Steve's Explanation For Loser's Sex Scene

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Kurben

The Fool on the Hill
Apr 12, 2014
9,036
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sweden
Had no problem with that scene at all. It was clear to me that it was meant as a way of bonding, growing, showing love and seeking strength. Then i have bigger problems with Koontz Golden retrievers
 

Officious Little Prick

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2014
129
442
47
Broken Arrow, OK
Just meant it wasn't sex for the pleasure of it.
Still, though, if you had a child the age of the young characters in IT and you found out he/she had sex and, when you pressed him/her about it, he/she said, "But I have a connection with him/her like no one I've ever known!", would your first thought be, "Oh, well that's different then!"?
 

stacy270

Keep On Floatin' On
Aug 2, 2006
1,014
7,836
Maine
I have also "heard" many people complain about this scene but it didn't bother me.I took it for what it was and moved along BUT I agree with a previous post about the boys in the dump being disturbing.That made me squirm because you could almost feel Patrick's( I think that was his name) insanity.
 

Kurben

The Fool on the Hill
Apr 12, 2014
9,036
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Still, though, if you had a child the age of the young characters in IT and you found out he/she had sex and, when you pressed him/her about it, he/she said, "But I have a connection with him/her like no one I've ever known!", would your first thought be, "Oh, well that's different then!"?
I would probably have preferred to have my child with me than lost in the sewers of Derry.
 

Mr. Gray Robert

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2015
61
178
Dallas, Texas
Still, though, if you had a child the age of the young characters in IT and you found out he/she had sex and, when you pressed him/her about it, he/she said, "But I have a connection with him/her like no one I've ever known!", would your first thought be, "Oh, well that's different then!"?
No, but if I found out they just faced an eternal monster that lived under the city and they only way they would find their way back was to re-issue a magical bond they had by doing that then I would be a little more understanding. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it would be okay for 11 year olds to have group sex! It was the situation, plus it was fiction, e.g. an eternal monster living under a city.
 

Officious Little Prick

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2014
129
442
47
Broken Arrow, OK
No, but if I found out they just faced an eternal monster that lived under the city and they only way they would find their way back was to re-issue a magical bond they had by doing that then I would be a little more understanding. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it would be okay for 11 year olds to have group sex! It was the situation, plus it was fiction, e.g. an eternal monster living under a city.
Sure, which brings me back to my original assertion that it simply represents a ill-fitting combo of "magical bonding" and "good taste". Nothing that should require the book to be banned, but alternatively, almost surely King's biggest narrative misstep in the book (which is saying something, considering it also features a Cosmic Turtle).
 

Officious Little Prick

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2014
129
442
47
Broken Arrow, OK
Just because we happen to have different opinions why get insulting? That is SURELY not necessary?
My post featured absolutely no name-calling whatsoever, and also featured a "no hard feelings" winky face, so no matter what insult was taken, none was ever offered. I am a bit put off that you keep defending King's use of an orgy of twelve year-olds to depict a "magical bond" as not only dramatically and morally sound, but as the best manner in which to make that point, yet you won't actually explain why, but I don't intend to call you names over it.
 
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Kurben

The Fool on the Hill
Apr 12, 2014
9,036
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sweden
My post featured absolutely no name-calling whatsoever, and also featured a "no hard feelings" winky face, so no matter what insult was taken, none was ever offered. I am a bit put off that you keep defending King's use of an orgy of twelve year-olds to depict a "magical bond" as not only dramatically and morally sound, but as the best manner in which to make that point, yet you won't actually explain why, but I don't intend to actually call you names over it.
Don't worry. It takes alot more to insult me. I was only referring to "bad self" that you wrote and just intended to stop any eventual future namecalling before it happened so to speak. As to why i never saw it as an orgy in the first place. Actually, not until i came to this site have i heard of that opinion. Never crossed my mind. I always thought it was crystalclear that it was about friendship, bonding and finding oneself again after that fight with the monster. Could it have been done in another way? Of course it could! Would it have been better? Impossible to know. I havent read any different version so cant judge. I have only been saying that it worked without a hitch for me. But thats me. And you are you. Two different way of looking at it, thats all. Glad thats all cleared up. Shake hands and walk off into the sunset? Enjoy your next Kingbook! I know i will.
 

Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
My post featured absolutely no name-calling whatsoever, and also featured a "no hard feelings" winky face, so no matter what insult was taken, none was ever offered. I am a bit put off that you keep defending King's use of an orgy of twelve year-olds to depict a "magical bond" as not only dramatically and morally sound, but as the best manner in which to make that point, yet you won't actually explain why, but I don't intend to call you names over it.
Mind if I cut in? No, you didn't violate the letter of the rules. Nobody has any doubt that you violated the spirit of them. Your post was brief, cutting, and sarcastic. It hit the other poster exactly as you had intended it would. We are all adults here. We understand how rhetoric works. Let's not ruin the Moderator's day by making them get involved with this kind of nonsense. My own posts can be pretty harsh from time to time, so when even I say, "that was a bit over the line" ... you get the idea.

In regards to your comments about the scene in question, I'd be happy to address them. Sai King doesn't blink when he writes. He has stated many times that fiction is lies and more lies, but that you have to be honest when you are creating it. That is what he did here. He didn't pretend his children didn't curse, didn't smoke, or didn't have sexual urges. He approached children closer to how real children act, think, and behave. In short, he didn't take us back in time using a magical camera that makes the "good guys" kids saints. The fact is that children at that age are confused by sex, afraid of sex, but still just still starting to feel the pull of it. It would be dishonest to pretend that issue doesn't exist. So the first reason why, #1 if you will, is honesty.

Judging by your posts, you are someone who might want more. The force which is helping the Losers (in very much a Heaven helps those who help themselves kind of way) selects them as the perfect vessels to fight Pennywise (It) because of their youth and imagination. This other force provides them with an unnatural clarity a fast forward on their resolve and calculation as adults. They aren't just little kids (which is useful as king because isn't a little kid when he writes it); they are kids who have been bolstered by a force which allows them to straddle the line of adulthood and kids more fully than is normal. The magic of this other, protective force is allowing them to be kids with some adult strengths at the same time. This is true when they return as adults. It allows them to be adults with some of the strengths of kids. This magic is a very fragile thing which withdraws immediately as they wound and drive off It the first time. There are clearly some kind of cosmic rules in play for how much the "Other" can help them versus how much they can help themselves. This brings us to reason #2. When It is beaten (but not killed) by the Losers as children, the bolstering force departs. They are becoming just kids again, which means that the situation is overwhelming. They have lost an adult's focus and resolve. Panic is setting in. The bond that binds them together is falling apart. There is another bond between them all, as strong. It is their love for Bev and hers for them. What they need (require in fact) is to somehow maintain that adult clarity until they are out of the sewers so they don't die down there. Beverly channels that bond between them (and she has her own reasons as well) in a primitive, primal way. It is old magic. For better or for worst, we must not forget that children as young as ten to twelve were considered adults during the Middle Ages and having/raising children (if they survived). Our modern sensibilities are simply that, i.e. modern. Biology and magic transcend sensibilities. Beverly grabs hold of that magical force by overlaying it with one of her own. It works in the same way ancient sex rituals the world over were believed to have worked. King wasn't writing the episode just to write it. There is specific meaning and history to the magic. More to the point, had he censored it and had Bev go around and give them all a kiss like the Prince that wakes Cinderella, we the Constant Readers would have sensed the dishonesty immediately. You need more than kid's stuff to keep the adult part awake. So #2 ties in with #1 in that you need an appropriate magical ritual to achieve an appropriate effect that comes across honest to the reader. Censoring it would smell ripe in Denmark.

