I need the dirty bits from popular books
March 19, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a book club among my friends where we just read the dirty bits from popular books to each other. They don't even have to be popular books - just books that I can actually find easily. And it's not exactly a book club. More like a reading-to-each-other club. Anyway, can you remember and recommend any notably hot sex scenes from books you might have read?

It's funny. When I was growing up, my sister had this copy of Jean Auel's The Plains of Passage, and when I finally got around to reading it, I noticed that all the pages with sex scenes on them were kinda dark and wrinkled, as if by a damp hand. Hilarious.
posted by Sully to Writing & Language (62 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

Nothing springs to mind off the top of my head, but for true LOLs have you thought about doing this with improbable fanfiction?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Lots of hot stuff in D H Lawrence. Women in Love is even on-line.
posted by ubiquity at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is going to sound creepy, but there's an incest bit in John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire that is amusingly hot.
posted by Skot at 11:55 AM on March 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Well, you have to have "The Godfather", Sonny Corleone and the bridesmaid at his sister's wedding. It's early on.
posted by thelonius at 12:00 PM on March 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.
posted by hazel79 at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The book that got passed around my middle school for the dirty parts was Portnoy's Complaint.
"This? No, it's not dirty. Its literature!"
posted by Tchad at 12:04 PM on March 19, 2014

A couple parts in Joplin's Ghost
posted by luckynerd at 12:05 PM on March 19, 2014

Can you do e-books? There's an 1828 (yep, eighteen-28) book by 'Anonymous' called The Lustful Turk --- that thing is pretty much 100% dirty bits, from cover to cover.
posted by easily confused at 12:06 PM on March 19, 2014

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
posted by perhapses at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, don't forget A.N. Roquelaure's (pen name for Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty trilogy.
posted by easily confused at 12:09 PM on March 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you go the fan-fic route definitely hunt for harry/draco pairings. If you are open to full-on dirty books, the possibilities are endless.

* Fledgling
* Jitterbug Perfume has a few scenes
* House Like a Lotus (YA novel, but really covers a lot of ground)
* Black Lace Omnibus
* Anais Nin

Susie Bright's series is good.
posted by bunderful at 12:14 PM on March 19, 2014

Response by poster: Love all the suggestions! Thanks everyone so far. I mean, I know there are entire libraries of erotica, but I wanted to start with books that are largely "normal" but with brief erotic or sexual scenes. Books that you could read in front of a parent, or on a bus without embarrassment. But definitely, if this book club lasts longer than one meeting, we will begin to delve into fan fic and blatant erotica. Or maybe we will start with selections from normal books and then get weirder and more explicit as the night goes on and everyone gets drunker and hornier.
posted by Sully at 12:16 PM on March 19, 2014

The sex scene about 2/3 through Zadie Smith's On Beauty stuck around with me for awhile, and apparently evokes a wide spectrum of reaction from disgust to lust to laughter.
posted by likeatoaster at 12:17 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Certain passages in John Updike's Rabbit, Run and The Centaur put some sizzle in my reading when I was in high school.
posted by y2karl at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2014

You might do well to consult the annual lists of the Bad Sex Award for inspiration.
posted by mykescipark at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tropic of Capricorn?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2014

If you find yourself looking for weirder and more explicit, Klaus Kinski's autobiography may be just the thing -- early on he discusses (maybe his first?) intercourse with his sister, and a variety of partners follow, including a damn-near giant woman in a rural African village.
posted by mr. digits at 12:21 PM on March 19, 2014

Forever by Judy Blume -- In particular, that scene with Ralph and the cologne....
posted by lesli212 at 12:21 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

the library scene in Atonement.
posted by changeling at 12:25 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, for the nostalgia factor you need to do Judy Blume's Forever or Wifey, and probably some VC Andrews (Petals on the Wind and My Sweet Audrina were the best).
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:25 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have loads of bad feelings about Bret Easton Ellis (and won't mention any of the scenes in American Psycho but oops there I go) but there's about a three-page scene in Glamorama that is just epicly porny. Mostly in a good way.
posted by magdalemon at 12:27 PM on March 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, lord, The Thorn Birds, also. I forgot how beautifully awful some of that was.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:28 PM on March 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I just did a quick run past my bookshelf and there are memorable sex scenes (as in, I remembered them) in the following:

Alan Hollinghurst's The Swimming Pool Library (gay, hot)

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (duh)

Norman Rush's Mating (hot)

Michele Houllebecq's Platform (verrrrry dirty, not hot)

Sarah Waters's Fingersmith (hot hot hot lesbian hot)

Jonathan Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet (meh)

Zadie Smith's NW (not precisely hot, but quite graphic)
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:28 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

The JD Robb "...in Death" series once the lead hooks up with her guy in Glory in Death, have at least one very hot (OK romance hot) sex scene in each book. Otherwise, they are just your basic literary popcorn future-based police procedurals.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:29 PM on March 19, 2014

Any paperback 'historical romance' whose cover prominently features a pneumatic heroine in the embrace of studly guy who has carelessly misplaced his shirt,
is almost guaranteed to provide what you're after. These sagas offer many excellent opportunities for dramatic interpretation.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:31 PM on March 19, 2014

Oh, and this might be of interest to you, although I disagree with some of the recommendations: Salon's "Good Sex" awards. I remember Susan Choi's My Education was nominated for one of those "Bad Sex in Literature" awards; lots of people disagreed, and there sure was a ton of sex in that book.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:34 PM on March 19, 2014

There's an honestly painful and gross twelve page long sex scene right in the middle of the book version of Endless Love. I mean, it's...memorable.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you should check out Smart Bitches Trashy Books for the highlight reels?
posted by instamatic at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

VC Andrews of course. Chris kind of raping Cathy in Flowers in the Attic and then a bunch more in Petals on the Wind.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:54 PM on March 19, 2014

Nichoson Baker is made for this club. Vox has a few scenes, especially toward the end, and The Fermata.

Even though the description of Emma Donoghue's Hood doesn't sound like it, there are some very steamy scenes in there.
posted by gladly at 12:59 PM on March 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

You could do a genre fantasy theme meeting. Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey come to mind (with a note that in McCaffrey many of the dirty scenes are non-consensual), and they certainly aren't the only ones...
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:59 PM on March 19, 2014

Came in to suggest Vox.
posted by mazienh at 1:02 PM on March 19, 2014

Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel" series has some pretty explicit stuff (at least the first couple of books. I haven't read the rest). It's your basic masochistic concubine spy fantasy novel set in a sort of alternate history Europe.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:30 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Disclosure" by Michael Crichton has a pretty hot scene that is an important plot element for the rest of the book.
posted by tacodave at 1:37 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I see you mention Jean Auel, but when I was younger, it was all about Valley of Horses. I seem to remember two scenes that were giggled over in my school - one early in the book, and one later. Both involved Jondalar.
posted by dotgirl at 1:41 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

The sex scene in The Ultimate Rush is hysterical - hot too because you know it's been building for half the book. Great story too.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:46 PM on March 19, 2014

Also, I remember the scene between Adso the young monk and the peasant girl in The Name Of The Rose from when I read it as a teenager as being very torrid. Tho my memory of that might be clouded by the saucy film scene.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:52 PM on March 19, 2014

I remember 'Snow Falling on Cedars' as getting some kind of award for "awkward literary fiction sex scene", which could be what you're looking for. Or the end of 'Cold Mountain' depending on your tolerance for em dashes.

I personally found Barbara Kingsolver's 'Prodigal Summer' exceedingly sexy - the chapters labelled 'predators' particularly so. Stephen King's sex scenes are kind of awkward, which could be fun (remembering one in the otherwise excellent 'Bag of Bones').

