It’s okay to have rape fantasies. It’s just a fantasy, it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s enjoyable, and you’re certainly not lending credence to actual rape.
I’ve just finished reading an academic article by Critelli and Bivona in which the authors look into explanations for why women might have rape fantasy. As Critelli and Bivona note, rape fantasies don’t seem to make sense because the experience of rape itself is utterly horrible. They also note that researchers have tended to avoid the question, possibly through fear of seeming to endorse rape or imply that women really want to be raped.
One question that has come up in our reading has been women wanting to know what is “wrong” with them because they have rape fantasies, and men freaking out that their sexual partner has opened up about having these fantasies.
While Critelli and Bivona don’t give a definitive answer as to why women have rape fantasies, they do cover some of the evidence about what rape fantasies don’t mean about the women who have them.
Critelli and Bivona found that “between 31% and 57% of women have fantasies in which they are forced into sex against their will (p. 57)”, typically involving “an attractive male overcome with passion who uses mild to moderate force to overcome her nonconsent (p. 66)”. So right off the bat that indicates that having these fantasies is actually quite normal.
Female Rape Fantasies: as long as you’re not hurting anyone
Some people tend to claim that having rape fantasies indicates that a woman is somehow pathological, or she must be working through a previous experience of rape. Critelli and Bivona found that the evidence supporting these claims was also lacking, stating that “nearly all current researchers disagree with [the pathological sexuality] position (p. 67)”, and that “women with rape fantasies are not more likely than other women to have experienced actual rape (p. 64).” The take home message here is that having rape fantasies doesn’t mean a woman is broken or messed up. You can even be a good feminist and have rape fantasies, because “women who espouse feminist beliefs are just as likely to have fantasies of forced sex as are other women (p. 65).”
A lot of women feel guilty about their sexuality, and even more so if their tastes run to the more hardcore end of the spectrum. Rape fantasy may well be one of the most stigmatized types of fantasy. Given the stigma, it’s understandable why women may be freaking out when they discover rape fantasy turns them on. But it’s okay to have these fantasies. It’s just a fantasy, it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s enjoyable, and you’re certainly not lending credence to actual rape.
Ladies, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you should feel free to enjoy your sexuality regardless of what form it takes.