Rape Porn

Ever satisfying the desires of the tens of people who find my blog every day by Googling for porn and rape, I suppose I should write about rape porn specifically and rape generally. I haven’t looked at any, but I’ve read a few stories, and all I can say is, they’re bad. It’s not necessarily that the writing is bad, although I would like them more if they didn’t use a euphemism for “penis” once per three sentences; rather, it’s that it gives me the impression that the writer hasn’t ever been raped or heard or read a real rape account.

For example, take this (NSFW). It’s basically a story of a woman who gets raped in her hotel room, and finds it both distressing and titillating, as her rapist forces her to say that she likes it. This just serves to highlight how different rape fantasies are from real rape, I suppose. Rape fantasies range from passionate sex to passionate BDSM. Real rape involves someone having violent sex with someone who isn’t consenting and who will probably see the event as a major psychological trauma and never as a positive experience.

In the late 1990s, there was a serial rapist in Tel Aviv who marked certain women as victims, stalked them for a bit, and then systematically raped them, typically in their homes. The police only caught him by sheer luck; in fact, he escaped from prison recently, but was caught two weeks later.

At one point in 1998 or ’99, when he was still at large, one newspaper ran an account by the rapist’s first victim, who described in detail what he did to her: how she got out of the shower only to find him in her apartment, how he overbore her, how he tied her up and blindfolded her, and how she could only keep track of time by the songs her CD player kept playing. At the time the description didn’t seem unusual, although now it’s striking how dry and realistic it was, as opposed to the fantasies that make up virtually all erotica.

In case it’s not already clear, most rapes have little to nothing to do with sex. Sex maniacs usually content themselves with masturbating to bad porn. Both the British Crime Survey and the USA’s National Crime Victimization Survey establish that about 10% of all rapes are male-on-male, even though gays are only about 4% of the male population. There’s nothing that suggests gays are more prone to committing rape than straights – in fact, since admitted homosexuals tend to come from higher social classes, it’s likely that they’re actually less prone to committing rape. Direct profiles of men who rape men confirm that they’re typically straight, and in fact often rape men they perceive as gay.

I know it’s popular to think about rape as sex gone awry, but if it were, it’d be the most gender-equal crime instead of the least gender-equal one, and the pattern of same-sex rape would correspond to the pattern of homosexuality. Given that by and large rape rates rise and fall with general violent crime rates, it’s safe to conjecture that rape is just another violent crime.

Women are the vast majority of rape victims because most men are too uncomfortable with the idea of even raping men; the gay taboo is a powerful one (unfortunately, crime surveys need to have millions of respondents to have figures accurate enough to test that). Men are the vast majority of rapists for the same reasons they’re the vast majority of robbers and assaulters: women are socialized to be docile, so women who have troubled upbringing grow up to be abused wives rather than abusive husbands. In addition, women are also socialized to view sex as shameful, so they’re even less likely to rape men than they are to rob them.

8 Responses to Rape Porn

  1. SLC says:

    Most rape is not about sex, it’s about domination. Rapist for the most part hate women and take out their prejudices through the act of rape.

  2. Roy says:

    I started to write on my thoughts about rape-porn and rape-erotica, and I suddenly realized that there are two very different types of rape-fantasy. I was friends with a girl years ago who said that she had fantasies about rape. Her rape-fantasy, however, was very different from the reality of rape, and would really be better described as a violent seduction fantasy. Her fantasy wasn’t in having someone violate her against her will and physically assault her. It was more along the lines of having some sexually attractive but taboo individual come and violently seduce her. The important aspect was that, in her fantasy, she wants the seduction- it was about an individual using force during the seduction, but the emphasis was on both parties ending up enjoying the experience.

    That’s very different from pornography where you’ve got someone simulating a violent assault where he doesn’t care whether the woman enjoys the experience. There is some *really* disturbing pornography out there that betrays a really sick mindset that I think actually *does* mimick rape to some extent. It’s not labeled as such, but there’s a website that is certainly rape-porn where the “theme” involves men raping nconcious women. The language the site uses (“Sleeping Bitches” getting what they “deserve” I believe) definitely suggests and calls up power and control issues. It’s pretty disturbing stuff.

    “I know it’s popular to think about rape as sex gone awry…”

    Not only is it popular, but it’s an effective way of keeping women from reporting rape, and a way of justifying the behavior. It seems to go back to the “boys will be boys” mentality- he’s not really violent- things just got a little out of control in the heat of the moment. It’s another way of pushing some of the blame back onto women- as though it’s her fault or as though she shares some of the responsibility for letting it happen.
    I’m meandering again, aren’t I?

