Steve's Explanation For Loser's Sex Scene

  • New to the board or trying to figure out how something works here? Check out the User Guide.
  • Hot Topics is on indefinite hiatus.

  • The message board is closed between the hours of 4pm ET Friday and 8:30am ET Monday.

    As always, the Board will be open to read and those who have those privileges can still send private messages and post to Profiles.

Grannie CeeCee

Well-Known Member
Sep 7, 2017
155
894
58
The Drained Swamp, Ohio, USA
Hello Forum,

I originally didn't want to comment in this thread- I was just reading your opinions and found some of them very interesting and sensible. I agree with most people who argue that the aspect of their age isn't the damning part in itself but rather how unnessesairy if feels. I have no problem with the simple truth of life that kids entering puperty start to experiment and as I live in europe I feel like people are way more relaxed about it here anyways (child nudity is normal here on beachers, television etc- age of consent is 14- sex ed is widely available). But I do have to say out of fairness that I am quite socially conservative (in contrast to other posters anyway) just due to the fact that I work with with abused children that the goverment had to take out of their enviroment at home for 5 years now. And I feel that there are quite some misconceptions and dangerous opinions out there.. althought I respect that everyone can have their opinion. When I read the contribution/rant about sexual "repressive" society and victim shaming/ mental bagacke for something "normal" like a Bev having sex with six boys from deathclide i felt lime I had to comment.



Aside from the 'very' subtle implication that age doesn't matter when it comes to having group sex in this specific post ("If we are okay with reading this scene as an adult, then why should we feel ashamed if we were to see this happen in real life?") and some other gripes i have with this post that could be summed up with the words 'ideologic differences', I felt like there is a very important element to alot of arguments made in this and similair posts in defense of the scene:

When working with sexually abused children we often have to look out for certain behavioral problems. Self mutulation (cutting/burning skin) and other destructive behvaiors are often the easiest to spot anf combat. They are quite 'surface level' due to the fact that the children know it's a bad or anormal thing they do. But one of the more deep running problems of which I had no clue of when I started working with kids and families, was the degree of sexual activity in contrast to non-abused children. When children enter puperty they begin to experiment with things and might "put it in" out of curiosity but real sexual contact almost always develops in the later stages of puperty. Sure a 14 year old girl might have sex already but a 11-12 year old girl is most usually not on that level. At that age mutual touching is considered quite mature yet clumsy but still in the field of "normal" compaired to the average. They are NOT "sexually mature teens" as deathclide put it. The complete lack of understanding or nuance that different ages during puperty have in that posts is what made me write this. Kids entering puperty are not already in ful swing hormonal sex drive mode yet. They are on their way but not "gang-bang" level as someone else phrased it.
But children who were subject of sexual abuse by someone else in their life are often already way ahead of the curve. I don't want to get into details but I've seen young kids succeeding in encouranging other more innocent children to do things that I personally didnt know of untill my college years. Children are incredibly good at adapting to circumstances and a child that way abused might end up seeing these things as 'normal'. Infact once in a while we only suspect that there were elements of sexual abuse (additionally to for example physical abuse/beating from drunk parents) after we hear from other children about/or walk in on these troubled kids trying to do fishy things with other kids in the childrens shelter. Often after carefull probing we do find out that these kids "learned it from unclen jim" or wanted to try it out on others because it was done to them and most of the time the parents end up confirming our fears. Just because a 10 year old girl thinks this is how you make someone you like happy doesn't mean it's right- and even if they already begun to enjoy some of these things. They are children and not "small adults". There is a very important difference between the natural clumsy experimenting (which also goes on Im very aware of) and full mature sexual "skills"

Lots of words. But here is my point: I read the book before I started working with children and after (last year) and the first thing I had to think of last time was these most abused kids I work with. To me, especially after realizng that Bev's father probably directly or indirectly sexually abused her, it looks like Bev is acting out things she had been introduced to way earlier than she should have. Im not implying she was raped before but certainly her father was being fishy or maybe touchy about it. When I look at that scene I see all the elements as they happen in real life. Bev the only ne who was worried about rape/ sex that much the whole time coaxing the boys into something they didn't conciously want. She had to talk them into it as King puts it.
Most of them were not even that developed (compairison of size) or didnt even ejaculate. None of the boys even thought of this as an option (group sex) nor did most know were to put it and most were unconfortable with this.
Infact King even states so himself:

'She senses his eagerness, but it is tempered and held back by his anxiety for her, perhaps because only Bill and she herself realize what an enormous act this is, and how it must never be spoken of, not to anyone else, not even to each other.'

