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HTHGS: Rape fantasies (written by Yvonne Fulbright, MS.Ed)

Ask Yvonne,  
I need some serious help here. I started dating a good friend about 6 weeks ago. Before we dated we were friends for about 6 months. Last night we were discussing fantasies, etc., and he showed me some of his favorite story erotica- kidnapping and rape stories.  

To say I'm upset is an understatement. I am a rape survivor and former rape counselor.  I'm not sure I can trust him anymore and feel totally betrayed. The thing that gets me is that besides this fantasy material, my boyfriend is a feminist. He has no history of violent, coercive, or abusive relationships. He himself finds this material to be repulsive and f*cked up, and has no explanation as to why he finds it arousing. He has no desire to actually commit rape, and never creates fantasies involving real people.  His best explanation is that the first porn he was exposed to was rape porn when he was 12. The part of the rape scenario that is enticing for him is where the victim sees how good of a man he really is and ends up consenting to stay with him.  

This type of fantasy is what he mainly masturbates to. He has not masturbated or fantasized in this way since we have been dating.  He does not wish to act out these fantasies, even in role-play form.  

I asked him if he understood what it was really like for a woman to be raped. He said no, and the stories he reads don't involve much description of the woman's suffering. When I told him what rape really was like and showed him the scars on my genitals, etc, he began to tear up and said he realized this was awful and he had no excuse and couldn't justify his behavior and he never wanted to make anyone experience the pain I went through. But yet he still finds the idea of kidnapping a woman and keeping her against her will, raping her, etc. arousing (the stories always end "happily" with the woman choosing to live with him, etc.).  

All the women are adults, by the way. 

He has agreed to see a counselor next week. What should I do? Is he a total monster? Do you think he might hurt me given the chance? Should I run screaming? Am I making too big a deal out of this? Please help! O  

Dear O,  
Given your experiences, both personally and as a rape counselor, I can understand why you’re reacting the way you are to your boyfriend’s rape fantasies. Furthermore, given that society reprimands many of our fantasies, including rape ones, it can be a lot to bear when we hear that a partner has “undesirable” fantasies.  

The fact that your partner was willing to share such fantasies with you demonstrates the trust he has in you and the faith he has in your relationship. If such fantasy was shared as a suggestion to act out, as a threat, or in a way that makes you feel unsafe, then I think that you have reason to be concerned for your welfare and may want to consider getting out of the relationship.  If your boyfriend shared his fantasy with you because the two of you were simply talking about fantasies, then I would try to take it all in good stride.  As sexual beings, people have many different types of fantasies – many different things that turn them on.  Often, it is because these things are simply fantasy that they are arousing.  Make them real, and they lose their appeal – it’s just not the same.  Take, for example, the fact that many women have fantasies of being raped, being overtaken by a stranger or suitor.  Does this mean that they actually want to get raped?  No.  Likewise, a person can have the fantasy of being overpowering or being the aggressor and it’s not bad as long as the person is not capable of ever acting in a nonconsensual sexual interaction.  

Talking to your boyfriend about how much this bothers you and the potential for him to act out such a rape fantasy can help you to better determine if this is a man you want to be involved with. Good luck. Yvonne K. Fulbright, MS.Ed.


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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
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