Comment of the Week: “Ravishment Fantasy” NOT “Rape Fantasy”


From Claire, in response to the post “Wise Guys: Do Men Have Rape Fantasies Too?”

I just want to say that I am very very offended by the term “rape fantasy.” The word rape implies something being done to you (completely against your will) that you do not want. It should not be used in context with the word fantasy. People of course may have fantasies where they wanted to be dominated/be submissive…but the people involved still wants to be participating in whatever sexual act they are participating in. No one actually wants to experience what actually being raped would feel like. It’s completely offensive how often people say that women have “rape fantasies.” Women might have fantasies about someone taking control (generally someone they find attractive and of course should trust) but as far as I  believe never about someone forcibly using their body against their will. If anything it should be called a “ravishment fantasy” because the word rape, especially in context with women, creates a greater possibility for people to take rape less seriously and disturbing as it is, to take the idea that women have “rape fantasies” to mean that it’s okay to rape someone. Rape is constantly used in ways that make it sound like a joke when in reality it happens to so many people around the world, so many friends and family members….and do you really think that they want hear that people have fantasies about what has happened to them?! I just really don’t think that the word rape should ever be used in this context. Find a new language to speak about this kind of fantasy.


  1. Yeah… ravishment seems to work in some cases but not all. My sexual fantasies are extremely violent. Obviously, they’re nothing I’d like to experience in real life but in my head, it’s fun. Perhaps ‘violent’ fantasy would work. I do agree we should probably call it something else because no one actually wants to be raped. ‘Rape’ fantasy can be misleading, and I can see how it could be offensive to some people. It’s just that ravishment does have romantic connotations to me, and my fantasies don’t always involve romance, especially not the more violent ones.

  2. Calling it a rape fantasy takes away the power of rape victims.
    My fiance raped me. It wasn’t play, wasn’t a scene. It was rape.

    But, the police didn’t believe me because of such things as rape fantasy. They told me that it’s not his fault that the fantasy got out of control and to just calm down.

    Ravishment fantasy or violent fantasy work so much better.

  3. Well said… I never really thought about the effects of using the word so casually. I’m not so sure about using ravishment fantasy in its place, but I am definantly onboard with the replacement committee! Then again, there’s alos kidnap fantasies, and others that don’t seem appropriate but who are we to draw the line in the world of sexual fantasies??

  4. I think allowing the amount of violence to influence the reference of such fantasies is vacuous at best. The idea that rape is horribly violent whereas ‘ravishment’ is not, gives rise to some really poor assumptions and can have some nasty unforeseen consequences. ‘Real rape’ is not always violent, in fact many victims I’ve seen have very few if any obvious physical indications of a recent traumatic event. Just because an encounter is not physically violent doesn’t mean that it’s not rape, and vice versa. Since the only seemingly accurate way to describe rape across it’s broad spectrum of definitions is a ‘lack of consent’, I think ‘ravishment’ is a really good term for the fantasies that we’ve been discussing, be they violent encounters or not, because ultimately there’s an underlying consent, and both parties are aware of it no matter what role they’re playing. They may be allowing their partner to ‘force’ them to do something, but that’s just the point, they’re ALLOWING themselves to be forced, they willing gave that control to someone they trust. There’s the comfort of control (being able to cease the experience when they want or need to) in our fantasies and games that isn’t there with actual rape, and the level of violence has no impact upon it.

  5. Even though I presented the possibility that it could be called a “ravishment fantasy” my main point is that I believe that it should not be called a “rape fantasy” because of the many implications of the word rape. Although I understand that there are complications when considering violent sex, the main distinction I see is that in a fantasy of this kind, whether imagined or enacted, would always be consensual. Rape, in contrast,is forced upon someone without an agreement, without desire. Rape is not role playing that your partner is allegedly “forced against their will”into any form of sex. Therefore although I understand that someone may say “no” and have agreed with their partner that they don’t actually mean “no” this means that the meaning behind the agreement is that the people participating are actually saying “yes.” So although people appear to be arguing that it is more complicated than may at first be thought, even if someone is having especially violent sex or an especially violent fantasy, that person at the heart of it is saying yes, which removes it from actually being rape therefore making it all the more obvious to me that it is impossible to actually fantasize what would actually be rape. It becomes a complete double negative, which appears to be difficult to understand and therefore see this type of fantasy with a different language as being a valid change.

  6. I of course absolutely agree that real rape is a terrible, terrible thing. And that it can seem belittling or be triggering for “rape” to be something people play with. That said . . . there is erotic power for some of us in negotiating that consensual/nonconsensual line.

    “Ravishment” sounds very romantic . . . and that’s why it doesn’t really work for me. I have a hard time envisioning a “ravishment fantasy” in which the person slaps my face repeatedly, makes me cry, slams my head into the ground . . . well, you get the picture. My fun, consensual, but really violent scene doesn’t feel like ravishment. It doesn’t feel like *real* rape either, of course. It’s a scene.

    In fact, in the scene I ref’d above, it was kind of slapstick. My boyfriend thought it would be hot to intentionally hit my head against the floor. It was carpeted and he was seeing it as more symbolic–but the carpeting was over cement and it hurt like hell. I said, “What the hell?” we took a break, I took an aspirin, and then we went on to have really hot, violent sex. And that’s what makes it play.

  7. My first experience with someone who had a rape fantasy clearly wasn’t about ravishment. So I speculate there’s probably a spectrum and unfortunately it doesn’t square nicely with much feminist ideology.

    During my first experience, we were having consensual sex when she suddenly started crying “No, no!” and pushing me away.

    So I stopped, believing then that “no always means no”, and asked “What’s wrong?”

    She said something to the effect that “I’m just playing and it’s OK. I like it this way”.

    Hence the need for safewords in the BDSM community. Some people really do want to play with the idea of rape. Some people get off on the idea of being forced to get off against their will. Some people with overly moralistic upbringings may need the fiction of rape to give themselves permission to climax.

    I’ve talked about this subject with various women and gotten various opinions. Consensual non-consensuality is a mind-fuck inside and outside the bedroom. That’s part of the thrill for some people too.

    And yes, real rape is ugly, despicable, indefensible and not the least bit funny. Unfortunately once something is declared outside the bounds of humor, the sacred cow-tippers and trolls move in…

  8. I’m a little more comfortable with “ravishment fantasy” too, honestly. It’s hard for a guy to say he has rape fantasies without sounding sick in the head.

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