Women and Rape Erotica

I get off on the fantasy of rape, non-consent, reluctance, dubious consent, etc. It’s one of my favourite kinks to write erotica about.

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.

9 Comments on Women and Rape Erotica

  1. I hate to admit that as a male, I am too aroused by the rape fantasy, in my case it is the prospect of being able to get at the object of desire (immediate gratification) + control (when and how I want it)+ abandon (self-centered pleasure without worrying about the Other’s wants/need). Of course the reality is the EXACT opposite. A man attacking and destroying a life just because he feels he can (or worse, is entitled to it).

    I think the aspect of the woman’s fantasy is that, like the male fantasy, it substitutes the horrific aftermath with one of contentment, the idea that “she really wanted it” but needed to be “forced” to admit it. Which perversely is the excuse many rapist use for their crimes.

    I wrote about it on my blog: http://ralfast.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/sunday-tweet-sex-imperialism-and-romance-for-and-by-women/

    • Unfortunately, as with so many things, criminals will use convenient excuses to shirk responsibility to try to get a lesser sentence. It’s one of the reason why things like pornography, video games and violent media has been used so often in court – criminals hope that they can convince a judge or jury that their actions weren’t entirely their fault because of the culture they live in.

      • Blaming it entirely on people using it as self-defense isn’t entirely accurate either I feel. There are special interest groups who will jump at any opportunity to push their own agenda, and seek to harass and ban any materials they don’t like. Or just as an excuse to extend the rights of the state to intrude upon peoples lives.

        • Always true. The reason that criminals can successfully use the argument, after all, is that many people in our culture believe those to be the facts – that media does enable and encourage criminals to commit crimes.

          • Now that I re-read my answer, I’m sort of creep out by it in part because of the emphasis of control. The concept of “man as hunter” comes to mind, as well as the societal pressure to “get the girl” or at least “get laid/get the price” certainly comes into play from the male PoV. Men are rewarded when they make the catch and ridiculed when they do not, with absolutely no consideration what the women’s desires are.

  2. Your honesty is refreshing. And I appreciate the way you explain rape fantasy (from a feministic point of vie). However as a feminist and a survivor of rape/incest, I have to disagree with you on some points. There’s a fundamental difference between rape (as in, no control. period.) and rough sex (to which I think you are describing as “rape fantasy.”) Dubious consent and rape are two very different things. Let’s not confuse the two. I wish people would stop using the term “rape fantasy” when in actuality they mean to say “rough sex” or “dubious consent.” Rape is never consensual. Ever. No one fantasizes about “real rape” as you mentioned in your post. What they desire is an intense sexual experience–one in which the sex is still consensual but highly aggressive. Rape isn’t even really about sex. It isn’t about desire or passion–in fact, I would say rape is the very opposite of those things. It is perhaps the most demoralizing dehumanizing experiences in the human condition. Especially so if there is a huge power differential (as in, an adult taking advantage of a child).

    I guess it is the semantics of the word “rape” and “fantasy” that bother me the most. If we could use some other term…I think I would be more comfortable with it.

    As a whole, I don’t read a lot of romance novels because I find most of it to be very sexist–the male “has to have his way” and the woman is expected to be “passive” and “feminine” and let it happen. Yuck. But then, I realize my perceptions of sexuality is skewed based on my personal experiences. Good post. And thank you for the “trigger warning” in the beginning of the article. 🙂

    • I do admit I like rough sex, and I tried to be gentle with my descriptions for what I like in regards to rape fantasies, but my tastes do range far past rough sex and dubious consent. I’d rather not get into too much detail, simply because it’s not the most polite topic for conversation, but the violence in my fantasies goes beyond rough sex.

      Though I would like to talk about your objection of the use of the word rape for any fantasies. I do understand – real rape is never a fantasy, by the very virtue of it being something one can’t consent to – however, I think that dancing around the term in literature that clearly depicts a rape is troubling.

      For instance, a man comes up to a woman at a party, they’re both sober. They dance and spend some time together before he offers to take her home. She doesn’t invite him in, but he comes in anyways, and though she says no, he has sex with her anyways. Even if she did decide she enjoyed it half way through, it doesn’t change the fact that in this scenario, it’s rape. If this happened in real life, he could be tried and convicted of rape.

      If this were in a romance novel, it would be deemed something like ‘forced seduction’, but to me, that lessens what it is to every woman who experienced something like that and knew enough to call it a rape. Women already talk themselves out of reporting date rapes because they’re not even sure if they were raped – which I feel is a huge problem.

      So yes, I definitely think it would be nice if there were a totally different, new word to describe rape in erotica. Not forced seduction, or non-consent, but something totally new.

      Thank you for your comment, it’s always nice to get a different viewpoint 🙂 And I try to be very liberal with my use of trigger warnings out of respect for my readers.

    • I agree with your point of view. My aunt was raped and sodomized about 30 years ago and she spent almost three weeks in the hospital recovering from wounds all over her legs and thighs where she’d been dragged across a highway in the middle of the night.

      Luckily, a cop caught it going down red-handed and so she didn’t have to testify about that very painful and demoralizing event.

      I’m sorry to hear of your painful experience.

      • Thank you for your comment, Diane. I know it’s not easy terrain to navigate, and I’m trying my best to articulate my feelings on the topic while at the same time trying not to cause hurt to someone unnecessarily.

        I’m glad that there was justice for your aunt. For too many victims, there isn’t any.

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