The Tournament of Literary Sex Writing: Jeanette Winterson vs. Philip Roth

Judge Walter Mosley Picks Finalist Number One

April 6, 2016  By Literary Hub


It’s down to the last four. In this match-up, Walter Mosley must choose between the poetic immediacy of Jeanette Winterson and the manic priapism of Philip Roth.

Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson (1993)
She arches her body like a cat on a stretch. She nuzzles her cunt into my face like a filly at the gate. She smells of the sea. She smells of rockpools when I was a child. She keeps a starfish in there. I crouch down to taste the salt, to run my fingers around the rim. She opens and shuts like a sea anemone. She’s refilled each day with fresh tides of longing.

Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
Finally it is The Monkey who sets our lust in motion. She moves across to Lina, above whom she towers (oh God, isn’t she enough? isn’t she really sufficient for my needs? how many cocks have I got?), and puts her hand between the whore’s legs. We had imagined it beforehand in all its possibilities, dreamed it all out loud for many many months now, and yet I am dumbstruck at the sight of The Monkey’s middle finger disappearing up into Lina’s cunt.

I can best describe the state I subsequently entered as one of unrelieved busy-ness. Boy, was I busy! I mean there was just so much to do. You go here and I’ll go there- okay, now you go here and I’ll go there- all right, now she goes down that way, while I head up this way, and you sort of half turn around on this… and so it went, Doctor, until I came my third and final time. The Monkey was by then the one with her back on the bed, and I the one with my ass to the chandelier (and the cameras, I fleetingly thought)-and in the middle, feeding her tits into my Monkey’s mouth, was our whore. Into whose hole, into what sort of hole, I deposited my final load is entirely a matter for conjecture.

JUDGE WALTER MOSLEY DECLARES: The winner is Jeanette Winterson!


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