There's nothing like curling up with a good book on a chilly winter night, all wrapped up in blankets and ready to be transported to a world of fictional wonder — and then a man gets swallowed by a giant vagina. Or a bunch of kids have an orgy in a sewer. Look, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the occasional dirty scene in books (or in some of these cases, filthy). Part of the reason we all love literature is that anything can happen in fiction! There's no need for all the rules that govern our daily lives! There are also quite a few sex scenes in literature that come right out of left field.
For some of these books, you just don't expect sex of any kind to pop up, and then suddenly you're reading about heaving bosoms. For others, you might expect a normal sex scene but not, say... a sewer orgy. Or sex with ghosts. And some of them include love scenes that are both unexpected and unexpectedly dirty (looking at you, The Canterbury Tales). These aren't necessarily the books you want to read to get yourself in the mood for romance, but if you're a fan of unexpected filth, you don't want to miss any of them.
1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
A man is devoured by a vagina. There's a lot of strange sex in American Gods (and a lot of brilliant remixing of mythology), but this scene definitely steals the show. It comes right out of nowhere: a man thinks he's going to see an ordinary prostitute, but it turns out to be the Goddess Bilquis. And then she swallows him. With her vagina. It's actually quite a beautifully written scene, and the guy being consumed by Bilquis seems kind of... fine with it. And yes, the people who are creating the TV adaption have promised that the Bilquis scene will appear just as written, vagina-swallowing and all.
2. It by Stephen King
It is a novel about a shape-shifting clown demon who hunts children, and It includes a seven-way group sex scene between said children. In a sewer. They finally defeat the demon, and then six 11-year-old boys and one 11-year-old girl feel the need to have sex with each other in order to... find their way out of the sewers. Why will this help them find their way out of the sewers? I don't know. To be fair to Stephen King, it's portrayed as a very consensual and caring encounter, even though it's wildly uncomfortable to read. But it's still pretty darn unexpected.
3. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Osceola is a 16-year-old albino who has sex with ghosts. We experience all of this from the point of view of her younger sister, Ava, but it's still pretty clear what's going on. Swamplandia! is a strange and inventive book about coming of age, so it's not entirely out of place for the young characters to be encountering sex and unknown new situations. It's the ghost part that makes it a surprise: Osceola is "dating" a dead dredgeman, who possess her body and causes her to go into convulsions.
4. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
If you've read the first three books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, you might expect So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish to be another clever, wacky romp through time and space with grumpy Earth-man, Arthur Dent. And you'd be mostly right... except that this book also involves Arthur Dent having sex with a woman called Fenchurch on the wing of an airplane. While the plane is in flight. Yup, he teaches her how to fly (after she points out to him that her feet never fully touch the ground anyway), and then the two of them have a wild aerial sexual encounter unlike anything that's happened in the series up until this point.
5. Neuromancer by William Gibson
Neuromancer is a dark, wildly complex vision of the future. Almost all the characters are tough, cyberpunk types, especially street samurai Molly Millions: she has retractable razor blades in her fingers, mirrored eyeballs, and she cries out of her mouth. She's a ruthless killer and bodyguard, which is why it's so surprising when she just sort of... starts having sex with the main character for no particular reason, with no warning. They go on to develop a close personal relationship, but their first sexual encounter is just plain random. And kind of scary, what with her mirror eyes and razor fingers. Anything goes with cyberpunks, I guess.
6. One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh (retelling)
The R-rated scenes in One Thousand and One Nights are unexpected because who knew there were so many R-rated scenes in One Thousand and One Nights? If you've never read the unabridged book, or if you only know the stories of Aladdin and Sinbad, you might be surprised to hear that this famous story collection starts off with an orgy and cuckolding a genie. Before King Shahrayar even marries Shahrazad, he catches his first wife cheating on him, then witnesses his brother's wife having a vast orgy, then he and his brother are forced to have sex with a genie's wife in front of the sleeping genie. And that's before we even start with all the one thousand and one other stories.
7. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Is The Canterbury Tales a significant piece of literature written in Middle English? Yes. Is it also a deeply pornographic book full of references to butts? Oh, yes. Some of the tales are the sort of high-minded literature you might expect from such a famous historical work: the first story, The Knight's Tale, is a highbrow, courtly romance. And then the second story is The Miller's Tale, which explicitly involves bawdy sex and butt-slapping. Just straight from knights to butts. And kissing butts. And farting in people's faces. Two stories in, and it's just all sex and farts. Real classy, Chaucer.