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These are the worst examples of writing about sex this year

Last year’s winner was former Smiths frontman Morrissey.

Image: Shutterstock/Dean Drobot

SIX BOOKS, INCLUDING one written by a former Blue Peter presenter, have been nominated as containing the worst descriptions of sex in the literary world.

Since 1993, the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award has honoured writers who “produced an outstandingly bad scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel”.

The magazine says the “purpose of the prize is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction”.

Last year’s winner was former Smiths frontman Morrissey, whose novel List of the Lost contained a description of a couple who “rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation”.

While the award is ignominious, the nominees include a New York Times bestselling author (Gayle Forman), a European Prize for Literature winner (Erri De Luca), a teacher of creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (Ethan Canin) and a former presenter of Blue Peter (Janet Ellis).

The judges say their attention was caught by a passage in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am where he writes:

“He jerked off with the determination of someone within sight of Everest’s summit, having lost all his friends and Sherpas, having run out of supplemental oxygen, but preferring death to failure.”

However, the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close author didn’t make the grade.

Here’s what did:

Janet Ellis, The Butcher’s Hook

Anne,’ he says, stopping and looking down at me. I am pinned like wet washing with his peg. ‘Till now, I thought the sweetest sound I could ever hear was cows chewing grass. But this is better.’ He sways and we listen to the soft suck at the exact place we meet. Then I move and put all thoughts of livestock out of his head.

Ethan Canin, A Doubter’s Almanac

The act itself was fervent. Like a brisk tennis game or a summer track meet, something performed in daylight between competitors. The cheap mattress bounced. She liked to do it more than once, and he was usually able to comply. Bourbon was his gasoline. Between sessions, he poured it at the counter while she lay panting on the sheets. Sweat burnished her body. The lean neck. The surprisingly full breasts. He would down another glass and return.

Robert Seethaler, The Tobacconist

How strange they are, he thought, life and all of these things. Then he felt Anezka slide down before him to the floor, felt her hands grab his naked buttocks and draw him to her. “Come, sonny boy!” he heard her whisper, and with a smile he let go.

Tom Connolly, Men Like Air

Dilly bundled Finn into the first restroom on offer, locked the cubicle door and pulled at his leather belt. “You’re beautiful,” she told him, going down on to her haunches and unzipping him. He watched her passport rise gradually out of the back pocket of her jeans in time with the rhythmic bobbing of her buttocks as she sucked him. He arched over her back and took hold of the passport before it landed on the pimpled floor. Despite the immediate circumstances, human nature obliged him to take a look at her passport photo.

Gayle Forman, Leave Me

And she remembered standing in front of him, her dress a puddle on the floor, and how she’d started to shake, her knees knocking together, like she was a virgin, like this was the first time. Because had she allowed herself to hope, this was what she would’ve hoped for. And now here it was. And that was terrifying.

Erri De Luca, The Day Before Happiness

She pushed on my hips, an order that thrust me in. I entered her. Not only my prick, but the whole of me entered her, into her guts, into her darkness, eyes wide open, seeing nothing. My whole body had gone inside her. I went in with her thrusts and stayed still. While I got used to the quiet and the pulsing of my blood in my ears and nose, she pushed me out a little, then in again. She did it again and again, holding me with force and moving me to the rhythm of the surf. She wiggled her breasts beneath my hands and intensified the pushing. I went in up to my groin and came out almost entirely. My body was her gearstick.

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