Monday, 7 February 2011

Taboo of all Taboos

I was hopping around some interesting reads when I happened upon the psychology of sexual fetishes, eventually leading on to sexual dominance and women's rape fantasies. Here's an interesting comment:

"I suspect the driving force being [sic] rape fantasy is vanity. It is the love of being desired, of being wanted so much that a man loses his reason in order to have possession of the rape fantasist.

Of course, I doubt the fantasist ever dreams of being raped by a skinny little nerd type. The figure she imagines will be a giant amongst men, a man desired by all other women. You only need to read Ayn Rand to get one woman’s account of the ideal rape."

First of all, it comes as no surprise that someone like Ayn Rand would paint as radical a picture as such - to quote another person, "Female sexual power – to be so desirable that the man literally cannot help himself." The starting premises and assumptions of this assertion are debatable (e.g. female power, desirability, etc), but what strikes me is that the logic is sound.

But aside from the deceased Miss Rand, secondly, rape is arguably a real fantasy that exists for either sex. It must of course be stated that having a fantasy does not certainly mean the fantasist desires the fantasy, but to reject the existence of the fantasy altogether may not be a wise move because it limits our understanding and makes us reduce holders of taboo fantasies to being psychopathic.

Discourse on the matter, which will certainly concern/shed light on some of the deepest aspects of human nature, are also painfully slow or limited because it is not easy to broach. I recall the topic coming up in evolutionary psychology class (probably one of the few, if not the only, psychology disciplines that cares to look at it as emotionally-detached as possible), only to be met with some halting comments, discomfort and awkwardness. In many articles written on the topic, writers also spend a great deal of effort self-censoring out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities of others.

At any rate, this website has a really good article on the issue:

But just to pull out some statistics, Matthew Hutson, who raised the question "Why Do Women Have Erotic Rape Fantasies?” for Psychology Today, says: "A recent analysis of 20 studies over the last 30 years indicates that between 31% and 57% of women have rape fantasies, and these fantasies are frequent or preferred in 9% to 17% of women. Considering that many people are ashamed to report rape fantasies, these stats are most likely lowball figures."

Another one found that "in one survey of romance novels (which tend to be written by and for women), the lead female character was raped in 54%."

The article ends off well by saying "we have to accept that there are dark, uncomfortable aspects to both male and female sexuality, and that neither gender in particular is any more guilty than the other. In fact, neither is guilty at all; we are sexual beings equipped with emotions and desires that, although often mysterious, serve a greater purpose than our rational minds can comprehend."

I will leave this post at that, because I think the articles above cover quite a decent bit of ground and the statistics raised here may be compelling enough for you to click and find out more.

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