They say we live in a “rape culture.” I’m not so sure about that.
FACT: I’ve never seen guys at a bar hoisting beer mugs and laughing about how much they want to rape chicks. In my day-to-day comings and goings, I’ve never met another male who confided to me that he fantasizes about raping women. Not once. And I’ve rubbed elbows with some shady characters, including convicted rapists—and if there’s a type of guy you’d think would be willing to share the occasional rape fantasy, it’d be them. Goddess strike me dead if I’m lying, but I’ve never personally met a man who told me that he has rape fantasies.
FACT: I’ve never fantasized about raping anyone. Ever. And it doesn’t even have anything to do with being virtuous; it’s that I don’t understand rape on an emotional level. I’ve been angry enough that I’ve wanted to kill people. I’ve been depressed enough to contemplate killing myself. So I can understand suicide and murder. But I don’t understand how you can get aroused by sexually forcing yourself on someone who doesn’t want to fuck you. I don’t think I could get motivated enough to complete the project. Rape doesn’t even seem horrifying to me as much as it seems icky—the desperate last-ditch move of some loser in the reproductive sweepstakes. So in addition to not emotionally connecting with the act of rape, I am simultaneously too vain and insecure to ever consider rape as a mating strategy.
FACT: I’ve run across at least a dozen, and probably more, women who’ve told me they fantasize about being raped.
Before you start shaving your eyeballs in rage and shrieking that I need to be dry-raped merely for honestly stating this has been my experience, some clarifications are in order…
• These girls never say they fantasize about being injured
• They never talk about being forced to endure pain or disfigurement
• They always say their fantasy involves someone they find attractive
…so these imagined rape scenarios sidestep many of the common negative associations with the word “rape”—namely, being brutalized against your will by some ugly asshole.
So it’s not exactly what Whoopi Goldberg would call “rape-rape”—there’s at least some coy level of consent, or I don’t think the poor girl’s brain would be generating the fantasy in the first place.
Mind you, I don’t even ask these girls about whether they have rape fantasies—I’m not pushy like a rapist is—but sooner or later, they cough up the information. When I ask them to explain why they daydream about some handsome steed galloping up and taking them by force, their answer usually hinges around the idea that the stud in question was so overcome by lust for their beauty that he was incapable of controlling himself. Again, these are their answers, not mine—don’t shoot the messenger, Calamity Jane.
For all we hear that rape is about power and not sex—sure, then explain all those penises and vaginas—these female rape fantasies involve a man who is completely powerless, at least over his baser instincts. In an odd way, the woman is in control here, and the man has no power over her seductive wiles.
DELAYED TRIGGER NOTIFICATION: For fuck’s sake, this doesn’t mean that all women have rape fantasies or that no men do, only that it hasn’t been my experience. I hate even having to insert such disclaimers, but many of you apoplectic bruised bananas are so touchy about your pet victimization issues, I feel I should tackle your stupid retorts before you even make them.
None of this is intended to deny the existence of rape nor the brutality and trauma that are so often involved. But it’s been such a persistent pattern in my life—guys don’t have rape fantasies, but women do—that I felt it worth noting. Maybe I’m an odd egg who hangs around weird people. Maybe the normal experience is to have a bunch of dudebros who jovially share rape fantasies with one another while the gals stand around aghast. But if that’s the norm, I’ve never seen the norm.
Maybe we do live in a “rape culture,” only not quite the kind that people seem to mean when they say “rape culture.”