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Bookish: Bad Sex Awards 2018

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Don’t read on if you don’t want to read about the worst sex scenes written in books published in 2018.

No seriously, I’ve read them and they are the worst but today I am thrusting them upon you, my dear reader. Te he.

If reading about sex is not your bag then this blog post won’t be. If reading badly written sex is not your bag then this blog post really won’t be. However if you fancy a cringe then pop on in. Te he he.

Writers like to explore the human condition and the wide spectrum of human emotion and behaviour. They are a species known for their navel gazing tendencies and sometimes they like to write about when their characters begin to investigate other people’s navels. Or about five inches lower.

I don’t mind reading sex scenes in fiction but like with everything you get well written erotic moments, ok erotic moments and then moments that are about as erotic as a bag of cold sick. So.…

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Each year in December a UK based magazine, The Literary Review, hold their Bad Sex in Fiction Awards to provide a writer with the dubious honour of er…. having written some really bad sex. They’ve been doing this since 1993 and there’s a whole Wiki entry on it and everything – go have a poke around here.

(You know I should have also said that if you don’t like bad puns to go along with your badly written sex then this blog post is not for you).

The purpose of the award is ‘to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.’

They don’t look to romance or erotic literature but to contemporary pieces of work where, for some reason, the writer thought including a sex scene (or two or ten) would be a good idea.

It was, as we will see, not.

what's wrong with sex in books

In my opinion…. nothing. But it’s all about personal taste.

I read romance if the story appeals and I’ll read erotica if the story appeals. I’ve also read stories where sex is included (sometimes liberally) when the genre is neither romance nor erotica.

How well these are done depends on a few things (again, my opinion):-

  1. The writing;
  2. Whether the sex scenes advance plot or provide character development/ insight;
  3. If it isn’t creepy or weird

Creepy and weird sex scenes can have a place in books. Wait… come back! Hear me out before you leave!

For me creepy and/or weird sex scenes can have a place – if they are supporting point number 2 – advancing plot or providing character development/ insight. Not all characters and their plots are made of light and fluffiness.

For me creepy and weird sex scenes that are written as genuine romantic or sexy moments induce Feelings of Cringe – and there are a few of these on the 2018 shortlist.

Also, unless I am specifically reading erotica, I prefer it when sex scenes are not gratuitous. I am all for it if it adds purpose but then I think that about any scene in books. If someone is eating a chicken dinner I want to know that its going somewhere in the story. If someone is eating a…. you know what, never mind. Let your mind fill in the blank.

But you get the picture.

Even if you manage to meet my little criteria of points 2 and 3 you still have number 1 to contend with – the writing. Oh, the writing.

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As someone who has confessed to writing sex in fanfiction aka ‘smut,’ I can tell you now – it’s really hard. ‘Oooh, that’s what she said.’

Ahem.

Sex is difficult to write because you need to carefully straddle (I’m not even sorry anymore) the tone that you are aiming to achieve with the story you are trying to tell.

Are you going for sensual? Crude? Humourous? Romantic? Or are you just going straight to pound town?

Writing sex scenes and ‘those’ moments is an extremely underrated skill and I do believe that there are a lot of writers who believe they can do it. Some can. Some can’t. Some really shouldn’t.

Romance and erotica as genre’s are often looked down on in the book and publishing world (despite them being an incredibly popular and profitable market). Not that I want to delve in too deep as to what I think are the reasons but I do partly think it’s because these are more female dominated genres in terms of writers and readers.

The male dominated publishing industry doesn’t necessary place literary value on romance and erotica. Yes, they make money but they aren’t considered ‘serious’ or ‘proper’ literature. This feeds through to most male writers and male readers which I think is why the romance and erotica industries are predominantly female.

Note: I said most and predominantly. I’m aware that there are always the outliers.

What I have noticed is a trend with regards to the Bad Sex Award winners and nominees. For 2018 all nominees were male writers and while there have been female nominees, the writers on the shortlist are often male and it is more common than not to have an all male shortlist.

I do wonder if there are male writers who write their literary and contemporary pieces and think that writing a sex scene will be easy (I actually reckon this is likely).

Unfortunately, despite their skill in writing characters and plot and even having a wonderful writing style not every writer can tackle The Sex Scene with skill. As I said, I think it is a skill.

I think this award is a very tongue in cheek approach to indicate this to the publishing world.

bad sex awards 2018

Before we go any further…

parental advisory

From this point I will be including some samples from the nominees and the winner.

Beware because once you pass these waters there is some badly written and explicit sex scenes. If reading this stuff is not in your comfort zone I suggest you bow out now. If you haven’t already done so after all my puns…

One of the best places to find the full list is here but I’ve decided to select my top two sections before going to the winner.

my top two

The Paper Lovers by Gerard Woodwood

In his mind he pictured her neck, her long neck, her swan’s neck, her Alice in Wonderland neck coiling like a serpent, like a serpent, coiling down on him. She had found a way through his clothing and her fingers had lightly touched his cock, then slowly began to take a firmer hold. He wanted to cry like a baby. He felt helpless, as though his body had come undone and she was fastening it. He felt as though he was bleeding somewhere. 