Maybe i'm biased because I walked in on a similair scene before during my work back in 2013 but it looks to as if Bev was somewhere subconciously affected by previous experiences in her life that made her initiate a situation that any normal child of her age wouldn't have thought of. For me this was very obvious anf I thought King a genius for carefully planting all the elements of this very subtle and quite dark turn in her character development during the entire book. I actualy thought King had quite some knowledge of troubled children and was trying to sneak in some more social commentairy (especially since I think this isnt the only time he touches on the topic of how children cope with sexual abuse). To me this scene was totally shocking ag first and I realy don't like it but I didn't think it was that 'unnatural' in terms of how real abuse victims behave. She is even mortified when the supresed memories of that incident pop up later during the 80s part. This element of supressed memories of traumatic things is another thing troubled people with a traumatic childhoods have to deal with.This of course stands in stark contrast to the above mentioned post which looks at 12 year olds engaging in group sex and sexual cohersion in a more relaxed light (again, i dont want to get into viewpoint/ideological arguments about whether or not children are being sexualy 'repressed' or indoctrinated into being less sexually aware etc-). To me all signs point to the fact that this was quite sly and educated attempt to add another layer of symbolism to this book; not mythical but alegorical.

Only after reading other comments on this scene I realized that I might be in the minority with this view. I understand the other interpretations on this too but in that case i'm puzzled as to why King had to describe the scene the way he did
or why he used and described group-sex between kids (half of which cant or wont even ejaculate yet according to the text)
in the first place. Certainly King was aware of how shocking and disturbing this scene was when he even the adult versions of the kids invovled were shocked when remembering it. I kinda hope I wasn't totally deluding myself with seeing patterns in the sand that aren't there because of my job. Maybe i'm the one coping here and fiction isn't as dark as reality even when it involves child-murdering giant spiders.

Pls tell me if you think my totally wrong and full of garbage - I can take it :kiwi-fruit:
Thanks for taking the time to write out what I was thinking. I was foster parent to children who were survivors of sexual abuse, and have had my own rows to hoe as well.

Children who are used by adults for sexual gratification discover early how powerful sex is.

I can't say that I like this scene; I accept it. The way it pulls the reader back from the story is an echo of what Beverly senses as the connection frays between her and her comrades in arms. Could she have done something as effective? Maybe. But she is Bev, and her personal story is fraught with power and sex and so she used the most powerful thing she knew. The scene is uncomfortable for me to read, it's jarring, but it feels like exactly what Bev would do, because she believed it was the most powerful act, just like Bill believed in his rhyme and Stan believed in his birds. Bev used what she had in that moment, and this was what she had.

my lil two cents
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
81,027
307,967
56
Cambridge, Ohio
Thanks for taking the time to write out what I was thinking. I was foster parent to children who were survivors of sexual abuse, and have had my own rows to hoe as well.

Children who are used by adults for sexual gratification discover early how powerful sex is.

I can't say that I like this scene; I accept it. The way it pulls the reader back from the story is an echo of what Beverly senses as the connection frays between her and her comrades in arms. Could she have done something as effective? Maybe. But she is Bev, and her personal story is fraught with power and sex and so she used the most powerful thing she knew. The scene is uncomfortable for me to read, it's jarring, but it feels like exactly what Bev would do, because she believed it was the most powerful act, just like Bill believed in his rhyme and Stan believed in his birds. Bev used what she had in that moment, and this was what she had.

my lil two cents
...brilliant scenario....
 

