There has been legitimately attention for mutual consent and preventing sexual violence recently. When two persons have sex, that should – in an ideal world – never be against the will of one of those involved. On the other hand, there are also people who fantasize about forced sex. How common is that fantasy and how can you cope with it if you or your partner has such a fantasy?
Fantasizing about rape and violence is not that uncommon
From our own research it appeared that 44% of women and 21% of men fantasize about rape (being raped). In the past 30 years, several studies have been conducted into rape fantasies. Roughly two-third of women and half of all men have such fantasies. For on in ten women it is even their most popular fantasy. Some believe that the real figure among heterosexual men is much higher. They may not want to admit they secretly have fantasies about being overpowered and subdued and pegged, because it is not very manly.
Rape fantasies often are about being brutal overpowering by one or more persons that force the ‘victim’ into extreme perversities. But such fantasies are also about being the subject of someones desire. And about gibing up control. That is why the term ‘rape fantasy’ is not entirely correct. The fantasy has nothing to do with rape, because in a fantasy nothing happens against you will.
People who have rape fantasies, have very different reasons for them. Opposite of common believe, there is usually no evidence for experience with sexual violence with people with such fantasies. For some, it has more to do with power and control. For others it is a matter of surrendering to someone who knows exactly what they need, without having to ask for it. Also, the taboo can be eroticizing. Another explanation that sometimes is given, is that (mostly) women grow up with the believe that sex is ‘bad’. ‘Only sluts have sex’. But if you have sex against your will, at least you cannot be blamed. Women that suppress sex, often have less fantasies, but of those they do have, a larger part is about rape. It might be a way to express feelings of guild about their sexuality. On the other hand, research shows that women who do have such fantasies often have a positive attitude towards sex.
Some people strongly disapprove rape fantasies. They say that books like ‘Fifty Shades’ provide an irresponsible glorification of sexual violence. Personally I believe this is incorrect. A fantasy is something that happens between your ears. It is not real. There is nothing wrong with letting your mind run free on a fantasy world where everything happens exactly like you want it to happen, in order to get turned on. This opinion is shared among many sexologists and psychologists. It is very well possible to fantasize about rape and at the same time be strongly against sexual violence and victimization.
From fantasy to execution
People that fantasize about rape or sex against their will, don’t want to be raped. In their fantasy only those things happen that they want to happen. It is paradoxical, but in their fantasy they are in control over how to lose control. For most people, it will just remain a fantasy, that they may never even share with others.
Some might want to give it a chance. This is also called ‘rape play’ or ‘ravishment’. It is extremely important when you want to execute a rape fantasy that all persons involved know that it will take place in a safe environment. It must be absolutely clear that nothing will happen that is unwanted.
One of the important conditions to execute a fantasy of forced sex, is that you are able to choose the person with whom you will be doing that (the ‘who’ part). A second step is that you determine which things you do or do not want to experience (the ‘what’ part). Before you will actually decide to act out rape play with your partner, it is wise to discuss your boundaries and fantasies. Also it is common to agree on a safe word. This way, the person who acts as the victim, will remain in control over what is going to happen.
When executing the fantasy, you might want to use blindfolds. By depriving someone of there senses, they will feel more vulnerable, which makes the perception more intense. After you have blindfolded your ‘victim’ you could make your partner even more discomforted, by taking him or her to another room.
Tying your partner up and struggling can also be part of the play. The idea of a struggle and of being unable to move – no matter how hard you try – is often part of the excitement.
Precaution and after care
When together you decide to act upon this fantasy, you must take into account that you will need some kind of after care. Even if you are both fully aware that this is just a role playing game, there can still be some psychological distress. Especially if one of the parties was once involved in sexual violence. Such a trauma can some up again; especially when the trauma hasn’t been properly dealt with.
But even if you have never experienced sexual violence, it is good to communicate. Watch porn movies together, and discuss what you do and do not want to experience. Start by going over your fantasy in a safe way, for instance by sexting, dirty talk or writing your fantasies down in a letter or email.
Just be smart. Avoid dangerous situations, such as breath play or other activities that may cause physical damage or injuries. With rape play, what goes on between the ears is more important then what goes on between the legs. It;s the thought that counts; the concept. The brain knows that what appears sexual violence, actually is not. In reality, it is all staged. Both parties know what is going to happen and especially what not.
During the play itself, it is often unwanted to pause and ask for consent. Such interruptions could spoil the fun of the fantasy. Make sure you discuss upfront what the boundaries are and agree on a safe word. just in case.
Make sure that the ‘victim’ feels secure and comfortable afterwards. Make sure that everything is safe again and they are completely back in control.
Nothing wrong with it
In short, fantasizing about forced sex is quite normal and very common. If you have such fantasies, there is nothing wrong with you and it doesn’t mean there are underlying issues.
Executing such a fantasy is very well possible, with the proper preparation and after care, as long as you do it in a safe environment and with partners that you fully trust and of whom you know that they will never do things against your will. It;s all about mutual and negotiated consent.
But even if you rather keep your fantasies for yourself, that is perfectly fine too. Fantasizing about forced sex, masochism and submission, have nothing to do with sexual violence.