Excessive detail isn’t generally appreciated when discussing sex with friends. “We did this; it was or wasn’t great” will usually suffice.
“I took the backs of her thighs in my hands, adjusting her legs around my waist. I reached under her. I brought her up to me. And then my body, like a cathedral, broke out into ringing” (Middlesex) is not the sort of thing one says over smashed avocado, or any other sociable food.
Books are things we do alone, when there’s not much else to do; like on trains or planes, before we fall asleep or on the tube jammed between suits in the morning. And it’s in these – life’s dullest moments – that the sexiest passages often present themselves, making us blush, stop to check no one’s peering over our shoulder, and quietly delight.
I was on a long-haul flight, sat next to my snoring father at about 17 years old when I read the line in Atonement that comes abruptly out of nowhere, “In my dreams I kiss your c*nt, your sweet, wet c*nt.”
It’s funny thinking of these writers – often balding, bearded or white-haired men, possibly in corduroys and a baggy shirt, admiring a pleasant garden view – writing the most thrilling, delicate and carnal sex scenes in literary history.
From Richard Yates to Jeffrey Eugenides, here's nine of the raciest scenes in high-brow literature that will blow your mind.