My thoughts:-

  • She needs to see a chiropractor or osteopath or someone because her neck should not be coiling like a serpent…. unless… she is a serpent and this is one of ‘those’ kind of books.
  • I checked – it isn’t. This is just interesting writing.
  • What’s an Alice in Wonderland neck???
  • If he’s crying like a baby then she’s gripping it too tight.
  • If he feels as though he’s bleeding somewhere then she is definitely gripping it too tight.

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

My ejaculation was violent, and repeated. Again and again, semen poured from me, overflowing her vagina, turning the sheets sticky. There was nothing I could do to make it stop. If it continued, I worried, I would be completely emptied out. Yuzu slept deeply through it all without making a sound, her breathing even. Her sex, though, had contracted around mine, and would not let go.

My thoughts:-

  • He needs to go and see a doctor. I think all these male characters need a doctor but he needs to go see one quite soon.
  • She. Is. Asleep. Many layers of yeuch.
  • Are they going to have to commute to work still connected? Because I imagine that would be frowned on.
  • Haruki Murakami – why???? Just why???? You are more than this.

the winner

For 2018 the winner of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award goes to…

Katerina

What was the section in particular that won him this award? Oh boy. Here it is in full.

I’m hard and deep inside her fucking her on the bathroom sink her tight little black dress still on her thong on the floor my pants at my knees our eyes locked, our hearts and souls and bodies locked.

Cum inside me.

Cum inside me.

Cum inside me.

Blinding breathless shaking overwhelming exploding white God I cum inside her my cock throbbing we’re both moaning eyes hearts souls bodies one.

One.

White.

God.

Cum.

Cum.

Cum.

I close my eyes let out my breath.

Cum.

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There you go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves because clearly none of the characters in those books are.

If you feel like you want to dip in (te he he he he) with any examples that you have found then please do so as I like the feeling of my head hitting the desk repeatedly.

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24 thoughts on “Bookish: Bad Sex Awards 2018

    1. Aren’t they just… interesting?? Oh gosh yeah, that section was awful because… sleeping?! I don’t know how some writers genuinely think this counts as sex and not rape and even worse…. they are writing it with the intentions of it being ‘sensual.’ I’ve experienced more sensual descriptions on the back of shampoo bottles!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha! Oh yes! And they would shampoo in waterfalls and other random places and everyone’s like, ‘these ads are so risqué’ and I was always, ‘but the suds are in the water, is anyone thinking of the environment?!’

          I’m a marketers nightmare!

          Like

  1. These are hilarious. I get what the third example was up to, a stream of consciousness, but it’s still gross. I actually prefer books not to have any sex scenes at all and for events to be left to the imagination. I’ve never read a graphic sex scene that I doesn’t make me cringe – I tried reading erotica but I couldn’t take it seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! These are just so bad you have to love them.

      Yeah, the stream of consciousness just doesn’t work here. I think the writer was trying to be literary but it failed somewhat.

      I’ve read some sex scenes that I’ve enjoyed because I’ve been surprised at how well they have been written but I know that sex scenes and erotica aren’t for everybody. I personally can’t read gore/ excessive violence and some sex scenes are written just as graphically and I’m like…. nope. Gerry out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow.

    Suddenly i feel so much better about my attempts.

    First two were hilarious. I wish/hope they were trying to be funny. I giggled and snickered too hard at them. Maybe i’m secretly 12.

    Number 3 was, uh.

    It partly worked, in making me go “euugh”, but it then went into gonzo territory and i just couldn’t take it seriously. Like a death scene in a slasher flick, where they just go overboard and you just raise an eyebrow.

    And i do agree, writing a sex scene isn’t just about style and the quality of the writing. You’re 100% correct.

    Intent, tone, its use/reason for existing, etc. are all more important than style.

    Not to mention that you don’t want to make your readers laugh at what is supposed to be some sort of serious scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! Now I feel like if I even put in half the effort into a sex scene it’s still probably going to be better than these 😛

      Oh they are definitely hilarious but sadly unintentionally so and so they get nominated for the glory that is the Bad Sex in Fiction Award – what an honour!

      I’ve read so many books that have sex scenes that just seem so out of place and – ignoring the writing and whether that is or isn’t good – there just doesn’t seem to be any reason why so many are included.

      I actually agree with your comparison of death scene’s/ scares etc – if you have too many then it just gets ridiculous and loses it impact. I think that’s what happens if there’s unnecessary sex scenes but then if you add bad writing…. well it gives people like me something to blog about!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! Sex in books has a place for sure but for me it’s too much if it’s every other page and serves no point to the plot or is written badly. It’s even worse if it’s both those things!
      Don’t be put off by Murakami, I’m hoping this is a ‘moment’ he was having and no more.

      Like

  3. LOL!
    Yep, agreed… both neck lady and overflowing semen guy needs to pop into the Urgent Care. Urgently 😀

    I don’t read erotica, or anything that is only about sex, it would just bore me. But i have to agree. Sex does have a place in books, just as it has one in real life too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I was their GP I would be genuinely very concerned for them.

      I can and have read erotica but it’s not my favourite genre. I get bored of anything repetitive so if there’s too much of anything (sex, violence, long pages of descriptions of trees) I end up switching off.

      I agree, sex does have a place in books but I like it to serve a purpose or insight. But I’d be the same about a scene of violence or someone making breakfast!

      Liked by 1 person

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