Steve in WI

Active Member
Sep 17, 2017
38
167
33
Short answer: I think I understand some of why the scene is there, but I'm not sure it's really effective or believable in the context of the characters.

Long answer: It's the extremity of the act that makes it shocking, and one thing I would agree is that watering it down to try to get the message across in a more acceptable way would just make it ridiculous. There are scenes in the book that acknowledge the kind of sexual awakening of the characters (the scene where Beverly's shirt pops open and the boys see her a bit differently afterward is one) in what I think is a believable and age-appropriate way; what makes this scene different is that it goes way beyond curiosity or normal exploration. If it was watered-down to the point where all of the boys kiss Beverly or something, then it would lose any reasonable meaning in the context of the story. For it to work at all (and I don't think it totally works, but I also don't dismiss it as just a head-scratching moment that makes no sense), it kind of has to be something beyond what normal kids would likely do.

That brings to me another what if question. What if Bev had been 18? Same scene, same reasons. Darthclide's question makes me wonder. When is it too far? When is it luscivious?
Or another thought...what if the scene occurred at the end of 1985 in the sewers when they were all in their late thirties? Minus the fact that it would take place in front of Bill's comatose wife, there's nothing especially shocking about the idea of consenting adults having sex. But a lot of what bothers me about the scene from a story and character perspective would still bother me; there just wouldn't be any discomfort about it involving children. Beverly is a focal point of the group in a way, but structuring the scene so that it's each of the males having sex with her just feels wrong in a way that goes beyond the sexual.

I have carefully read every post in this thread. I have a thought experiment for you. Replace Bev with Bill. Reread all the posts with that in mind. Does it change how you think or feel? (I'm not making judgement or even declaring my own thoughts.)
I'd still have the problem with it being about 6 characters having an individual experience with 1 character, but it would somewhat alleviate the concerns about it reducing Beverly to a sex object and all of the gender issues that come into play with that. (Though I would argue it would also make the scene even less plausible, particularly for a story set in 1958 that I would say has established all of the boys as straight).

I have to say one of the recent frustrations I have with this scene is that its existence has inspired so many "can you believe what shocking scene they couldn't include in the movie" articles when the freakin' scene is not in the movie. Though that does lead me into a tangent...

I don't believe that is in any way meant to substitute for the sex scene, and it has nothing to do with getting them back out of the sewers, but in the movie after Stan is attacked and he is crying and blaming his friends, they all hug him and you can hear one boy (I think it's Eddie, but they're all talking at once) say "we love you." This is a powerful scene for me because it makes me remember being that age and the homophobia involved...and I mean that primarily related to the phobia part of the word, not bigotry or hatred but the actual fear of being perceived as gay. Telling a male friend you love him or being comfortable with close physical contact is a big deal at that age, even when (and maybe especially when) there is zero sexual or romantic feeling behind it.

So I could envision a rewrite of the sewer scene in which it's the experience of acknowledging and reaffirming their (platonic and age-appropriate) love for one another, all of them together rather than six of them focusing on one, that gives them the power they need to get out of the sewer. I'm not at all suggesting that it's an improvement on what King actually wrote, but IMHO it's a plausible way for them to find some power in their love for one another without it having to be sexual.
 

recitador

Speed Reader
Sep 3, 2016
1,704
7,937
35
I have to say one of the recent frustrations I have with this scene is that its existence has inspired so many "can you believe what shocking scene they couldn't include in the movie" articles when the freakin' scene is not in the movie.
a freakin men. and all these sites and people think they're being original and cool for bringing it up. as if they gave two craps before It was suddenly extra popular thanks to the movie. i'm not even convinced half the people moaning about it have even bothered to read it, or have any idea about it outside of what they've heard.
 
