Social Question

essieness's avatar

Can somebody explain the appeal of "rape fantasy" to me?

Asked by essieness (7698points) February 21st, 2010


Maybe I’m a prude, but there’s something about this that just makes me very uncomfortable. I really hate to be closed minded and/or judgmental about what people do in their private lives or bedrooms, but this makes me think, “Who hurt you when you were little?”

Do any of you have any personal stories or insight into this that might give the situation more clarity for me?

Edit: I get the whole dominance/dominating thing, I’m talking about beyond that.

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49 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Usually the argument goes something like this:

A rape fantasy is about letting go of control. Not having to decide where,what,how and all that.

Most women (I’m sure there are guys too but I just haven’t met them) say that it’s because they have so much to do during the day and so many choices they have to make. They just want one thing they don’t have to think about. They’re willing to give up control completely to have one second where there’s not something riding on their shoulders.

I can understand having rape fantasies- generally because most of them are much, much more gentle/refined/limited than the realities of rape.

susanc's avatar

At some level, for some people, this is simple: someone wants you enough to insist. Flattering!
Absolutely, the fantasy is limited to the “rapist” being someone fabulously attractive, that
you want to be with – not some creep from the street corner, but someone who sees into your soul, is completely driven by desire, and understands your willingness perfectly.
Not “rape” at all. Courage.

essieness's avatar

@susanc But does that count when you have to ask the person to rape you?

davidbetterman's avatar

Of course. It appeals to sick, worthless assholes.

susanc's avatar

@essieness: Well, if you have to ask someone to feel this stuff, maybe you’re barking up the wrong tree.
The S/M thing is a whole different thing. It’s consensual, it’s rational, it’s language-based.
I thought we were talking about fantasies that are about wishes rather than negotiated behaviors.

Vunessuh's avatar

I don’t really know how to explain the appeal, but there is an unbelievably huge market for it, especially in porn.
It’s a dominance/submissive thing. Mostly, the men are dominant and the woman are submissive, but I’m sure it can be the other way around too.
It’s the helplessness and loss of control that appeals to the people being “raped”.
They like to be taken control of, they like not knowing what’s going to happen next, they like being forced to do something.

I disagree that it appeals to sick, worthless assholes.
There are a lot of strange fetishes and fantasies. Rape fantasy happens among more couples than you probably think. It’s not all that peculiar. Like I said, the market for it is huge.

LunaChick's avatar

I don’t understand the appeal. At all. I can understand wanting to let go, not be in control, but that can be achieved through bondage.

essieness's avatar

@susanc I’m bringing it up because I found out that someone I know very well and have known for a long time asked her boyfriend to do this to her. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. It definitely wasn’t a consensual thing. It’s really made me wonder about her…

Trillian's avatar

Nobody has mentioned this; It is a complete lack of responsibility on the part of the rape-ee. I do not say that this is a good or bad thing, merely that the rape-ee says “no” over and over to no avail. This gives the person the experience without the guilt of having committed the act. I say this in the context of the role playing fantasy, not the real thing.

gemiwing's avatar

@Trillian excellent point

Berserker's avatar

Well, rape and child abuse are usually all about power trips, usually infused by one’s own psychological trauma inflicted as a child. People who commit acts of rape rarely do it on account of them being hornbags.

Therefore, I don’t think it goes any further than the aspect of dominance. (Which may be very complex on its own.) Rape fantasy suggests the idea of being “owned”, controlled and used, or vice versa, depending on whether you’re the dom or the sub.

Everyone says Goths and freaks are the ones into this shit the most; false.
Rich businessmen, who control entire teams, make important decisions and break their skulls over complicated, situation altering contracts all day long are the people who are into mock rape the most.
It’s a change, a way to relieve stress through contrasting what your life is by something entirely different.
For others it’s a fetish, a perpetual need to be taken care of, looked after or even scolded and being belittled, in which case I could offer a million different reasons as to why…a person neglected in their childhood might now feel important and acknowledged, if someone is willing to “rape” them.
They do it through sex because sex is a powerful thing, both physically and emotionally.

