Culture

Take the Guardian’s Literary Sex Quiz

Culture

Take the Guardian’s Literary Sex Quiz

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One thing that’s tricky for any writer is the depiction of the sexual act: how to be direct without being smutty, how to be titillating without being corny, or how to avoid arousal altogether. The Literary Review goes as far as to give out awards for bad sex every year, because even very good writers can execute a pretty ridiculous sex scene, and genre fiction is full of terrifically bad sex writing (it can be said that no one deploys the term “sopping wet” with more bravery than George R.R. Martin, in the author’s wildly popular A Song of Ice and Fire series). Recently, writer Martin Amis made the bold claim that women writers, by and large, are better at depicting sex acts than male writers, saying “Once a man is writing a sex scene he’s feeling omnipotent… but women don’t, and they write better about it.” The Guardian put that to the test by assembling ten excerpts from ten different writers and asking readers to guess the sex of the author. It’s a tricky one– unfortunately there’s no Stephenie Meyer or E.L. James to make it easy– but no trickier than trying to describe something that’s a part of nearly everyone’s private life with tact. That’s appropriate.