We don't mean writing about bad sex -- although there is probably a lot of that out there. What we mean is wonderfully, marvelously, deliciously terrible writing about sex in published work that is actually trying to be good.
We were inspired not only by the famous Imitation Hemingway contest but by the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, an 11-year old competition begun by Auberon Waugh and London's Literary Review. This year the award was given to Indian writer Aniruddha Bahal,whose novel "Bunker 13" featured this unsafe-at-any-speed passage: "She is topping up your engine oil for the cross-country coming up. Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time ... She picks up a Bugatti's momentum. You want her more at a Volkswagen's steady trot. Squeeze the maximum mileage out of your gallon of gas. But she's eating up the road with all cylinders blazing."
No one will need a lube job after that tune-up -- and there are plenty more absurd extended metaphors, weirdly clinical descriptions and florid humpings lurking out there in the shelves. Send your (250-word or less) selection, with author, title of book and year published, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will receive a free year's subscription to Salon.com. We will announce the results of the Salon Bad Sex Writing Award in early 2004.
Readers searching for inspiration need look no further than this passage by Fox News luminary Bill O'Reilly (unearthed by the tireless Al Franken in his recent book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.") In addition to being a right-wing gasbag, it turns out that O'Reilly wields a piston-like fictional pen. In his 1998 suspense thriller, "Those Who Trespass," he pumped out the following:
"Ashley was now wearing only brief white panties. She had signaled her desire by removing her shirt and skirt, and by leaning back on the couch. She closed her eyes, concentrating on nothing but Shannon's tongue and lips. He gently teased her by licking the areas around her most sensitive erogenous zone. Then he slipped her panties down her legs and, within seconds, his tongue was inside her, moving rapidly."
Bill, you are a FOX! Signal your desire to win fame, glory and a free Salon subscription by leaning back on your couch and, moving rapidly, pulling down a book with an even worse passage about sex and sending it to us.