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“Oh Glorious Pubes!”: The Bad Sex Writing Awards

“Was it especially hairy? Good Lord, yes it was.” -Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan

Called “Britain’s most dreaded literary prize,” the Literary Reviews annual “Bad Sex Award” has been handed out for the last 15 years with the aim “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 receive a bottle of champagne and a semi-abstract statue representing sex in the 1950s if they show up to collect, which surprisingly most do.

This year’s award was won posthumously by the late Norman Mailer, for a breathtakingly revolting passage in which a characters sex organ is described as being “soft as a coil of excrement.” The entire selection of shortlisted passages is here, and a few of my personal faves can be found right here if you

O glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle, whose angles delve to hell but point to paradise. Let me sing the black banner, the blackbird’s wing, the chink, the cleft, the keyhole in the door. The fig, the fanny, the cranny, the quim – I’d come close to it now, this sudden blush, this ancient avenue, the end of all odysseys and epic aim of life, pulling at my prick now, pulling like a lodestone.

-From Will by Christopher Rush. Please note that this represents an attempt to capture the “erotic voice” of William Shakespeare. Looks like someone is about to make the beast with two backs!

She had on no knickers, and my heart went crash-bang-wallop and my eyes popped out. She hadn’t shaved, and her fanny looked like a tropical fish or a bit of old carpet.

‘So, you just gonna sit there?’ Abi asked, and I laughed nervously. I was hardening up, but it was all a bit of a shock really. All I’d planned that night was listening to a selection of records and maybe some homework. I tried to go down on her, thinking back to the Razzle and how the boys did it in that. But my heart wasn’t into it – her cunt smelt a bit like an armpit, and when I pulled the lips open I knew I’d have to shut them numerous times or else I’ll die of Aids or I’d fall into it.”

-From Apples by Richard Milward. Yikes!

To calm myself down and appear in control I reverse the problem. ‘Spike, you’re a robot, but why are you such a drop-dead gorgeous robot? I mean, is it necessary to be the most sophisticated machine ever built and to look like a movie star?’

She answers simply: ‘They thought I would be good for the boys on the mission.’

I am pondering the implications of this. Like a wartime pin-up? Like a live anti-depressant? Like truth is beauty, beauty truth? ‘How good? I mean, I’m assuming you’re not talking sexual services here.’

‘What else is there to do in space for three years?’

‘But inter-species sex is illegal.’

‘Not on another planet it isn’t. Not in space it isn’t.’ …

‘So you had sex with spacemen for three years?’

‘Yes. I used up three silicon-lined vaginas.’ …

-From The Stone Gods by Jeannette Winterson. But we’ve all been there, right?

“You wanna pop me?” she said. This must have been some new-fangled youth term. The verb “to pop.”

“I wanna bust a nut inside you, shorty,” I said. “I wanna make you sweat, boo. Let’s do this thing.”

I’d like to say that she stepped out of her jeans, but in truth it took a while to maneuver two large dimpled buttocks and the accompanying vaginal wedge out of the hard shell of her Miss Sixty denims. We huffed and sweated; I had her hanging off the edge of the bed while I gripped the cuffs of her jeans; I nearly pulled a groin muscle getting her naked; but through it all I stayed hard, a testament to how much I wanted her. She kept her T-shirt on throughout the initial popping, which is just how I like my sex, infused with a little mystery. I slipped my hands beneath the cotton tee and felt the smooth creamery of her breasts while saving the visuals of those brown glossy globes for later. Her vagina was all that, as they say in the urban media – a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon, the breezes of the local sea, and the sweaty needs of a tiny nation trying to breed itself into a future. Was it especially hairy? Good Lord, yes it was. Mountains of kinkiness black as the night above the Serengeti with paprika shoots at the edges – the pubic hair alone must have clocked in at half a kilo, while providing the inspiration for two discernible trails of hair, one running up to the navel, the other to the base of the spine.

Naturally, considering my size, she got on top of me. But given her impressive overall body mass and natural resilience, I could see a day when we could broach the missionary position, not that there’s anything special in attacking a poor woman that way. After we had fussed with the condom, I reached for her pubes, but she slapped me away. These preliminaries did not interest her. Instead, she just plain mounted me, holding on to my tits for balance, slipping me inside with no effort, both vaginal lips working to usher me into her tightness. I find it clich├ęd when couples insist that they have “the perfect fit,” but between the busted-up, zigzag, Broadway boogie-woogie of my maligned purple khui and the all-encompassing nature of her Caspian pizda, we reached a third way, as it were.

