The Literary Review Bad Sex award.was set up by the literary critic Rhoda Koenig and the late editor of the Literary Review Auberon Waugh in 1993 "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it."
As has become customary for this award, there was stiff competition, with such notables as the Nobel prize-winner André Brink being one of the contenders. In a recent interview to the Guardian, Tom Wolfe had said: "I have tried to make the sex un-erotic. I will have failed if anyone gets the least bit excited. So much of modern sex is un-erotic, if erotic means flight of fancy or romantic build-up."
Obviously, the judges agreed with him. It may be recalled that Aniruddha Bahl had was the winner of last year's award. Wolfe became one of the very few authors in the award's 12 year history to decline the invitation to receive the award.
The Winning Passage
I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Jonathan Cape)
Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth. She tried to make her lips move in sync with his. The next thing she knew, Hoyt had put his hand sort of under her thigh and hoisted her leg up over his thigh. What was she to do? Was this the point she should say, "Stop!"? No, she shouldn't put it that way. It would be much cooler to say, "No, Hoyt," in an even voice, the way you would talk to a dog that insists on begging at the table.
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 fingers went under the elastic of the panties moan moan moan moan moan went Hoyt as he slithered slithered slithered slithered and caress caress caress caress went the fingers until they must be only eighths of inches from the border of her public hair - what's that! - Her panties were so wet down. . . there - the fingers had definitely reached the outer stand of the field of pubic hair and would soon plunge into the wet mess that was waiting right. . . there-there-
Other Contenders - Longlist
Before I Forget by André Brink (Secker & Warburg)
. . . the most tousled, tangled pubic patch through which I have ever had to find my way. A near impenetrable little forest, a small private Amazon to get lost in. But when one finally got down to the river, slipping and sliding through reeds and weeds and rushes and undergrowth, one could slither through the mud and dive in, wholly immerse oneself, stay down for an impossibly long time, nearly drowning, before coming up again, panting and heaving. . .
. . . the mound of her sex . . . was disproportionately - but beautifully - high and rounded, overgrown with a luxuriant mop of long black pubic hair, not crinkly at all, but soft and feathery; and the vulva itself ... was of unusual plumpness, almost spherical, like a large exotic mushroom in the fork of a tree, a little pleasure dome if ever I've seen one, where Alph the sacred river ran down to a tideless sea. No, not tideless. Her tides were convulsive, an ebb and flow that could take you very far, far back, before hurling you out, wildly and triumphantly, on a ribbed and windswept beach without end
". . . I would plunge into her from above like a diver in search of abalone."
Snobs by Julian Fellowes (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Still without a word he turned back to her, the same furious intensity in his face, and, avoiding direct eye contact, he started to kiss her while he planted his right hand against her vagina. Once it was in place, he began to massage her with a kind of dry pumping action, which reminded her of someone blowing up a lilo. She groaned a bit by way of encouragement. He didn't seem to need more as suddenly he heaved himself over between her legs, fumbled himself into her, thrust away a few times - no more than six at the outside - and then, with a terrific gasp to tell her that it was now (which she countered with some cries and pants of her own), he collapsed on top of her. The whole business, from the moment he folded the paper, had taken perhaps eight minutes.Ah, thought Edith.
"Thank you, darling." One of Charles's more irritating habits was always to thank Edith after sex, as if she had just brought him a cup of tea. Of course, at this point, she did not know it was habitual.
The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shangvi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Was it on the bed that she sat on him, her weasel-like loins clutching and unclutching his lovely, long, louche manhood, as though squeezing an orange for its juice? Or was it on the balcony swing, much later, that he buried his thirsty tongue in those thick pink lips between her legs? She loved most the lusciousness of his buttocks, their dimpled circumference, as though God had created them only so she might pull him farther into herself and then muffle her rapturous pleasure as she had, only a few hours back, muffled her anguish. ... they had exhausted all the wild beasts lurking in the forests of their flesh. . .
Cherry by Matt Thorne (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
I still had the brush. I gripped it tightly, even as Cherry embraced me. She was on all fours, with me lying beneath her. I let her hold me, then moved the brush to my crotch, pointing it upwards. I wasn't sure what I was doing. The kiss had changed the temperature of the moment, altering our interaction from erotic fantasy to sexual intimacy. . . . It was true that in my years without a woman my fantasies had frequently been shaped by material created out of empty anger and pain, and it was an attempt to legitimise (in the sense of seeking a female response to) this form of frustrated lust that I acted now, bringing my hips up so the tip of the brush handle pressed against Cherry's labia.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (Little, Brown)
I held Karla as if holding her could heal me, and we didn't make love until night lit the last star in our wide window of sky. Her hands were kisses on my skin. My lips unrolled the curled leaf of her heart. She breathed in murmurs, guiding me, and I spoke rhythm to her, echoing my needs. Heat joined us, and we enclosed ourselves with touch and taste and perfumed sounds. Reflected on the glass, we were silhouettes, transparent images - mine full of fire from the beach, and hers full of stars. And at last, at the end, those clear reflections of our selves melted, merged, and fused together.