Seeing how I like to exhaust a topic, I'll go for a third reason. Three is, after all, one of the magic numbers. I'm going to play with rhetoric just a bit because I like being specific. Their antics in the sewer aren't an orgy. They are not all mutually involved at the same time. It isn't about that kind of sex for sex's sake act. Your portrayal of it in that manner is both incorrect and calculated. An orgy as part of magical ritual would be more appropriate historically in a fertility ritual like they had in ancient Mesopotamia. That wasn't going on in Derry's sewers. There was nothing dirty about the act. There was nothing in it which was intended to be lascivious either. In fact, their actions were emotional and clean even while everything outside and around them was dirty (they were in a sewer after all). There is that old saying, "where ever you go... there you are," and whenever someone reacts in a purely negative way to this scene in the book I always have to wonder about them. Why are all the other, profound implications and meanings invisible or irrelevant? It says far more about those who react with revulsion than those who seek to find greater meaning in it. No one is reading that section of the book for a sexual thrill. Bev has two reasons for her actions, and she is the instigator (make no mistake). She seeks to save their lives using a tool she alone has come to understand because of her disjointed home life. Her second reason is to wipe away the unclean stain that Pennywise (It) has placed on her sexuality when it manipulated her father. To be fair, her father was staining it by himself even before the monster pushed it further. Bev is saving their lives and trying to wipe her own slate clean by empowering herself. There is no degradation in her act. She isn't being used by the others. There are a lot of layers to this scene and I think we cannot discount that Bev, who hasn't lost that adult resolve as fast as the others, is doing some cold calculation to achieve several ends. That is, after all, what all the Losers discovered about adulthood. Bev takes the genuine love felt by the group and channels it in a way which all of them understand is purely adult. It is a ritualistic act intended to hold on to their receding adult magic. She empowers herself and through that act she empowers them. Again, going back to reasons #1 and #2... would a simple kiss have sufficed? What watered down, Leave It To Beaver replacement would have rung true to our ears?

I could go on. As many people will tell you, I love the sound of my own voice. As Sai King would put it, I am addicted to the color of my own thoughts on the page. So in the interest of sanity, I will stop at the mystical third number. We all understand that the notion of sex and children causes discomfort. That isn't the point of the scene, nor is anyone championing it. You are being dishonest is suggesting that idea. I would suggest you need to consider your own motives and reactions (and why you have them) before tossing those rhetorical rocks. Glass houses seem to abound these days.
 
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Officious Little Prick

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2014
129
442
47
Broken Arrow, OK
Robert Gray, I am attempting to not take great umbrage at the overt hostility and confrontational tone of your reply, if for no other reason than I see now that the winky face graphic I included with my sarcastic, but in an entirely good-natured manner, reply to Kurben is not showing. I cannot explain that; however, you should know that one was included with the original post as a way of making my intentions clear. With that knowledge at hand, if you choose to continue viewing my post to him in an attacking light, then that will say more about you than it will me.

Secondly, I offer you sincere thanks at the intricate, well-reasoned response to my core question. It at least provides me a context for why so many readers seem so casually accepting of an action that I have to assume (hope) they would find abhorrent in the real world, which I felt had been lamentably missing from the discussion so far. In short, though, I have to opine that I don't buy your explanation for a second, though it was well argued. Simply put, if you feel I haven't dug deep enough into the subtext of the scene, I feel that you have attempted to build a mansion out of the scene's clay. In fact, in my personal opinion, I can think of no other book in King's canon where he has so radically and shockingly "gone off the narrative rails" as he does in IT, which is all the more a pity, since the bulk of the book is among his finest works in many ways. I may be wholly mistaken but, considering the atypical-for-King Pink Floydian psychedelica of those closing chapters, I firmly suspect that King's runaway drug problem was to blame for it. In no way whatsoever do I feel that the groundwork for the depth of your "ancient ritualistic magic" thesis was sufficiently laid in the pages that led up to IT's errant climax. Also, if we're to throw around presumptuous and accusatory terms like "calculated" and "dishonest" (I'll thank you not to question my motives at the same time you disagree with my theories), then I feel those terms would just as easily apply to your vehement denouncement of my term "tween orgy", when the admittedly more accurate "tween gangbang" would apply, and doesn't put a rosier sheen on anything we're discussing here. It is quite clear to me that a simple kiss would not suffice for you to carry the theme of the scene in question, but yes, indeed, I feel something along those lines would have shown a deeper grace than what we were given, and could have been handled by a sure hand with all the narrative sophistication of the blood you seem to have squeezed from this particular turnip. Just because twelve year-olds, through moral relativism, might have been more sexually active and productive in ancient cultures, that has no direct play here (your fragile "ancient magic" argument aside)--we're dealing with children of the modern age in this book, so application of modern, dare I say evolved, morality and ethics does have application in this discussion, and of everything you've asserted in your reply, it is your apparent wholesale derision of my right to believe so that I find the most alarming and distasteful.

