There's a somewhat-old saw
like this : 'Sex is like pizza
- even when it's bad
, it's good
'. But, does this same rule apply to horribly clumsy literary sex scene
s? And what makes for a truly tongue
ing sex scene
anyway? Is it maybe a poor choice
, such as comparing a lush
, pulchritudinous woman
to both a phone directory
and an Archimedean screw
? Is redundancy
.') the key
? Or do you merely have to use the unfortunate
phrase 'turgid man meat
The Literary Review, intrepid periodical that it is, aims to initiate dialogue on what exactly a bad sex scene is, and will yearly hand out an award to the nastiest and most atrocious genital-shrinker of a passage it can find. Since the award's inception in 1993, the awards ceremony have been the home of that peculiar brand of Brit-press cattiness that you just can't find anywhere else. Every offending passage is read aloud to guffaws, often with sideswipes at the author's ability with the pen or ability in the sack. Nominees often do not attend; awards go unclaimed. Superheavyweight novelists are often the target - in 2000, both Roddy Doyle and John Updike are in the crosshairs, and Salman Rushdie is often mentioned on the short-list.
Here's an excerpt from the winner of the 2000 Bad Sex Prize, 'Kissing England' from Sean Thomas. "She is so small and so compact, and yet she has all the necessary features... Shall I compare thee to a Sony Walkman, thou are more compact and more ... She is his own Toshiba, his dinky little JVC, his sweet Aiwa."
And that is positively limpid in comparison to the 1999 winner, one A. A. Gill, whose novel 'Starcrossed' not only features the delectable, scrumptious quotation, "the rash-rubbed thighs clamped cheeks, bits of liverish flesh draped across his nose and coarse hair scraped his chin. There seemed to be such a lot of her...", but also includes a deep-sea encounter between a scuba-diver and a 'genetically-modified, homosexually-inclined giant squid'. (Supposedly, Mr. Gill was angling for this award specifically.)
As you can see, this award clearly serves a need, truly filling a void (filling wetly with his love rod in out in out... oh, sorry...) in all of our lives.