Trigger Warning for discussion of rape, rape fantasies, consensual non-consent, and BDSM. This is a 6 part series that will be updated weekly, focusing on rape culture, rape fantasies, and consent.
I joined a group on FetLife that was dedicated to rape fantasies. My goal was to explore how to reconcile having rape fantasies, and writing rape erotica with my belief that upholding a rape culture is negative to society.
I’m going to be looking at the types of responses, and what I think on them, in parts.
Part 1 – Infantalizing Women
Underneath a lot of the replies was skepticism of feminism, and of the term ‘Rape Culture’. They brought up many things that I agree with — that the idea of continual consent puts the onus on the man to ‘take care’ of his female partner in case she changes her mind and doesn’t inform him. That relying on body language for consent, even if she says yes, is tricky at best, and impossible at worst.
It is a manner of infantilizing women, which I’ve talked about before. If we assume that women are unable to say ‘no’ in sexual situations, and our solution is to tell men that they should watch for our body languages, it puts men in the direct position of having to care for us. It informs everyone that women are unable to consent, and that men must nurture and baby us to ensure we are constantly consenting. Men must be frequently checking our body language for our continued acceptance of the act, and that women are lacking to the extent that they can’t express their own desires.
I agree that this isn’t a simple problem. Women often feel like saying no will ‘disappoint’ the man, and are told that speaking up for themselves is bitchy and aggressive. I believe, though, that the solution to this is encouraging women to take control of their own bodies and actions, not telling men to look after and coddle us. The former will take longer, but it will also be a lasting change that will be passed down from generation to generation.
One commentor used the example of submissives who play a scene with a Dominant, and didn’t like the scene. Despite the fact that the sub didn’t use the safeword, there have been cases of the submissive calling it rape after the fact. To me, that is an issue and it isn’t a problem for men to solve. This is a problem that should be handled by women, and that we should be teaching girls how to handle.
It ties in so deeply to the patriarchy, and to how girls learn to be eager to please, but we can’t treat this by having men care for us.
Hugo Schwyzer wrote a piece last year about how he was afraid he was a rapist after his female sexual partner informed him that she sometimes had sex with him even when she wasn’t in the mood. She never told him at the time, and though her behaviour might have been slightly different, he was never aware that she was not completely consenting.
While this ties in a lot to the fact that women are not taught how to say no, and not comfortable with sex and their sexuality at a young age, we can’t expect our partners to be mind readers. This is something that is pushing people away from feminism, but more importantly, it’s making people –including victims– more skeptical of what constitutes rape and the legitimacy of rape claims. It makes people feel that rape is often used to just express regret after the fact.
There have been times when I’ve been less than enthusiastic about sex, yet still did it, and I would never call my partner a rapist. He feels the same way – there have been times we’ve had sex when he was too tired, or not feeling particularly into it.
Sometimes you meet the other person half way, sometimes you say no and you both respect that.
If either of us says no, that’s the end of it, but that onus is on us to actually refuse. I do not agree that my partner should be taking care of me, or making decisions for me in regards to if I have sex with him or not. I want him to trust my autonomy enough to realize if I really wasn’t interested, I would let him know. I don’t want to be having sex with someone who was constantly checking in to see if I still was into it just because I changed posture or sighed a different way or stopped making sounds.
Other relationships will be different and should be treated accordingly. People should talk to their partner, openly and honestly, about how they want to treat sex when they’re less than into it, and what is a deal breaker for them. If you can’t talk about your limits during sex, talk about it before, and even if you’re not into BDSM, having a safe word could be very helpful to those that feel they may have to change their mind.
Just keep in mind that most men (people) are not rapists. Most people are disgusted by rape, and could never think of committing that crime against another person.
We must teach both men and women to be in touch with their desires, and to be able to properly vocalize their consent or non-consent, and to respect the consent or non-consent of their partners. We shouldn’t put the responsibility on our partners to keep a constant check on our body language, or to be able to read our thoughts.
Upcoming parts in this series:
Part 2 – Male Revulsion at Rape
Part 3 – Women’s Ability to Consent or Not Consent
Part 4 – A Victim’s Desire to Press Charges
Part 5 – Media’s Role
Part 6 – Potential Rapists in BDSM