Plenty more, but this was what I could think of from the 'read proudly on a train' category...
posted by theweasel at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2014

Anything by Sandra Hill. Each book has at least two scenes in it, she did a series on Vikings, a series based on Navy Seals, another series with hot Cajun guys, and a series with hot cowboys among others.
posted by IpsoFacto at 3:30 PM on March 19, 2014

I came to suggest everything in the Jean Auel Earth's Children series. So if you haven't seen the rest of those books...go get them. Earth's Children. A series title like that, no wonder nobody batted an eye at my reading and rereading of that series.

Also, Lady Chatterly's Lover (here's an excerpt)

One Hundred Years of Solitude has tons of sex stuff. I don't think any of it was really graphic, but it was definitely happening.

Stoker's Dracula...I remember the Brides of Dracula being described in a way that made them seem very sexy, and I think they seduced Harker...maybe?

If you want to make vampires a theme then you can't skip Interview with a Vampire. Might have to watch some Brad Pitt. (TRIGGER WARNING the part with the woman on the stage isn't sexy, and might be super awful for some attendees, so maybe skip that part.)

De Maurier's Rebecca made me think about sex when I was a teenager...but I can't recall anything really explicit in there. Maybe you could have a reading that starts off with writing that dances around sex without being direct.

Atlas Shrugged is another one that, while not explicit, definitely had some sex. Will admit that I could not bear to read this entire book. Even hoping for more sex couldn't keep me going.

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides had some sex scenes (and it's a cross generational family saga, so there's lots of different people making babies.)
posted by bilabial at 3:44 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's been - yikes - nearly thirty years since I "read" them, but I seem to recall that just about every one of Ken Follett's 1970s espionage novels (The Key to Rebecca, Triple, The Man from St. Petersburg, etc.) had some sort of uncomfortable-yet-erotic-to-a-twelve-year-old sex scene.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:55 PM on March 19, 2014

Heiress Without a Cause - currently free for Kindle
posted by belladonna at 4:49 PM on March 19, 2014

Du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek also hints strongly at sex, come to think of it.
posted by bunderful at 5:30 PM on March 19, 2014

oh oh oh Scruples
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:33 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren both have pretty epic gang-bang scenes -- featuring the Hell's Angels in the former, and some dirty hippies in the latter.

And yeah, Middlesex had some fascinating 'discovering your changing body: hermaphrodite edition' scenes.
posted by Bron at 6:01 PM on March 19, 2014

Seconding Samuel Delany's erotica, especially if you're in the mood for some balls-to-the-walls freakiness. He's such a good writer that I found myself genuinely into scenes depicting things that have nothing to do with my actual sexual interests.
posted by zeusianfog at 7:13 PM on March 19, 2014

While searching to confirm my memory that Jaws has a[n in]famous sex scene (it does), I found 24 Classic 'Steamy' Books which might give you some other ideas.

"Secretly filching ''dirty'' books from parents' shelves is a traditional rite of passage. An informal EW office survey found that staffers, no matter how old they were or where they were from, turned to the same literary works for, uh, information. You too?"

Many of the books already mentioned in this thread are also found there.
posted by themanwho at 7:15 PM on March 19, 2014

Erica Jong?
posted by kestrel251 at 7:27 PM on March 19, 2014

There are some hot but not super-explicit scenes in A.S. Byatt's Possession. That whole book is full of repressed lust, though.

Explicit sex scenes seem to be difficult to do well, which is why you see them more in trashier books that aren't afraid to cut to the chase and don't care much about symbolism.

Which is how you end up with that guy in The Corrections fucking a helpless couch. I still feel sorry for that couch. I'm sure there's other sex scenes in there, but that's the one I remember.

Your average airport spy novel has at least a few, judging from the ones my dad read; sadly, I can't remember any of the titles.
posted by emjaybee at 7:34 PM on March 19, 2014

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is sort of famous for this.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2014

I'll add that there is nothing about sex in Rebecca, sadly.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:02 PM on March 19, 2014

It's a bit old but Frank Harris's My Life and Loves has bits that would fit, with a hilarious post-Victorian flavor.
posted by anadem at 9:18 PM on March 19, 2014

A few years ago, I was given a copy of Earl Thompson's The Devil to Pay. It is loaded with incredibly raunchy, cringeworthy sex. "The way she offered her asshole to him was a unique and touching experience..."

