• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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If You Want My Body and You Think I’m Sexy

It’s that time of the year, Galleycat announces the Bad Sex in Fiction Finalists:


After getting scorched by the NBA, Franzen’s got to feel good about being the list topper here. I mean anyone can write bad sex scenes, but writing the worst sex scenes that takes some doing. I actually read the Franzen and I think they must be referring to the sex between the married lady (name I no longer remember) and the musician friend (name I no longer remember). Just the way she joined him in bed was oogy to the max. Though I thought the married sex scene was sweetly done. Especially the way they rest when they are done. When I was single, there was no resting after sex. It was all James Franco chew your arm off time. Get dressed and get out. Rest on the subway if you know what I mean. But resting after married sex happens, as does laundry folding.

What have you read that gave you a bone or a wide? Best or worst sex in a book, watcha got?

36 Responses

  1. A wide??? I can hardly breathe. Have I been gone so long I am no longer current with sex slang?

    Downith had an excerpt from Tony Blair’s book on her blog where he writes about an intimate night with the Mrs. I felt dirty after reading it. And not the come and do me on the kitchen table kind either. The scald me with boiling water and scrub my skin off I’ll never be clean again kind. I like to believe it was a work of fiction.

  2. When I was a boy, Playboy or Penthouse could get me hard. The articles, of course.

    I’m a guy. I get off on the visual. The written stuff, not so much.

    Best or worst sex in a book? I dunno. I haven’t read a lot of sex in books. The Prisoner of Sex was a disappointment. Sex in History was informative and nicely, if not copiously, illustrated. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept was erotic as all-get-out, but not particularly sexual. Ovid’s Metamorphoses was both, without being vulgar. Sade’s Juliette was interesting for a while, then grew boring through surfeit.

    Sex scenes are difficult to write. Same as with getting drunk and picking up a stranger, so much can go wrong, no matter your intentions when you first set out. I’ve written a fair number of sex scenes, because sex is rather important, but not much of my sex work has been published. Editors tend to shy away from it, unless they’re looking for erotica or pornography, neither of which I write. And I said sex scenes are difficult to write, but what they really are is difficult to write well.

  3. Atonement. In the library.

    I have never heard the term getting a wide but I love it and am now devoted to disseminating it. ‘Lady boner’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  4. That lady in the picture had nice boobs.

    Otherwise, I’ve read a lot of amateur fiction and sex scenes. I’ve read a lot of bad ones that published authors can’t even touch if they tried. It was still published. It’s not thaaaaaat bad. It’s the kind that isn’t published (and for good reason) that’s the worst…

  5. No wide ever for me I’m afraid. Book sex, movie sex, it’s all bad to me. Unless I’m involved I’m not interested! Plus I can’t deal with the sanitizing of it in books. Where’s the sticky mess of it aIl? But I do like the way Carol Shields wrote about sex.

  6. Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in the punt, when she first saw him as a sexual person and he realized it. That’s all that happened, but I’m getting goosebumps just typing this. From Gaudy Night, one of my favorite books of all time. (By Dorothy L. Sayers.)

  7. Not that I want to steal your idea, but Freedom had some horrible sex scenes in it. It wasn’t just the one either. Franzen hit the pinnacle of raunchy every chance that he had. I still loved the book, but not the sex in it.

  8. I’m worried about the woman in the photo. Whatever is going on with her back does not look healthy. I don’t think bodies work that way.

  9. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The CarpetBaggers, Anais Nin, Portnoy’s Complaint, John Rechy, Fear of Flying, Story of O, Henry Miller, those pens knew where to push it.

    Politically correct is never sexy. MFA concenus prose is not erotic.

    • Gotta say I go with the machos re sex-writing. Miller and Roth, yes (not proud, just unmaking the bed). A writer I corresponded with briefly qualifies too well–but I don’t write and tell.

  10. Philip Roth does it for me. Nine and 1/2 Weeks, the book not the movie. DH Lawrence did when I was younger. Now I’m curious if it would have the same effect. If I can’t get the effect in my own writing, I leave it out.

  11. i don’t know why bad sex can’t be written into a book/story because, let’s face it, we’ve all had bad sex. it happens.

    there are many states of sex: bad, intimate, good, indifferent, hostile, perfunctory, sleepy, intoxicated, viagra enhanced, amnesiac, guilty, anxious, impersonal, etc. etc.

    i like Mary Gaitskill’s matter of fact treatment of sex. it makes sense to me. i’m suspicious when an author doesn’t address sexuality in their characters because that seems unrealistic.

  12. Ew. Between Tony Blair and Franzen’s Freedom, I need a Silkwood shower and some Pepto. I feel soiled, queazy.
    I think I need to gouge my eyes out with Franco’s rusty multi-tool.
    Does this mean I have a ‘narrow’?

    Happy Thanksgiving, Betsy…and writerly people.

  13. The worst!


    And pretty good.

  14. American Psycho had some hot sex.

  15. The guys disappeared for this one. They need picture books.

    • Yeah, well… we’re wired different.

      • Yeah, I think women like reading about sex for the same reason we fantasize about faceless men. We like it better in the abstract.

      • they’re faceless?

      • Absolutely. I never fantasize about anyone recognizable. I thought that was pretty common, but maybe I’m wrong.

      • Real men can be a little… disappointing? Sometimes?

        I’ve never talked with other men about their sexual fantasies and I’ve never researched it and I’m not going to now, but the women I fantasize about are never faceless. They’re not even strangers. They’re always women I’ve known, and almost always women I’ve already had real sex with.

        Is this creepy? Is it possible most guys do this? I know we think about sex a lot. I don’t know if we think about sex more than women do (once every eight seconds as opposed to once every nine seconds, for instance). Do you women know how often we men are fantasizing about having sex with you? As far as that goes, do you men know how often other men are fantasizing about having sex with you? I’m not, so I’ll go back to addressing the women. Do you know there’s a good chance that every man you know has fantasized about having sex with you at least once? Do you know that if you have sex with a guy once, he may fantasize about you the rest of his life? Do you know there is no way I can prove any of this?

        I figure you all know all of that. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Don’t ponder too long what your brother-in-law may be thinking about after he passes you the candied yams.

      • I don’t know that disappointing is the word I’d choose. I have found most men over the age of 25 to be very, um, solicitous.

        My extensive research based on nothing but a hundred stolen hours listening to Ron and Fez, I think men generally think about women they’ve met or seen, and women make it up as we go along. Or something. Hell if I know. For me, the less real the situation feels, the better. I’m constantly trying to get out of my own way.

        I wonder what my family would say if I showed up tomorrow in a burka.

      • Oh, typos. And here amongst the educated people, too.

    • I like picture books too. And sounds … smells … Real sex!

  16. As a guy, I can say that there’s one scene in Paul Doiron’s “The Poacher’s Son” that had me having to rearrange things so that I could sit comfortably again.

  17. I recommend all the ladies try The Sexual Life of Catherine M. though if you read in French definitely go for the French version because the English of the translator reads like bad academic prose. Nevertheless certain scenes and certain descriptions remain unforgettable. it was a tremendously under-appreciated book.

  18. Just discovered the “Herotica” series. To put it plainly, these are like the fuck-books of old, which were just a bit above straight porno and which helped a lot of young boys to get off. “Herotica” was a series written by women, and has it all!

  19. I’m sorry, someone’s going to have to spell it out for me. What the hell is a wide and why is it called that?

  20. who is the girl? she is very beautiful…

  21. When I was 13, Chapter 2 (“At Milo’s House’) of Apuleius’s _The Golden Ass_ (not that kind of ass) could do it for me. Robert Graves translation.

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