I think it’s wrong to call it “rape” fantasy because it isn’t rape whatsoever rather than it is submission, and that, of one being willing to role play for a bit. Rape can never be enjoyed, essentially because when you get raped and you actually enjoy it, it’s no longer rape.

But as already said above, you need a flashy title and description to make it sell.

But fetishes (Lmao butt fetishes.) are one of man’s great mysteries, and I doubt they limit themselves much to what the pr0nz industry has to say beyond raping your twelve year old daughter who’s actually played by a 28 year old chick.

There’s a deep psychology involved with all kinds of fetishes…would you believe that vomit fetishes could actually stem from century old ritual practices? O_o

The point is, rape fantasy is unjustly named really, and the initial definition usually fails to encompass the motivation.

essieness's avatar

@Symbeline You make a good point about it being the people you least expect to be into this kind of thing. The woman who prompted this questions presents herself as this cute little sweet and innocent blonde thing who’s really into health and fitness… Truly a case of “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

Vunessuh's avatar

@essieness Just remember, this woman trusted you enough to confide in you about something so intimate, so try not to judge her too harshly for it. Unless, you found out from someone else, but still, it’s more common than you think and I don’t think such a fantasy should define a person’s character.

Ivy's avatar

I’ve read research on this subject and it proved that “rape” fantasies have no more relation to the reality than any other fantasy. They are of the Harlequin variety, where a dangerous liaison takes place between a dashing scoundrel (with honor of course) who appears in a lady’s room and literally sweeps her off her feet and takes her to… her fantasy ~ in her mind. There has never been a healthy woman who fantasized, (other than in facing one of her biggest fears), about a dirty, knife or gun wielding, sociopath in her bedroom. Rape fantasy is akin to penis envy…. NOT!

essieness's avatar

@Vunessuh I found out from the ex boyfriend. She would never tell me something like that. And you’re right, I shouldn’t let this one fantasy define her character for me, and I’m not. I’ve known her for 15 years. But it’s hard not to judge when I also know about so many other questionable things she does, sexually speaking. Whether she has serious issues or not (and I really think she does), there’s definitely more of an “ick factor” on my end now that I know this. I just can’t help it. I guess what I’m saying is that if this were really a normal, healthy, balanced individual we were talking about, I could see this as just a quirk. But I’m pretty sure this is tied into and/or stems from some other very serious issues. Sorry to offend anyone!

Vunessuh's avatar

@essieness No worries. That’s very understandable. :)

cbloom8's avatar

It’s all about control.

nicobanks's avatar

Why do you brush off “the whole dominance/dominating thing”? Why do you draw a distinction between that and “beyond that”? It seems to me like you’re forcing this distinction and that’s what’s getting in the way of your understanding. Don’t think of it like “this” and “that”: think of it as a continuum.

My personal insight is that I don’t have rape fantasies, but I do have fantasies about rough sex. I’ve never had rough sex, but I did have sex once with a man who used and controlled my body in a way no one else ever has (i.e. if he wanted my leg over there, he moved it there, etc.). I really enjoyed this and in my opinion the fantasies I have simply take this to the next level by introducing violence and force. Like I said, I don’t have rape fantasies, but I see them as yet one more level up from my fantasies. From physical/controlling sex to violent/forceful sex to non-consensual sex: to me it seems a natural progression.

What attracts people to this kind of extreme sex play or fantasies isn’t a simple or straightforward question, and I think there are as many different answers as there are people.

Probably certain social trends can be identified – as you suggested, a percentage of these people have been assaulted. On a greater scale, though, haven’t we all (or many of us at least) been exposed to sexualized violence from a young age? I don’t think a person needs to be personally assaulted for this exposure to have an affect on their developing sexualities. When I think of my own fantasies, I have no particular idea why they turn me on, but it seems to me like a natural progression when I look at the world I live in – a world which stimulates every part of my body and brain, including the sexual parts.

