Stan Uris and the Sewer Orgy in Stephen King’s It

It has long puzzled fans of the novel It why Stan Uris is the only one who kills himself when his childhood memories come flooding back. The other six kids’ encounters with It were as bad as Stan’s, and they weren’t driven to suicide. Something in particular pushed Stan over the edge, but the novel doesn’t explain what. Fans of the novel have tried:

(1) The usual answer is that Stan is the most skeptical member of the Club, relying on logic and reason more than anyone, and is the least of the seven willing to accept that It actually exists. Thus he was too emotionally fragile to face It a second time.

(2) However, it is also implied that Stan was the only one who had somehow become aware that It was female (and pregnant), something that Bill, Richie, and Ben learn in their second encounter with It as adults. Thus Stan chose death over returning to Derry to face the ancient terror that could lay eggs and multiply its terror a thousandfold.

The first suggestion is likely true, but if the second is also true, then it raises an interesting point about the sewer orgy. Stan would have probably freaked out over the idea of gang-banging “Queen” Beverly. She would have come across as a grotesque parody of It, orchestrating her own sex-rite down in Derry’s sewers, and in a mystical orgy that defies the sense and reason he holds precious. Beverly’s seduction of him would have probably amounted to a rape, and a more traumatic one than Eddie’s and the others’.

Many readers seem unaware that what Beverly is doing in the sewer orgy amounts to rape, but the text makes it pretty clear that it is, as I will show below. I’m not saying Beverly is a monster by any means. Eleven-year old kids aren’t accountable in the way adults and even teenagers are. She is actually easy to empathize with when she dominates the boys, because what she is ultimately doing is reclaiming something from an abusive father — her sense of self that her father diminished. Granted she is doing this at the expense of someone like Eddie, but even if she is wrong, it is the sort of wrong that should be weighed according to how we judge young kids who aren’t yet wise in the ways of the world.

Here is the text describing the first orgy act, with Eddie. My notes in bold follow the non-consensual elements.

Eddie comes to her first, because he is the most frightened. He comes to her not as her friend of that summer, or as her brief lover now, but the way he would have come to his mother only three or four years ago, to be comforted; he doesn’t draw back from her smooth nakedness and at first she doubts if he even feels it. He is trembling, and although she holds him in the darkness is so perfect that even this close she cannot see him; except for the rough cast he might as well be a phantom.

“What do you want?” he asks her.

“You have to put your thing in me,” she says.

He tries to pull back but she holds him [using force] and he subsides against her. She has heard someone — Ben, she thinks — draw in his breath.

“Bevvie, I can’t do that. I don’t know how –“

“I think it’s easy. But you’ll have to get undressed.” She thinks about the intricacies of managing cast and shirt, first somehow separating and then rejoining them, and amends, “Your pants, anyway.”

“No, I can’t!” [“No” means “no”.]  But she thinks part of him can, and wants to, because his trembling has stopped and she feels something small and hard which presses against the right side of her belly. [Rapists justify themselves this way when victims are betrayed by their bodies. Eddie’s body is saying yes, but his mind is saying no.]

“You can,” she says, and pulls him down. [The rape is now in session.] The surface beneath her bare back and legs is firm, clayey, dry. The distant thunder of the water is drowsy, soothing. She reaches for him. There is a moment when her father intervenes, harsh and forbidding, and then she closes her arms around Eddie’s neck, her smooth cheek against his smooth cheek, and as he tentatively touches her small breasts she sighs and thinks for the first time, This is Eddie, and she remembers a day in July — could it only have been last month? — when no one else turned up in the Barrens but Eddie, and he had a whole bunch of little Lulu comic books and they read together for most of the afternoon, Little Lulu looking for beebleberries and getting in all sorts of crazy situations. It had been fun.

She thinks of birds; in particular of the grackles and starlings and crows that come back in the spring, and her hands go to his belt and loosen it, and he says again that he can’t do that; she tells him that he can [again overriding his protests], she knows he can, and what she feels is not shame or fear now but a kind of triumph. [Some might see this as a shameless rapist reveling in her conquest.]

