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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Last night we listened as A.M. Homes revealed that this Simon and Garfunkel song scared the crap of her as a kid; Nelly Reifler told an amazing short story that involved a woman drinking deer afterbirth; and Mary Gaitskill charmed the pants off a crowd with her sheer brilliance because that’s what Mary Gaitskill does. Then Rick Moody played a Johnny Cash cover with his band, the Wingdale Community Singers.
No, we didn’t eat too much cheese before falling asleep in the New York Times Best Sellers section at Barnes & Noble; we were at the final Happy Ending Music and Reading Series at their old massage parlor-turned-lounge digs. (They’re moving on up from the Lower East Side to Joe’s Pub starting January 7th.) If you’ve never been, it’s a cozy but buzzy event where a wide range of authors have taken bizarre risks, launched careers and even started a few fights.
(Listen to a clip from the evening featuring the Wingdale Community Singers courtesy of Radio Press here.)
After the jump founder Amanda Stern takes a break from crying over her all-grown-up literary baby to describe what it felt like to have her inaugural lineup of heavyweights return for one final Happy Ending.
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