London’s “Literary Review” has just announced its winners for the 2013 Bad Sex Award—Britain’s most dreaded literary prize.
The prize is meant to “draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel and to discourage it.”
This year the nominees included author Amy Tan’s, “The Valley of Amazement,” for this line: “He flayed against me, until our bodies were slapping, and he took me into the typhoon and geologic disaster.” Read more
“It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover.” Marge Piercy
In The New Republic’s recent article, “The Smitten Word: The Awkward Art of Writing About Sex,“ author Sam Lipsyte writes about one of the most difficult subjects for writers to tackle–sex scenes.
He says the conventional wisdom that less is more is usually best, but it can also be a cop-out. He writes:
“Sometimes, though, you have to face the multi-spined beast head on. Be brave, and trust in your love of language and your love of sex. (Or lack of it.) Trust in the modern gods who guide your hand: Sad and Funny. Like it or not, these are the twin poles for most of our tiny thoughts and doings. Sad and Funny are both the world and how we withstand it.”
Read the rest of Lipsyte’s article for more do’s and don’ts of writing sex scenes.
You can also read my previous post “How to Write a Good Sex Scene.“
Have you ever read a sex scene that made you cringe? I have. Have you ever read a sex scene that months, or even years, later you think back on and it still makes you sweat? I have.
The first scene, the cringe-worthy one, was written by one of my favorite male authors. It was so bad, I felt embarrassed for him. The scene was full of thrusting and grunting and other horrible, clichéd descriptions of the physical act of sex.
The second scene, the one I still think about to this day, was less about sex and more about the surroundings and emotions of the characters. Read more