Saturday, June 27, 2009
Literary Review - Bad Sex Award
Posted by John Lambshead
Erotic Review has been relaunched and the new owner, Kate Copstick, has started something of a controversy in a BBC Radio 4 Today programme with Kathy Lette. Kate is reluctant to put too many female authors in the Review because women write bad sex scenes because they “have an agenda, they complicate sex, they make layers, it’s conditional. And they lie as well.”
For years, the politically correct Guardian newspaper had a motoring correspondent who could not drive. So are sex scenes written by women concocted by people without a license?
Kathy Lette admits that most married women's idea of an erotic fantasy is their husband picking up his underwear off the bedroom floor and that she always want to write 'if possible not' when filling those forms with a box marked 'sex' but is the comment fair?
The Literary Review prsents a bad sex award every year in London but the only person to win a Liftetime Achievement Award was John Updike last year. Admittedly, Rachael Johnston won the 2008 Award with Shire Hell but a quick look through previous winners suggests that the literary male is a far bigger offender. Working backwards: Norman Mailer (2207), Iain Hollingshead (2006), Giles Coren (2005), Tom Wolfe (2004), Aniruddha Bahal (2003).... Indeed, Wendy Perriam is the only other female winner since the award started in 1993.
For my money, it is the layers of complexity and conditions that women attach to sex that make the whole thing interesting. Left to men, it is about as erotic as a game of bar billiards - all wam, bam, thank you mam.
I hate dumb metaphors in sex scenes, but I also hate mechanistic descriptions. I know, there is just no pleasing me.
Hollingshead deserved his award for this paragraph alone:
'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.'
It starts OK with floaty skirts and slim legs but women who start moaning as soon as you touch them????? I must be doing something wrong. And as for 'bulging trousers' and 'grunts and squeeks'........................
OK, so, what would you nominate as the worst sex scene in a story ever - and why?