Posted at 23:36 on 18 May 2012 by Pandora / Blake
I read an article today called Women's Sexual Fantasies - the Latest Scientific Research, which describes the results of a research study on 355 young women.
52% of the women had fantasies about forced sex by a man: 32% had fantasies about being raped by a man: 28% - forced oral sex by a man: 16% - forced anal sex: 24% - incapacitated: 17% - forced sex by a woman: 9% - raped by a woman: 9% - forced oral sex by a woman. Overall, 62% reported having had at least one of these fantasies.
Initially, I was reading this with a sort of detached curiosity. Rape fantasies are, after all, one of those fantasies I don't really have; I'd much rather think about spanking. I understand they're quite common, though. Gosh, isn't sexuality interesting? Then I read that paragraph there and remembered that anal rape counts too. Which happens to feature in $mumble of my fantasies. So... yeah. Turns out this study relates directly to me after all.
Kinky fantasies at indie BDSM site Nimue's World
When these female fantasies are erotic in character, the male protagonist is always described as highly attractive or otherwise desirable.
Always? Always? That's a very dangerous word to use when talking about sexual desire. In fact if I ever write a word processing app for sex journalism, typing in 'always' will trigger red lights and loud klaxon noises, along with 'should' and 'normal'.
In my anal rape fantasies the protagonists are as objectified as I am: I'm an anonymous arse and they're an anonymous cock, most of the time. Sometimes they have a role, like "lord of castle" or "john" but mostly they are ciphers. Inasmuch as I imagine them at all, I do not imagine them as appealing. I'm not attracted to them. That's why they have to force their cock into my arse rather than being welcomed there with lube and a smile.
I doubt I'm alone in this, but even if it's just me that "always" is still flawed.
Oh, and - "When these female fantasies are erotic in character". What does that mean anyway? What else might they be?
A previous common psychological theory as to why women should fantasise about rape or forced sex was termed 'sexual blame avoidance'. [...] The results of this study found no support for this theory.
This is very interesting! I've often heard the sexual blame avoidance theory used to legitimise rape fantasies. Which sounds good, but it can come across as a bit like: Well you see in patriarchy women aren't allowed to want consensual sex in a healthy way, they're socialised to feel shame about their natural desires, so the poor dears have to fantasise about sex at one remove, d'you see, as if it wasn't them who wanted it at all. The implication of course being that if you remove the shame culture, rape fantasies will just evaporate. But it's really not as simple as that.
Over recent decades changes in attitudes to sex means the stress for women of being viewed as overly sexual has disappeared.
Sorry, this is a bit of a tangent but - that's a bit glib, isn't it? By all means, I am prepared to accept the evidence that most rape fantasies aren't about avoiding internalised slut-shaming, but please don't blithely claim that slut-shaming no longer happens. Women are judged for being sexual all the time: in rape cases, when standing up for abortion rights, or exercising their bodily autonomy or applying for jobs or meeting your mum or a million other situations. Don't tell me the stress for women of being viewed as sexual has disappeared.
In direct contrast to 'sexual blame avoidance', is the 'openness to sexual experience' theory. [...] Women who reported being less repressed about sex were more likely to have rape fantasies, but were also more open to fantasy in general, more likely to have consensual fantasies, and more likely to report a higher level of arousal to rape fantasies.
I like this theory! It fits my personal experience and also anecdata. I wonder though, is this a cause, or a correlation? I'm not sure "is open about sex" precedes "has rape fantasies": a lot of us had to become open and accepting and informed about sex precisely because we had kinky fantasies long before we were ever educated about sexual desire.
Interestingly, the women who reported having frequent rape fantasies were also likely to report having fantasies about "overpowering or forcing a man to surrender sexually against his will."
Equal rights win! Ah, this makes me happy: for once a public discussion of female kinky fantasies doesn't only discuss submission. This suggests that your 62% figure represents a more general interest in power play and kink, including switches, rather than being a useful indicator of how many women are sexually submissive.
Why are we still asking why humans have these fantasies, by the way? This isn't the 19th century. We don't need to try to explain kink as if we were all born healthy and vanilla and then somewhere in our murky childhoods Something Went Wrong. A path to accepting your kinky fantasies doesn't need to start with identifying your 'route'. Some people are just kinky. Get over it.
Fantasising about being a stripper also predicted a tendency to fantasise about rape. Another intriguing result is women who report rape fantasies were more likely to have high self-esteem.
On the first point, that makes sense I guess: as fantasies they're both about objectification, sexual performance, sexual theatre. The second point is totally fascinating (oh how much I want there to be a correlation between women who have rape fantasies and women who have high self esteem!) but, it's worth noting, not reliable: it might simply be that women with high self-esteem are more likely to report rape fantasies than have them.
Having fantasies about things we would never endorse or choose to do in reality, are not necessarily signs of psychological disturbance.
Orly? Amazing! Still, nice to see it acknowledged I guess.
I will also state for the record that "endorsing" consensual power/pain play and choosing to act out kinky fantasies consensually in reality isn't a sign of psychological disturbance either, thankyou.
In fact, according to this research, women who have rape fantasies also tend to have more positive attitudes toward sex, high self esteem, and more frequent consensual sexual fantasies.
Because those things make rape fantasies okay?
Actually this sentence made me smile. And it was published in a sex research article, as if it was actually true! Not just a lie told by sluts on the internet. Wonders will never cease. Seriously, I hope it gives some bigots pause for thought, and that lots of worried kinky women read it and feel better about themselves.
Fantasy is a deeply problematic area for many people and for psychiatry and psychology - why do some people convert strange ideas into actual deeds - as in the case of Brievik the Norway mass murder scenario - while others just enjoy their vivid, creative and somewhat unusual imaginations without taking action.
...And furthermore, some people enjoy acting out their vivid, creative and somewhat unusual fantasies in reality! With consenting adult companions, in a healthy, vivid and creative way! No, really!
Sadly it seems that this idea still has no airtime. It's okay to have kinky fantasies, ladies, as long as they stay inside your busy little heads. Don't try to convert your strange ideas into actual deeds, heavens no. No-one does that. It's impossible to do ethically because consensual kink doesn't exist. No: as every reasonable person knows, it's a lifetime of solitary, unfulfilled fantasising for you, or else mass murder. Nothing in between. CHOOSE. CHOOSE NOW.
Sarcasm aside, I did enjoy the fact that this article was available, and it was pleasing to see some sex research which actually seems to represent reality as I've experienced it. It's good to see it acknowledged that kinky fantasies can be positive and healthy. But it would be nice to read a mainstream article which connected the dots and made the leap to the idea that the consensual practice of kink might also be positive and healthy.
In conclusion, you don't have to keep your "problematic" fantasies entirely to yourself in order for them, and you, to be acceptable.