Bad Sex and Churches

It’s that time of year – when lights are on the houses, when the days are shorter, when the long, chilly nights are full of the promise that you get to read sex scenes out loud.

Book CoverWhy? It’s time for the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award . Oh, the things we have to be thankful for. A throbbing, turgid congratulations to Rachel Johnson’s Shire Hell.

You can read more about the short listed books in last week’s Guardian article. The shortlisted excerpts are majestic to say the least. My fave of the excerpts:

There was nothing but obliterating sensation as we contorted like origami creations for the next hour….

Origami? Like Pornogami? Word up!

[Thanks to Rebecca, Becca and Phyllis for the links.]

Book CoverWhat, bad sex isn’t enough of an eyeball torture for you? How about this one, courtesy of Jackie Kessler‘s blog: author J.F. Lewis was booted from his non-denominational church in Alabama because of his book. According to Mr. Lewis:

…by writing the book, I committed the sins contained within it. They also felt that I’d aimed the novel at young children (which boggles the mind) and that it teaches and encourages the use of vulgar language. Though I disagree wholeheartedly with their decision, I can’t really say they took the action they took in order to be mean… they appear to have been acting out of genuine concern.

Yes, I’m concerned as well, specifically about the ability to discern fiction and creativity from reality. Oy.

Since I’m a veteran of two major religions, three if you count my deep devotion to 85% cocoa dark chocolate (that’s not a euphemism), perhaps it’s time I founded a church. A non denominational church. Or synagogue. Or Syn-urch. Where if you write about violence, fear, atonement, rebirth, celebration, sex, and happily ever after, you’re lauded and celebrated for being creative, since being creative, to my mind, is one of the top 3 ways to affirm we are alive and well. See sex and above re: chocolate for ways #1 and #2.

And seriously, Mr. Lewis, that had to hurt, to be removed from your community like that. My condolences. I hope you find a home of worship and community that’s much more welcoming to you and your creativity.

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Tina C. says:

    The first excerpt was beyond pretentious and the subsequent ones use some bizarre images and decidedly unsexy terminology but only Russell Banks managed to send the mind to a very scary place by virtue of one very badly placed metaphor:

    Russell Banks, The Reserve 
    “It had begun slowly, tenderly, face-to-face, with long, lingering looks at each other, like devoted siblings at the start of a long absence taking their last leave of each other, gathering in all the details they had neglected to notice up to now.”

    Really, Russell?  Did you really just fall so in love with your wordplay that you completely missed the fact that perhaps a sibling reference here wasn’t entirely appropriate?  Or sexy, for that matter.  And you, Editor.  Didn’t you notice that for yourself as you read over these pages?  Wow.  Just wow.

  2. 2
    Amy Ruttan says:

    Ahhh, my favorite time of the year. I get such a kick out of reading the entries.

    Of course dealing with morning sickness I had a real hard time stomaching some of them. LOL.

  3. 3

    These entries were a little awkward and/or pretentious, sure, but there was nothing there nearly as cringe-inducing as most of last years’ entries.

    Are mainstream/literary authors getting better at writing sex?

  4. 4
    Silver James says:

    Are mainstream/literary authors getting better at writing sex?

    Maybe they took a page from the Smart Bitches and started reading romances!

  5. 5
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Oh, my.  These are all masterpieces of WTF-ery, but this quote really made me lose it:

    But the kissing, just the kissing, was heavenly […] He made her forget she was a Communist.

    Wasn’t that from one of Greta Garbo’s flicks?

    As for JF Lewis, I’m truly sorry that happened to him.  Can’t that church distinguish between fiction and reality, or between a patently adult novel and one aimed at young children?  Didn’t the illustration of a vampire-bitten pole dancer on the front cover tip them off that it’s not meant for the kiddies?  (Having said that, I HATED Staked, and wish I could stake the person on the Jim Butcher boards who gave it such a glowing review and convinced me to spend 17 bucks on a copy.  Not that the writing itself is bad, I just loathed every single one of the characters with the fiery intensity of a thousand white-hot suns.  Or something.)  But I certainly don’t think it warrants booting him from his church, or from any other group he may want to join.

  6. 6
    Wryhag says:

    He made her forget she was a Communist.

    Plenty of men have made me forget I was a Catholic.  But a communist?  Never.

    ??????

  7. 7
    Estelle Chauvelin says:

    I think I’ve been remarking that Updike should get a lifetime acheivement award for about the last three years.

  8. 8
    Ashley says:

    Why Russell Banks? Why?

    also, the following should never appear in a fictional sex scene (or any scene for that matter, with the sometimes exception of a medical textbook): bush, vulva, penis, membrane as referring to the penis, member if not in a historical, moist, anything about blue veins, appendage.  I’m sure there are others.  It takes a special author to be able to use certain words in a sex scene without making it sound cheap or vulgar.  I know most people object to pussy and cunt in particular.  I have seen both of these used once, and that was in a male domination type scene.  I was not amused, but after a while i got used to it, because it did give a kinda sexy down and dirty feeling a times.  I’m still not sure I liked it though.  again, it takes a very skillful author to accomplish this.

  9. 9
    theo says:

    Mounting Wagnerian crescendo???  *snort* You have GOT to be kidding me!

  10. 10

    He made her forget she was a communist.

    THE MIND BOGGLES.

  11. 11
    Wendy says:

    Weeping orifice

    I’m…I’m so turned on right now.

  12. 12

    He made her forget she was a communist.

    THE MIND BOGGLES.

    I can noly hope to oe day find a man who makes forget that I’m a social democrat.

    [problems52? As in: I got 52 problems but a communist aint one?]

  13. 13

    Maybe they took a page from the Smart Bitches and started reading romances!

    I’m with Silver James on this one—these aren’t nearly as bad as last year’s offerings. Although there are a number of terms that do not belong in sex scenes. ‘Weeping orifice’ being one of them. ::shudders::

    man63…well, that is appropriate.

  14. 14
    J.C. Wilder says:

    Since I’m a veteran of two major religions, three if you count my deep devotion to 85% cocoa dark chocolate

    I created the cocoa-licious religion back in ‘03. I’m working on building a place of worship, out of cocao trees, and our high priest is Lindt…

    Okay – I need more coffee…or chocolate!

  15. 15
    Lyvvie says:

    …It had begun slowly, tenderly, face-to-face, with long, lingering looks at each other, like devoted siblings…

    No no no. The only times siblings have long looks at each other is during a staring contest to see who gets the last piece of pie. Devoted siblings indeed. Squicked out!

  16. 16
    GrowlyCub says:

    The writer of the ‘devoted siblings’ must have read one too many V.C. Andrews books…

  17. 17
    Erin says:

    Where if you write about violence, fear, atonement, rebirth, celebration, sex, and happily ever after, you’re lauded and celebrated for being creative

    Where I come from, we call that THE BIBLE. srsly. The Bible has more violence, sex, incest, and any of the above than any romance I’ve ever read.

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