On the other hand, exposure to sexualized violence doesn’t automatically result in a person having these fantasies… human sexuality .

Then there are people (I bet) for whom this isn’t about their childhood at all, but rather a reaction to the conditions of their present lives. For example, take a very career-oriented person who feels powerless in their position at work: bringing those feelings into sex might be very satisfying for them (by, for example, wielding power over someone, when otherwise they feel so powerless; or putting themselves into a position where their feelings of powerlessness are realized, made physical and explicit, rather than the insidious or implicit powerlessness the person feels at work).

nicobanks's avatar

My question to you is, why does this make you think “Who hurt you when you were little”? I ask not because it’s a generalization or stereotype to suggest a person likes rape fantasies because they were assaulted as a child – although it is, of course – but because it seems like an irrelevant question that reeks of self-importance and pity of the other. What business is it of yours why another person fantasizes the way they do? What business is it of yours who the criminal was, assuming there even was one? What if they were assaulted as a child: what does that mean to you, in light of their rape fantasies? Do you think it’s pitiable? Do you think of it as evidence that there’s something wrong with them, or that they are hurting or suffering? Why? Isn’t it possible the rape fantasies are a source of strength or even pure, simple, straightforward sexual pleasure? And if so, oughtn’t you be happy for the person, at least as happy as you are for anyone who has a satisfying sex life?

Maybe I accuse you wrongly, but that’s what I get from what you said about “Who hurt you when you were little.” If I am wrong, why do you think that?

nicobanks's avatar

@susanc I’m sure there are people whose fantasies are like the ones you described (in your first answer), but I also think there are people who really do have “rape” fantasies – i.e. yes, by that creep on the corner they aren’t actually willing to have sex with.

@Symbeline I think it’s okay to call a rape fantasy a rape fantasy, if that’s what it is. Certainly there are non-rape submission fantasies like you talked about, but there are actual rape fantasies as well.

@Dracool Why do you say there has never been a healthy woman who fantasied about a real rape? Do you mean you think such a fantasy in and of itself is a sign of illness? Why? Either way, I disagree with you: I think some women do have these fantasies, and I don’t think it’s necessarily unhealthy. Also, why “other than in facing one of her biggest fears”? Why “other”? Couldn’t that be the reason or a reason for the fantasy?

Berserker's avatar

@nicobanks Yeah, I realize this. Me mentioning it isn’t really disapproval, rather than a slight conflict, but it IS based around that premise. I just find it wrong since real rape, although having never been raped, I imagine is very different. But you’re right, essentially, I guess it IS what it is.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Actual rape is abhorrent and is a violent act about power and control.

For some people, elaborate sexual fantasies enhance their erotic experiences.
The “rape fantasy” is about being overpowered and then the sexual submission is guiltless and the woman can totally give in to her “rapist” with abandon.

Since in reality the “rapist” is a trusted lover, there is no real force or dehumanizing treatment involved and the “rapist” can role play the act with the same abandon knowing that his victim is in fact a consenting lover who trusts him without limit to not hurt or demean her in any way.

For those who cannot imagine role playing something that seems to resemble an act that violates a woman’s personal boundaries and sense of personal security as well as her body – a truly traumatic event, the thought of doing do even in play, makes them feel anything but aroused sexually.

While I have enjoyed and still do at times enjoy a rich sexual fantasy life, I have never desired to even to pretend to “rape” a lover. I do not feel I have missed out on anything important.

Violet's avatar

I get the whole dominance/dominating thing, I’m talking about beyond that
A rape fantasy is all about dominance, and is simply a kind of BDSM
I’m sorry, but it sounds like you’re harshly judging this friend of yours.
I agree with @nicobanks and @Vunessuh

beancrisp's avatar

@Symbeline If a someone forces another into sex it is rape. Whether or not they enjoy it or not is irrelevant.

