A passage describing Nazi guillotine sex action has won the unprestigious 2009 Bad Sex In Fiction Award, thanks to such memorable phrases as “I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg,” and “This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon’s head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks.”
Described by the Literary Review as “in part a work of genius,” Jonathon Littell’s novel “The Kindly Ones,” first published in French as «Les Bienveillantes», is a fictional autobiographical account of the life of an SS officer as he sees about exterminating the Jews during WWII.
The Literary Review considers it to have the worst sex scene of any general fiction published in 2009.
The offending passages:
Una had stretched out on the bed of the guillotine; I lifted the lunette, made her put her head through it, and closed it on her long neck, after carefully lifting her heavy hair.
She was panting. I tied her hands behind her back with my belt, then raised her skirt. I didn’t even bother to lower her panties, just pushed the lace to one side and spread her buttocks with both hands: in the slit, nestling in hair, her anus gently contracted. I spit on it.
‘No,’ she protested. I took out my penis, lay on top of her, and thrust it in. She gave a long stifled cry. I was crushing her with all my weight; because of the awkward position – my trousers were hindering my legs – I could only move in little jerks.
Leaning over the lunette, my own neck beneath the blade, I whispered to her: ‘I’m going to pull the lever, I’m going to let the blade drop.’ She begged me: ‘Please, fuck my pussy.’ – ‘No.’ I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.
I desired madly to see this sex lying between those two coombs of white flesh, swollen, as if offered on the serving tray of its thighs, and to slip my tongue through the almost dry cleft, from bottom to top, delicately, just once …
I was burning to lay this body down on the bed and spread its legs, to bury my nose in that moist vulva like a sow nuzzling for a nest of black truffles, then to turn the body over on its stomach, spread its buttocks with both hands to contemplate the purplish rosette of the anus blinking gently like an eye, put my nose to it, and breathe in. And I dreamed of pushing my face as I slept into the curly hair of her armpit and of letting her breast weigh on my cheek, my two legs wrapped around one of hers, my hand resting lightly on her shoulder.
And when, upon waking, this body beneath me had completely absorbed me, she would have looked at me with a floating smile, would have spread her legs once again and rocked me inside her to the slow, subterranean rhythm of one of Josquin’s old Masses, and we would have slowly moved away from the shore, carried by our bodies as by a warm, becalmed sea rich in salt, and her voice would have come whispering next to my ear, clearly and distinctly: ‘The gods created me for love.’
I looked at her body, I sought out her little flat body from before beneath the breasts and curves of her hips, dazed, almost stunned.
The dry and nervous orgasm, almost spermless, tore me open as a fish knife would, she kept plunging on me, her vulva like an open shell, prolonged by the long straight scar that cut across her belly, and all that now formed one long slit, which my sex opened up to the navel.
Her vulva was opposite my face. The small lips protruded slightly from the pale, domed flesh.
This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon’s head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. Little by little this silent gaze penetrated me to the marrow.
My breath sped up and I stretched out my hand to hide it: I no longer saw it, but it still saw me and stripped me bare (whereas I was already naked). If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone.
I stretched out my arm and buried my middle finger into this boundless eye. The hips moved slightly, but that was all. Far from piercing it, I had on the contrary opened it wide, freeing the gaze of the eye still hiding behind it.
Then I had an idea: I took out my finger and, dragging myself forward on my forearms, I pushed my forehead against this vulva, pressing my scar against the hole.
Now I was the one looking inside, searching the depths of this body with my radiant third eye, as her own single eye irradiated me and we blinded each other mutually: without moving, I came in an immense splash of white light, as she cried out: ‘What are you doing, what are you doing?’ and I laughed out loud, sperm still gushing in huge spurts from my penis, jubilant, I bit deep into her vulva to swallow it whole, and my eyes finally opened, cleared, and saw everything.
The work has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies in Europe alone, most probably not on the strength of its sex scenes.
In France it has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards – doubtless the fact that it runs to 900 pages, only a few of which deal with sex, helps in this regard.
Excerpts from other notably bad literary sex scenes can be read on the Literary Review’s site.