It’s time to stop letting people shame us.

Jessica Wildfire
Oct 21, 2018 · 5 min read
Photographee.eu

Guilt always stopped me from exploring my rape fantasies. There had to be something wrong with me, I thought. Normal women don’t fantasize about this kind of stuff. Ever.

My college friends would say things like, “I’ve heard that women don’t really enjoy sex as much.”

At the time, sex researchers even attributed rape fantasies to women’s lack of sexual agency. If you weren’t supposed to enjoy sex, then being forced into it was your only option.

That didn’t make sense, either. Because I liked the idea of sex. An element of bondage or force just made it more exciting.

So I kept everything to myself. To avoid judgment.

Rape fantasies are the last thing anyone wants to talk about these days. We’re afraid that nuance will jam things up even more. But we should.

Almost every day, I imagined elaborate scenarios that involved stalking, kidnap, and coercion. Even just pretending in my head made sex better. Imagine doing that, and never telling your partner.

Why? Because you’re embarrassed.

You don’t tell your friends, either. You’re scared of looking different. Even worse, you worry about what would happen if you actually did get raped, and it came out that you fantasized about it on a regular basis.

Something like that could destroy your credibility. A defense lawyer would turn it into a spectacle. The Internet would probably eat you alive. Reddit threads would read, “Woman Who Literally Asked for It.”

It’s hard enough to get justice in our society. One that sees sex as a black and white issue. The man asks for it. The woman gives it. Or the man takes it, and the woman lets him. Despite all our progress, our national narratives are still stuck in debates about consent from the 1980s. We’re afraid that trying to add nuance will make things worse.

And we wonder why women and men don’t talk about their sexuality more openly. For most of us, doing so carries enormous risk.

You can learn a lot about yourself by exploring your darkest, most taboo sexual desires. Despite what your parents taught you, it’s healthy.

Since then, I’ve done research. Forced sex actually ranks high on many women’s playlists. And men’s. In fact, almost half of men have fantasized about being raped by a woman, or another man.

I’ve lived out my fantasies in role play, mainly online. You can learn a lot about yourself by exploring your darkest, most taboo desires.

Despite what your parents taught you, it’s healthy.

Rape fantasies are the last thing anyone wants to admit these days. On top of the usual shame, we now face an insidious rape culture at the highest levels of our government. Even assuming men’s innocence, the way our politicians talk about sex should scare the hell out of us.

Anti-feminist groups have perverted studies done in respected journals about rape fantasy. They’ve turned something normal into an excuse to treat women like shit. Don’t be fooled. Rape fantasies aren’t really about rape.

Rape fantasies and role play are paragons of consent. No matter how dark or violent, they hinge on clear communication and mutual respect.

Women and men both fantasize about losing control. Or giving up power. They love imagining themselves the object of someone else’s uncontrollable lust. That’s how we’ve wound up with so many love scenes where one person initiates the action, pinning their partner against a wall.

People with a healthy sexuality understand how a foundation of consent supports any moment like that.

In real life, you can’t just walk up to someone and start having sex. Even if you know them. Most of us get that.

Healthy people fantasize about hundreds of things that they know can never happen in life. A rape fantasy can never violate your consent. When you’re inside your head, you control everything that happens.

Some of my darker fantasies go beyond consent. They’ll always remain fantasies. You see, no amount of imagination can ever undo this simple fact: you’re still in control of what happens.

It’s that simple. Healthy people fantasize about hundreds of things that they know can never happen in life. (Or shouldn’t.)

A rape fantasy can never violate your consent. No matter how violent or sick someone might consider me, I’m always in control.

Online, I’ve role played with men and women who pretend to stalk and kidnap me. It’s fun. We collaborate on scripts. We establish boundaries, and clear lines of communication. When the game ends, they don’t continue stalking me in real life.

That would be terrifying, and illegal.

You develop a supreme level of trust in your partners. In fact, men and women who engage in role play around these themes probably understand consent better than anyone else.

A healthy sex life doesn’t mean you engage in missionary style sex with one partner every Friday night. That works for some people, but it’s been held up as the norm for far too long.

There’s no room for ambiguity. You’re either role-playing, or not. She’s either used a safe word, or she hasn’t.

Too often, we dismiss what we don’t understand about sex. Including our own desires and identities. Don’t be scared of what you want. Find a safe way to learn more about it. You can find dozens of communities where people embrace each other’s “devious” and “perverted” sexualities.

No matter what you’re into, you’re not alone.

You’re not a freak.

A healthy sex life doesn’t mean you engage in missionary style sex with one partner every Friday night. That works for some people, but it’s been held up as the norm for far too long.

We don’t have to let everyone into our bedrooms, but we shouldn’t have to hide there either.

Sexual assault survivors are the only people who might express justifiable dismay or disgust at the idea of rape fantasies. They’ve lived through the hell. They know more than anyone that rape is the worst thing you can do to someone, short of murdering them.

Rape does lasting damage to every part of a person. Survivors can go on to lead full, meaningful lives. But those lives are never the same.

So if we’re going to engage in those fantasies, or even talk about it, doing that requires respect for people who didn’t choose.

Even as we make huge strides in sex research, the general public remains uneducated about issues like rape fantasies and bondage. That’s dangerous. Part of our problem lies in the fact that we don’t talk about these things enough, because we fear being misunderstood.

Personally, I’m tired of it. Tired of hiding my sexuality out of fear.

Tired of willfully ignorant, judgmental bigots telling me what I should do with my body.

And tired of worrying that my fantasies will be used to exploit others, and prop up assholes who abuse their power.

Anti-feminist groups can’t shame me into submission.

We don’t have to let everyone into our bedrooms, but we shouldn’t have to hide there either. We should always use care in deciding who to tell about our sexual selves. Our decisions should come from a place of trust and intimacy. Not guilt and embarrassment.

Jessica Wildfire

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