Apr 12, 2010
7
14
Georgia
I love the point that King makes about it...that people are disturbed more by this than by the graphic description of children being murdered. For Americans, at least, it’s explained by how uptight our society is about sex, especially including minors...I think we also forget that children, especially those approaching puberty, are sexual creatures, albeit, naive and precocious ones. The scene was tastefully handled, in my opinion, doesn’t read as pornographic or overtly perverse or something that would attract pedophiles. None of them seemed to enjoy it in the usual sense that we might imagine...none of them even seemed overly obsessed with Bev as a sexual creature beyond mere introspective ponderings about her appearance. None of them were recorded as having sex dreams about her or anything of that sort. They all loved and respected her, and never crossed any sexual boundaries. For me, it worked extremely well to bond them in a way that would make it so they would absolutely remember the promise to come back...and almost none of them even remembered the experience, and even Bev herself didn’t remember until she and Bill were headed to the hotel room after the library reunion. I read the novel first as a young teen, and while it seemed taboo to me at the time, I didn’t regard it as pornographic. It seemed almost sad, melancholy...something that was just a necessary act that Bev seemed to somehow know was required...first, to get them un-lost...and then to bind them. The scene with Patrick and Henry was far more disturbing to me...grotesque...perverse...icky. Patrick Hockstetter is one of the most frightening of all the characters that King has ever written. His death scene is also one of the most terrifying and disturbing scenes I’ve ever read.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
81,027
307,967
56
Cambridge, Ohio
I love the point that King makes about it...that people are disturbed more by this than by the graphic description of children being murdered. For Americans, at least, it’s explained by how uptight our society is about sex, especially including minors...I think we also forget that children, especially those approaching puberty, are sexual creatures, albeit, naive and precocious ones. The scene was tastefully handled, in my opinion, doesn’t read as pornographic or overtly perverse or something that would attract pedophiles. None of them seemed to enjoy it in the usual sense that we might imagine...none of them even seemed overly obsessed with Bev as a sexual creature beyond mere introspective ponderings about her appearance. None of them were recorded as having sex dreams about her or anything of that sort. They all loved and respected her, and never crossed any sexual boundaries. For me, it worked extremely well to bond them in a way that would make it so they would absolutely remember the promise to come back...and almost none of them even remembered the experience, and even Bev herself didn’t remember until she and Bill were headed to the hotel room after the library reunion. I read the novel first as a young teen, and while it seemed taboo to me at the time, I didn’t regard it as pornographic. It seemed almost sad, melancholy...something that was just a necessary act that Bev seemed to somehow know was required...first, to get them un-lost...and then to bind them. The scene with Patrick and Henry was far more disturbing to me...grotesque...perverse...icky. Patrick Hockstetter is one of the most frightening of all the characters that King has ever written. His death scene is also one of the most terrifying and disturbing scenes I’ve ever read.
...damn well said!....
 
Aug 25, 2017
8
14
28
I love the point that King makes about it...that people are disturbed more by this than by the graphic description of children being murdered. For Americans, at least, it’s explained by how uptight our society is about sex, especially including minors...I think we also forget that children, especially those approaching puberty, are sexual creatures, albeit, naive and precocious ones. The scene was tastefully handled, in my opinion, doesn’t read as pornographic or overtly perverse or something that would attract pedophiles. None of them seemed to enjoy it in the usual sense that we might imagine...none of them even seemed overly obsessed with Bev as a sexual creature beyond mere introspective ponderings about her appearance. None of them were recorded as having sex dreams about her or anything of that sort. They all loved and respected her, and never crossed any sexual boundaries. For me, it worked extremely well to bond them in a way that would make it so they would absolutely remember the promise to come back...and almost none of them even remembered the experience, and even Bev herself didn’t remember until she and Bill were headed to the hotel room after the library reunion. I read the novel first as a young teen, and while it seemed taboo to me at the time, I didn’t regard it as pornographic. It seemed almost sad, melancholy...something that was just a necessary act that Bev seemed to somehow know was required...first, to get them un-lost...and then to bind them. The scene with Patrick and Henry was far more disturbing to me...grotesque...perverse...icky. Patrick Hockstetter is one of the most frightening of all the characters that King has ever written. His death scene is also one of the most terrifying and disturbing scenes I’ve ever read.
Just a minor correction, but this wouldn't attract pedophiles at all as these kids were all in puberty. Hebephiles would be the term to use here, even though most people don't care to make this distinction. Other than that, your post is solid. I also agree that while probably unintentional, King did a good job pointing out the hypocrisy most people don't see. That is, Bev's scene was a horrible thing, while Patrick and Henry is just par for the course. I know I might get a lot of hate for it, but I am of the mindset that if there is no coercion, sexual activity with minors should not be treated with such hate. Over 12 years old, I don't care how old either the guy or the girl is. Love is what matters in the end.
 

