TRIGGER WARNING This post contains information about sexual assault, rape and rape fantasy, which may be triggering.
‘No,’ I said. ‘Not now. This isn’t playing. You’re for real because you’re sick. You’re a cold, twisted bastard and you’re scaring me. And I’m for real because I’m scared. I want to leave.’
He carried on pumping his cock. ‘Are you saying no, you don’t want me to fuck you?’
‘Yes,’ I breathed. ‘I am.’
‘And are you saying no, you don’t want me to force you?’
Kristina Lloyd, Asking for Trouble
I remember the first time I saw someone tweet ‘I want someone to rape me.’ It was in context, insofar as the person who tweeted it regularly wrote about dark fantasies and non-consent, but it bothered me. Even in context, you couldn’t guarantee someone would make the distinction between fantasy and reality; when the tweet was out there on someone’s timeline, with no context at all, it seemed risky, irresponsible even. You didn’t admit to stuff like that unless you were absolutely certain who your audience were.
Rape fantasy is top of my fantasy list in the sense that it’s rare for me to masturbate to orgasm without imagining being forced into sex, sex with a stranger, or more often than not, a combination of the two. As I teenager, I frequented the non-consent/reluctance section of Literotica. I find it hard to lay my hands on erotic fiction that’s dark enough for my tastes (more on that later) – Asking for Trouble is very much the kind of thing I’m into, to the point where I lend it to partners in order to explain my kinks, but I don’t think a mainstream erotica publisher would touch it if it was being pitched today.
I’ve never been sexually abused/assaulted in real life and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate in that regard. I’ve also come a long way in my understanding of the impact that reading about rape or non-consent can have on people who have experienced those things – years ago, I bought Asking for Trouble as a gift for a friend who lent it to her friend, who had been sexually assaulted, without having read it first. These days I’m not sure I’d buy it for/lend it to anyone without warning them about the nature of the sex first. I’m entirely pro trigger-warnings. But here’s the thing, I think trigger warnings are a good thing for literature because they allow people to evaluate the content without having to read it but from a purely selfish point of view, there’s something else potentially great about them: they allow authors to take more risks. In theory.
I say in theory, because unless you self-publish (and even then, I imagine rape might be a problematic keyword on Amazon), I can’t see publishers wanting to print rape scenes that are not explicitly fantasy. That’s one problem. The other, I think, is making rape work in a narrative. There’s some good rape fantasy writing out there – Sweet Danger by Violet Blue contains several great stories on the theme – but 75%+ of the time, it follows the same pattern. The main character is forced into sex, sex they do not consent to, but end up enjoying. So far, so good. Except at the end, we almost always find out one of two things: either the character’s ‘rapist’ is actually her partner, or someone else she knows and has previously consented to/expressed a desire to be raped by. It’s rape fantasy in the truest sense.
I’ve had trouble piecing together the next bit in my head, so bear with me. Obviously, rape and rape fantasy are not the same thing. No one actually wants to be raped. But because almost all stories about non-consent now take the format detailed above, I can no longer suspend my disbelief sufficiently to believe that the FMC hasn’t consented to what’s happening at some point previously, which will be revealed later in the story. The whole thing is an entirely consensual set up. Which kind of takes the edge off. For me, anyway.
So, what do I want from rape fantasy in erotica? I’m not entirely sure I know. Not actual rape, obviously. But something darker, something scarier, than a well-thought out arrangement between an established couple. Rape fantasy gone wrong interests me (and turns me on, often), but when I’m writing it myself I still feel obliged to stop short of actual penetration, for fear of crossing some unspoken boundary.
Is there an answer? Are there good examples of what I’m looking for (in erotica or mainstream fiction), that I just haven’t come across yet? And if this is your kink or s subject on which you enjoy writing, how do you get round the issues above. I’d be interested to know, so, as always, comments are more than welcome.
Like you I’ve always fantasised about rape, usually involving several people, male and female. Writing about it is different, I have a half finished novel which originally started out with the FMC being abducted for a weekend, kept tied and blindfolded and raped by her abductor. It was someone she knew, but she’d never spoken to him, let alone consented to anything. She did enjoy it, but she had some dark shit in her head anyway. That story has morphed into something completely different now. There probably is a fair bit out there on erotica sites but I can’t remember anything specific. The only thing I can remember reading recently was a series by Remittance Girl http://www.sscserver.com/rg/series/voice1.htm
I think that because there’s so much lately about consent in the media it’s become an even more sensitive subject that ever. And for the record the majority of the sex I had with my ex would be classed as non-consensual. I think as a teenager most of the sex I had I didn’t really want. Yet I still fantasise about being forced. Sir and I have a lot of consensual non-consent sex, I think it’s a safe way to live out our fantasies.
