Rape Fantasies & Why We Have Them

Much to the delight of men, women have rape fantasies.     In evo psych arguments it comes up as evidence that rape is natural and women are naturally submissive.  When it comes up in more liberal and feminist circles, it’s in defense of BDSM, pornography, or “roleplaying.”  The explanations of why women have these fantasies are male-centric, and usually just amount to some kind of justification for men’s messed up sexuality.  I haven’t seen women’s rape fantasies taken on from a radical feminist perspective, so I’m going to do that.

To start, we have to look at how rape (and sex, for that matter) is framed in our culture.   Some examples: “He couldn’t control himself”, “he couldn’t help himself”, “he was just so horny”, “she provoked him wearing that skirt/top/sweater.”  There’s always disbelievers when an attractive woman says she has been raped, but people will disbelieve an unattractive woman even more.  In the popular narrative, rape is about sex and desire, and an act of passion.  It happens when a man wants to fuck a woman and she doesn’t want to let him.

The measure of force a man is willing to take in pursing a woman is said to be a direct measure of how much he loves and desires her.  Following this worldview to its logical endpoint, rape becomes the ultimate expression of desire and attraction.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many women have rape fantasies?  Who doesn’t want to be incredibly desirable?

This is only amplified by the effect of the media, which tells us that we’re ugly and undesirable, especially when compared to that girl.  Most women feel hideous, and are expected (and do) to appreciate any attention from men, with more appreciation being required the less conventionally attractive we are.  I suspect that the less conventionally attractive a woman is, or the uglier she feels, the more likely she is to have rape fantasies.  With nearly all of us having some insecurity about our bodies and our desirability, its no wonder lots of us fantasize about being raped-which in our culture, means being desired by men.

I have to credit Twilight with me putting the pieces together.  (I know, what the hell?)  It’s always seemed there are more fans of Jacob than Edward, for whatever reason.  My lover wondered frequently why Jacob’s fans say that he “loves Bella more,” when he clearly is manipulative creep with a rapist mentality, and thought liking someone so obviously dangerous was stupid.   I got quite pissed, because he essentially was calling women “stupid” for feeling insecure and wanting to be wanted, which is completely understandable.

On a personal note, I used to have them myself, and even though I only let myself think of healthier things now, I can’t deny that sometimes they seem more appealing than my partner always asking what I’d like.  The thing is, even though I hated being touched without asking or after I said no, it still made me feel desired.  I think I would feel more desired if control were taken from me, even knowing what it means.  A part of me simply doesn’t care if I’m objectified, because I want to be wanted.

Stating the Obvious: I don’t blame women who have rape fantasies at all, even if they  seek to “roleplay” them with their partner or feed them privately with romance novels.  I do, however, blame anyone who goes along with “roleplaying” as a rapist.

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12 responses to “Rape Fantasies & Why We Have Them

  1. Although I like your post and I agree with a lot you write, it feels to me that in the beginning of the text where you explain why women have rape fantasies, women seem to be completely powerless and incapable of any self-determination.

    The amount of force a man is willing to exercise in pursing a women supposedly represents a direct measure of how much he wants a woman and consequently is a show of his desire for her.
    Women are made to feel ugly by society, the focus is always on the other girl. Women, much like men, want to be desired, consequently women have rape fantasies.

    I dare to say that this isn’t a radical feminist reading of rape fantasies. To me this feels more like taking away power of women to determine in which direction their thoughts and sexuality go, because in the way you constructed your arguement, women don’t have anything to say what so ever and just have to follow whatever is wanted from them by society at large and men specifically.

    women have rape fantasies.

    • We don’t have much of a say in what we like because of socialization. From what I understand, sexuality is typically formed from our first sexual images, which for most women will be pornography, “sex” scenes in movie, or being raped. Note that I am not taking away the “power” of women (or anyone, for that matter) to determine where their thoughts go. I also pretty directly said that I’m pushing my thoughts in a certain direction. Whatever “freewill” and crap we have is limited by society severely. Firstly because most of us can’t envision outside of the possibilities given to us and secondly because we’re punished when we go outside the bounds and rewarded for staying in them.

      I’m not entirely sure what to say, but it seems like the problem your having is because you’re focusing on exceptions and the individual. All I can suggest is looking at things from a more sociological and macro-level perspective. I think radical feminism is the closest to sociology, because it looks at institutions and systems of power. Regular feminism is more like psychology. I don’t really care about individual “agency” or things like that, but only the patterns that repeatedly appear in society. Exceptions will always exist, but it takes a lot of deliberate effort to reform sexuality away from rape fantasies, intercourse, and other pornified forms of “sex.” Its not a coincidence that people think having totally equal and consensual sex is “unrealistic” (to quote glen).

