Thursday, September 24, 2009

Awkward Descriptions of Sex

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post-- I always like to get a good conversation going. I guess a kid could do worse than identify as asexual, like get an enormous tattoo of Robert Pattinson. But all joking aside, young asexuals have probably given as much thought to their asexuality as older people have-- probably more thought that whoever got that Twilight tattoo. If asexuals really are people who overanalyze, then maybe it's unlikely that they'll stick with a label just because. Although people will probably give you a hard time for changing it, questioning your sexuality is one of those "character building" experiences that your elders always tell you about. (Yeah-- I hate them, too--right along with "learning experiences".)

Now, here's a fun and unrelated game: Who can dig up the most awkward fictional description of sex? This idea came to me while reading a mystery called Mistress of the Art of Death. Its protagonist tells us: "...and this was sex, was it, this throbbing, slippery ride to the stars and back" (347). So I have that, and I have On Chesil Beach. Other than that, I'm more of a nonfiction fan so I don't have much. What makes a description of sex awkward? I think it's when an author thinks that you'll be too distracted by the sex to notice that they are dispensing with "Show, don't tell", especially when it comes to the emotional aspect of sex. For me, awkward descriptions jump off the page, and not in a good way. Another novel I read recently was Stone Butch Blues, which is about a butch woman who decides to pass as a man in the 1960s and 70s. There's a memorable scene in the book when the protagonist, Jess, is having sex with a woman who thinks she's actually a man. It's a great because it actually is awkward, as I would imagine sex can be (especially when your partner thinks you're a different gender than you really are).

However, I'm usually struck by the sameness in fictional depictions of sex. You'd think writers would get really creative, since they don't have to wrangle for a "R" rating like film-makers do--I would imagine this is why most sex scenes in movies look the same also. (If you're interested in movies at all, you've GOT to see This Film is Not Yet Rated. It explains why we see the sex we see in films.)

Anyway, this is your chance to share your favorite awkward depictions of sex, so drag out those novels...yes, I will declare a winner, and bragging rights (not much else, sorry) will be yours!

11 comments:

Lanafactrix said...

Oh, man, I don't have the book anymore, and I can't find the passage on Amazon, so you'll have to take my word for it. Poison Study has one of the most hilariously bad sex scenes I've ever encountered. I read it on a plane flight last Christmas and had to muffle my laughter.

Ily said...

Hee...looking at the sample passage, I can't say it's impossible to imagine :-)

Kim said...

I don't have any bad sex scenes, but I do have a story! My mom and I went on a trip (I don't remember where or why), but it was fairly short and she brought a book to read. I thought she was reading it faster than she usually reads, so I peaked over her shoulder and happened to glance at a "romantic interlude." Then I looked at my mom's face, and noticed her eyes move from the top of one page to the bottom of the next page, without reading anything in between.
We now bond over skipping stupid romantic subplots :)

Kim said...

Also, I just found this site: http://romance.unclewaltersrants.com/

AnAceWordsmith said...

I'm definitely interesting in seeing This Film is Not Yet Rated. Too bad I live in a nowhere town with a crappy video store. Internet here I come... :P

Hm. Best awkward description of sex. You can find plenty of those in fanfiction. Does that count?

SlightlyMetaphysical said...

I think authors writing sex scenes must have a very tough time. I get the impression that, while at all other times, people sort of maintain a background narration in their head, with sex, they rarely think things like "oh, and now pleasurable sensations are washing over my genitals" (which would be a wonderfully asexy internal monologue), so it's difficult not to reduce it down to just the acts.

Ily said...

http://romance.unclewaltersrants.com/


Good find! Gotta say, I LOL'd a bit.

Ily said...

I don't think I've ever read fanfiction, so I think people like me could definitely find any awkwardness therein to be edifying :-)

heidi said...

I must not read enough saucy content...

gatto said...

" The young samurai's mother had the child sold to a brothel, where she swept the floors and oiled the women and watched the secret ways. At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest. Groups of men paid to watch. Like other girls who have been trained this way, she learned to handle many men in a single night and her skin turned a milky white." -Scooter Libby

jennifer said...

Kim (and Lily),

Thanks for the link through! Always appreciated. We also have a bad covers site. Both can be reached through http://www.rottenromance.com

We almost exclusively highlight a small portion of any given sex scene. Odds are that if you read the scene that any one quote is pulled from, you will find fantastical descriptions of sex that virtually defy imagination.

The Uncle Walter Team