I’ve been struggling for a little while with what exactly I find so annoying about women who harbor fantasies of being raped. Now, thanks to a guy named “Miles Morse,” I think I’ve figured it out!
Generally, the rape fantasy falls under that protected class of private, consensual, adult activity—-it’s two (or more, whatever) consenting adults engaging in a consensual role-play about not consenting. As such, the “fantasy” part of “rape fantasy” seems to resolve the problem—-you can’t be raped if you want it, so there’s not much here to criticize. That is, until you write up your fantasy for Nerve.
In “I Roofied My Wife to Save Our Marriage,” Morse details his experience slipping his wife a sedative and taking her home to “rape” her—-at her request. The tawdry details Morse includes here—-the medicine cabinet concoction, the role-play at the local bar, the fuzzy grope against the car door—-aren’t as disturbing as the details he leaves out. There’s no indication in Morse’s piece that he realizes that for most women, rape is a torture, not a luxury.
In Morse’s piece, the rape fantasy stops being a private preference and enters the realm of public offensiveness. The rape fantasy is not unlike the urge for a rich person to “slum it,” acting “ghetto” for a night to indulge in fantasies of being poor. It’s also not unlike the tendency for a happy, healthy person to daydream about falling ill or being hit by a car in order to gain sympathy from friends and family.
Of course, fantasies like this are fairly common, and can surely make for intriguing first-person writing—-when the narrator acknowledges that they are the afflictions of a privileged class. By not mentioning rape in an essay on rape fantasy, Morse comes off as the college kid who throws ironic gang signs while sipping a ’40 in his dorm room (Full disclosure: I have done this)—-his harmless fantasy trivializes another’s exploitation.
I’ve heard that rape fantasies allow women to relinquish control in a controlled setting, to defy social norms, to allow their sexual lives to subsume their intellectual ones for a few moments. But when it comes time for these women—-or their co-conspirator husbands—-to sit down, think on their experiences, and write a in a public forum on their consensual rape fantasy, they might do well to let their thinking brains re-enter the equation.
Photo by Bicycle Bob.