    • Women are made to feel ugly by society, the focus is always on the other girl.

      Womyn are made to feel society believes that they are ugly unless they fit the “Ideal”, not so much the other girl.

      To me this feels more like taking away power of women to determine in which direction their thoughts and sexuality go, because in the way you constructed your arguement, women don’t have anything to say what so ever and just have to follow whatever is wanted from them by society at large and men specifically.

      Sorry but how is this post doing that?

  2. Looking at this issue from a sociologial and marco-level perspective, you are right. I was actually thinking about what I wrote last night, and basically what I write in my answer agrees with what you say. I also thought you reply was well put. Looking at the the institutions systems of power, women will be looked upon as passive and unwilling to determine which way they look at their own sexuality and, possibly, even seuxal fanatasies.

    Pornography (and representations in general for that matter) always carry the images of women being out of control and men in control be in the image itself, by framing it (i.e. the director) or by watching it (i.e. the audience). The pornography of represenation, a book by Susanne Kappeler is a very interesting book which discusses this. She takes it one step further and states that all images carry the set-up of actor, director and audience and passive object (in this case, wome) in them and she therefore states that all images are there pornographic in nature.

    So, in other words, I agree with you, however, I am just not sure whether I agree that women have rape fantasies to feel desired. I do feel very strongly that this is up to psychology of individual women and I feel it is a bit too strong to make a generalisation about it.

  3. . I do, however, blame anyone who goes along with “roleplaying” as a rapist.

    Word. Word. Word. Word. If it wasn’t for you Ms. Citrus, I wouldn’t have figured out how to articulate this train of thought so well, thank you for another informative and a-mazing entry.

    • Thank you for the thank you. 🙂 It took me forever to figure out how to phrase it, since BDSM defenders always ensure the focus is on the submissive’s desires.

  4. I would only add that I don’t think “rape fantasy” conveys the idea that you are trying to convey, from the perspective of the fantasize-er. Are you suggesting that its possible to fantasize about an UNWANTED act? Rape, by definition, is not wanted. Fantasizing about “rough sex” or of a male partner consumed with passion, isn’t a rape fantasy. Everyone likes to pretend otherwise, but I’ve never seen anyone who could adequately explain how you can desire something you don’t and in fact cannot want. Can you?

    A “role player” however who is willing to have piv with a woman who is communicating her nonconsent, is not role playing a rape. He’s an actual rapist. I absolutely agree that its NOT the desires of the submissive that anyone should focus on, in dissecting bdsm and role play. It’s the FACT that the dom finds it arousing to cause pain, up to and including actual rape that should be the focus, and its completely fucked up. These people are dangerous, and pose a real danger to the community, for obvious reasons.

  5. what i would have liked you to have opened up some more is the fact that in twilight, the loving, consensual, reciprocal potential mate is the white man. the one who is dangerous, who has bad boundaries, who can’t control his rage, who is manipulative and easily seen as a mindless jerk is the native man. that’s a racist construct if i ever heard one. it only came up for me as important in this particular context because you introduced it as an example. your writing isn’t flawed, but your cinematic example is deeply problematic and had more layers than you were willing (able?) to effectively discuss.

    • I only have a little bit before my next class (been too busy/stressed to blog) but I have to say you’re right. It does have a lot more layers than I got into-I really just brought up Jacob because that’s what brought me to realize this whole thing about why some women (including me) have rape fantasies. I didn’t really consider the whole mess that is Twilight in of itself. The differences between their characters is definately a racist construct, I agree-I’m sorry I overlooked that. I’m guessing Edward then is the white dude who saves the precious white lady from some “primitive” and “dominating” man. How original. :/

      Thank you for pointing this out!

  6. lol yup, it’s about as original as…well, i dunno what a good comparison would be but original it ain’t. greetings, mscitrus. thank you for blogging about this in such a fresh and excited way. i appreciate your zest. 🙂

  7. Twilight has so many layers of wrong, doesn’t it?

    I think people would find it a hard sell to convince me that Jacob is somehow more of a predator than Edward. Edward was the five-thousand-year-old-pedo-stalker that did the breaking and entering to watch Bella sleep, right?

    Doesn’t Edward also tell Bella that he is overwhelmed with a desire to MURDER her – right after his WHITE skin glitters like diamonds? Doesn’t that just scream white skin=beautiful, noble, chivalrous, desirable, ect?

    I also thought there was something shifty about Bella being *adored!* and fawned over by the dark skinned Jacob while pale Edward was off in vampy lala land.

    I never read the books, and only saw Twilight and Eclipse once at a friend’s request. There’s so much wrong with what I’ve already seen I hope I never have to see any other one of these movies ever again.

    Anyway, I liked your post, mscitrus. Screw the individuality mandate – I think you nailed it spot on.

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