…a truly satisfying sex scene is as challenging to achieve in writing as it is in real life. Keeping it run-of-the-mill might get the job done but having it be a little, um, “too freaky” can be misconstrued as a necessity to quell what has become the boredom of the act itself.
Take Philip Roth’s Bad Sex in Fiction-nominated “green dildo” scene, for instance. Unlike porn/erotica writers, a novelist has the pressure of making this sex scene “mean something.”
On top (ha) of that, the novelist must consider keeping this scene in the same voice and on par with the rest of the novel despite it being about a topic that usually renders the human mind useless for however long it lasts.
Strangely enough, it’s the latter half of the challenge that usually lands these poor writers a nomination. The Literary Review cites Roth’s desire to give the sex scene any more insight than a sex scene can stand to give on its own the reason behind his nod for Bad Sex in Fiction. The award has been described as a way to “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”
But then golly, you say – if you know how challenging it is to write a sex scene, then why would you challenge and risk discouraging the authors of these already-written sex scenes? After all, anyone who’s ever taken a glance at a romance novel can sympathize with the author’s struggle of finding as many synonyms as possible for an aroused penis (that’s how we get gems like, “throbbing member”).