Understanding and Indulging in Rape Fantasy

Explaining the dynamics of forced sex desires and play.

Posted Jan 22, 2021

It must be noted at the outset that there is no such thing as consensual rape. Rape fantasy or rape play involves sexual role-playing in which one partner plays the submissive (the victim) and the other plays the dominant (the attacker). The behaviors extending from rape fantasy are fully consensual. The terms "rape fantasy," "forced sex fantasy," or "rape play" are misnomers. If an individual is consenting to the sexual behavior, then it is not rape or forced sex. The turn-on may be the idea of being forced to have sex for many individuals, but they do not actually want to be raped.

That being said, consenting to rape fantasy does not make the play any less complicated. There is a whole host of dimensions and dynamics that must be addressed when considering indulging in rape fantasy.

How Common is Rape Fantasy?

Rape fantasy is more common than you may assume. Bivona, Critelli, and Clark (2012) found that 62 percent of participants, consisting of 355 women from two state universities in the southwestern United States, reported having rape fantasies in varying degrees of frequency and type. In Lehmiller’s (2018) survey results of 4,175 adults in the United States, he found that two-thirds of women in the study had rape fantasies and half the men surveyed reported having rape fantasies.

Types of Rape Fantasy

Rape fantasies are not all the same. They exist in varying degrees of force. In its milder forms, it can be a mere matter of surprise, for instance, maybe your partner is waiting for you behind the door of your darkened house when you get home from work. In more extreme cases, participants may want to be forced to engage in sexual acts they wouldn’t in other circumstances. They may even want to be slightly harmed—bruises left behind from their playful resistance or maybe they want to be choked during the role-play. Rape fantasy can consist of everything in between and even push the boundaries of these examples further out.

Consent is Still Mandatory

When considering rape fantasy or forced sex role-playing, consent is everything. That’s why it’s not actually rape and those engaging in it aren’t being raped or even wanting to be raped. Partners must determine what the boundaries are before any role-playing of this sort can begin. If those boundaries are not set, then neither is consent.

What is off-limits? Rule out locations. Maybe the house is always open or getting in the car in a dark parking lot, but the workplace is never allowed. And what about specific acts? Is everything on the table? Maybe any form of penetration is fair game, but punching, choking, or anything that could draw blood is not. There is much to consider when planning forced sex role-playing and all the dynamics of consent.

Stigmatization

As in all types of sexual desires, there are those who will stigmatize anyone who is sexually aroused by rape fantasy. Those who do not find arousal in this form of desire often cannot understand why others would like it. And, unfortunately, when some individuals are not interested in a particular desire, they act to shame anyone who is.

But apart from the sexual opinions of the general populace, it’s important that your partner or potential partner is aware that you are aroused by forced sex play. If that partner is not willing to engage in rape fantasies, it all comes down to consent again. Poor communication on this subject can end a relationship or prevent the beginning of one. Relationship issues, in several of my own research participants’ narratives, focused on either poor communication within a relationship or the inability to find a partner based on forced sex desires. Not everyone is comfortable with rape fantasy. One of my participants (female, age 23) relayed her issues with potential partners:

I’m kinky. Willing to try anything. I like it rough. Push me around, slap me, choke me, if you leave a little bruise, it means you love me. I love it when it’s part of my rape fantasy. But, it’s hard to find guys willing to give in to what I want. They are afraid they’ll hurt me—hell guys, that’s what is getting me off.

Cottonbro/Pexels
Source: Cottonbro/Pexels

Social Psychology Behind Rape Fantasy

What may be the impetus behind being aroused by rape fantasy? Several internal factors came up in my research. A few of those included:

  • Having a sense of control in response to having been sexually assaulted in the past. In my own work, it is a rarity. I have only found two participants who listed past trauma as a point of origin. One participant told me that her fantasy was to role-play the exact situation in which she was raped in order to experience it with a full sense of control of the situation. Much more research on this connection between past sexual trauma and rape fantasy is needed.
  • Some are interested in rape fantasy purely out of a sense of sexual adventure or extended sexual exploration in a controlled environment. Individuals I have interviewed that discuss rape fantasy in this manner tend to have positive sexual attitudes and exhibit confidence in their sexuality. Rape fantasy is all part of their cognitive and behavioral sexual exploration.
  • Rape fantasy provides an excuse for some individuals. If part of the role-play consists of their being forced to engage in sexual behaviors that are highly stigmatizing, they believe they have the excuse that if they were forced to do it (even in play with full consent), they cannot be held accountable for wanting it. This excuse can be used with one’s partner or with anyone who finds out the individual engaged in that particular sexual behavior. It’s a double-edged sword, however, as while you may be able to convince your friend that you should not be stigmatized for what you were forced to do, you still open yourself up to the stigma of rape fantasy.

Rape fantasy is vastly complex in its structure and social dynamics. Psychological and social implications are expansive. More research certainly needs to focus on this topic, despite it being an uncomfortable one for some. And the misconceptions about rape fantasy, and those who engage in it, need to be dissolved. For the purpose of sexual well-being, what needs to be understood is that rape fantasy involves consent and that those who are aroused by it do not actually want to be raped. More often than not, those who report having rape fantasies have a positive sexual attitude and a high level of sexual confidence.

References

Bivona, J. M., Critelli, J. W., & Clark, M. J. (2012). Women’s rape fantasies: An empirical evaluation of the major explanations. Archive of Sexual Behaviors, 41(1), 1107-1119.

Lehmiller, J. (2018). Tell me what you want. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.