>Sex, Eroticism and Porn

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I have a commission to write a short story for a Baen Anthology edited by Mark van Name. The anthology is tentatively called ‘A walk on the wild side’ and I have been asked to write an erotic fantasy.

I have to say that I am not good at writing sex scenes. I have tried but they either come out as porn or ridiculously euphemistic. I cannot define the difference between eroticism and porn but there is a difference and I know it when I see it.

That brings me on to the Annual ‘Bad Sex in Fiction’ award given this year at the In & Out Club in London. The award was established sixteen years ago by Auberon Waugh to ‘gently dissuade authors from writing unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels. Former winners include Norman Mailer, Sebastian Faulks and Tom Wolfe.

Nominations this year included ‘All in the Mind’ by Blair’s odious spin-doctor Alistair Campbell – the man who turned lying into an art form – and work by Isabel Fonseca, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and James Buchan.

It was a tight contest this year but the following lines secured the coveted ‘plaster foot’:

“I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, Wagnerian crescendo overtakes me.
“I really do hope at this point that all the Spodders are, as requested, attending the meeting about slug clearance…”

The winner was Rachel Johnson, sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson, for her novel ‘Shire Hell’.

John Updike received a ‘Lifetime Bad Sex Award’ for being nominated four times.

Rachel sportingly turned up to receive her award from actor Dominic West.
All of which brings me back to my own attempts at the erotic. I enclose the following extract from ‘As Black as Hell’.

John Lambshead

A blonde in an exquisite evening gown sleazed up to their table. She drew deep on a cigarette holder and blew the smoke to the ceiling. “‘Lo. Karla. I’d heard you were losing your mind, darling.”
“I wonder who starts these rumours,” said Karla. “You look well, Rosanna, considering your age.”
The two women planted false smiles on their faces and air kissed at least two feet apart. Rosanna stood right in front of Jameson and stared at him. She took him by the chin and moved his head from side to side. “You have a new pet, I see. You do collect waifs and strays, don’t you? Mind you, this one’s rather cute. I wouldn’t mind trying him myself.” She parted her lips to show elongated canines.
Jameson let his jacket fall open far enough to show his bolt pistol and grinned back, showing his teeth. They locked eyes.
“He has spirit, Karla. I think he could be dangerous.” Rosanna touched his face again. “He has strong bonds to you. I don’t understand, magic is involved.”
Karla seized her hard by the wrist and pulled her hand away. “I don’t share my possessions. You know that, Rosanna. They’re too fragile and you like to play rough.”
The blonde smiled enigmatically, blew more smoke and slinked off without another word. Jameson checked out the banker. He was locked in some interminable negotiation. His briefcase was open and the laptop was inside. The waitress brought the drinks. Jameson took a sip. It was good stuff but he couldn’t quite place it.
The music poured around them again. The Kaiser Chiefs opened with Every day I love you less and less. “Come on,” said Karla. “I want to dance.”
“I can’t believe once you and me did sex.”
She strutted to the dance floor in a walk that made Jerry Hall seem introverted. Jameson was a pretty good dancer. He would not win many marks for elegance but he was fit and strong. But Karla was just incredible and she exploited the driving beat of the band with great skill. Her body seemed to bend in ways unknown to man. She danced as if she had not signed up to the law of gravity.
“It makes me sick to think of you undressed.”
In the end, Jameson gave up trying to match her and let her use him the way a pole dancer uses the pole. When the song ended, she draped herself on him, wrapping one leg around his.
“I thought you said that we had to be inconspicuous,” said Jameson.
“No, I said that we had to blend in,” said Karla. “We are blending beautifully, my pet.”
Then Katie Melua sang how the man with the power who was a charmer with a snake took her half way up the Hindu Kush to show her things she had never seen.
Karla held her arms out straight, palm up, and rested them on his shoulders. Then she undulated against him. Jameson kept his mind on the job and watched the banker. He leaned forward and whispered in Karla’s ear. “Matey is leaving, so we need to follow. After your performance, what could be more natural than we should leave? But I warn you that I will definitely shoot you if you try to carry me out over your shoulder.”
She laughed. The first time he had heard her laugh. She was recovering fast.
They exited, looking unhurried but covering ground quickly. “Okay, Karla, he’s on his own. Pick a place to take him.”
They followed the banker through the archaic streets, the fog allowing them to keep close. After some minutes, Karla accelerated up to the man and kicked his legs away. Before he hit the ground, she punched him twice more. Once he was down, she put the boot in. It was quick, clinical, and he never laid a finger on her. When Jameson reached the scene, he kicked the briefcase away. Taking the rail pistol from under his arm, he fired one wooden bolt into the banker’s heart. The gun thumped, but the slow acceleration of the bolt compared to a bullet made the kick manageable. The banker collapsed in upon himself and his body flowed into dust.
Karla’s eyes flashed metallic green and her lips parted to show long canines. She shook with excitement. She pushed Jameson up against a wall and moved her mouth towards him. He jerked back, shocked. She hissed and her eyes flashed. “So I’m good enough to fight for you but not good enough to kiss.”
He had the rail pistol between them, muzzle jammed into her heart. She looked down at it. “If you’re going to shoot then shoot,” she said, calling his bluff. Then she kissed him savagely on the mouth. A tooth cut his lip and she watched the trickle of blood with fascination. She put out her tongue and licked it, shuddering at the sensation. He still did not fire.
“Karla, it’s not that you’re not attractive,” he said. “But we put a love geas on you. I can’t take advantage. It wouldn’t be right. . . .”
“I know what you did,” she said. She let him go and walked away from him. He picked up the briefcase and hurried after her. It seemed to him that her hips swayed far more than was strictly necessary.
The way back seemed much shorter. The streets quickly normalised. They had barely started when Jameson saw the Jaguar on the other side of the road. Somehow they seemed to have come round in a circle. He turned to look back, to see from where they had come, but behind was a high brick wall. He went to check but the wall was real. Karla had reached the car. Jameson took out his electronic card, but before he could trigger it she put her hand on the Jag’s roof. It made a friendly chirrup and flashed its amber lights, the doors unlocking with a clunk. How the hell had she done that? That damned car had taken a shine to her.
When he reached the Jag she was already inside. She had dropped the back of her seat down and was curled up on it like a kitten. She flashed metallic green eyes at him when he got in and stretched her legs out. His mouth was suddenly very dry.

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