Rego: Psychology explains “rape fantasies”

Shay Rego

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of The Collegian or its editorial board. Names have been left anonymous in this article to protect the identity of our source. 

This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence.

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Pornography is a taboo subject of the bedroom. Some people love the idea, some people hate the idea.

Porn use is by far the most engaged with online sexual activity. Society generally looks down on porn, categorizing it as a dirty thing to watch or act upon.

While pornography is often seen as taboo, there are certain types of porn which are considered even more disgusting, wrong and even dangerous. “Rape fantasy porn” is a startling topic to many. 

Biastophilia is the term for achieving pleasure from coercion or brutality during sex, specifically from the act of rape.

Biastophilia is the term for achieving pleasure from coercion or brutality during sex, specifically from the act of rape. This term has been referenced by several scientific journals.  

This genre of porn, referred to as “rape porn,” is generally misunderstood. There are a plethora of reasons why many fantasize about violent, forceful and coercive sexual scenarios. There is also a valid argument as to why so many refute even the idea of “rape fantasies.” 

Scientific online journal Sex Research studied the nature of and prevalence of sexual fantasies in women. The results show that 62 percent of women have had  a “rape fantasy.”

Research shows these fan fiction fantasies seem to mostly support the idea that there is a certain group of people who are generally more sexually open. These specific groups of people enjoy getting carried away in deep erotic fantasies, even to its most extremes.

These extreme erotic fantasies can also be linked to the pleasures of domination and being dominated. Psychology Today says the thrill of being dominated can be explained as one enjoying a momentary relief from responsibilities through relinquishing oneself over to another. In this way, domination can be a form of escapism.

Another theory behind the psychology of violent or coercive fantasies is that some sexual assault survivors use it as a coping mechanism. Sex therapist Dr. Madeleine Castellanos says enacting “rape fantasies” can be a form of liberation, an attempt to own their trauma by turning it into a positive experience.

“After I was raped, I suddenly found that I couldn’t get off on normal porn anymore, only ‘rape porn,'” said an interviewee who wishes to remain anonymous. “It made me feel sick, like something was messed up with me. For me, I think it was like a way of reclaiming power back from what happened to me.”  

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Feelings such as shame, guilt and embarrassment are often associated with people who are aroused by this specific category of pornography. While society has lead us to think that these types of fantasies are shameful and dirty, they are more normal than you think and should be free of blame or remorse.

Now the major problem “rape porn” is it’s believed to promote actual rape. While statistically speaking, there seems to be no real correlation between porn and sexual violence, the debate hasn’t definitely been answered.

Research proves that these fantasies are common and it’s okay to fantasize about such coercive and dominating acts. It is by no means condoning actual rape. The psychological dynamics of these fantasies are not to be associated with someone who believes in the reality of rape.

“Rape fantasies” certainly apply to a specific population of pornography viewers. Whether or not you believe these types of fantasies promote real violence, at least you can now have a better understanding behind the psychology as to why people may have these fantasies.

Shay Rego can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter at @shay_rego.