VampireLily

Vampire Goddess & Consumer of men's souls.
Jul 25, 2013
1,470
8,830
New Jersey
I always thought that there is a balance of all things paranormal and corporeal in IT. A yin/yang sort of thing if you will. And to me, it always made sense that he added these two scenes... Bev and the Losers (the Light), Henry and Patrick (the dark).

On one hand you have this innocent young girl willingly giving herself to a carnal act that instead of ruining her, saves and absolves them all. And she did so purely out of love... the same girl that constantly had to dodge the only father figure in her life who wanted this very act from her. But how he wanted it had nothing to do with love or respect....and ALL the boys love and respect Bev. They were the ships lost, and she the beacon in the lighthouse.

With Henry and Patrick, this was a purely carnal, selfish act on both their parts...Henry willingly receiving without having to give anything back in return and Patrick taking without so much as an invitation. I think the difference between these two scenes is SO important because in truth, i don't think Bob Gray merely feeds off the things we fear...but the things that cause us to fail each other. And humanity fails each other moment by moment.

Just a few thoughts.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
81,027
307,967
56
Cambridge, Ohio
I always thought that there is a balance of all things paranormal and corporeal in IT. A yin/yang sort of thing if you will. And to me, it always made sense that he added these two scenes... Bev and the Losers (the Light), Henry and Patrick (the dark).

On one hand you have this innocent young girl willingly giving herself to a carnal act that instead of ruining her, saves and absolves them all. And she did so purely out of love... the same girl that constantly had to dodge the only father figure in her life who wanted this very act from her. But how he wanted it had nothing to do with love or respect....and ALL the boys love and respect Bev. They were the ships lost, and she the beacon in the lighthouse.

With Henry and Patrick, this was a purely carnal, selfish act on both their parts...Henry willingly receiving without having to give anything back in return and Patrick taking without so much as an invitation. I think the difference between these two scenes is SO important because in truth, i don't think Bob Gray merely feeds off the things we fear...but the things that cause us to fail each other. And humanity fails each other moment by moment.

Just a few thoughts.
....well said Madame Darkness.....
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
81,027
307,967
56
Cambridge, Ohio
Just a minor correction, but this wouldn't attract pedophiles at all as these kids were all in puberty. Hebephiles would be the term to use here, even though most people don't care to make this distinction. Other than that, your post is solid. I also agree that while probably unintentional, King did a good job pointing out the hypocrisy most people don't see. That is, Bev's scene was a horrible thing, while Patrick and Henry is just par for the course. I know I might get a lot of hate for it, but I am of the mindset that if there is no coercion, sexual activity with minors should not be treated with such hate. Over 12 years old, I don't care how old either the guy or the girl is. Love is what matters in the end.
....Welcome to the home of the Bibliophiles......:D
 
Aug 25, 2017
8
14
28
I always thought that there is a balance of all things paranormal and corporeal in IT. A yin/yang sort of thing if you will. And to me, it always made sense that he added these two scenes... Bev and the Losers (the Light), Henry and Patrick (the dark).

On one hand you have this innocent young girl willingly giving herself to a carnal act that instead of ruining her, saves and absolves them all. And she did so purely out of love... the same girl that constantly had to dodge the only father figure in her life who wanted this very act from her. But how he wanted it had nothing to do with love or respect....and ALL the boys love and respect Bev. They were the ships lost, and she the beacon in the lighthouse.

