bad sex

Rug Burns, Broken Dicks, and Monster Penises – Realistic Sex in Erotic Fiction

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica,
erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her
husband, son, and four cats. Visit her
web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.


It seems to me that often enough in erotic romances, the sex
is not only unrealistic, it is something that is not humanly possible. Now that
anyone can upload erotic fiction to the internet and call themselves authors,
readers must separate the wheat from the chaff. And get a load of that chaff! There
is sex with Bigfoot who has a foot-long (or more) schlong. Alien sex. Perfectly
built doms who tie their subs up in such a way they should be laid out on a
stretcher and sent to a hospital. Anal sex that defies the laws of nature. Lack
of lube. Lack of foreplay. The list goes on.

Did you know that there are awards giving out for poorly
written sex? Here is an excerpt from the 2012 winner of the Bad Sex Awards,
Nancy Huston’s “Infrared”. 

No sooner have we settled onto the bed
and begun to remove each other’s clothes with the clumsy gestures of impatience
than I realise Kamal also knows about passivity — yes, he also knows how to
remain still, fully awake and attentive, and give himself up to me as a cello gives
itself up to a bow. Arching his back, he surrenders his face, shoulders, back
and buttocks, waiting for me to play them, and I do — I play them, play with
them. Most men are afraid to let go like this — whereas with a little finesse
the wonders of passivity can be tasted in even the most violent throes of

In a delirium of restrained desire, I
weigh, stroke and lick Kamal’s balls, then take his penis in my hands, between
my breasts, into my mouth. He sits up, reaches for me and I allow him to
explore me in turn. He runs his tongue and lips over my breasts, the back of my
neck, my toes, my stomach, the countless treasures between my legs, oh the
sheer ecstasy of lips and tongues on genitals, either simultaneously or in
alternation, never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy
like a fish in water, my self freed of both self and other, the quivering
sensation, the carnal pink palpitation that detaches you from all colour and
all flesh, making you see only stars, constellations, milky ways, propelling
you bodiless and soulless into undulating space where the undulating skies make
your non-body undulate …

And orgasm — the way a man’s face is
transformed by orgasm — oh it’s not true they all look alike, you have to be
either miserable and broke or furiously blasé and sarcastic to say they all
look alike — to me, every climax is unique.

My body hurt just reading some of that, especially the bit
about arching his back and surrendering his face, shoulders, back and buttocks.
I pictured a man having a seizure. “Violent throes of love-making” should
not lead to unintentional pain, right? Then there were the horrid similes and
all the undulations.

Why don’t these people ever suffer from injuries from their
passionate rolls in the hay? The most common injuries from sex play are most
likely vaginal tearing or breaking, back injury, penis breakage, yeast
infections, urinary tract infections, and foreign objects stuck where they
don’t belong. Richard Gere isn’t an internet meme for nothing, you know. Why
don’t lovers ever get carpet burn? Why don’t BDSM aficionados ever get chafed
wrists or ankles or sore joints from having their arms and legs pulled to the
limits the human body can tolerate? No, lovers are “transfixed” or
“propelled into undulating space”. No one ever needs Vix Vapo Rub
after an afternoon of hot, steaming fucking.

I speak from experience when I mention penis breakage. When
my husband and I were younger and much more stupid, we got into a hot bout of
sex play and… I broke his dick. I’ve never heard of this happening, but it’s
apparently much more common than you’d think. It was even covered on the
American TV medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Dr. Mark Sloan got into some heated passion with intern Lexie Grey resulting in
painful and embarrassing injury. The staff didn’t know the identity of the
“lucky” lady who did it so there was much guesswork going on.

When it happened to my husband, he heard a very loud snap, and then the pain began.
Thankfully, it didn’t require surgery. There was nothing to do but let it heal
itself. All was fine and good until it happened again a few years later. He
told a friend of his at his old job about it. That guy always gave me the
biggest smile whenever I saw him. I think he was jealous we were so into it,
although all of us could have done without the pain.

On a lighter note, I recall reading an excerpt from an
erotic romantic comedy that described a woman’s queef. It was meant to be
funny, but I just cringed. A queef is a pussy fart, in case you haven’t looked
at the Urban Dictionary lately.