That is to say, she rode me. It was all very classy and contemporary, like a modern-art survey course at NYU. I wanted to have the slogan I RODE MISHA VAINBERG imprinted on her T-shirt. “Yeah, do me,” she kept saying, after issuing a few grunts so male and assertive they startled me into a brief homosexual fear, a fear compounded by one of her sharp nails digging into my tight rectum. “Do me, daddy,” she said, her eyes closed, her thighs slapping against my upper and lower stomachs, my own tits making wet noises against my frame. “Just like that,” she said, stealing a brief glance at me and then turning her head to the side so that I could lick her ear and plunge into her neck. “Just … like … that.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m fucking you, boo,” but the words did not convince me. “I’m busting my nut tonight,” I sang.

“My pussy fills so tight,” she sang back in perfect ghetto English.

“Ouch,” I said. She was crushing my pubic bone, grinding into it. “Ouch,” I repeated. “Baby doll … ouch.”

“Just a minute, pops,” she said. “Just give me a minute. Do me right. Just like that.”

“Move up a little,” I said. “Move up. It hurts. My bone.”

“Just … like … that,” she said.

“My bone hurts,” I said. “I’m losing it.”

“AW,” she shouted. “FUCK ME.” She leaned back. I slipped out. Her thighs trembled before me, and I felt a warm, abundant liquid spreading on my own thighs, not sure which of us had issued it. My bedroom was filled with the smell of asparagus and related greenery. “Aw,” she said again. “Fuck me.”

-From Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. By far the most unnecessarily nauseating passage of the lot. Good luck ever being turned on by anything ever again.

  1. Nick says:

    Still baggin’ on Slater. haha. Good to see things are staying on track back at OC.

  2. Eva says:

    Just compounding the creepiness, the scene Mailer won the prize for describes an encounter between Adolf Hitler’s parents.

    http://www.amazon.com/Castle-Forest-Novel-Norman-Mailer/dp/0394536495

  3. This is from the worst book I have ever read that was published by a major house in New York. It’s called Macon’s Run by James McLendon:

    “She was sitting on the bed naked, waiting for him to shower; when he came out he was nude and his hair was damp.

    ‘You smell nice and fresh,’ Chris said to him as he sat down close to her on the bed. She was lying on her back as innocent as a baby, her legs spread open slightly.

    ~OK, time out right here. You should never use a baby simile in a sex scene.

    “Eddie reached out an touched her face with the fingertips of his right hand. Her skin was soft and tanned, her white breasts standing out as if in a painting. She took his hand and pulled him down and they kissed. She took command, moving her tongue inside his mouth and over his lips. He returned the kisses. She had a thick female odor in the taste of her mouth, a smell that fascinated him, he liked to tell her.

    ~Honey, the female odor of your mouth fascinates me.

    “‘I am going to be so good to you,’ she whispered to him, holding him close.

    He kissed her gently sagging breasts and she held his head and moved it expertly over them. His hand moved down between her legs.

    ‘Oh, yes,’ she said. ‘Yes,” she repeated into his neck.

    They rolled on the bed and kissed deeply. Her hand went down between his legs, her mind racing in a thousand directions, images flashing wildly before her – legs, arms, chest, hair, muscles, the bedsheets that were rich with his smell, and most of all, the wild excitement of the serpentlike curve of his penis. She slid down between his legs and began to move over the muscular snake with her mouth. He quivered and shifted his weight from side to side. Then she saw the angle of the serpent change as Eddie turned and mounted her in two swift moves. She felt his thick pubic hair on her stomach, the tenderness of his mouth, the security of his arms on her sides. Then she stopped thinking and was simply pulled along by what she was experiencing, completely warm and satisfied. She was barely conscious of Eddie moving on top of her, of his lunges in and out of her.

    ~ Did she just get roofied?

    And when she came, it was as if part of her body was somewhere else, as if it was no longer a part of her at all. Afterward, she felt cleansed. She became aware of her entire body, empty but at the same time full. She felt totally a part of Eddie, even aftger he withdrew from her and lay on his side facing her, his penis – to her, elegant in its limpness – against her leg.

    ~Yes, elegant in its limpness.

  4. Sean says:

    After reading that, I’ve been finding myself getting hard-ons from smelling asparagus and related greenery.

  5. Niedermeyer says:

    Yeah, I think Mailer only won this thing because he’s dead. As gross as his one simile is, it just can’t compare to the steaming pile of hilarious filth that Shteyngart squeezed out. Ailee Slater had nothing on this guy…

  6. Sean says:

    “Yeah, do me,” she kept saying, after issuing a few grunts so male and assertive they startled me into a brief homosexual fear, a fear compounded by one of her sharp nails digging into my tight rectum.”

    If I had a dollar every time that happened to me…

    I mean…

  7. T says:

    Is it any wonder that Norman Mailer is one of Christopher Hitchens’ favorite writers? Birds of a repulsive feather, I suppose.

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