Vunessuh's avatar

@beancrisp Actually, whether they enjoy it or not IS relevant. That’s the definition of what a rape fantasy is. You enjoy being forced to do something, but you generally play along as if you don’t want it or don’t like it. That’s usually how it works.

Rape is defined as sexual intercourse with another person without their consent.
If you have someone’s consent, then it is considered a fantasy and not a crime. Someone’s permission and pleasure involved in the act is the most relevant thing there is that separates it from actually being illegal.

nicobanks's avatar

@Symbeline Of course, being raped is very different from having a rape fantasy – operative word being “fantasy,” so you don’t have to take the “rape” part of out of the phrase. My figuring, anyway.

essieness's avatar

@nicobanks Sheesh. You seem to take quite a personal offense to what was a purely innocent question. Like I said before, there are many other disturbing behaviors that this person has displayed that lead me to this question. I live with this individual; I know things about her that I’m not going to air here. Your remarks are pretty harsh and although you talk about this issue as if you are very knowledgeable about it, the fact that you’ve never even had rough sex pretty much takes away the validity of anything you said in your first post in my opinion. But you’re entitled to say what you want about the issue.

The reason I mentioned wanting to know more about this issue “beyond the dominance/dominating thing” is because while I get that aspect of it, I was hoping for some other rationalization for what I feel is a pretty twisted fantasy again, just my opinion. In my mind, there just has to be some back story to a woman having a rape fantasy. “It’s just fun,” or “I just like” it does not compute in my brain.

Finally, it’s not my business, I’m just curious. What’s so wrong with that? It’s not like I can go to her and say, “By the way, your ex said you wanted him to rape you. What the hell?” So, I came here, where I expected honest, straightforward answers. And I got them. So, thanks everyone.

essieness's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Thank you, that explanation makes perfect sense.

Berserker's avatar

@beancrisp What Vunessuh said.

@nicobanks I know, I just they coulda simply called it something else if it revolves around sub and dom business. As you can see, calling it this leads to some pretty uninformed interpretations from a lot of people. Sall good though, really.

beancrisp's avatar

@Symbeline I was referring to “rape can not be enjoyed, essentially because when you get raped and you actually enjoy it it is no longer rape”.
Rape fantasy is not really rape, but something can not start off being rape and then stop being rape because the person enjoyed it.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I can’t explain it because I see no appeal in it whatsoever. If fact, I find it quite disturbing. But that’s just me and my humble opinion.

semblance's avatar

This is one of those things that cannot be fully explained to someone who does not feel the appeal of the fantasy. It’s kind of like asking someone to explain why you should like cubist art. Some people (like me) can’t see it for dust. Others love it.

When it comes to rape fantasy, I get it. The best I can say that there is thrill to the aspect of someone else being in total control of you, taking you against your will and forcing them to do their . . . whatever you fantasize. Somebody (I don’t remember who) once said something like, “Love is the irresistable desire to be irresistably desired”. That’s part of it too.

Everyone should remember that your question was phrased in terms of rape “fantasy”. Yes, some people can get sick and out of control with things like that but for the vast majority of those who it appeals to it is simply a harmless fantasy, confined to our own thoughts or, for the lucky few, a colloborative partner.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman speaking from experience?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with much of what @nicobanks said. For me, personally, I don’t think it’s about actual rape or any of that stuff – it’s about doing something unsafe (in reality) in a safe environment (the fantasy played out). It’s not because of childhood or because he’s got a penis and I don’t – we don’t have sex where that comes into play.


I don’t understand the appeal of it, but apparently there’s even a market for it, especially in videogames, songs’ lyrics, and comic books. When I went to Japan a couple of years ago, I saw a lot of kinky and violent sex entertainment that catered to men who fantasize about rape. One in particular, a comic book that has a broad fan base not only in Japan but elsewhere, is “Rapeman”, about a man who rapes women to punish them for emotionally scarring their boyfriends. It is scary how there is a market out there for such “entertainment.” The ironic thing is that “Rapeman” was written by a woman.

