From the well-thumbed copy of Judy Blume’s Forever in your school library to the new cinema release of 50 Shades Darker, for decades, bonkbusters have pressed our buttons faster than you can say ‘throbbing member’. The appeal? A thrill, in a particularly female-friendly format, believes neuroscientist Ogi Ogas, author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts. “Female sexual tastes – such as a focus on personalities and relationships, women portrayed as special and unique, and a male confession of emotion – are often better expressed through textual erotica than visual erotica,” he explains. So with the latest offering from Jilly Cooper, queen of the misused hay bale, out in paperback on 23 February (the fantastically titled Mount!), we created the Sextract Challenge. Take four rude passages (which already sounds rude), follow them to the letter (likely, P and V) and see what happens. Would it be sexy? Funny? Weird? Yes, yes, yes, and more…
Mount! by Jilly Cooper
“He’d stripped off in his full glory and pushed her down on the duvet. […] Moving in, he licked her clitoris, then parted her labia, murmuring, ‘I do like to make an entrance,’ before plunging deep inside her, hearing her laughter become gasps of joy. ‘Oh buttercunt, buttercunt.’”
The scene: Butter-WHAT?! Yep, we’ll never spread our toast (or elsewhere) in the same way. Leading lothario Rupert Campbell-Black is all about the orals in this scene – which happens in a snowy cottage, with a dog (thankfully uninvolved), in front of a fire. “Aren’t you worried about sparks?” his partner asks. “Any sparks will come from us,” he replies. The silky-tongued old devil.
The DIY: I may not have a cottage, a fire or a dog, but I do have a printed sex script to follow. I was worried that constantly halting proceedings to check Jilly’s directions might be a downer (literally, for him), but it was actually really exciting. There’s something very sexy about the ‘ooh what next?’ of obeying instructions. What was odd was the running commentary; Rupert and his bed buddy are talkers. There’s “Ker-rist, you do want me”, then “Oh God, yes, I do want you”, followed by the (pray your housemate isn’t walking past your door when you exclaim this), “Hail, cock of the West.” I mean, you can’t help but laugh – especially as the latter is to be mumbled while your tongue is dealing with his ‘leaning tower of pleasure’. But, you know what, it’s really fun to laugh and not take sex too seriously. The formula – kissing, a little oral, then intercourse while he simultaneously uses his fingers on you – oh yeah, that WORKS. Maybe it was the novelty, but this was one of the best orgasms ever. And it led to a giggle and a blush when we walked into town five days later and my partner whispered, “Buttercunt.”
Unique Sex Skill: Dirty talk
Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James
“I pull against my restraints and the bed creaks ominously, but I don’t care – I’m burning with desire, it’s consuming me. He takes another spoonful and lets the ice cream dribble onto my breasts. Then with the back of the spoon, he spreads it over each breast and nipple.”
The scene: Fifty Shades Darker is the dirty secret in all our kindles (and diaries). Spoiler: Christian and Anastasia are back on, only with slightly less clamping than before. Don’t panic – it’s not dull, as Christian asks, “Do you want a regular vanilla relationship with no kinky fuckery at all?” Her ‘inner goddess’ doesn’t. Oh my.
The DIY: First step, the prep. You need restraints and ice cream. Restraints could be anything from handcuffs to, er, a ski sock depending on what you have at hand (look, I’d just moved house). And crank the heating up – the scene involves your partner trailing ice cream down your body, from nipple to clitoris. It makes Anastasia “cry out, loudly” – and you will, it’s a F%&(%$£&! level of cold. But it also feels really, really good. The combination of restraint, cold and your partner’s warmth… it’s a total-body sensory overload, when you’re probably only used to sensation on a very small part of it. E. L. James gets a lot of stick for the way Fifty Shades is written – and, granted, you’ll never hear me shouting “Holy cow!” – but there’s good stuff here. Take this: “He slips one finger inside me, then another, and he moves them with agonising slowness in and out. “Just here,” he murmurs, and he rhythmically strokes the front wall of my vagina while he continues the exquisite, relentless licking and sucking.” Trust me, this is wasted on your Kindle.
Unique Sex Skill: Food props to spice (and ice) things up
Forever by Judy Blume
“When I kissed his face it was all sweaty and his eyes were half-closed. He took my hand and led it back to Ralph, showing me how to hold him, moving my hand up and down according to his rhythm. Soon Michael moaned and I felt him come – a pulsating feeling, a throbbing, like the books said”
The scene:Before teen magazines, Forever’s frank sex chat filled in the gaps from school sex ed. Released in 1975, it’s still the losing-your-virginity story, featuring 17-year-old Katherine, boyfriend Michael, and Ralph, his willy. This scene – identifiable via every book’s broken spine – is when Katherine ‘meets’ Ralph. Via a handshake, of sorts.
The DIY: It took this extract to make me realise that it’s been years since I gave a handjob. It’s one of those acts, along with dry humping and snogging for two hours, which gets cruelly abandoned once you escalate to the next level. I rediscover that there’s actually something quite lovely about a one-way sex thing – you can see the other person really enjoying what you’re doing, rather than you both getting lost in the chaos/energy/sweat of sex and only focusing on where you’re at. I left the naming part out – mainly because I used to have a cat called Ralph and calling my partner’s schlong after a dead cat is just wrong – but added in some lube. The scene ends with Michael reaching for a tissue and apologising for getting his ‘goods’ on Katherine. It’s excellent fluid etiquette, which puts today’s more, ahem, willy-nilly attitude to shame.
Unique Sex Skill: Handiwork that’s perfect for a lazy Sunday morning
Lace by Shirley Conran
“Suddenly he grabbed Maxine’s wrist and pulled her into a dark recess under the staircase… He started to kiss her nipples… With his right hand, he felt under the primrose pleated skirt and tugged at her panties. “Off!” he muttered.
“Charles! You must be mad, someone might see,” Maxine protested.”
The scene: If you don’t know Lace, it’s one of those epically fabulous 80s’ romp-coms, full of scandal, gossip and shagging – with author, Shirley Conran, a pioneer for women’s orgasm equality. The most famous scene involves a live goldfish and a vagina – so I skipped that and went to champagne owner Charles showing new wife Maxine around his factory, and crotch. Very publicly.
The DIY: There’s no doubt that this scene is hot. There’s fumbling in cellars, groping in lifts and some expert directions (“his hand was under her skirt, his thumb moving in a steady rhythm against her flesh”). I also love Maxine’s mind-wanderings when Charles bunches up her skirt: “She’d never get those creases out, Maxine thought, it took hours to iron.” Well, she is wearing Dior. So, when I find myself on a vineyard tour during a recent holiday, it really is the perfect setting to get creasing. Except… I’m not very good at PDAs. I can handle a bum pat, a fleeting boob squeeze, but removing my knickers by a wine barrel gives me The Fear. I’ve imagined being caught and publicly humiliated before my partner’s even got a semi. I’m trying to convince myself to stop being such a prude, when I pop to the loo and witness a woman walking in on another woman in a cubicle. There are yells, screams, squeals. Which is the nail in my public-sex coffin.
Unique Sex Skill: Public thrills (big balls needed)
Rating: I really think this could be a 5. But I wimped out and limped to a 1/5.