This topic is close to my heart and it’s so fraught.
My go-to fantasies are about terrible non-con sexual violence and rape. I am not the victim or the perpetrator, nor even an all powerful god, rather, I AM the fear and helplessness and the careless evil. Very difficult to explain how I fit into it, but either way, the *acts* in it are relatively typical sexual violence and rape.
In terms of how I process it in my mind, I’m with you in that the ‘edge’ is gone when they have some ‘big reveal’ that it was all consensual after all. On the other side, I can see why they do it.
I am genuinely horrified and repulsed by anything ‘realistic’ in literature or movies (like a ‘normal’ person), but later I can take control of that same scene in my head and I can eroticise it. I think that works for me because of my own control over it after the fact (which I *don’t* have in the moment where someone else is dictating how it plays out): that is, the control allows me to get ‘into’ the scenario and create what I need to create in my mind to make it work for me.
Do I write about it? Not publicly. Even the closest I have come to writing about it in public has been tailored to be ‘safe’ and is really nothing close to what’s in my head.
great post. The thing I have difficulty with is that, as a bi man, I have fantasies of being both the perpetrator and victim of rape. All my masturbatory fantasies revolve around this from one point or another
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Non-con is a big turn on for me, too, and I went through a stage of buying any and all erotica that touched on the theme. But then I kind of fell out of love with it – precisely for the reasons you’ve identified, i.e. the majority of stories out there are maddeningly formulaic. I wish I could say that I’ve found some better examples more recently but the last book I read on the subject was a case of same old, same old. However, I’d suggest that Cari Silverwood’s Pierced Hearts series, and in particular the latter books in it, play with non-consent and anti-heroes in interesting ways. (Her intent, I believe, was to write ‘modern bodice rippers’.) NB: this series isn’t strictly ‘erotica’ but might be worth a look if you’re having a drought.
Another text I have been meaning to tackle but have not yet gotten around to is B. G. Harlen’s Break Her – but I should add the caveat that this book is billed as ‘psychological thriller’ and NOT erotica.
Thanks Jane – will check them out! x
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I have tried, repeatedly. to write a piece of erotica based on non-con, and failed, because each time I try, I end up second guessing myself and dumbing down the non-con elements, feeling like I have to justify it;s inclusion.
My relationship isn’t CNC through and through, but there is a CNC flavour to it, and my fantasies reflect it, yet I struggle to put it into words.
I wanted to write a blog piece, based on a specific event where Sir taunted me repeatedly with my rape fantasies….the tears, the reaction, everything that occurred was real and honest and raw, yet, again, trying to write it….I just can’t find a way to do it without feeling like I have to apologise for what gets me off, you know?
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Interesting post, on a subject close to my heart…
My favourite erotica lies here:
And, thank God, includes tales of “actual” rape – not rape that actually happened (as far as I know!), but rape in which the victim doesn’t start to enjoy it, nor does it turn out that the whole thing was just a consensual set-up. Isn’t the whole point of “fantasy” for it to be something outside of reality?
I like to read about things which I would never really do or want done, like rape, incest, bestiality, paedophilia… am I the only one? And what’s the big deal, anyway?
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I read this with some trepidation as I still suffer from nightmares from an attempted rape in the 70s and the violent rape by my husband on this link “http://www.angelagoodnight.com/sexblog/2014/02/19/woo-part-6-is-it-better-to-be-raped-by-a-stranger-or-a-husband-angela-goodnight/”. Both make it difficult for me to enjoy rape fantasy. I needed to read this post as I am joining the Elust community and wanted to get a feel for the variety it included otherwise I might not have read it.
I don’t have rape fantasies, but I do enjoy being ‘taken’, but it has to be on my terms, I suppose.
I won’t say I enjoyed your post, but I will say I found it interesting.
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Great post on an incredibly difficult and sensitive topic. Is there a topic more sensitive? I appreciate your candor and courage. Now I just wish I had an answer for you. Maybe if/when humans evolve just a bit further, we’ll be able to trust each other to write about, fantasize about, talk about something so profoundly powerful without messing it up. Possible to act it out? Hard to say, dangerous to try. But as my partner and I start to connect with the sex-positive community where we live, the more confident I am that one can find the right place, the right time, the right other people, for nearly any sexual desire.
Good luck! And thank you again!
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