Bodice-Rippers often contain rape fantasies…
Sixty-two percent of undergraduate women have had rape fantasies. At least that’s what the studies suggest. Do these women enjoy their fantasies? According to the study, yes indeed. In fact, 14% of the women who were surveyed in the above study said they had rape fantasies several times a week. Do these women want to be raped in reality? I’m going to say no, no, no. And yet the world seems determined to push the idea that rape fantasies are immoral, especially when they appear in erotica and porn.
Interestingly, studies on men of any sexual identity who have rape fantasies are hard to find. But we do know that recent studies strongly suggest that if you watch porn, you’re less likely to be sexually violent. This Scientific American article by Melinda Wenner Moyer is brilliant and explains all. There is even the suggestion that men who turn out to be sexually violent were exposed to porn at a later age than those who aren’t. Interesting, hm?
Of course, women can be rapists, too. This is often silenced or forgotten, perhaps because society’s misogyny suggests that women can’t be strong or destructive. My goodness, how hard it can be for victims who’ve been sexually attacked by women to come out about their experience in a world that so often replies, “What did you just say?”
Now, let’s get even more personal.
Back when I was young, I had a very hard first 20 years of my life. Why? I was brought up to believe that sexual pleasure was disgusting, which led me into relationships with abusive people, and…well, let’s just say the story goes on. But over a decade later, I had some very significant healing through a consensual assault fantasy. Enacting this rape fantasy with a close and trusted partner led me to fear my memories far less, and also to enter my body more fully. The enactment told me, in its own way, “This role of victim is safe to play with, which means it is safe to recall and carry.” It also said, “You can enact this kind of scene, which means you don’t have to fear your real and vivid memories any more.”
For me, rape fantasy helped me heal virtually overnight. I felt that this terrible portion of my life was done and over.*
Do I read, write and enjoy erotic stories of assault/rape fantasies? Absolutely. In fact, my recent release, Con, Vol 1: You Can Play it Safe When You’re Dead (which is currently a free e-book download) is about con artist twins who long for one another, but would never fully act on their desires — not until a mark turns on them with a gun and tells them to do what they ache to do…
In Huddle: Sex with Sporty Queers (Vol. 1, Boys Varsity), I recently enjoyed (for the umpteenth time) Theophilia St. Claire’s “Punishment.” In this story, two boys on the same team have been warring with one another, and their coach knows it isn’t healthy. But while the boys certainly seem to enjoy the sexual “punishment” he doles out, in my opinion they also seem a little afraid of their coach, and, what’s more, they never verbally give their consent. Is this story rape fantasy for you, as a reader, or not? Either way, it’s hot stuff.
In Femme Fatale: Erotic Tales of Dangerous Women, Zoe More’s “Our Courtship, Our Romance” is, in my mind, one of the most romantic rape fantasies I’ve ever encountered. In it, a woman who has been hurt by society’s cruelties, falls for a Bluebeard-like character who murders the women that fawn over him. She has rough sex with these women before her lover murders them. And yet, when I say this story is romantic, I really mean it. If you didn’t think serial killers could fall in love, think again, my friends.
I’m also a big fan of the film Secretary, plus the opening of Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is rape fantasy to die for. Then there’s Alison Tyler’s Those Girls — a wonderfully empowering novelette that fully, and hotly, embraces the dom/sub dynamic.
Some people say that rape isn’t or shouldn’t be erotic, and yet many people who have been raped explain in studies that they felt a profound erotic response in their bodies. (In fact, in the amazing Survivor’s Guide to Sex [Cleis Press], Staci Haines explains that some of us who were assaulted/abused might not be able to orgasm afterward because we feel bad about how good our bodies felt when the abuse was underway.) The fantasy of rape can be arousing, and, of course, as you’ll read in Melinda Wenner Moyer’s article at Scientific American, for those who dream about being an attacker, such fantasy can be a powerful way of expressing the wish and thus controlling it.
Whatever your feelings about rape fantasy, I’m sure you have good reason for them. But if “rape” means sex without the full consent of one party, then perhaps Fifty Shades of Grey contains rape fantasy too, especially when Ana isn’t too sure about what she wants. And perhaps many of the bodice rippers of yore are also about assault. The cartoon villains who tie blondes to the railway tracks are surely just as “immoral,” and let’s not even start on the comedy skits of Benny Hill.
Of course, there’s evidence that those who own their fantasies are far more likely to be in control of them. A fantasy, if owned and expressed, doesn’t have to be damaging. Yet a scorching, boiling, bubbling will that is constantly blocked down will rise eventually.
I know that the person who most ruined my young life was both anti-porn/erotica and obsessed with having a “clean mind.”
And that doesn’t strike me as unusual. Not one bit.
You can buy Con: You Can Play it Safe When You’re Dead, Huddle: Sex with Sporty Queers (Vol. 1, Boys Varsity), and Femme Fatale: Erotic Tales of Dangerous Women from either the GDP website or Amazon or B&N.
*Healing from sexual trauma is different for everyone — we each need to find what is healing or painful for us, in particular, in the aftermath of trauma. I full recommend the Survivor’s Guide to Sex by Staci Haines. Also take a look at the resources at the Pandora Project. Namaste.