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Some rape fantasies are more lurid than that, which probably explains the market for rape porn. On the erotica blogosphere, there circulated a post in which a female sub wrote about her fantasy, which involved strange men who were entirely unconcerned with her well-being. The rape porn story I linked to is similar, in the sense that although the victim is very much unconsenting and the perpetrator is just a violent sadist, the victim ends up enjoying the experience.

    The best explanation (i.e. bullshit theory) I can think about for it is an analogy to controlled orgasms. A lot of people, myself included, report that the best orgasms they get occur when they’re tied up and stimulated almost to orgasm repeatedly before being stimulated to orgasm. That has a purely physical explanation, I suppose, but you can generalize it to “I orgasm the best when my partner tries not giving me an orgasm” and then to “I enjoy sex the most when whoever has it with me tries not making me enjoy it.” It’s not rock solid, but a lot of BDSM practices come from generalizations like that.

    Not only is it popular, but it’s an effective way of keeping women from reporting rape, and a way of justifying the behavior.

    That, and it legitimizes sexual repression. If rape is just another kind of sex, then the best way to control rape is to control sex. Although today, conservative bullshit about rape typically comes from men’s rights activism, most of the original work was done by sexual puritans who were set on proving that rape was a sexual issue in order to provide another argument to return to the mores of the 1950s.

  4. Hujo says:

    “Although today, conservative bullshit about rape typically comes from men’s rights activism”

    Oh this should be fun do tell?

    I really agree with much of this thinking, there is a major difference between the gratification of the rapist and of the rape fantasizer, mainstream rape porn is generally harmless fantasy and I think it is fair to say everyone but the criminal minded realize that. Of course certain individuals will cross the tricky fine line and try to blend the act into the fantasy and that can get dangerous when it becomes the norm for the genra, desensitizing people and creating a fetish for the attack not the power play.

    Our culture does seem to gravitate toward the mean-spirited moral desensitizing core pretty quick these days be it tv, porn, magz, blogs

  5. Bowery says:

    Well, I’m not sure where you’re getting your statistics, but here is the link to the Bureau of Justice / National Crime Victimization 2005 survey statistics: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cv05.pdf, and the numbers indicate that the rates are 0.1 (or less) per 1,000 for males versus 1.4 per 1,000 for females…that’s more like 6 or 7%. The 0.1 is also based on “10 or fewer sample cases” out of 77,200 households / 134,000 individuals interviewed.

    Your logic, on many counts, is in fact quite flawed. To say that because rape rates follow a similar trajectory as “other” violent crimes means that it’s “safe to conjecture” rape is “just another” violent crime is pretty specious. Also, your logic in assuming that male-on-male rape has something to do with homosexuality is absurd…although of course it is tru that gay men can be, and are, victims of hate crimes. I would hazard a guess that prison rape accounts for a substantial proportion of male-on-male rape, and that has nothing to do with actual, or perceived, homosexuality…it has to do with power and domination because of the opportunity to do so, lack of women to do it to, and an antisocial personality.

  6. Bowery says:

    Hmmm…not sure why my first comment did not post. unless Mr. Levy is censoring critical comments on his blog. I guess others will have to do their own web searches for the Bureau of Justice / National Crime Victimization 2005 survey to see that the statistics he cites are incorrect. And I guess others can figure out for themselves that it’s specious logic to say it’s “safe to conjecture” rape is “just another” violent crime because trends in rape rates follow a similar trajectory to trends in other types of crime. Your analysis of gender role socializataion also leaves out a great deal. I’m not really sure what your platform is, but it’s got a disturbing undercurrent beneath your self-professed anti-rape sentiments.

  7. Alon Levy says:

    Bowery, I never censor comments. My spambot occasionally makes false positives. Up until recently, Axel had never posted a single comment on this blog that didn’t get thrown into the moderation queue or spam list.

    The statistics about male rape come not from the most recent surveys, since they have too low a rape rate to say anything about male rape, but about the older ones. The surveys from the late 1990s establish the rate at about 10%, give or take; meanwhile, the British Crime Survey says that 14% of all victims of sexual assault are male, as are 17% of all victims in the 2004-5 survey cycle.

    The NCVS doesn’t distinguish between prison and non-prison rape, but it only polls people who aren’t inmates and asks about rape in the last year. A separate survey reported by Human Rights Watch comes up with a far higher figure for prison rape, putting the number at 140,000/year in the US.

    On edit: this comment got thrown into the spam list, too. I presume after having gotten copious quantities of porn spam, my spam filter goes nuts whenever there’s a comment about any sexual issue, including sexual assault.

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