Too much sex, no discrimination: Sado-masochism? Body piercing? The Joy of Sex on interactive video? Who needs 'em, says Ruth Picardie

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I WENT off sex last year. Call it over-indulging, but I'd written a piece in the first issue of For Women; been photographed on stage with 'Adonis: the Men of Hollywood'; and attended at least three conferences on sado-masochism. Enough was enough.

Okay, so it hurt a little not getting invited to the launch of Madonna's Sex. But I'm over it. I care not that Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell have discovered body piercing. I have no intention of reading Shere Hite's latest tome on the subject. And the news that The Joy of Sex is now available on interactive video fills me with dread.

It is with great joy, therefore, not to mention trembling anticipation, that I can announce we have entered the age of Bad Sex.

Back in August, Auberon Waugh noted that: 'Many novels are ruined by bad sex scenes - perfunctorily introduced, charmlessly described.' His magazine, the Literary Review, had therefore decided to sponsor an annual Bad Sex Prize, intended, somewhat confusingly, to discourage the practice. A cash sum was offered to the reader or reviewer who sent in 'the most remarkable example of bad sexual description' taken from any novel published in the past three years.

The winner will be announced on 23 November and it should be a close-run thing: entries inclde Josephine Hart's Damage and Julie Burchill's No Exit.

Next came the publication of The Bad Sex Guide (Gollancz), a stocking filler quickie written by Andrew Moncur and illustrated by Viv Quillin. Sadly, much of the book is totally unfunny ('S & M should not be confused with M & S') but it does have its moments.

I particulary liked the section on positions: 'The woman sits up with her back against the pillows. The man approaches from the front bringing her breakfast in bed. He then notices one sleepy breast falling out of her flannelette nightie. He scoops it into his hand, and bending forward, reaches with his lips to apply a little kiss to the nipple. The tray, in his other hand, tips forward at a similar angle . . .'

Finally, for the more discerning jaded palate, there is Bad Sex (published by Serpent's Tail), an anthology of short stories edited by John Hoyland. My own quibble is that there are rather too many good sex/

bad relationship scenes for my present state of mind.

However, I particularly savoured the following: ' 'I can't,' he said, rearing back, elbowing Debbie in the stomach, bashing his own head against the wall. 'I don't know why, I just can't'.' (From Kate Pullinger's 'Dear All'.)

And: 'I could not stop thinking of my arm and how, if I did not change position soon, circulation would stop completely and I would develop gangrene.' (From Jane DeLynn's 'Strange Attractions'.)

Or: '. . . Carolyn pulled him close. Suddenly Hugh's body jack-knifed. As he sank into her, Carolyn moaned and Hugh began to vomit uncontrollably.' (From Matt Cohen's 'Morning Always Comes'.)

Enough to put you off for life.