Bad Sex In Fiction Award

While most awards recognize the outstanding, the excellent, and the truly great works of literature, there are those awards that are handed out as black eyes to those works that are truly noteworthy because they are so very bad.

The best known of these is the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, but another popular one is the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award. It goes to the most laughable description of sex in a contemporary novel.

The actual prize is an abstract statue representing sex in the 1950s. Oh, and a box of cigars.

This annual award is organized by the London-based Literary Review and was founded in 1993 as an attempt to discourage such painful descriptions of sex. Or, as they like to put it: "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

Year
Title
Author
Winning Passage
2004
I Am Charlotte Simmons Tom Wolfe "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 ... 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 ... "
2003
Bunker 13 Aniruddha Bahal "She is topping up your engine oil for the cross-country coming up. Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time...
2002
Tread Softly Wendy Perriam "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,"
2001
Rescue Me Christopher Hart "Her hand is moving away from my knee and heading north. Heading unnervingly and with a steely will towards the pole ... 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."
2000
Kissing England Sean Thomas "It is time, time ... Now. Yes. She is so small and compact and yet she has all the necessary features ... Shall I compare thee to a Sony Walkman. She is his own Toshiba, his dinky little JVC, his sweet Aiwa ... Aiwa"
1999
Starcrossed A.A. Gill
1998
Charlotte Gray Sebastian Faulks "Meanwhile her ears were filled with the sound of a soft but frantic gasping and it was some time before she identified it as her own."
1997
The Matter of the Heart Nicholas Royle "She made a noise somewhere between a beached seal and a police siren"
1996
The Big Kiss David Huggins "Liz squeaked like wet rubber"
1995
Gridiron Philip Kerr "Detaching mind from over-eager gnomon and its exquisitely appointed, shadowy task, he began to make love to her."
1994
The Stonebreakers Philip Hook "Their jaws ground in feverish mutual mastication. Saliva and sweat. Sweat and saliva. There was a purposeful shedding of clothing."