He felt utterly helpless. Her hands went where they wanted, along his side, across his thigh, to his hip. She let one linger on his throat, index finger and thumb pinching, scary as she slid just the tips of two fingers past his lips, penetrating him and showing him he didn’t even have the choice to bite.
When her hand stroked over his groin, he murmured a vulnerable protest. “No…”
So yeah, about rape fantasies, both having them and playing them out…
It’s “Adult Sex Education Month” and blogger Gracie, of Sex Kitten.net, suggested that I tackle the often controversial topic of rape fantasies and the people that have them. Fair’s fair, while I’m not a professional sex educator, this thing is my shtick. My story, Catamite, for example, is fairly intense non-con and my personal life certainly swings in that direction.
If you aren’t living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “rape fantasy“. In brief, that’s arousal from imagining a sexual scenario that is coerced or conducted without consent of the victim. That could mean anything from fantasies of violent and entirely otherwise unpleasant sex, through to the token resistance school of sex popularly attributed to romance novels, where one participant protests at first but then begins to enjoy it.
Needless to say, despite being very, very common, rape fantasies are a very sensitive topic, because they often shade into things that squick people or carry big, well deserved trigger warnings. They also end up being a source of argument when it comes to talking about sexual desire and what people really want in bed. Rape is considered, by most people, to be one of the most vile things you can do to a human, but some people have a certain degree of confusion on what is and isn’t okay (and some very weird gender theories) based on the sheer common to the point of banality rate that people have consent violation fantasies, both as victim and perpetrator. The result is a whole bunch of other terms and euphemisms to talk about it- ravishment and consensual non-consent being popular ways to distance the product of one’s sexual imagination from real sexual assault.
That being said, 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. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, more on how people experience them after the jump…
As I touched on earlier, rape fantasies range from attempting to simulate as close to the experience of sexual violation as the participants are comfortable with, to what amounts to rough and vigorous sex with a partner who doesn’t have to give much input during the act.
It’s worth noting that this sort of thing is why BDSM commonly uses a safeword. This trick is one of the most useful tools for people trying to bring fantasies to life without worrying about a real violation of consent. This word, usually something that would never come up in a typical sexual context (eg ‘Potato’), exists primarily to have something that means a real ‘no’, when someone wants the ability to express distress, protest or discomfort without a concerned and responsible top needing to stop.
(By the way, my go to safeword is “Safeword” and for public scenarios, “My foot is itchy” or “I’m cold” respectively.)
But everyone’s fantasy is different, which means loads of different ways of handling things. for example a rape fantasy might be described any of these ways:
Reluctant Only – People with ‘reluctant’ fantasies like being able to resist or fight back, but while they want to be coerced via whatever level of force they find arousing, they also want it to have a happy ending. Basically it’s “No, no a thousand times…. ohhh! Yes!”
Scripted Stories – Some people have a particular scenario they want to play out, for example roleplaying a house breaking assault or wanting to have their clothing ‘forcibly’ ripped off. The hows and whys are generally pretty ridged, and when they are active with a partner and what activities are okay.
Dominant’s Discretion – some couples, with a certain degree of trust, may give one partner blanket permission to have sex with them at a time of their choosing. Often the source of arousal is also in the anticipation- they like playing with the idea of having no choice.
Trying to Explain Rape Fantasies
The whys are a lot harder to explain than the hows, when it comes to a rape fantasy. Much of this is because the human brain is still on the forefront of research, and also the inherent complexity of trying to measure the subjective human experience with itself. I’m also usually not a big fan of trying to pinpoint kinks to a set source, but for what it’s worth…
Removal of guilt – a popular theory that was developed, particularly among the bodice ripper school of rape fantasy, was that making it rape is a person’s way of violating other sexual taboos they may have internalized, such as not seeming to be promiscuous but having easy sex, participating in other situations that might otherwise carry the stigma of being slutty, and so on.
However the same surveys that discovered a high rate of these fantasies found that women who had these fantasies tended to be less focused on guilt and more sexually permissive. I was unable to find much data about the psychology of men in this context. This one also doesn’t really address people with more violent fantasies who aren’t looking for otherwise ordinary sexual activity.
On the other hand, ‘force’ has long been used to put fictional characters in compromising situations, which brings me to another theory,
Emotional drama – high intensity emotions are a breeding ground for high intensity chemistry. Much how most romance novels will also include things like conflict and adventure to increase the excitement of the plot, a rape fantasy could be an extension of this.
Certainly fictional sexuality is often imbued with all sorts of frankly insane levels of aggression in general. these are all things most of us would never tolerate in real life, however humans are simple creatures with a limited range of emotional expression.
Contextual fetish – a lot of fetishes are loosely related to something the person considers otherwise sexual or present during sex. If popular media is forever equating sex with violence it’s hardly surprising if this is a re-enforced idea. More depressingly, given the omnipresent risks involved with navigating whether or not other people will respect your consent while pursuing sex, it doesn’t feel an excessive stretch to say that there’s not too far of a bridge for many people
None of these reasons are because a person really wants to be raped or because men are supposed to be aggressive or any such rot. No, really, and if you believe that, you probably aren’t ready to have sex with other people yet.
That being addressed, onto a topic I don’t feel gets enough attention. The men!
Male Rape Fantasies
Surprisingly, although there is research into the subject matter, while there’s lots of fixation on men as fantasy perpetrators, not a lot of ink gets spilled about men being fantasy victims. Meanwhile, during the same period that people were happily trying to map out what happens in women upstairs to get the downstairs excited- a study in the eighties suggested that around 45% of (straight) men had fantasies of forced sexual contact by a woman, to one degree or another.
Addressing this is important because another personal hobby horse of mine is that you can’t rape men, either because they are perpetually willing or because rape is limited to things that require co-operative man parts (which incidentally, is also invalid- sexual response varies and an erection is not consent).
The thing about male sexuality is that it is not, physiologically, all that different from female sexuality. Humans of both sexes have bodily autonomy and male fantasies get expressed in a broad and complex ways.
That established, if you ever want to act out a rape fantasy, clear communication is very, very important- if you can’t talk about your desire this is what might happen: