Rape fantasies are one of the most common erotic fantasies women engage in, and they propel the largest category of fiction writing (romance novels), making rape a big business. Rape fantasies are generally understood to take three forms:
Sexual blame avoidance – Women can avoid having to confront feelings of guilt or shame by making the encounter non-consensual
Sexual desirability – rape fantasies allow women to imagine themselves irresistible to invariably high status males
Sexual openness – rape as pure fantasy
According to Psychology Today, sexual openness and sexual desirability are the two most compelling explanations for rape fantasies, but the researchers seem to have confused blame avoidance with sexually anxious, repressed and guilt-ridden women. The most obvious blame avoidance fantasies surely belong to married women, or women in otherwise committed relationships?
Personal anecdote (might be TMI for some readers) – I struggle to cheat on my husband even in my dreams. There are generally only two conditions under which I can indulge in even the thought of having sex with Ben Affleck (shut up, he’s cute, and I love that he’s a bit of a meathead): my husband either has to be dead, which often leads to a dream that is traumatizing and not the slightest bit erotic, or it’s rape. Not because I find rape itself alluring, but because it’s the only way I can have sex with another man and not feel like a treacherous whore.
I think we can easily consign the rape as sexual openness as some politically correct claptrap – it is impossible for researchers to even ask if women really do want to be raped. They are not permitted to pose the question, never mind attempt to answer it, which leaves us with sexual desirability. I think the sexual desirability thesis is behind two huge current cultural movements: feminism (including rape culture) and political Islam.
Rape culture encourages women to believe that ‘all men are potential rapists’, yet all women are not potential victims. The rape culture narrative is aimed specifically at college-aged women, who are highly fertile, libidinous and at the height of their sexual competitiveness. Sexual competition is a fierce business and women are ruthless competitors who will tear apart contenders mercilessly.
It’s much easier, on the whole, to engage in the muted rape fantasies offered by rape culture than hit the gym and eat sensibly, while cultivating a pleasant demeanor.
Feminists will often insist that rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power, but that’s patent nonsense. If rape were merely about power, overweight, out of shape middle-aged and elderly women would be the main victims: they’re much easier to catch and restrain than nubile 20 year olds. Not quite as sexy, though.
Political Islam offers women the same muted rape fantasy- the restrictive dress codes are all predicated on the idea that women are disruptively desirable and must be covered to various degrees, lest they trigger lust in men. The dumpiest, grouchiest, sweatiest, most unattractive woman in the world merely has to don a hijab to be instantly transformed into a creature of such allure that she is in constant danger of causing men to be overcome with lust. Her ankle can trigger it! A single visible strand of her greasy, unkempt hair, and the hottest dude in the land will be on his knees, panting for her. No, he won’t pant.
He’ll just take her.
This is the allure of political Islam for women. They all get to be the star of their own romance novel. They’re delusional halfwits., but how genuine is this desire? Do women really want to be raped? I think this is a far more complicated question than we are currently willing to consider. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I was actually in a room with Ben Affleck, and he wants to have sex with me (Shut up! It could happen.). Am I going to consent?
Does that mean I don’t want to jump him? Of course not. I absolutely do, but I have made a sacred vow that I will remain faithful to my husband. I’m not a rutting animal, I’m a human being with free will and the capacity to make choices, and my choice will be to honor my wedding vows.
Here’s where it gets complicated: what if he decides to force me?
Is that rape?
What roles do desire, consent and fidelity play in rape? Can you be raped by someone you desire? Is that logically and morally possible? I think this issue drills deep into the heart of women and our basic reproductive strategies. It is pretty settled science that women prefer masculine men at the height of their menstrual cycle, when they have the most chance of falling pregnant, and less masculine men during the other phases. We want the alpha male’s genes, but we want the beta male as our companion.
I am quite certain that 100% of women reject rape as a reproductive strategy for lower status males. We don’t want to be stuck with the offspring of less fit males. It makes sense that women are repulsed by rape when the men are low status. But that all changes when the man is high-status. Just like cat-calling on the street is only harassment if the men are low status, is rape only rape under the same conditions?
If women’s bodies are biologically constructed to respond sexually to very masculine men, does that desire override our social contracts and obligations? And by override, I don’t mean that women should not be held to our obligations, but rather that rape becomes morally and logically impossible under these circumstances.
How in the hell would you prove that in a court of law? I don’t know. I don’t know that it’s possible, but could it be that the reason rape is so difficult to prove under almost any except the most violent circumstances be partly explained by the fact that a lot of legal rapes aren’t rape at all? There is a difficulty in separating socially high value masculine men (alpha males) from low value masculine men (thugs), but in general, I think it’s pretty fair to say that most violent rapists are going to be low status betas, and that is part of why it’s easier to convict them.
There is absolutely no desire on the women’s part.
But when desire enters the picture, consent gets murky. Legally, we could never accept desire as consent, but morally and logically, I think we can. A woman cannot be raped by a man she wants to have sex with. Her biology and psychology are designed to offer her the cognitive dissonance she needs to make the smartest reproductive choices she can: I didn’t cheat on my beta, I was raped by the alpha, and I loved every minute of it.
Am I saying that all women are essentially whores, designed by nature to cheat? Well, yes. All women are also designed by nature to eat every morsel of fat and sugar they can lay their hands on, but many of us do not follow those instructions to the letter. We are programmed to do certain things, but we are also creatures of free will and we can make choices.
The interesting implication for me here is the punishment we mete out to the men who stand accused of rape in these circumstances. Let’s go back to the Ben Affleck scenario. If I really did not want to have sex with him, I could fight, and I stand a reasonable chance of winning that fight. The odds are in my favor. The very act of resistance however, is in itself, exciting. I have not consented to sex, because I’m not a cheater, but neither do I fight him off to the full extent of my capacity, because my physical being really does want to have sex with him, but I also want to continue to think highly of myself.
It’s a quantum entanglement.
I do and do not consent at the exact same moment. Which one takes precedence? I’m a little giddy at how beautifully this quantum analogy is working out, but the state that takes precedence will depend upon observation. If I never get caught, it wasn’t rape.
And if I do?
Well, we know the answer to that one, don’t we?
And now, let the screaming begin.
Lots of love,