I pressed my lips against the sky, and licked the stars into my mouth. She took my body into hers, and every movement was an incantation. Our breathing was like the whole world chanting prayers. Sweat ran in rivulets to ravines of pleasure. Every moment was a satin skin cascade. Within the velvet cloaks of tenderness, our backs convulsed in quivering heat, pushing heat, pushing muscles to complete what minds begin and bodies always win. I was hers. She was mine. My body was her chariot, and she drove it into the sun. Her body was my river, and I became the sea. And the wailing moan that drove our lips together, at the end, was the world of hope and sorrow that ecstasy wrings from lovers as it floods their souls with bliss.
Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam (Faber & Faber)
At the tip of his penis, the dot of starlit ache - which had to be kept in place and referred to periodically to maintain the erection, but was never to be dwelt on because then it would spread and lead to climax - was growing larger.
His mouth looked for the oiled berry. Her taste came and went tidally salt and sour in his mouth, as eloquent as weather.
When he fell through the sensation and opened his eyes he was surprised to find her there.
And he could not hold her close enough.
The smell of his armpits was on her shoulders - a flower depositing pollen on a hummingbird's forehead.
They detonated the remains of each other's orgasms with fingers and tongues, areas of their bodies sticking together with sweat that was like the weak glue that holds segments of an orange together.
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella (Timewarner)
She felt strange and wild. Her body was just a collection of organs. She was blood and plumbing, like any other creature, and there was nothing that was forbidden about any of it. She gnawed on Tomasso ravenously, like an animal plundering a carcass, and when she had had enough of that she swung her leg over him, like a rider swinging into a saddle, and galloped.
She was riding naked on a big horse, among a pack of hunting wolves, at night. The flanks of the horse were slippery with foam. She could sense something in the distance, some small animal which was desperately trying to escape the pack, but they were getting closer to it every second. The wolves could sense it, too, and increased their pace. She galloped faster, urging her mount on with little cries and squeezes of her thighs. Closer and closer they got to their quarry. Now there was a jump ahead, a vast wall rushing towards her, but it was too late to stop. She dug her nails in hard and held on for dear life. As she finally took off into the air, she arched her back and shouted. The animal was screaming, too, as the wolves finally caught it and tore it apart, ripping its soft pajate open with their sharp teeth, devouring the coratella and the bloody bright red heart.
Virgin in the Gym and other stories: Room Service by Wendy Perriam (Robert Hale)
The startled bed was rocking as he made her come with just his mouth: bristly chin, velvet lips. "Yes, more!" she cried as his tongue probed and thrust. "It's wonderful! It's wonderful!" He had peeled her like a kiwi fruit and she was all glistening-moist and sensitive as his unstinting tongue went deeper. Nothing existed in her universe save the long slow stroke of that tongue, opening her wider and wider until the whole of him seemed to slip inside her and explore her body from the inside out. He was licking a lazy pathway from her womb to her lungs to her heart, and their bloodstreams were converging into one reckless scarlet pulse. There were no boundaries between them now: he was seeing through her eyes, swallowing with her throat, digesting with her juices. And all the Pierres that had ever been - the child Pierre, the boy Pierre, the student, poet, painter Pierre, the tender, violent, wild Pierre - were fused with her and part of her, part of her seethe and squall.
"Yes, Pierre, I'm coming!" she shouted, winding her fingers tighter into his hair.
Dr Mukti and other tales of woe: Dr Mukti by Will Self (Bloomsbury)
Whimpering and grinding his teeth, Shiva swung open the gate and entered another of the fields on his funny farm. He herded the cow into the hoof-cratered corner by the water trough, then slipped his trousers off so he could mount her. His first wife Sandra bucked and mooed beneath him. Despite the tumult of upheaving flesh Shiva still noticed - with lofty, Brahminical pity - the sprinkling of livid spots on the inside of her anal cleft. Sandra's conical fingers, which resembled jeweller's ring trees, dug into an earthen bolster, and her high-pitched bellows rent the rapidly compressing atmosphere.
Young Turk by Moris Farhi (Saqi Books)
. . . I am stretched out on a sofa.My beloved is determined to assess my age. She has an infallible method for doing so: the way they ascertain a tree's age: by counting the rings in its trunk. Consequently, she has my member in her mouth. Her lips are thick with lipstick. Starting from the base of my penis, her mouth ambles upwards. At each half-centimetre, her lips imprint a red ring around the shaft. She continues until she runs out of length. She counts the rings. On this occasion they add up to thirty-six. (An hour ago, the number had been forty-one.) She cuddles up to me. She coos. "Thirty-odd rings. What a mature oak in one so young!" We embrace. She smears her breasts and vagina with rose-petal jam. She squats above my face so that I can imbibe her splendour. She lowers herself on to my mouth and lets me lap up every bit of the rose-petal jam. Then she mounts me and, as she begins to rock, she rubs her breasts all over my face. I am in such ecstasy that I am ready to die. In fact, I want to die, because I know I shall never again find this heaven, the Seventh Heaven.