The Worst Sex Awards (On Paper)

How’s this for an awkward trophy? A British journal called Literary Review has been bestowing Bad Sex in Fiction awards for 18 years -- and the most recent winner is a doozy.

That’s right. Someone reads all the sex scenes in the latest novels and decides which are the grossest, most awkward, worst-written, or just ... plain ... worst.

Fortunately, the winner has a sense of humor about it. At an awards ceremony (there’s an awards ceremony!), Rowan Somerville said, “There’s nothing more English than bad sex. So, on behalf of the nation, I’d like to thank you.”

What qualifies as really bad sex writing? Read on.


"Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her." -- Rowan Somerville, The Shape of Her

"He jumped out from his pajama pants so acrobatically it was like a stunt from Cirque du Soleil." -- Adam Ross, Mr. Peanut

"... then she was pulling me towards her, directing me to everything I had ever hoped for. I thought the walls were going to fall down as we stroked and screamed our way through hours of pleasure to the union for which my whole life had been a preparation." -- Alastair Campbell, Maya

“She holds him tight and squeezes her body to his, sending delightful sailing boats tacking to and fro across the ocean of his back. With her fingertips she sends foam-flecked waves scurrying over his skin ...” -- Amos Oz, Rhyming Life and Death

“Her hands were all over me, four hands it seemed, or more than four, and as she touched she made me weightless, lifting me off the table in a prolonged ritual of levitation.” -- Paul Theroux, A Dead Hand

“Bobby starts scrabbling frantically across the carpet for Mr Condom, sending five or six multicolour Durexes flying through the air, and he struggles getting the packet open and Georgie has to roll Mr Condom down Mr Penis for him and she has to help insert him into Mrs Vagina.” -- Richard Milward, Ten Storey Love Song

Then again, maybe there is no such thing as good sex writing. Which one of these is the worst to you?

Do you like sex scenes in fiction? Or is it impossible to describe on the page?


Image via Fried Dough/Flickr

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