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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
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The Power of Naming
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Sexual Description
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Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
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Potential Material
Rejection ...


The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?


Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words


The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies


2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother
Sluts


Editorials

Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin



Fantasy, Reality and Rape:
A Journey Through the Dark Side of the ASSTR



Although most erotica publishers, online or off, make it clear that all sex must be consensual, there are a number of women's erotica sites out there that have sections devoted to rape fantasies.  These sections are not as large as they might have been thirty or forty years ago and some of the content isn't what you'd expect, but there are enough stories of women being forced to have sex against their will so that some male readers have come up puzzled. "If this is what women are fantasizing about," they ask, "how can we believe that they really don't want to be raped?"

To a woman, especially one who has been the victim of sexual violence, this question is absurd.  Rape fantasies are miles away from real rape, which actually has very little to do with sex at all.  Rape is a crime of power, the asserting of dominance over someone smaller and weaker, the behavior of a baboon who is trying to batter his way to the top of the pecking order or keep his place at whatever height he's managed to achieve.  Rapist don't care about the damage they inflict on their victims because rape isn't about pleasure, at least not for the recipient.  It's about doing exactly that damage and there's nothing about it that women find erotic or appealing.

So what are rape fantasies about then?  Mostly, they're a sort of mental short-hand that allows a woman to explore options that aren't normally open to her, either sex of a kind she can't or thinks she shouldn't indulge in or sex with someone who is off-limits in real life.  The infamous rape scenes in older romance novels were a way of letting the heroine be the kind of bad girl the genre didn't allow her to be, and to let the reader enjoy a sex scene without guilt.  Alternatively, rape fantasies can be a way for victims of rape and sexual abuse to regain control over what happened to them. Either way, it's not about being the victim of a violent crime or even a date with an inflated sense of sexual entitlement.  In real life, women do not want to be forced to have sex they don't want.  No means no means no.

To me, this all seems logical and obvious, but I've heard the above question from enough men over the years so that I thought it was worth looking into. After all, enough women are raped so that most men have to be acquainted with a rape victim or at least familiar enough with the after-effects to have some idea of how devastating the crime is.  How could they possibly think that rape fantasies were related to real rape at all?

Luckily for me, porn doesn't have the same restrictions that erotica does and as a result, rape-related smut has proliferated on the internet.  It's everywhere, and every possible variation on rape has its own website, including so-called rape webcams, where "real" rapists are recorded with "real" victims.  The fine print is well-hidden and usually indicates pretty clearly that this is all acting, but the idea seems to be wildly popular.

The written stories are just as grim.  Rapes of celebrities, virgin brides, girls next door and even pre-pubescent children clutter the alt.sex.stories text repository [ASSTR], and most of the emphasis is on the physical or emotional suffering of the victim.  Either they just plain hate the whole thing, or they respond physically and hate themselves for it.  Every once in a while, the victim "awakens" sexually and falls in love with the rapist, but most of the time, the idea is to inflict maximum misery on the hapless women involved, and that's when it hit me.  Men often do not understand the difference between real rape and fantasy rape for women, because their rape fantasies match up pretty closely with reality.

The implications are disturbing, especially to someone who has done even a superficial study of military history.  The invasion of Eastern Germany by the Russians, the systematic rape by the Serbian forces in the Balkans and events in Rwanda and Darfur all indicate that the average Joe has the potential, if the circumstances are just right, to commit rape.

However, the explosion of internet rape fantasies is corresponding with a decrease in actual rape rates, and although rape is still underreported, there's no reason to believe that that problem is getting worse.  There is even some grounds to believe that the correlation isn't coincidence.  Other countries, including Denmark, Germany and Japan, have found that liberalizing the more offensive forms of porn either had no effect on sexual crime or decreased it.  So what on earth is going on here?

I wasn't willing to pay to join the pictorial sites.  I've got far better uses for $14.95.  The alt.sex.stories text repository, on the other hand, is free and easily perused, and I found some interesting similarities in the fantasies.  The stories revolved around a handful of themes, most of which amounted to some form of frustration with differences in male and female sexual psychology and expression.

I used to think that it would be fun to be a man for twenty-four hours, just to see what it's like.  I later amended that to say that I would only do it if I had a guarantee of getting laid, mostly because few men can be quite sure of that at any given time.  I don't think I can say that the male sex drive is stronger, but observation has led me to believe that it's more urgent and far less cautious.  Women turn on to a wider variety of stimuli, but seem less inclined to act on arousal alone, and while restraint is strongly encouraged in women, it's opposite is supposedly a mark of masculinity.  Men also tend operate under the perception of a perpetual sexual deficit.  No matter how much they're getting, few men ever think they're getting enough and when you add to that the fact that modern rape laws give women the absolute right of refusal, there's a lot of grounds for anger.  In fact, there's more than I've listed here, but I think what I have is enough to start looking at what male rape fantasies are about.

