Content warning: This article includes discussion of sexual assault in the context of consensual non-consent fantasies and may be triggering to some people.
Forced sex fantasies aka “rape fantasies” are a terrifying prospect for some, but an erotic dream for others. Also known as ravishment fantasies, they are part of the broader umbrella of consensual non-consent (CNC) kink. The fantasies can, understandably, elicit a strong reaction for those who don’t know much about them but in reality they are one of the more common fantasies.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about forced sex fantasies and why you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you have this fantasy .
61% of women have fantasized about consensual non-consent before
What is CNC Kink?
To put it simply, consensual non-consent is used to describe a roleplay scenario where two or more consenting adults act out a non-consensual event. That means that informed consent is given by everyone involved so that they can act in a way that mimics non-consensual behavior, but it is not actually non-consensual.
Everything is negotiated beforehand to know what the non-consensual behaviors will be and everyone involved should desire their role in the situation. This isn’t just about the person who is receiving the consensual non-consent act, but also the person giving it.
The key to CNC is that it is built on trust, a lot of communication, boundaries, and negotiation. It’s a form of extreme power play where one person wants to experience the rush of being in control, while the other wants to feel like they are giving up every morsel of their control.
CNC can be acted out in a huge range of ways. Here are just a few examples of what it may look like:
- One of the participants may consent to being tied up, but then may “act out” and struggle against the restraints or or try to escape
- One of the participants may consent to sex but then shout “no” and pretend that they don’t want it whilst it’s happening (note: CNC always includes a safe word so it’s clear if and when the participant actually wants to stop sex)
- People may stage an “abduction” of someone – this can be done at an agreed time or the participant may ask for it to be a ‘surprise’.
- It can also generally look like acts of humiliation, physical torture and acts of submission.
As Certified sexuality educator Cindy Luquin, tells Elite Daily, CNC is an “exploration of the eroticization of giving up complete power to another person.”
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CNC vs forced sex & rape play
Although many people use consensual non-consent interchangeably with rape fantasy and forced sex fantasy, they are not the same thing and shouldn’t be conflated.
CNC is an umbrella term that refers to any type of sexual situation in which ignoring someone’s “no” is part of the consensually agreed roleplay. CNC covers a range of sexual fantasies, which includes rape play, but it is not defined by it.
This means that people could play with CNC for their whole life and never engage in rape play. Just like people could engage in BDSM for their whole life without ever being flogged for example.
CNC kink covers a range of sexual fantasies, which includes rape play, but it is not defined by it.
Forced sex fantasies are very different to sexual assault
Forced sex fantasies are not about sexual assault, at all. People with these fantasies have no desire to actually engage in sexual assault or violate somone’s boundaries. The right to choose is central to consensual non consent and the person fantasizing is the one who is in control – they choose who their partner is and how the scene unfolds.
Just as with others kinks or fantasies, clear boundaries are put in place after a lot of communication. This means that the illusion of forced sex can happen, but it’s not real.
In fact, some people believe that CNC can actually be safer than regular sex because it requires a lot of communication, trust, and consent. Some of the pillars of safer sex that are often forgotten about in “normal” sex.
How common are forced sex fantasies?
A lot of people who have these fantasies feel ashamed about them and don’t talk about them with anyone. But they’re much more common than people often expect.
People often worry that their sex fantasies are abnormal or more extreme than other people, but a lot of this comes down to a lack of open conversation about our fantasies. One study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that participants believed that their fantasies were unusual and sexually deviant, but they were actually more common than they expected.
In his book ‘Tell Me What You Want’ Justin Lehmiller found that consensual non consent fantasies are extremely common among people of all genders, ages, and sexualities. He found that:
- 61% of women have fantasized about forced sex before and 24% say they fantasize about it often.
- 54% of men have fantasized about forced sex before and 11.5% say they fantasize about it often.
- 68% of non-binary people have fantasized about forced sex before and 31% say they fantasize about it often.
Therefore, most people have had this fantasy at least once before, regardless of gender.
Why do I have a forced sex fantasy?
People are often quick to attribute certain fantasies to certain life experiences, especially when they do not share that fantasy. They project judgements onto people and conflate certain sex acts as having a correlation with life traumas.
For example, it’s common to hear the theory that people with forced sex fantasies turn to the fantasy to reclaim their sexuality after sexual assault. While this may be true for some people, it’s not true for everyone and it’s reductive and harmful to suggest it is.
In reality, there is not one single reason that explains why people have this fantasy – as is the case for all kinks, fantasies and desires.
Research shows that women who have higher self-esteem, more frequent consensual sexual fantasies, and more frequent desirability fantasies had more frequent rape fantasies. The same research found that, despite popular opinion, women don’t have these fantasies due to sexual blame avoidance (the idea that women’s erotic desire is repressed so much that it means if women are forced into sex they don’t have to feel guilty or shameful afterwards, aka “I was forced, it wasn’t my fault”).
In ‘Tell Me What You Want’ Justin Lehmiller found that people with these fantasies tend to have overactive imaginations and a wider range of fantasies in general. People with unrestricted sexual orientation also tend to have more CNC fantasies.
“These fantasies are not about a desire to be raped or assaulted in the real world, so let’s dispense with that idea,” says Lehmiller to Cosmopolitan. “For some, it’s about a broader interest in BDSM and taking on a submissive and, sometimes, masochistic role.”
For others, “it’s about a desire to be desired—to be with a partner who is so intensely attracted to you that they can’t control themselves,” says Lehmiller. “For yet others, it may be more about the intensity of the experience or the thrill of doing something taboo.”
So, these fantasies are simply a byproduct of an openness to sexual experiences and positive attitudes towards sex.
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Possible explanations for forced sex fantasies
We don’t need to have explanations for our fantasies – why do we fantasize about anything after all? However, here are just some of the possible explanations that may be interesting to some people.
A longing to be desired
Some people with this fantasy report wanting to be with someone who has an overwhelming sense of passion and desire for them. Someone who wants them so much that they can’t control it. It makes the person with the fantasy feel irresistible, like their partner desires them so much they can’t help but force sex on them.
We know that sexual assault is wrong, which means having a fantasy that mimics sexual assault or a breaking of boundaries is very taboo. For people who like taboo, the more they’re not supposed to like something, the more they inevitably do.
BDSM & power play
Forced sex can be another way to experiment with sub/dom relationships and power play with a trusted partner. As consensual non-consent often goes hand in hand with other BDSM practices such as restraint, humiliation, brattiness, and submission, it may be popular with people who already practice BDSM.
To relinquish control
Many of us go through our day to day life in full control of everything around us and often feel the weight of our responsibilities. With forced sex fantasies we hand over the control to someone else. It can feel like a relief from the pressure of having to be in control of everything all the time. It is an escape from the weight of responsibility.
The bottom line: You shouldn’t feel guilty about having this fantasy
If you feel ashamed of having this fantasy it’s important to remember that it doesn’t come from anywhere other than a desire to experience more pleasure. It is not a comment on your character. The purpose of fantasy is to allow you space for creativity and fun in your sex life and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of having it. Remember, forced sex bears no relation to sexual assault.
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