#OdeToSex: And the winner is…

17 July 2015

To celebrate our sexology literature tour, we asked you to sweep us off our feet with your poetry skills for our #OdeToSex competition. Here we

We weren’t sure what to expect when we asked you to write poems about sex for us. The focus of the competition was very much on the act of sex itself; not love, not passion, not romance. Sex. In addition, we wanted those poems to fit entirely within a single tweet (leaving only 130 characters after the hashtag is included).

To our surprise and joy we received 111 #OdeToSex poems in total over the last couple of weeks, varying in tone and approach. Some were funny while some were sad; some were delicate and others were graphic; some, just a few words long, others filled the word count.

Russell from Apples and Snakes, one of our judges, felt that “the overwhelming sense we got from these poems is that sex is fun: from the throwaway quips and puns to the pieces that simply revelled in the experience. The other thing that came across is that a universally shared experience can possess so many facets. Judging this competition was itself like the sex act: a rollercoaster of emotions culminating in a sense of plateau.

The winners

The quality was so high there had to be more than one winner. The judges were unanimous in their decision of the top two and, unable to choose one over the other, selected them as joint winners.

One of our judges, Elizabeth Lynch, said “The winning poems capture the raw physicality of the sexual act and reflect sexual behaviour realities that are rarely represented in popular mainstream narratives.


Malika Booker, another judge (and one of the writers involved in Sex in the Afternoon), said there was “something fresh and endearing about the winning poems, such as the surprising haiku ending “don’t wake the baby”.” Elizabeth mentioned that @LittleWhitt13 “nails the pleasure and potential panic for those stolen moments of what can feel like illicit sex when you have small children.” Russell felt the poem “throws up one of the real-life conundra surrounding sex (and begs the question ‘Has the baby been born yet? Or even conceived?’).


The unique, beautiful approach to the sexual act between aged bodies” caught Malika’s attention in this poem and Elizabeth liked that it “valued older bodies and the continuing lust for life and fun“. It also comes up with “one of the best metaphors: sex as an ancient scroll – a contrast to all that wriggling and giggling elsewhere” said Russell.

Both @WriterOfSound and @LittleWhitt13 have each won two tickets to Sex in the Afternoon, the London event at the Southbank Centre on 26 July 2015.

Highly commended

The quality was so high that we’ve selected a third poem to be highly commended.


@labellaraquella “reminds us that sex isn’t or can’t always be what we want it to be” says Elizabeth. Malika felt the poem “stood out due to the sophisticated imagistic language used to describe sexual engagement‏”, while Russell said it “reminds us that sex is colourful, dizzying and strangely addictive. Nice use of the word ‘yaw’, too.”

As a highly commended entry, @labellaraquella has won a ticket to the above event also.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem or enjoyed reading and sharing them as they came in. You can still read all the entries.

Tickets are still available for the London event at the Southbank Centre on 26 July 2015.