With Henry and Patrick, this was a purely carnal, selfish act on both their parts...Henry willingly receiving without having to give anything back in return and Patrick taking without so much as an invitation. I think the difference between these two scenes is SO important because in truth, i don't think Bob Gray merely feeds off the things we fear...but the things that cause us to fail each other. And humanity fails each other moment by moment.

Just a few thoughts.
Personally I think that the whole "sexually/physically abusive father" trope was not needed in the book. Something far more common is emotional abuse. For the fact that King sometimes is bold like with this Bev scene, he could have had an abusive mother which is shocking for many people. A good setup for the sewer scene would have been her mother being an absolute monster to her husband (holding sex over him as a form of control), and Bev has an epiphany where she realizes that sex can be a beautiful thing filled with love, and not manipulation.

Another reason I don't like this trope, is that it encourages the idea that the only reason the scene in the sewers is acceptable is because it didn't involve an adult male or female (okay. let's be honest, the stigmas are heavily against adult males). This topic is very complicated, and I think King had a great opportunity to explore it more.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,344
115,498
Spokane, WA
Personally I think that the whole "sexually/physically abusive father" trope was not needed in the book. Something far more common is emotional abuse. For the fact that King sometimes is bold like with this Bev scene, he could have had an abusive mother which is shocking for many people. A good setup for the sewer scene would have been her mother being an absolute monster to her husband (holding sex over him as a form of control), and Bev has an epiphany where she realizes that sex can be a beautiful thing filled with love, and not manipulation.

Another reason I don't like this trope, is that it encourages the idea that the only reason the scene in the sewers is acceptable is because it didn't involve an adult male or female (okay. let's be honest, the stigmas are heavily against adult males). This topic is very complicated, and I think King had a great opportunity to explore it more.
Eddie's mother was very emotionally abusive Mother, albeit in a subtle way. She did massive emotional damage to him with her brand of 'love'.
 

VampireLily

Vampire Goddess & Consumer of men's souls.
Jul 25, 2013
1,470
8,830
New Jersey
Personally I think that the whole "sexually/physically abusive father" trope was not needed in the book. Something far more common is emotional abuse. For the fact that King sometimes is bold like with this Bev scene, he could have had an abusive mother which is shocking for many people. A good setup for the sewer scene would have been her mother being an absolute monster to her husband (holding sex over him as a form of control), and Bev has an epiphany where she realizes that sex can be a beautiful thing filled with love, and not manipulation.

Another reason I don't like this trope, is that it encourages the idea that the only reason the scene in the sewers is acceptable is because it didn't involve an adult male or female (okay. let's be honest, the stigmas are heavily against adult males). This topic is very complicated, and I think King had a great opportunity to explore it more.
As a child who survived sexual abuse (a male...not a family member) i can assure you that monsters exist in many different entities and forms. A trope is a metaphor and Stephen wasn't writing about metaphors, he was writing about genuine occurrences that happen far too often. Writers and artists also tend to borrow from their own experiences so it's pretty impossible for any of us to hazard a guess as to why he added those scenes. I was just expressing my thoughts.

As for women that 'holding sex over him'....that's not abuse. That's a woman's right over what she will and will not do with her own body. Marriage is not a passport to sex any time a guy feels he has a right to climb aboard.
 
Last edited:

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,344
115,498
Spokane, WA
As a child who survived sexual abuse (a male...not a family member) i can assure you that monsters exist in many different entities and forms. A trope is a metaphor and Stephen wasn't writing about metaphors, he was writing about genuine occurrences that happen far too often. Writers and artists also tend to borrow from their own experiences so it's pretty impossible for any of us to hazard a guess as to why he added those scenes. I was just expressing my thoughts.

As for women that 'holding sex over him'....that's not abuse. That's a woman's right over what she will and will not do with her own body.
Marriage is not a passport to sex any time a guy feels he has a right to climb aboard.
This. Is. So. Correct.
 
We’ve created a Stephen King Library action for the 
			  Google Assistant and skill for Amazon Alexa. It'll give 
			  you a personalized reading recommendations based on your 
			  answers to a series of questions—so what are you waiting 
			  for? Find out which Stephen King book you should read 
			  next!