Literary Bad Sex

Bad sex scene awards offer no insight on good sex.

In Jonathan Coe’s 1992 anti-Thatcherite satire, What a Carve Up!, the Tory tabloid journalist Hilary Winshaw publishes a novel that boasts ‘Sex every forty pages’. By the standards set by EL James twenty years later, that is paltry. Ever since the 1960s, British publishers have been pressurising their authors to write sex in order to boost sales, presumably following the success of the novel that inaugurated that decade, the unexpurgated Lady Chatterley’s Lover. By 1993, the British literary magazine Literary Review felt the need to create the ‘Bad Sex Awards’ in order ‘to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.’ Winners have included Melvyn Bragg (1993), Sebastian Faulks (1998), Tom Wolfe (2004), Norman Mailer (2007), Ben Okri (2014), and, most recently, James Frey in 2018.

At the risk of taking too-seriously an award of whi

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killer smile 2 September 2021

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steven augustine 5 April 2019

"Because these words remain as dirty as ever, their use in literature still feels contrived, aggressive, or naïve."

Or like a kind of Resistance...? (as passé as that may seem)

steven augustine 5 April 2019

As I've written: Bad Sex Writing is just Bad Writing...