Love & Sex Magazine

Out of the Dark

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Why is there this apparently common desire for women, even educated, emancipated ones such as yourself, to be sexually taken with an almost rapey level of male aggression?  The idea of being so sexually aggressive makes me intensely uncomfortable as a person, goes against everything I was taught, and seems to fly directly in the face of the openly expressed desires of women themselves.  This message seems utterly mixed to me, and seems also to leave any sexually assertive male at risk of an  accusation of rape after the fact.

The human brain is not rational, and we don’t get to choose what turns us on.  Our prudish, sex-negative culture wants us to believe that sexual turn-ons and turn-offs can be controlled, that “demand” for pragmatic sex can be “ended”, that the gay can be prayed away, that average guys can be “taught” to be attracted to older or fatter women than they might otherwise desire, that women can exorcise subby or bottomy feelings via “feminism”, and so on.  And I’m here to tell you that all this is, in the words of the late, great Douglas Adams, a load of dingo’s kidneys; sexual likes, dislikes, kinks and fetishes emerge by mysterious paths from the murky swamp we carry deep in our brains, and there’s no known way to reroute those pathways once they’re established.  Sure, we can choose whether to act on our feelings or not; there are some things I’ve found very hot my entire life yet have never acted on, and probably never will.  And there are other things I’ve tried, enjoyed and still find hot as hell, but will probably never act on again because they either come with too much baggage or it’s much too difficult to find the right person or persons to do them with.

Furthermore, some things are, as my old friend & sometimes-bottom Philippa used to say, “good fantasy, bad reality”; for many women rape falls into that category.  There’s a vast gulf between a fantasy rape by a guy one already trusts under controlled conditions with a safeword to stop the scene if it gets too scary, and a real rape by a stranger who may even mutilate or kill her when he’s done.  Fantasy rapes are (properly) negotiated ahead of time by two clearheaded adults who want to share an exciting experience; real rapes are one-sided violations of another person’s consent and well-being.  There’s nothing wrong with your being “intensely uncomfortable” with acting out rape fantasies; it just means they’re not your bag, and you would be better off with a woman who doesn’t like them either.  No harm, no foul.  The problems start when a guy who is turned on by raping women doesn’t bother to secure their consent first, or (like James Deen & Jian Ghomeshi) ignores their clearly-stated “no” and tries to hide his very real violence behind a smoke screen of consensual kink.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)


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