I dare any of you to read the elevator scene aloud with a straight face.
posted by hairy terrarium at 10:14 PM on March 19, 2014

Best answer: There is a UK book which collects some of the more 'classic' dirty bits into one volume. I *think* it is called 'Dirty bits for girls' or similar but you'll have to forgive me for not googling that one at work! I think India Knight wrote the foreword.
posted by halcyonday at 3:04 AM on March 20, 2014

Your average airport spy novel has at least a few, judging from the ones my dad read; sadly, I can't remember any of the titles.

The works of Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins might fall along these lines.
posted by bunderful at 8:59 AM on March 20, 2014

There are a few very explicit sex scenes in Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels.
posted by neushoorn at 9:26 AM on March 20, 2014

All I've read of Bret Easton Ellis are the sex scenes in Glamorama, so it sprung to mind.
posted by painquale at 11:59 AM on March 20, 2014

Oh my god, totally Judith Krantz! That (along with Jean Auel) was basically my entire sex education growing up.

There are many excellent sex scenes in all her books (and some surprisingly hot lesbian ones!) but a, um, personal favorite at the time was the one with the teenage boy and the sexy older woman at the fancy tuberculosis spa in Princess Daisy. Don't judge.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:12 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There've been a lot of books over the decades, if not centuries, that do exactly what you're looking for; it's particularly fun to discover them from the early 1900s. But here's a couple you'll probably find useful, collected from Jack Murninghan's column "Jack's Naughty Bits" at Nerve.com ages ago:

The Naughty Bits: The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes from the World's Great Books (excerpts at Google)

Classic Nasty: More Naughty Bits: A Rollicking Guide to Hot Sex in Great Books, from the Iliad to the Corrections
posted by mediareport at 9:36 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may have heard of the Halo series of video games. Gritty action-shooters with epic scale, sweeping orchestral music, and lofty storytelling ambitions concerning religious fanaticism, artificial intelligence, and the fate of all life in the universe.

There were a number of tie-in novels produced, most of them workmanlike explorations of backstory, like the creation of the iconic Spartan supersoldiers via the genetic re-engineering of kidnapped six-year-olds (!).

The best entry was probably Contact Harvest, the first and only title written by series co-creator Joseph Staten. A master worlbuilder and nerd's nerd, Staten portrayed the surprise first contact between humanity and the alien Covenant on a peaceful agrarian backwater. It's serious stuff, touching on internal political intrigue, religious doubt, and insurrection while setting the stage for a terrible genocidal war. It got decent reviews and reached #4 on the NY Times bestseller list.

So it's really surprising to discover at the end that, directly between a shell-shocked discussion of countless civilian casualties and a touching Shakespearean elegy from a dying AI to its lost love, Staten shoehorns in one of the most painfully awkward and gratuitous sex scenes imaginable.

Seriously. It is so awkward, so gratuitous, and so so very bad.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:33 AM on March 22, 2014

Some of Eric Van Lustbader's earlier books--The Ninja and Black Heart in particular--have some very explicit sex scenes in them (trigger warning: some involve rape and/or incest).
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 AM on March 26, 2014

For Whom the Bell Tolls contains one of the most unfortunately comical sex scenes ever written.

They were having now and before and always and now and now and now. Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is thy prophet. Now and forever now. Come now, now, for there is no now but now. Yes, now. Now, please now, only now, not anything else only this now, and where are you and where am I and where is the other one, and not why, not ever why, only this now; and on and always please then always now, always now, for now always one now; one only one, there is no other one but one now, one, going now, rising now, sailing now, leaving now, wheeling now, soaring now, away now, all the way now, all of all the way now; one and one is one, is one, is one, is one, is still one, is still one, is one descendingly, is one softly, is one longingly, is one kindly, is one happily, is one in goodness, is one to cherish, is one now on earth with elbows against the cut and slept-on branches of the pine tree with the smell of the pine boughs and the night to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come.
posted by duffell at 10:57 AM on October 9, 2014

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