Such sexual accidents, while realistic, don’t make for much
romance although in some cases a little realism would go a long way to make the
sex more believable. How about pink skin from the leather cuffs or an
average-sized penis? Why are so many alpha males built like an Angus bull? Yes, I know it’s about escapism, but still… What do
you think?

In Defense of Bad Sex

By Corvidae (Guest Blogger)

A few months ago I attended a local
science fiction and fantasy writing conference, FOGcon, held here in
the Bay Area on the first weekend of March. Although it is a
conference primarily about

speculative fiction, all sorts of
avenues within that genre come up, including erotica. I was attending
a panel whose discussion drifted toward themes in erotic writing when
someone made an interesting


Why isn’t there more bad sex in

Some people chuckled, of course, but
the speaker was serious. Her argument came primarily from a
sex-positive standpoint: she pointed out how many people build
expectations of normal sexual behavior on the erotic material they
consume, so for the sake of healthy development, it would be fair for
erotica to include “bad sex” sometimes.

But no one wants to have bad sex, the
audience murmured, so who would want to read about bad sex?

The conversation moved on, but that
question has stuck with me. The more I’ve thought about it, the
more I’ve come around to an intriguing idea: not only could bad sex
be abstractly beneficial, but it might actively improve the story.

How? Well consider the following.

Take, for example, the science fiction
and fantasy genres. We enjoy these stories for their hero/ines
overcoming larger-than-life challenges in worlds beyond our
imagination; in other words, achievements we yearn for. But how many
of these stories have everything happening magically-perfect all the
time? Where every battle is fought with top-score perfection and
every villain brought immediately to their knees?

You can write such a story, sure, but
odds are the reader won’t be as engaged as you’d like them to be.
The reason for that is so simple it’s stressed in every book on
writing-theory: Conflict = Plot. Without any conflict or build-up of
tension, there isn’t really a plot.

I just learned recently (better late
than never, really) about the old writers’ trick of adding conflict
by Making Things Go Wrong. Don’t just have your characters jump
from Point A to Point B, give them progressively larger obstacles to
overcome along the way. A fun practice technique is to take a
character and make her situation progressively worse and worse and
see how she deals with things to keep moving forward. These obstacles
make the story interesting, but they also help define your
characters, in that your reader will get a deeper sense of who the
character is based on how she deals with the challenge presented to

How does this apply to erotica? Well,
quite simply, “bad sex” could be an interesting tool to Make
Things Go Wrong. Don’t just have your characters jump straight to
putting Tab A in Slot B. Instead, try incorporating unusual
occurrences–physical challenges, emotional blocks, sudden
introspection, maybe even things as prosaic people barging into fix
the cable–and see how that affects not only the details of the
sexual encounter, but the internal facets of the characters

For example: the other day I was
reading a story by a friend of mine, Reyna Todd. Her upcoming
novella, Ghuulden Girls, is an erotic fantasy novella that plays
around with issues of gender identification in a few scenes. Though
it is an erotic story, one of the highlights for me was a scene where
two of the characters were engaged in much-lusted-for sex but decided
halfway through that it just…wasn’t…working. The aftermath of
this “bad sex” scene was some deeper introspection that led to
them both evolving as characters, as well as playing a major role in
advancing the overall plot.

Now, one could argue that these
characters could have gotten hot and heavy in that scene and also
developed through other, clothes-on methods. There’s nothing wrong
with that approach in and of itself, but I argue that, as erotica
writers, we can do better. Erotica already shows the scenes other
stories don’t, so why not take things even further and show how
those scenes–good, bad, and yes even

ugly–are inexorably tied up in the
stories of normal human lives?


About the Author

Corvidae is a biologist, a writer, and
a near-lifelong fan of scandalous storytelling. She is an active
proponent of sex-positivity, polyamory, and BDSM, both in her work
and in real life. When not writing, what spare time she has is
usually filled with yoga, dancing, and table-top gaming. Her first
published work can be found in the Big Book of Submission  coming out this July from Cleis Press.

Visit her blog at

She tweets at @CorvidaeDream

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