If we’re being honest: Sometimes sex is bad. It’s not always fireworks. It’s not always trumpeting and transcendent. Cosmic couplings, two-bodies-as-one, those sorts of rolls in the hay don’t happen every time you hit it. Thundering mind-annihilating orgasms are elusive.
And sometimes sex is bad in books — but we’re not talking the Bad Sex in Fiction of the infamous award. We’re not talking nipples like rodent noses or penises like pile-drivers (thanks, Rowan Somerville and Nick Cave). Nope, we’re talking about sex scenes in literature that explore the times when sex is sad, when it’s mournful, melancholy, desperate, violent, lonely, regrettable, necessary, inevitable. The times that leave you emptier than you’d started. These passages eschew the air-brushed fantasy for the messy truth (which is not to say these scenes aren’t erotic in their own ways). Below, the best of bad sex.
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