Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unsexy Times

by Meghan B

When you think badly written sex scenes, I think most people immediately think of romance novels. While there are many heaving bosoms and deranged euphemisms for man parts, I don't think romance novels can come come to the bizarre bedroom antics described in sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Every year an award comes out, highlighting absolutely terrible sex scenes in fiction. The aptly named Bad Sex Award strives to "draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it". Every year, the list is full of authors of some renowned such as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. Every year, I boggle the list isn't full of fantasy and sci-fi novels. Sure, I don't really want King writing sex, but is anything worse than what George RR Martin can write?

George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, William Gibson... these are just some examples of people who we love but have written some horrifically bad sex scenes. They aren't just bad, they're absolutely terrible. Martin's sex scenes make me shudder, Gaiman's always seem rather funny until you get to a certain part in American Gods and your faith in humanity is tested. Neuromancer is choked full of very bizarre sex between Case and Molly. These are just some examples but we can all agree that they aren't the shining points of those novels.

I ask you, faithful readers, are sex scenes necessary in sci-fi and fantasy novels? What was the worst sex scene you've ever read in a genre book? What author would you recommend to win the Bad Sex Award?
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  1. Oh, GRRM's are the WORST. Quick, I dare you to google "fat pink mast." (Actually, don't. Trust me.)

    Ian M. Banks writes the coldest and least emotional sex scenes I ever have read. They're dreadful, and they make me dislike the protagonists for their lack of, well, passion.

    However, as Stellar Four's resident romance novel reader, I have to stick up for my genre. Yes, some sex scenes are marvelously silly. But there are plenty of tender scenes, playful scenes and, yes, sexy scenes that enhance the characters' development and advance the plot. And there are even some that are fan-your-cheeks-and-reach-for-a-cigarette-afterward hot.

  2. I gotta admit that I find the Black Dagger Brotherhood sex scenes really far too much over the top. I mean, the fact that the male vampires can orgasm over and over and over - I just get taken out of the story and I'm thinking, "Man, cleaning that up is gonna be a bitch."

  3. I remember reading some Stephen R. Donaldson way back when I first started reading adult books - lots of sex and some of it, well lets just say that my mom's stash of Johanna Lindseys was tame in comparison.

    I agree with Sara that most of the romance books I've read do the sex scenes well, except for the Breeds series. I read a short story and as soon as it got to the "barb" I had my "say what?" moment and was done.

  4. Pick any Laurel K Hamilton book published after 1999.

    Not that the sex scenes in the ones before 1999 are any better, but at least there far less of them.