“Where?” he says, and that hard thing pushes urgently against her inner thigh.

“Here,” she says.

“Bevvie, I’ll fall on you!” he says, and she hears his breath start to whistle painfully.

“I think that’s sort of the idea,” she tells him and holds him gently and guides him. He pushes forward too fast and there is pain.

Ssssss! — she draws her breath in, her teeth biting at her lower lip and thinks of all the birds again, the spring birds, lining the roofpeaks of houses, taking wing all at once under low March clouds.

“Beverly?” he says uncertainly. “Are you okay?”

“Go slower,” she says. “It’ll be easier for you to breathe.” He does move more slowly, and after a while his breathing speeds up but she understands this is not because there is anything wrong with him.

The pain fades. Suddenly he moves more quickly, then stops, stiffens, and makes a sound — some sound. She senses that this is something for him, something extraordinarily, special, something like… like flying. She feels powerful: she feels a sense of triumph rise up strongly within her. [Reveling in her dominance.] Is this what her father was afraid of? Well he might be! There was power in this act, all right, a chain-breaking power that was blood-deep. She feels no physical pleasure, but there is a kind of mental ecstasy in it for her. [Confirming what specialists say: that for a rapist it’s the display of power, more than any physical pleasure, that gratifies and excites.] She senses the closeness. He puts his face against her neck and she holds him. He is crying. [He could be traumatized.] She holds him. And feels the part of him that made a connection between them begin to fade. It is not leaving her exactly; it is simply fading, becoming less.

When his weight shifts away she sits up and touches his face in the darkness.

“Did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Whatever it is. I don’t know, exactly.”

He shakes his head — she feels it with her hand against his cheek.

“I don’t think it was exactly like… you know, like the big boys say.  But it was… it was really something.” He speaks low, so the others can’t hear. “I love you, Bevvie.”

Her consciousness breaks down a little there. She’s quite sure there’s more talk some whispered, some loud, and can’t remember what is said. It doesn’t matter. Does she have to talk each of them into it all over again? Yes, probably. But it doesn’t matter. They have to be talked into it, this essential human link between the world and the infinite, the only place where the bloodstream touches eternity. It doesn’t matter. What matters is love and desire. Here in this dark is as good a place as any. Better than some, maybe.

It’s a very well written scene, and again, in the context of the novel, Beverly’s thrills of triumph and dominance are more aimed at “getting back” at her horrible father than degrading any of the boys whom she considers her best friends. Eddie might not see it that way, of course, though he seems to have pulled through okay.

After Eddie, Beverly has sex with the other five boys — Mike, Richie, Stan, Ben, and Bill in that order. King skips over descriptions of Mike, Richie, and Stan (covering all three of them in a couple paragraphs), and describes the last two boys, Ben and Bill, with elaborate detail like Eddie. With Ben it begins as a rape, where like Eddie he protests but is overruled and compelled against his will. But halfway through it turns consensual — right after “power” shifts from Beverly to Ben (“She feels her power suddenly shift to him; she gives it gladly and goes with it.”) With Bill, the group-leader, the sex is consensual from start to finish.

It would have been interesting if King had written elaborate orgy scenes for the other three boys, especially Stan, who I can only imagine would have strongly resisted Beverly’s intentions. Who knows, it might have shed light on his suicide.

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18 thoughts on “Stan Uris and the Sewer Orgy in Stephen King’s It

  1. Lmao…could totally tell this was written by a female, no male on earth would consider THAT rape. Pressuring may trouble women but it’s most men’s fantasy. Actually have a girl take charge when you are a virgin? Perfect!

    Please keep the stuff you believe in on you side. Us men don’t think, Actually, or feel anything like you. Women talking toxic masculinity and all that…you wouldn’t like men talking about toxic feminism…ir how women should feel, why do women feel entitled to speak about men?

    • Did you even read the article? This was one of the least feminist articles you could write about this scene. The author is arguing that Beverly is the one victimizing these boys. She’s highlighting Beverly’s motives and experience, not theirs.

