So You Have A Rape Fantasy? Don’t Worry, It’s Ok

We spoke to a sex psychologist to find out what's behind rape fantasies...


by Sophie Wilkinson |

You don't need us to tell you that rape is a serious matter. The sad truth is one in three women has been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to the UN. But with discussions of it everywhere, and the sadly very present fear a lot of women (and some men) carry with them as they just try and go about their day-to-day, what about what goes on in our head?

The soaring success of, sorry, 50 Shades of Grey, in 2012, which has sold over 100 million copies, and the upcoming film adaptation of the book relies on one fact; that some women are turned on, or at least interested in the notion of being controlled by the person having sex with them.

Though people don't really like to talk to it, some women have rape fantasies. There's no reasonable way of assessing how many, but that doesn't matter, because we're not here to police people's minds.

After speaking to a few women who do fantasise about rape - they remain anonymous - we got an idea of the feelings they have surrounding it. Guilt was a recurring theme. 'I'm not sure whether to feel guilty about it or not;' said one woman.

'I was told by a radical feminist who had once been raped that I was a misogynist, and also that women like me were partly to blame for her own rape as the fact some women have rape fantasies enables rapists to believe that rape is totally OK. I think that's bullshit but I still feel conflicted... However much of a raging feminist I may be, my sexuality is apolitical and I can't control it but that doesn't stop me feeling odd about it now and then.'

Control was also an issue that came up several times. Paradoxically several of the women I spoke to said that rape fantasies made them feel in control. 'A main thing to remember about a fantasy is that even though in the fantasy you experience a loss of control, in actual fact one is totally in control,' said another woman we spoke to. 'When I have a fantasy I dictate every aspect of what happens. It's nothing like actually being assaulted. Also, paradoxically I find real rape scenes in movies impossible to watch. They disturb me to a huge degree. I also don't act out any of these fantasies with my husband. I don't want our sexual relationship to be sullied by my own somewhat violent fantasies.'

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We were keen to find out more, so we put these issues to psychologist Dr Frederick Toates, who wrote How Sexual Desire Works: The Enigmatic Urge.

Where do rape fantasies come from?

It’s a way of getting excitement [from the idea of rape] but under controlled conditions. In the fantasy world, one’s got total control over the situation. Adventure, push the boundaries of what’s there, try it out, but in a safe position.

Is it safe for women to fantasise about rape?

If a woman has these fantasies there’s no particular harm she’ll come to through them, but there are a considerable amount of men who have rape fantasies. A lot of them won’t do anything about it, and would be shocked to think they would ever act it out, but some will lead to try-outs; actual rape. In this case, I fear that if a man masturbates over this fantasy world it’s going to strengthen future tendencies to engage in it.

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**Should women who have rape fantasies feel guilty? Why is there a taboo attached to it?


The problem with rape fantasies is that they can be seen as the sort of neutralising statement that rape apologists use, like ‘she was wearing a short skirt, she must have been asking for it’.

Are some women even turned on by rape fantasies simply because they're not meant to have them?

What is a transgression is attractive, for men and women. People find illicit things attractive and that could be an added component in women finding rape fantasies a turn-on.

Is it dangerous to enact the rape fantasies in a role-play situation with a partner?

The idea of being bound, tied up and forced does seem to be part of the sexual make up of some women, but if rape fantasies are enacted they’re done with trusted individuals, in safe limits. It’s a long way from what rape actually is.

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Is it likely that women who have rape fantasies have been assaulted or raped before?

Sometimes if you’re in a traumatic situation you go back to recreate it, but whether women go back to re-run the situation and re-calibrate it to be desirable is yet to be reported.

It turns out, that having rape fantasies are totally normal and safe for a woman to have - precisely because, when it's just you imagining something, or you setting up a role-play within parameters of what you want and with safe-words in use, it's not rape. It's just toying around with the idea of something so many women are unfortunately confronted with the fear of every day. If so many women are told to think about rape - to fear it and put their time and energy into changing their behaviour so they avoid it - who are we to say they're not allowed to play with the ideas of consent and sexual boundaries in their minds?

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Ask An Adult: Why Do I Get Horny When I'm Hungover?

Being Sexy In A Long Term Relationship - The Fantasy V The Reality

Fantasy V Reality: What This Man Really Thinks About Anal Sex

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Eugenia-Loli

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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