The Japanese are sometimes known for their penchant for kinky sex and violence (eg., some forms of Manga and pedophiliac animation), but I don’t think they are the only guilty ones for such vileness. Unfortunately, it exists in many cultures, including our own. Perhaps it gives us men an “acceptable” way to exert our perceived need to dominate. Rather than exercising it in reality, we can fantasize about it and satisfy ourselves. But I think such forms of fantasy are disgusting, and only gives young guys out there more fodder to disrespect women.

YARNLADY's avatar

Beats me? I don’t get it either.

essieness's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Rapeman? Oh dear. By the way, I don’t know if I’m more disturbed by that video, or by the “related videos” that came up with it…


@essieness Yes, “Rapeman”. Can you believe that? There are quite a few others, all uniformed “superheroes” who engage in rape, pedophilia, sadism, etc., for the sake of good. Imagine the role models they serve for young people.
The weird thing is that in Japan, you have a strange dichotomy——on the one hand, you have a very polite, mannerful, and gentle society, but on the other hand, there’s a part of that society, a big part, that enjoys and seeks out violent, twisted entertainment. Yet there is no other country that is really safer than Japan. Girls and young women are quite safe walking around by themselves on downtown streets, even at night. The crime rate is remarkably low there.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

To those who found my comments helpful, you are welcome!

TheJoker's avatar

I’m very happy to say, no, I cant fathom it.

HungryGuy's avatar

As a writer of erotic horror stories, I regularly get emails from women fans asking me to write them into upcoming stories, depicting them as victims of a stalker or serial rapist or some such. Now, few women would want to be raped for real, but it is a common fantasy among women that can’t be deined. I sometimes even have women ask to meet me to role-play a rape fantasy, fully consensual, of course. I suspect that such women really want to abdicate responsibility for their actions and surrender themselves to a “stranger” albiet in a situation where they feel safe.

nikipedia's avatar

I also think you’re coming off as pretty darn judgmental. Not all fetishes and fantasies appeal to all people, and as long as everything is consensual I don’t see any problem.

People like weird shit. Often there’s no good reason for it, just like I don’t have a good reason for preferring vanilla ice cream to chocolate. So why are you judging this particular desire so harshly?

essieness's avatar

@nikipedia I guess because it’s about rape, which is pretty horrific. I just can’t understand why someone would fantasize about something that awful. But, I’ve gotten some good answers here that are helping me understand. I still think it’s weird, but I’m starting to understand.

Also, I’ve seen a documentary about the “furries”... eek!

Berserker's avatar

@essieness Noooooooooooooo furries freak me out haha.

nicobanks's avatar

@essieness You’re right, I was harsh, and I’m sorry. But, I disagree with your suggestion that someone can’t be knowledgeable about something without having experienced it first-hand. Otherwise, how could we study history or pretty much any social science in school? And I still do think that rape fantasies are about dominance. Even if there’s back story, development issues, it’s about dominance – you don’t have to get more of it than that.

essieness's avatar

@nicobanks It’s all good :) I do agree with you about the dominance thing and I’ve learned a lot from this thread.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, I can think of many theories why. Some already mentioned. In short it is little difference to me than someone reenacting a Civil War battle. It is a fantasy that both can experience together.

The thought that your partner his doing something to you that you can’t stop. Maybe they have you do things in your captive self you would not normally do in the regular course of boinking.

By the text you provided, there is a bit of a taboo element to it, doing something you are not suppose to do or think.

Being grounded because your job or position causes you to boss people around all day.

I do not think in most men it turns them out as rapist anymore than having a paint ball war or reenacting a Civil War battle wets ones pallet to spill blood or go shooting everything up.

It would be nice to see them get pass themselves to actually to a clinical study on it to see what results would come from it.

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