      • This article is feminist. The goal of feminism isn’t putting women above men, it’s about making men and women equal, equal rights and equal responsibility. The author holds Beverly accountable for rape just as (I imagine) she would for any of the boys if the roles were reversed. She focuses on Beverly’s experience, well, first because it’s written from Beverly’s point of view, but also because the goal of the article is to prove to us that Beverly’s intentions and satisfaction is very similar to that of real-life rapists. Denying Beverly’s rape wouldn’t be feminist, it would show a misunderstanding of what rape is.

      • Btw Kingster, I agree with you, but feminism is more focused on the right to vote and stuff, or was (It’s been fixed as far as I’m concerned in most places), I think an appropriate word is just “Equality”, just so some person doesn’t try to use an excuse to attack you.

    • Both Guy fella and the author of this post are right. It is rape but for a lot of men (probably the majority) this kind of rape is actually enjoyable and is a fantasy (the fact that Bev is a close friend and the boys had a crush on her are important factors). If it caused any trauma, the trauma would be very similar to a bad breakup, nothing more.

  2. What a lame comment from “guy fella”. As for my thoughts (I’m a man), while I’m not as quick to interpret this scene as rape, I think this was a good analysis and is worth thinking about for sure.

    Well written scene, and well written post.

  3. Good analysis. Beverley is kinda messed up because of her dad. This act is her ultimate defiance. It is about her owning her body and choosing to use it how she wants (not how her dad wants). It is Bev growing up.

    Similarly, for the male losers, it is also them growing up. The innocence of childhood is lost in this moment. As children, they are vulnerable, but after this none of them consider themselves children anymore. Perfect to fight It.

    There’s a fantastic moment in human life when you aren’t a child and aren’t an adult and as such you don’t have childish fears and you don’t have adult fears.

    I think that this is the importance of this scene, albeit it is a bit distasteful, but in a way beverley has had this much worse all her life so the sex being consensual is a big step forward for her.

  4. Interesting theory but I kindof agree with Guy fella, although I don’t think it’s fair to accuse you of being a feminazi. I see nothing wrong with analyzing what exactly went on in the sewer orgy, be it motivations of characters, the exact nature of the act whether it be just kids discovering sex, rape, a mystical ritual to unit them etc., or even why the hell Stephen thought that was a good idea to put it into the story. However I think it’s fair to say that given how the Lucky Seven act around her none of them consider themselves to be rape victims. I think that is an important distinction that needs to be point out. If consentual agreement occurs and if the person is not bothered by what happened then it’s fair to say the person was not raped or if nothing else does not consider themselves a rape victim. There are many young people that put into a situation way where they could get laid early would not be bothered by it. And it’s easier to see that on an evolutionary level men would be the least bothered by it. There is a Youtube user called Girlwriteswhat that has some very interesting insights on this how there is more biological and cultural pressure to protect women from unwanted sexual attention that goes all the way back to the Stone Age where there is less pressure on men for the same reasons. But back to my point, the characters don’t see her as someone who wrong them. They see her as their first love and they all view her that way. I’m pretty sure Stan Uris committed suicide out of Lovecraftian terror not the prospect of seeing his “rapist” again. I’m pretty sure his mind couldn’t handle the the Cthulhu spider clone that his logical mind realized was about to multiply, an act that would have made good on Pennywise that he is an “eater of worlds” as well as children. If it had been the case then Eddie Kaspack would have offed himself too. And he didn’t. Rape is not at the heart of the story. It’s a theme certainly with what Mr. Marshal tried to do, the scene with Bowers and Patrick Hottstetter, and others. But it was the monster that had them scared. Although that we could say that It was the living embodiment of everything wrong with the town of Derry. Every little sin and crime was a piece of it. All the more reason the town exploded when It died.

  5. Is this rape? Yes. Does this offend me? Lol no. This is actually kinda hot. I only wish you added the text from the rest of the scene. Honestly, the way it’s written it sounds kinda cute in a way. Maybe I’m fucked up, idk.

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