One of this year's winning paragraphs, from "I am Charlotte Simmons":
Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns. Oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say 'No, Hoyt' and talk to him like a dog...
The winning entry in 2003 was "Bunker 13" by Aniruddha Bahal:
She's taking off her blouse. It's on the floor. Her breasts are placards for the endomorphically endowed. In spite of yourself a soft whistle of air escapes you. She's taking off her trousers now. They are a heap on the floor. Her panties are white and translucent. You can see the dark hair sticking to them inside. There's a design as well. You gasp. What's that?' you ask. You see a designer pussy. Hair razored and ordered in the shape of a swastika. The Aryan denominator...
The 2003 shortlist extracts.
2002 saw the turn of Wendy Perriam's "Tread Softly":
She lay back on the bed while he positioned himself above her, then she slid her feet up his chest and on to his shoulders - Mr Hughes's shoulders. She closed her eyes, saw his dark-as-treacle-toffee eyes gazing down at her. Weirdly, he was clad in pin-stripes at the same time as being naked. Pin-stripes were erotic, the uniform of fathers, two-dimensional fathers. Even Mr Hughes's penis had a seductive pin-striped foreskin. Enticingly rough yet soft inside her. The jargon he'd used at the consultation had become bewitching love-talk: '. . . dislocation of the second MTPJ . . . titanium hemi-implant . .'
The 2002 shortlist in all its gory glory.
In 2001 Christopher Hart won the award for his sex scene comparing an erotic liaison to Sir Ranulph Fiennes's exploration of the north pole in "Rescue Me":
Her hand is moving away from my knee and heading north. Heading unnervingly and with a steely will towards the pole. And, like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Pamela will not easily be discouraged. I try twitching, and then shaking my leg, but to no avail. At last, disastrously, I try squeezing her hand painfully between my bony thighs, but this only serves to inflame her ardour the more. Ever northward moves her hand, while she smiles languorously at my right ear. And when she reaches the north pole, I think in wonder and terror....she will surely want to pitch her tent.
The 2001 shortlist highlights.
2000 - Sean Thomas, Kissing England
1999 - A. A. Gill, Starcrossed
1998 - Sebastian Faulks, Charlotte Gray
1997 - Nicholas Royle, The Matter of the Heart
1996 - David Huggins, The Big Kiss: An Arcade Mystery
1995 - Philip Kerr, Gridiron
1994 - Philip Hook, The Stonebreakers
From the famous nominees and winners over the years it appears even our most able creators of contemporary prose are wont to misplace their creative gifts when things get intimate. The intriguing alternative hypothesis is that sex might feel good, but as a physical act it must be considered rather farcical outside that (as Dr Johnson famously noted). Perhaps the nominees for the Bad Sex award show us sex as it really is, confusing idiosyncracies and all? Presumably the authors originally thought they were delivering pretty hot stuff. Another idea is possibly that describing sex in an erotic (or at least interesting) manner is damn hard, particularly as it is something that most authors have to have their protagonists get up to at some point. Maybe these strained metaphors and car crashes of discordant verbiage are simply a product of trying too hard to make something as old as humanity itself appear fresh and new. All that said, perhaps ultimately what this competition tells us is that even bad sex can sometimes still be fun.
...can any Kuro5hin users think of better examples?
Indeed, does our own humble literary section harbour some potential world beaters for 2005?