Literary ‘bad sex award’ longlist

Jeanette Winterson and Ian McEwan have made it onto this year’s long-list of the Bad Sex award – for most cringe-inducing erotic scene in fiction, reports the Guardian.

Descriptions of sex in the novel do have a tendancy to veer towards the awful – check out this example from a Gary Shteyngart book:

Her vagina was all that, as they say in the urban media – a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon, the breezes of the local sea, and the sweaty needs of a tiny nation trying to breed itself into a future

As they say in the urban media?!

But I can’t agree with the rather prudish reasoning of the judges:

Now in its 15th year, the prize, which only targets literary fiction, aims “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”

Discourage bad examples of sexual description, to be sure, but there’s something about this whole enterprise which smacks of an unnecessarily puritanical attitude.