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Marie Calloway What Purpose Did I Serve in Your Life
Everybody knows Marie Calloway is a talked-about writer, but not everybody gets why, exactlyvia

The most alienating sex scenes in literature

Roses are red, violets are blue, here is a Valentine’s Day reading list of the best in unromantic ‘romantic’ literature just for you

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend! Isn’t that nice? Once again it is time to celebrate the day that St Valentine was clubbed, stoned, then decapitated beside the Flaminian Gate in Rome many hundreds of years ago. Traditionally, we mark the slaughter of February 14 by getting dressed up and going on awkward dinner dates. These dates are awkward because you don’t choose to go on them – the liturgical calendar forces you to do it, just like it forces you to be nice to your aunties on Jesus’ birthday. Let’s all do something more interesting this year. Collectively, let’s just not. Let’s deny the men who buy us flowers blowjobs. Let’s not look cute, or kiss anybody, or leave the house. Let’s learn something instead, for a change. Dazed got you a present! It isn’t heart-shaped chocolates: it is a reading list of the best in unromantic ‘romantic’ literature. Ten tales to unsettle, alienate, and make you feel uncomfortable. You’re welcome, babe.


This sweet poem of a list of unrealised erotic dreams is one of the best things to have been hosted by Adult mag last year. If you’re short on fantasies, why not take a suggestion? “In the middle of sex, we go hard Mariah (turn into evil dark-haired versions of each other). Anybody too fuck-addled to successfully rap the Jay-Z verse from “Heartbreaker” gets pelted with popcorn.” Your imagination probably isn’t as good as this, so don’t bother.


There is absolutely no point in reading predictable erotica. Why bother reading about unimaginative, lazy sexual fantasies? Save that for the commute. Instead, be tireless in your search for brain-bending sex writing. Simon Geballe’s Space Fuckers is the best in haute-narrative sci-fi erotic writing I have ever come across. Agents, grab this unpublished genius! I mean, look:

William’s penis sprang up against his trousers like a prank snake against a bunkmate’s unsuspecting face. He hunched over, trying to conceal it.

“Come, come,” she insisted, with a hypnotic finger flourish.

William rose timidly, his cock pushing stiffly against his trousers like some alien incubation, ready to burst forth from its host. For the first time, he noticed the major’s smile – broad, gentle, and welcoming.

“Closer,” she chided, like a mother coaxing her son into the deep end of the pool.


Trina is a goddess, but nothing she has written surpasses the joy of “Phone Sex”. In one verse, she pictures the guy on the other end as a football player: “Cheating on my man, I’m getting my freak on, as long as it ain’t real I ain’t doing nothing / Wrong, just a dirty fantasy on the football field.” I like how elaborate the narrative is. Is phone sex cheating? I don’t know, but it is certainly something special. As the chorus clarifies, “It’s not a fantasy but it’s phone sex.” Thank you, Trina.


Everybody knows Marie Calloway is a talked-about writer, but not everybody gets why, exactly. In fact, I didn’t get it until Lyle explained that some readers’ problem with the way Calloway writes about sex is precisely the place her genius rests. Lyle says that, in what purpose did i serve in your life, “It’s clear that some men take advantage of and eroticise the power imbalance which is inherent to their couplings with Calloway, while others do so with hesitation, but all embody it: this power imbalance is inherent to heterosex; this is the power that inflects the discourse through which Calloway articulates her subjecthood. Is it okay? No, but it’s the life she entertains the illusion of choosing.” Finally! Man, I feel dumb for not getting that.


OK, I’m going to admit that I picked up a proof of this book from a box labelled ‘FREE BOOKS’. But I’m so glad I did. Venerable vampire-sex writer Anne Rice is currently into fairytales, and this book is part of a trilogy about Sleeping Beauty, I think? Anyway, it’s set in a kingdom where young noblemen and noblewomen are temporarily owned as ‘naked pleasure slaves’. It’s really hilarious and dumb and there’s a lot of smacking kings on the bottom.


Acker’s incredible detective stories were written in the 70s but not published until early this century. They are thrilling and wonderful perversions of the hard-boiled genre pioneered by such dudes as Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Instead of side-eyeing blondes in bars, however, our heroine masturbates on aeroplanes and kind of doesn’t really tell the story properly or even concentrate on solving any crimes. Way better.


Fuck! It’s another perfect messed-up detective story! Marley-Payne is a philosopher who seems to have written an insanely surreal bit of crime fiction on the side. Like Acker’s, Marley-Payne’s story is shot through with all the ace clichés of mid-century American PI stylings, but also contains chunks of erotic estrangement fit to alienate the most hard-boiled reader. There’s an amazing bit about a spiked punch-bowl, but this is my favourite part:

As the detective continued to write, things started to really degenerate in the Boston metropolitan area. It wasn’t that the crime got any worse – or better – it just stopped making sense. There’d be best friends murdering each other with no motive, not even an explanation, though they readily confessed; perverts jacking off in school assemblies but not even enjoying it, barely able to get hard “what can I say, only mountain landscapes really turn me on these days, but I’ve got to do my bit, you know, keeping up appearances”; cops and criminals equally inept in their cat and mouse so that who got caught and who got away just depended on which blunders cancelled out which; the defence attorney standing up to give his closing statement with a visible erection, the judge changing her tampon behind her stand and slinging the old one at the clerk and hitting him slap on the ear, the jury (no messing about here) just plain fucking each other right there in the stands, and the defendant begging someone to give him the chair right there and then.

Download the whole thing for free here


Usually, the stuff nominated for the Bad Sex award isn’t even that bad or surprising. Makes you wonder if the whole thing is adjudicated by nuns. But Peter Nádas’ Parallel Stories was nominated in 2011 and for really, really good reason. Read the excerpt at the Guardian here for the full unpleasant ordeal, but a quotation should suffice to show how this particular combination of heteronormativity plus glee at the most basic of transgressions pushes Nádas’ work into stomach-churning territory:

To enjoy the humiliating service. To mix the saliva accumulated in his mouth with the mucous strong-smelling urine-spiced excretion that overflowed her cunt and in which he was now splashing about with his overhardened, aching cock as in a bottomless swamp of dead fish and yellow lilies in bloom.

Kill all men.


This isn’t one particular book, but a genre. It is a search for sex education books on the internet, and not just anywhere, but on Etsy. Objects on Etsy are chosen vaguely for their look, not their contents. This is the best way to dip into the history of what young people have been taught about their bodies and what to do with them. Just do it at random. Don’t let anybody curate this research for you! Let the fine sellers of Etsy just pick things based on the nice pastel tones of their cover, and grab whatever you think looks cute. Bizarrely enough, the way that books work means that you will be instantly transported to a time when sex meant something just a little bit different. This is your duty as a sexual subject in 2015, and a very fine way to spend Valentine’s Day.


Shakespeare wrote a lot of fucked-up stuff, but nothing is ickier than the part in Cymbeline where Iachimo hides in a trunk in Imogen’s bedroom, then climbs out of it when she’s sleeping to look at her boobs. He observes one particular mole and later uses it as evidence that they’ve been sleeping together, which is totally not true: 

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour.

What a creep! No wonder western culture is in decline, if this is the shit we are teaching in schools.