Study Guide

Carrie Sexuality

By Stephen King


Naked, evil, blackened with the sin of exhibitionism, the breeze blowing lewdly up the backs of her legs, inciting lust. (1.252)

Simply standing naked makes Carrie feel guilty and lustful, even though there's nothing inherently sinful about being naked. Carrie's Momma seems to have hammered it into her daughter's head that nakedness = lust.

Momma had told [Carrie] there was Something. The Something was dangerous, ancient, unutterably evil. (1.1.257)

The Something is simple sexuality. But Momma can't even put a name to it. Not naming something kind of makes it seem scarier—more forbidden or taboo—don't you think?

Her momma had torn the Something out of herself and was pure. Carrie hated her. (1.263-1.264)

Momma is trying to deny a basic fact of human existence: humans are sexual beings. Momma even thinks she is morally superior to other people because she denies herself sexual pleasure. As Carrie starts to discover the thrill of her own sexuality, she hates her mother for making her feel so ashamed of her body.

There had been no fireworks yet, no bands playing "Stars and Stripes Forever," but it had gotten a little better. The first time had hurt like hell. (1.272-1.273)

Even though Sue and Carrie are the same age, Carrie is still nervous about taking her clothes off by herself. Sue, on the other hand, is already having sex. Perhaps this difference in sexual maturity explains some of the reasons behind Sue's need to take care of Carrie.

So [Tommy] loved [Sue] and this time it was different, this time there finally seemed to be room and there was no tiresome rubbing but a delicious friction that went up and up. (1.312)

Sue continues exploring a sexual relationship with Tommy, even though the first few times hurt. Why is this time different than the other times Sue and Tommy had sex? Is it because she's used to it? Or is it because she let him help her through some personal problems, and that made her feel closer to him?

"[Carrie] may have committed the Sin of Lustful Thoughts." (1.350)

Momma has trouble separating mere sexuality from Lust, with a capital L. All Carrie has done is come of age. She isn't even crushing on anyone yet… that we know of. But the mere fact that Carrie has breasts and gets her period freaks Momma out because she's so in denial of her own sexual nature.

[Carrie] had bought a special brassiere to go with [her dress], which gave her breasts the proper uplift […] but left their top halves uncovered. (2.1)

Many dresses and bras exist in order to flaunt a woman's body. For one of the first times, here, Carrie's showing a little pride in herself and her own sex appeal. If you've got it, flaunt it—are we right?

Quite often [Chris] lay passively beneath [Billy], not helping or hindering, until it was over. Later, she achieved her own solitary climax while viewing the incident as a single closed loop of memory. (2.96)

The sexual relationship between Chris and Billy is complicated. Both of them think they've got the upper hand. Billy thinks he's "taking" Chris by "having" her whenever he wants, but he isn't really having her… because she's just lying there and not giving him anything back. She's actually giving herself what she wants.

When this was over [Billy] was going to have [Chris] until every other time she'd been had was like two pumps with a fag's little finger. He was going on her like a raw cob through butter. (2.388)

Um. Ew? The language Chris uses here is about as far from romantic as you can get. And the fact that she's getting turned on by the fact that she's about to humiliate Carrie in front of the whole school makes us feel pretty gross about this whole thing.

"I smelled the whiskey on his breath. And he took me. Took me! With the stink of the filthy roadhouse whiskey still on him he took me… and I liked it!" (2.770)

Margaret believes the mere act of sex to be a great sin. So the fact that she enjoys it makes her sin even greater. Can you say "conundrum"?

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