So it's that time of year again. The Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction awards. Snarky cynics pee on the bonfires of writers' most extravagant gestures, causing great sizzling plumes of wee steam. The
victims authors have bashed away at their typewriters for months, forging the next great novel. The one outlet for the characters they have created? Shagging scenes. Oh what a poisoned chalice. Writers get to exercise their fantasies and exorcise their imaginations yet, in the cold light of day, find themselves ridiculed for their red wine-fuelled Mills & Boon featurettes. What seemed lust-ridden, horny and steamy now just looks... well, judge for yourself. Here's the list (in three stripes, like Zorro):
A flock of crows, six or eight, raucously rasping at one another, thrashed into the top of an oak on the edge of the square of sky. The heavenly invasion made his heart race; he looked down at his prick, silently begging it not to be distracted; his mind fought skidding into crows and woods, babies and Phyllis, and his prick stared back at him with its one eye clouded by a single drop of pure seminal yearning. He felt suspended at the top of an arc. Faye leaned back on the blanket, arranging her legs in an M of receptivity, and he knelt between them like the most abject and craven supplicant who ever exposed his bare ass to the eagle eyes of a bunch of crows.
Faye took him in hand. He slipped in. He became an adulterer. He went for the last inch. She grunted, at her own revelation. His was that her cunt did not feel like Phyllis's. Smoother, somehow simpler, its wetness less thick, less of a sauce, more of a glaze. It was soon over. He could not help himself, he was so excited, proud, and nervous. When he was done, he opened his eyes, and saw this stranger's face an inch from his, seemingly asleep, the closed eyelids showing a thin pulse, her long lips curved self-lullingly.
Fan Tan by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell (William Heinemann)
In a moment Annie was on his side, Madame Lai was like a plant growing over him, and her little fist (holding the biggest black pearl) was up his asshole planting the pearl in the most appreciated place.
"Oh, Lord," he cried out. "I'm a-comin'!"
She could not answer. It is the one drawback of fellatio as conscientious as hers that it eliminates the chance for small talk and poetry alike. But nothing is exactly perfect in this life, and for Annie Doultry the delicate but firm pressure on his rear parts was in perfect harmony with the eruption of his cock. He came and he came - we are dealing with a hero here. At one point his lover backed away to inspect the unaltered gush of it, like a plumber saying to a customer, "Don't blame me. This water supply will stop when the dam's empty."
The bed creaked and its old springs twanged as he levered into action with his hungry stomach and his big slippery mouth. Annie was at work again. With a practiced flick of the wrist designed for heavier work, he eased the cheongsam's slit wider to expose the entire butterball thigh. Without perceptible movement, her legs were now definitely farther apart, and their musculature was unresistant and frothy, as if they were no longer bearing her weight. In a sense, she seemed to float upon the musty air like an arrangement of balloons. Evidently the dexterous licking of the inside of her left knee was contributing to her support, as it would soon to her downfall.
When it came, it was a float rather than a fall. Annie's left hand was completely occupied, each finger playing a separate tune upon the delicate complexities of her pussy, so it must have been the right one that slid under her ass and elevated her and floated her onto the bed - or more precisely, onto Annie, onto his broad stomach, the sturdy muscles beneath expressly relaxed to provide the comfort of a mattress of familiar Celtic flesh. An unintelligible muttering sound came from Yummee as she subsided on top of him. It could have been a prayer to one of her goddesses, or a threat. ...
Winkler by Giles Coren (Jonathan Cape)
And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he'd ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.
The First Casualty by Ben Elton (Bantam Press)
He stood there, his head thrown back with the rain falling on his face, as he felt fingers reaching into his fly and searching for a way into his long johns. Murray was a nurse and used to undressing men; it was not long before she had found what she was looking for and liberated his straining manhood, and then he gasped out loud. The warmth of her mouth on him was almost too much to bear.
"Oh Jesus. Yes!" he gasped as her lips and teeth closed savagely around him and he felt the tip of her tongue poking and probing. Then, just when he was beginning to think that he must explode, her mouth was gone and in its place he felt her hands once more and he smelt the unmistakable smell of oiled rubber.
"Glad this wasn't hanging on the line to dry when you saw my room," he heard her say. "I think even I would have been embarrassed."
She slipped the big thick rubber sheath over him and then pulled him down to her. Kingsley soon discovered that beneath her skirt she was wearing nothing. He felt the thick, luxuriant bush of soft wet hair between her legs and in a moment he was buried inside it.
"Ooh-la-la!" she breathed as he smelt the clean aroma of her short bobbed hair and the rain-sodden grass around it. "Oooh-la-jolly well-la!"
And so they made love together in the pouring rain, with Nurse Murray emitting a stream of girlish exclamations which seemed to indicate that she was enjoying herself. "Gosh", "Golly" and, as things moved towards a conclusion, even "Tally ho!"
Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape)
" ... Let's, you know, caress each other in five places and kiss in seven ways and make out in nine positions, but let's not get carried away." In reply, Boonyi pulled her phiran and shirt off over her head and stood before him naked except for the little pot of fire hanging low, below her belly, heating further what was already hot. "Don't you treat me like a child," she said in a throaty voice that proved she had been unsparing in her drug abuse. "You think I went to all this trouble just for a kiddie-style session of lick and suck?"
Lovers and Strangers by David Grossman (Bloomsbury)
She touched it and her fingers were light and became excited at once, and he started mumbling, "Good, good, good." She listened with wonder. This wasn't like the moans she had heard from thousands of others, but like someone suddenly recognizing something they had previously only heard about, like a boy who sees an airplane in the sky for the first time, not in a story-book, and he stands and cries out: Airplane, airplane! When she looked at him, a sigh escaped her. He was so beautiful at that moment, as if a boy and a girl were twisting inside him like two ropes or braids, intertwined, like something you see only in dreams, she thought, or in the Indian shrines, and even there it's not like this, not this pure and whole and glowing. She whispered to him eagerly, "You can do everything, you'll see, nothing will stand in the way of your courage."
Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Jonathan Cape) On the night of her birthday I sang the entire song to Delgadina, and I kissed her all over her body until I was breathless: her spine, vertebra by vertebra, down to her languid buttocks, the side with the mole, the side of her inexhaustible heart. As I kissed her the heat of her body increased, and it exhaled a wild, untamed fragrance. She responded with new vibrations along every inch of her skin, and on each one I found a distinctive heat, a unique taste, a different moan, and her entire body resonated inside with an arpeggio, and her nipples opened and flowered without being touched. I was beginning to fall asleep in the small hours when I heard something like the sound of multitudes in the sea and a panic in the trees that pierced my heart. I went to the bathroom and wrote on the mirror: Delgadina, my love, the Christmas breezes have arrived.
Blinding Light by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton)
She was racing ahead, reading with emphasis.
The sound of his pleasure came slanting from deep within his lungs and seemed like an echo of a softer sighing in her throat. Her breasts were in his hands, his thumbs grazing her nipples. Her touch was surer and so finely judged that she seemed to feel in the throb of his cock the spasm of his juice rising - knew even before he did that he was about to come. Then he knew, his body began to convulse, and as he cried "No" - because she had let go - she pushed him backward onto the seat and pressed her face down, lapping his cock into her mouth, curling her tongue around it, and the suddenness of it, the snaking of her tongue, the pressure of her lips, the hot grip of her mouth, triggered his orgasm, which was not juice at all but a demon eel thrashing in his loins and swimming swiftly up his cock, one whole creature of live slime fighting the stiffness as it rose and bulged at the tip and darted into her mouth.
The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz (Macmillan)
We made our way to the summerhouse and hid in its shadows. We lay on the cool floor and I twined my legs around Homer's body, gripping him like a hunter hanging on to its prey. He made love to me with his fingers and I came in the palm of his hand. He stroked my breasts and neck. "Don't wash it away" he said. "I want to be able to smell you tonight."
Lobster by Guillaume Lecasble (Dedalus Ltd)
She reached the staircase and climbed the first step but the cold was numbing her mind. She fainted, upright and motionless with seawater up to her belly. Lobster swam to her purple feet. Cut off the bloodless hand with his pincers, and climbed up the inside of the leg as far as the clenched knees. He was amazed at the pleasure he felt from being held in this way. His pincers slipped between the thighs, prising them gently apart. His feelers were just able to reach the satin of the panties. They fluttered, made the labia quiver. Under the shimmering material a hint of life was returning. Angelina's thighs relaxed. Lobster pulled back his feelers. Tensed and released his tail. His strokes were fast and powerful. He was making headway. He sank himself into her warming muscles; his tail did not falter. He moved forward, a centimetre at a time. Yes! Suddenly he could see the fabric clearly, glistening, pearl-like.
The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun Tejpal (Picador)
Leaving everything else for later, I went looking for where her hair began and worked my way through its musky trails to where there was none. And having found her burning core, and having drunk of it, I left it, and wandered her body, only to keep circling back to it for sustenance.
We began to climb peaks and fall off them. We did old things in new ways. And new things in old ways. At times like these we were the work of surrealist masters. Any body part could be joined to any body part. And it would result in a masterpiece. Toe and tongue. Nipple and penis. Finger and the bud. Armpit and mouth. Nose and clitoris. Clavicle and gluteus maximus. Mons veneris and phallus indica.
The Last Tango of Labia Minora. Circa 1987. Vasant Kunj. By Salvador Dalí. Draughtsmen: Fizznme.
Fizz screamed silently through it all - through gritted teeth, through wide-open mouth - and only those who have known a woman screaming silently in orgasm know how loud it is. It ripped through the room and set me to pounding frenzies.
So there you have it. Some luminaries in there, so to speak. But what language! Talk about show don't tell. Wowsers. I'll post the winner here later.