and teeth, her fingers drumming on his buttocks and up his soft inner thigh, she was destroying him. He clung to her shoulders, trembling, as he ejaculated, moaning with each gush.

The Gate of Air, by James Buchan (MacLehose Press).

He felt that if he touched her breast she might be brought down to earth. He touched the round breast and hard bead at its tip. He felt something else fall from her, like a garment, as she leaned one knee on the bed. Light billowed out of her, and warmth in damp gusts as if from a garden after a rainstorm. She did not seem to be a woman, but something altogether stronger and sweeter. A darkness engulfed him, like a wave breaking over him in the sea shallows, and when he opened his stinging eyes he saw her pretty face before him.

Jim felt strong, and handsome, and armed to the teeth. He felt like a barefoot runner, a wrestler, a charioteer. He felt his childhood receding from him, and he felt not the smallest regret. No more the poor fatherless orphan for him! He was an outlaw and all the better for it!

All in the Mind, by Alastair Campbell (Hutchinson) page 103.

They stopped and looked at each other with no message exchanged, no corny smolder, and for this Jean was grateful. She closed her eyes like pulling down the blinds and Dan picked her up, her legs instantly lifting to wrap around him, and carried her not to his bed but to the long lacquered table.

The Reserve by Russell Banks (Bloomsbury).

Their passion rose slowly. His because he had never made love like this before, delicately, teasingly, fully aware of each slow turning, and though it frightened him a little, it excited him in a fresh way. Hers rising slowly also, but with her it was because she had made love in this fashion many times before and knew very well its effect on a man who was used to having his way with a woman quickly and efficiently without being conscious of having lost awareness of his body.

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