In the end, though, all I seek from discussion with you (which you have provided) and others (which have not provided) on this topic is exactly why you, as readers, are comfortable with sanctioning something considered so verboten in modern society. Many of the replies in this thread have reminded me of the concept of forgiving all God's actions in the Bible that we would find repellent, morally vacuous and criminal in our fellow Man simply because "God's plan"; in this case, effectively saying, "I'm okay with this scene as written because King is my favorite author, so I don't question his taste or judgment". I think Stephen King towers (no pun intended) over every author I've ever come across, living or dead, but he is not infallible, and his narrative decisions are worthy of critical discourse and dissection. If you feel the need to continue this discussion with me, I will ask one last time that you make a clear dividing line in the proverbial sand between my opinion and what nefarious motives you seem to wish to invent for them, then continue your dialog with a focus clearly and succinctly on the former. Thank you.
 

FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
42,338
165,968
New Zealand
Just because twelve year-olds, through moral relativism, might have been more sexually active and productive in ancient cultures, that has no direct play here (your fragile "ancient magic" argument aside)--we're dealing with children of the modern age in this book, so application of modern, dare I say evolved, morality and ethics does have application in this discussion, and of everything you've asserted in your reply, it is your apparent wholesale derision of my right to believe so that I find the most alarming and distasteful.

In the end, though, all I seek from discussion with you (which you have provided) and others (which have not provided) on this topic is exactly why you, as readers, are comfortable with sanctioning something considered so verboten in modern society.
First, the book was written (or at least published) in 1986, and like to admit it or not... things have changed a great deal from then to now. Also, the children he was writing about, were living in 1958... an even bigger jump.
Kids were more active in the 'exploring' department, they just were... they had less parental eyes on them than the kids today, so had more opportunity for that kind of discovery. I wouldn't go so far as saying that it might have happened in a group situation, as described in the book, but really... I'm not so sure that as a writer, it is much of a leap from what may have happened between two pre-teens... to a group of the same. (remembering of course, that it is fiction)

Did I personally like it? No, not really... it did startle me a little, but I did accept it as part of the story and moved on.

When you ask us if we're "comfortable with sanctioning something considered verboten in modern society", you have to remember that we may be more comfortable with this because of the things I mentioned above.
What we are actually accepting is that this story was written a long time ago... about children living in a much earlier time. And if you think kids haven't explored their (and others) bodies since the beginning of time... (and you can bet to some degree it still happens now) then you may be kidding yourself.
I think it might be part of normal human development. It's just that society (and religion) today say it's wrong and shouldn't happen. But I am not so sure you can change human nature and development.
 

Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
Somehow, I don't think a winky smiley face, even if it showed, would have mattered at all. Your comment was vicious and tactically delivered. It had exactly the effect it was supposed to achieve. Your response to me (on the subject matter at hand) only reinforces your feelings on the matter. I don't think anyone fails to understand that you didn't like the scene. :D *See how utterly pointless emoticons are for these purposes? I prefer well written prose which actually explains a position. You seem unable to discern a few things and it bleeds through in what you write:

1. People who have no problem with the scene as written are not championing the events that took place.
2. We aren't talking about real children. We are talking about fictional children in an circumstance extraordinaire.
3. The other people who didn't take the time to be blowhards (like myself) don't deserve your derision.

