That’s not an easy thing to admit as a self-described feminist. Even though a large percentage of women (and men!) do have rape fantasies, it still feels so wrong. It feels dirty, but it’s what turns me on.
When I read a news story about some terrible atrocity, it’s a double-edged sword. I feel sick and sad for the victim, I want to reach out to them and help them. I want it not to have happened to them, I want to protect them and make them feel safe. Yet in my own private, fictitious fantasies, my desires closely mimic these atrocities.
It’s difficult to have such combative feelings towards something like this, but it’s important to remember – I fantasize about being raped – I don’t want to be raped. I love reading and writing stories about rape, but that doesn’t mean I condone the real life rape of any person.
Rape and fantasy rape are not the same thing. In a real rape you lack control, or ability to change the situation. You don’t get to choose your rapist, or the things he does to you, or how he treats you afterwards. When I’m fantasizing about rape, I have control. I have the control to detail how attractive the rapist is, how manipulative he’s being, how roughly he treats me, how he handles it afterwards. And if it gets too much, I can say ‘no’ and stop, and that’s the end of it.
If rape is about control and power, than rape fantasies are about taking the control and power back and using it for their sexual arousal.
In romance novels and other erotica, rape is still a fairly taboo subject. Manipulation, coercion and forced seduction, however, are very popular themes (one unscientific study found 54% of romance novels contained a rape, though it was never explicitly treated as such). Romance novels still tend to focus on a lot of the same underlying arousal aspects, and yet to call it what it is – rape – remains taboo.
For me, a lot of the rape fantasy is about being pursued. Being so attractive or sexually desired that even my saying no, or fighting and kicking and screaming is not enough to make a man stop, even if he knows how wrong what he’s doing is. That feeling makes me feel sexy. The less power I have to stop him, and the more he wants me, my arousal only grows.
In real life, if a man pursues me past the point of me saying no, it’s not sexy. It does nothing to arouse me, because I’m not the puppet master any more.
We’re all walking a fine line. A line of exploring our fantasies in a safe and consensual environment, in trying to figure out just how normal we are when it comes to things no one wants to talk about. That no one wants to admit to feeling.
But I know I’m not the only woman who gets off on rape. I know I’m not the only one that devoured V.C. Andrews when I was young and touched myself to the incestuous violations. I’m aware that I’m not the only one that knows to call what happens in romance novels rape and still finds the imagery arousing.
People needn’t be ashamed of their fantasies – even their deepest, their darkest, most lurid fantasies – as long as unsafe or illegal fantasies stay fantasies. As long as all people are exploring them in a safe and consensual (I stress those two words) manner, I support this exploration and open discussion.