Rape Fantasies Are Normal, Even If You’ve Been Raped

If you were following along with the Lifestyle BDSM Vs Professional Domination conversation, you know that I asked Miss Pearl to write a bit about rape fantasies ~ specifically male rape fantasies. And she did. However…

As usual, there were some problems along the way. Primarily that of people confusing rape fantasies with rape and rape culture ~ even though Miss Pearl was clear to make distinctions:

a sexual assault is simply not the same thing as a rape fantasy, and making the distinction is only worth token acknowledgement. I’m going to flat out say that nobody wants to actually be sexually assaulted no matter how elaborate and violent their fantasies are- now there might be a few self harming weirdoes out there who will talk about how they want it to be real, but it’s not a statistically significant amount. And speaking about someone who’s both experienced sexual assault and done this sort of thing as play, there is an overwhelming world of difference of how you feel around the real thing and a comfortable expression of sexuality with your partner. Kind of like stick fighting in a LARP and actually getting into a war are different concepts.

But that didn’t stop one man from attacking Miss Pearl’s post. He said the post and general concept sickened him and that he had little respect for Miss Pearl’s writing.

Miss Pearl defended her post against his “frankly paternalistic sexism” and I even replied that “rape is a far cry from rape fantasies, just as violence is a far cry from BDSM in general and car accidents are a far cry from demolition derbies.”

To which Stan replied:

there is no such thing as “rape fantasy”.

I am involved in a long term BDSM relationship with my wife. I am no stranger to kink and fantasy. This, however, is something I feel compelled to speak against.

Stan, at the behest of his wife, has since apologized for his tone; but he remains convinced that rape fantasies are, for lack of a better phrasing, just plain bad.

And he is not alone.

And so, we endeavor to educate.

Like Miss Pearl, I too am a survivor of rape (and another violent attack); unlike Miss Pearl, I am a girl who enjoys being “the one raped” by a male perpetrator in rape fantasy play.

rough sex

It’s not an easy thing for me to admit. In part because because I am a feminist, in part because such issues are even more loaded when you are a sex worker, and also because I am a woman who has survived violent assaults who now gets turned on by, among other things, rough or forced sex fantasies in which I am the “taken”. I have reasons to “know better”, right? Because it is hard to talk about, to defend, it is something that I feel I must talk about. Not only for the doubters; not only for the women, like me, who have survived assaults and lived on to be erotically moved and fulfilled by rape fantasies and forced sex scenarios; but for the lovers of those survivors.

First you should know that female rape fantasies are relatively normal; about four in 10 women admit having them, according to various surveys. As stated by Michael Castleman, M.A.:

For the latest report (Bivona, J. and J. Critelli. “The Nature of Women’s Rape Fantasies: An Analysis of Prevalence, Frequency, and Contents,” Journal of Sex Research (2009) 46:33), psychologists at North Texas University asked 355 college women: How often have you fantasized being overpowered/forced/raped by a man/woman to have oral/vaginal/anal sex against your will?

Sixty-two percent said they’d had at least one such fantasy. But responses varied depending on the terminology used. When asked about being “overpowered by a man,” 52 percent said they’d had that fantasy, the situation most typically depicted in women’s romance fiction. But when the term was “rape,” only 32 percent said they’d had the fantasy. These findings are in the same ballpark as previous reports.

Along with the phrasing issue, or perhaps because of that data, many who study such issues of human sexuality, like Castleman, feel that the “actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them.”

Saying that would probably be the case with women who had been survived sexual violence would likely be an understatement. And given that one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, you can see how those numbers would affect the survey responses, right?

I know I have had my difficulties dealing with it, admitting it to myself and then others. I am not alone. Clinical psychologist David J. Ley, Ph.D. writes:

Many women (and not a few men) I’ve spoken to over the years have disclosed to me their personal fantasies of being forced to have sex, usually with embarrassment, shame, and fear. They struggle over what this fantasy means, about them as a person, as a woman or a man, as a victim. Women have told me that they struggle with being a feminist, and yet still getting aroused at the idea of being taken by a man, against their will.

Boy-o-boy is all of that familiar.

rape victim rape fantasies

But I eventually made my piece with it and BDSM in general ~ even before reading what Ley wrote:

What does the rape fantasy mean? Lots of things. And perhaps in that, it means nothing. Our society romanticizes rape and violence, in complex and disturbing ways, from the Beast pounding on Beauty’s door in the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, to the contents of thousands of romance novels, where women “swoon” and “succumb” to male passions and dominance. Fantasies of forced eroticism may, in some cases, be the result of social programming. Evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill argues convincingly that rape is something that has occurred throughout human history, and thus, following his argument, these fantasies may reflect evolutionary adaptations. Psychologist Roy Baumeister has proposed that the fantasy of submission reflects a desire to escape from the burden of self, from the chore of being responsible, and in charge of your own existence.

It’s that last one especially that I wrote about in the SK BDSM book. But my point now is that rape fantasies are normal. Even if you’ve been raped or assaulted.

I know too that this can be difficult for the lovers of those who have survived assaults. Honest communication is always a good idea; it is especially so now. As is reading solid information, such as Dealing With Rape Fantasies As A Survivor Of Sexual Violence, and these comments from survivors with rape fantasies.

As Ley notes, the labels of “victim” or “survivor” may actually harm more than help because those words and attitudes may keep a person from “maintaining a sense of personal autonomy and power, developing a narrative that they, not the event and situation, nor the perpetrator, are in charge of their lives and actions.” We have rights, including the right to manage our lives according to our own values and judgment.

Without knowing it, people like Stan may be adding to the shame, degradation, & repression of people they love.

Image credits, in the order they appear: Image of Adrianna Nicole & Marco Banderas from Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex. Second iimage used here was once at Post Secrets. I couldn’t find the original posting, but on this archive site I did find a thread of comments which may also be illuminating.

5 thoughts on “Rape Fantasies Are Normal, Even If You’ve Been Raped

  1. Pingback: What (Many) Sex Workers Don’t Want To Talk About | Cult of Gracie

  2. Hi Gracie,

    I’m glad you mentioned this. I really didn’t feel comfortable taking the perspective of a sexual assault victim because of the nature of my experiences, but I think it’s part of the conversation that shouldn’t be ignored.

  3. Pingback: Understanding (Some) Male Rape Fantasies | Sex~Kitten.net

  4. Pingback: Rape Fantasies Are Normal, Even If You've Been ...

  5. Pingback: Say It With Me Now: “BDSM Is Not Violence” | Sex~Kitten.net

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