I always prefer to talk about the topic rather than the people talking about the topic. You seem to want to talk about morals, things you find morally repugnant, and your opinions. You are making the topic about you; please understand that. The difference between your (blowhard) commentary and my (blowhard) commentary is that I am trying to do a cold reading and stay within the contextual limits of the work itself. I bring outside factors in only in context to how they relate directly to the work. You are bringing them in directly in regards to how you feel about the work. This again makes your discussion about you. I suppose you could be doing this entirely unaware of the fact. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt that they know exactly what they are doing. Thus, when I see rhetorical tricks, I address them. When I employ them myself (and get called on them) I eat crow. In my experience there are only three types of readers of this particular book. There are those who read that scene and didn't blink. It just made sense to them. In a long litany of horrible things happening, the brief sexual event based on love and necessity seemed rather minor compared to the child abuse, spousal abuse, murder of children, and all other manner of mundane human horrors. The people who don't blink at that scene understand it in context and simply aren't troubled. Then there are the people in the middle who are dislodged by it because it isn't something we are supposed to talk about. Children aren't supposed to be having sex, at least not the good kids. Nobody mentions the incident in the Junk Yard between Bowers and Hockstetter because those are the "bad" kids. The middle group can accept the sexual behavior from them and not be dislodged because that is norm. The fact that good kids act in a sexual manner, by contrast, shakes them up even when they do understand it in context (and they do). The third group can't get past it. They can't understand the context which leaps out at other people (or refuse it because it implies shades of gray). It becomes a cause for them. This topic has come up for years and I expect it will for many years to come. It always amuses me to no end.

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the scene, character motivations, and why it was written... then by all means let's do so. I'd rather talk about that than talk about you. It suffices to say that we disagree on the scene. I didn't have to work hard to draw blood from a turnip as you described it. I cut myself off. There are a lot of layers to that onion. Somehow I don't think you are really that interested in it.
 

César Hernández-Meraz

Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry
May 19, 2015
598
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Aguascalientes, Mexico
I had the fact the kids have intercourse to get out of the sewers spoiled in a post I had read before I read the book (was I looking at some thread about the mini series? I don't remember). I actually thought they perhaps used it to teleport outside somehow, though, so there were still surprises left when I finally read it.

But having already lost the element of surprise, I actually got more worried about the dirtiness of this scene (Robert, you said there was nothing dirty, but I think there was).

Not all of the tunnels were sewers, but some were. I don't remember in which section of the tunnels this happened (perhaps it was before the kids returned to the actual sewers section), but they had traveled through them before. Even with jeans, dirty water would have reached their bodies.

So all the time I was thinking more about the infections Bev could get by having the boys enter her with their sewer-contaminated bodies.

Besides that, I think this act marked them all (even if they could not remember it). Yes, it brought them together, but it also forced them to do something not all of them wanted to do (at least, not completely wanted to). At the very least, I think it was a (from some point of view) good thing that Bev had her first time with someone(s) who loved her, when she realized the possibility that this act could be forced on her (she did think Henry could put it in her after she saw it) or that it was something "bad" (the way her father was talking about it).

Now, about Henry and Patrick. As already mentioned, it was 1958. No internet. I did not live in 1958, but I think there were many cases in the past when boys learned about masturbation when taught by other boys (not sure how it is now, since they can get access to even stronger things online if parents/teachers are not careful). Before that scene, if asked about it, I would have thought Henry would already know about it (he was 12, which would be around the age when we discover it). I guess working at the farm and doing all that exercise being a bully kept him busy enough to still ignore about it until that day.

Patrick showed him, which is something that perhaps other boys also did. With the difference being that other boys would be in a relatively similar position as Henry: curious and wanting to learn about themselves in relation to others. Patrick, being the only real human, was "having fun"/"breaking the rules"/"exerting power over Henry"/"passing the time". Patrick's position (and how he views himself and Henry and everyone else) is what makes this act a bad thing, not the act by itself.

And no, 12-year-old Henry. Even if you did enjoy the touch, that does not mean that you are gay. And no, even if you were gay, that is no reason to hate yourself, no matter everything you may have been taught by your father and society.
 
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