And they seriously tell us romance is trash????

If you belong to those people who think romance authors produce bad prose, especially when it comes to love scenes, well then, read the following sex scenes by oh-so-wonderful mainstream authors and … shudder, shriek, and run away (and probably be afraid, too) (very afraid!):

“His was that her cunt did not feel like Phyllis’s. Smoother, somehow simpler, its wetness less thick, less of a sauce, more of a glaze.” (from VILLAGES by John Updike)

How yucky is that, I ask you? The next one is more ridiculous than yucky:

“In reply, Boonyi pulled her phiran and shirt off over her head and stood before him naked except for the little pot of fire hanging low, below her belly, heating further what was already hot. ” (from SHALIMAR THE CLOWN by Salman Rushdie)

And this one is bound to give you nightmares:

“. . . and the suddenness of it, the snaking of her tongue, the pressure of her lips, the hot grip of her mouth, triggered his orgasm, which was not juice at all but a demon eel thrashing in his loins and swimming swiftly up his cock, one whole creature of live slime fighting the stiffness as it rose and bulged at the tip and darted into her mouth.” (from BLINDING LIGHT by Paul Theroux)

Further gems can be found here , all of them on the longlist of the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award.

8 thoughts on “And they seriously tell us romance is trash????

  1. Schrumpfkopf

    I actually prefer (if that’s the word) “Winkler” by Giles Coren, shortlisted for this lovely passage (note that we are dealing with just two sentences):

    “And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he’d ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.”

  2. Sandy

    Oh yes, that one’s rather lovely, too! It quite puts you off sex, doesn’t it? Perhaps they should make high school students read that book in order to reduce the numbers of teenage pregnancy …

    Besides, it makes you wonder what his penis is made off: it “rattled on her teeth”??? That’s taking the “rod of steel” a bit too literally. Hmmm. He handled his rod of steel like Zorro his sword (only Zorro is clever enough not to shoot himself in the eye. With anything.) Male fantasies can be rather … uhm … fascinating. *g*

  3. Schrumpfkopf

    Just for the record, I would like to point out that this male’s fantasies contain no rattling teeth whatsoever. Also, no parts of the human body “leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath”. I suspect that we are not so much talking male fantasy as writers hellbent on creating new and interesting and fresh metaphors. You want to gram them (at the shoulders, in case you were wondering) and shake them about (see above) and scream at them: The metaphor DOES have to have some connection to what it is describing!

    Anyhow, must be off. I have other rats to fry…

  4. Sandy

    Oh yes, the tertio comparationis. To make the metaphor work. (Don’t you just love it when you can throw around big words. *ggg*) (Sorry, decidedly silly this morning.)

    I’m glad to hear about the non-rattling-teeth part. ;-P

    Frying rats? To sell to the dwarves?

  5. Kate

    Who’d have thought that ‘real’ literature was so bad? I knew there was a reason I’ve never picked up a Salman Rushdie.

    That being said, at least you people get to read real fiction/literature. The closest to a titillating sex scene I’ve gotten recently is a quote from Henry VIII’s letter to Anne Boleyn saying how much he wants to kiss her “duckies” [breasts].

  6. Sandy

    “Duckies”? That’s cute. 🙂

    Hmmm. Would “duckies” be a word my hero would use? I don’t mean historically-wise, but character-wise. Hmmmm. Fodder for thought!

  7. Mark

    After abusing Gideon for his philosophical strain, I think you could now get the better end of my morning mood in the Hiwi-Zimmer (I had to teach at 8 and now I am in exile again).
    The funny thing is that you seem to suppose that GOOD equals DELIGHTFUL in writing. Though this certainly true for the pornographic side of “love”-scenes (why “love” if it is really “sex”?) it is not really a watertight concept to judge writing generally, I think. None of the scenes which you have quoted strikes me as BAD in the sense I would use the word. Bad writing can be unimaginative or uneffective but unpleasantness does not make a text bad.
    One could claim that Rushdie’s passage is not really imaginative but you seem to obejct more to his use of metaphor in general than to the fact how often metaphor has already been used.
    Now here’s an all-time favorite: Should one use metaphors in describing sex?
    It seems to boil down to a “realism-debate”: Why not describe the actual thing than fumble around with (potentially silly) images?
    Yet, as we now (signied sliding under the signifier! … sounds sexual too by the way …) there is no such thing as an actual description as all language is figurative. So what one does when one says that this and and that is a “truer description of sex” is that one evaluates how one would like to view sex and have it described.
    And a last (belligerent) commet on “weird male fantasies” (negative of course and opposed to what? “straight, senual, warm, realistic, female ones”?): Judging sexual fantasies on a moral basis and from a supposedly moral upper ground is a problematic thing, I’d say …

  8. Sandy

    Mark, while it is certainly true that I prefer a tasteful description when it comes to sex (and I don’t consider live demon eel slime tasteful in *any* context!), the problem with several of the metaphors used is that they are not appropriate and thus don’t work (e.g. penis rattling against teeth).

    No, I’ve got nothing against using metaphors when describing sex (heck, I do it myself), but it makes no sense to me to criticize love scenes from romances as purple prose, while deeming scenes with ridiculous and/or yucky imagery from mainstream fiction as the better literary product.

    Love scenes vs sex scenes: “love scene” implies there’re emotions involved.

    Female fantasies: not necessarily straight, not necessarily warm, not necessarily realistic. And I didn’t want to take the moral highground either. Still, that penis rattling around (as I said, taking the rod-of-steel metaphor a bit too far), leaping around like a shower in an empty bathtub (how long is that thing??? Must be a difficult when walking around), shooting its owner in the eye and then shooting at the woman like Zorro (gosh, not just long, but also a never-ending sperm-shooting) — is interesting, to say the least, and is not really improved by the hellishly bad imagery used. *shrug*

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