In many, the victims are women who are unobtainable or inaccessible.  Not many virgin brides out there these days and Hillary Duff is unlikely to sleep with a fifty-year-old plumber from Iowa.  Even the pretty girl next door is often out of reach, if only because a lot of men find themselves fumbling around in the dark when trying to impress a woman they're infatuated with.  Fifteen-year-old girls are heartbreakingly beautiful and utterly out of reach, and small children are free of the guile that women start to develop out of sheer self-defense as soon as they hit puberty.  No way will the average guy ever manage to have sex with any of these types except by raping them, so rape them he does, at least in his head.

Another popular theme is bringing down the bitch.  These are the autocratic women bosses, prick-teases, domineering wives, snobs and other women who make the lives of the men around them miserable.  Here, rape is a simple matter of establishing dominance in the most primal and humiliating way possible.  Rape puts the bitch in her place, turns her into a cowering dick receptacle who no longer has power over the man.

A third approach is the "I will fuck her and she <i>will</i> have an orgasm, Goddammit!" fantasy.  These have their roots in clash between how society says women should orgasm and how they actually do.  The orgasm-via-penile-thrusting is so enshrined in our culture that even though most men have now figured out what to do with their fingers and tongues, there's still this nagging suspicion that there's a better way if only their dicks were bigger, harder, faster or more enduring.  Since they're not all that, and since on some level a lot of men seem to think that women are withholding their orgasms on purpose, this variation of the rape fantasy ends in earth-shattering female orgasms no matter what mood she's in to start with or what he does.

So male rape fantasies seem to be an outlet for the frustration inherent in the fact that men and women think about and engage in sex differently, and they seem to be based, if not in reality exactly, at least in something that might be possible if it weren't for the aforementioned rape laws and the fact that most men try to be decent guys.  Nothing glamorous about being a sex offender.  Again, whatever masturbatory daydreams men have about rape, fewer and fewer of them are committing the crime itself.  Clearly, most of them can keep their revenge fantasies safely in their heads.

There is a kind of male rape fantasy that is a better match to women's, and that's the homosexual rape.  It's a way of either experimenting with gay sex without asking close questions about one's own sexual orientation, or blaming impulses religion and society frown upon on someone else.  It's the same "He made me do it!" that women have been hiding behind for generations. A variation on this is the cautionary tale, in which a boy or a man is supposedly turned gay by a male-on-male rape.  In any case, it's about shifting responsibility for the unacceptable or the frightening, and it's a very normal part of sexual fantasy.

One would expect, given the increase in sexual freedom for women, that their rape fantasies would decrease and that seems to be the case.  Rape fantasies are still around and still, under certain circumstances, very popular, but they're not quite as ubiquitous as they were.  Once a staple of romance novels, rape has been replaced with consensual sex that is becoming racier almost by the minute, and the tables, in terms of rape fantasies, look not only like they're leveling off, but even like they're starting to turn. Women's fantasies of control and domination are leaving the more ritualized realm of BDSM and heading into the informal and somewhat loopy world of the alt.sex.stories text repository.  Women, in these fantasies, call the shots to a degree that would be prosecutable in real life, terrorizing and humiliating their imaginary lovers into doing what they probably want their real lovers to do but aren't sure how to ask without offending.  It's women overriding the supposedly fragile male ego with enough force to make it clear that men aren't the only ones frustrated by gender difference.  Women get irritated, too, when sex doesn't go their way.

I've said it often enough so that I'm starting to feel like I harp on it a bit, but I also feel that someone needs to so I'm going to say it again: sexual fantasies are only dangerous in someone who has an existing problem with low impulse control.  Some of them are things we'd like to do, but others are things we would never want to do in real life and still more are physically impossible.  I do not think that men should be held accountable for rape fantasies, no matter how realistic they are or how brutally they're written or photographed.  I think what we need to worry about is actual rape, which seems to be becoming somewhat less of a worry, if a no less traumatic experience.  For this, men deserve considerable credit.  Thanks, guys, for being a critical part of changing attitudes.

As far as rape fantasies are concerned, the point I'd like to make here is this: Women's sexual daydreams are by no means an indication that they want to be victims of a violent crime, and if you've ever secretly imagined being forced to take it in the ass, you know what I mean.

______
© 2005 Ann Regentin. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

About the Author:  Who is Ann Regentin? Read her bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.



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