Journalist and novelist Rachel Johnson asks if we are all too ready to leap to judgement when it comes to writing about sex.
Journalist and novelist, Rachel Johnson won the Bad Sex Award in 2008, the same year that the judges awarded John Updike a 'lifetime achievement' award. In 2013 she was one of the judges of the Women's Prize for Fiction - are we all a bit too ready to leap to judgement when it comes to writing about sex?
In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?
These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.
First broadcast in March 2013.
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