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Women’s Rape Fantasies: An Empirical Evaluation of the Major Explanations

Abstract

This study evaluated explanations of rape fantasy in a sample of female undergraduates (N = 355) using a sexual fantasy checklist which included eight types of rape fantasy, participants’ detailed descriptions of a rape fantasy they have had, a rape fantasy scenario audio presentation, and measures of personality. Three explanations of rape fantasy were tested: openness to sexual experience, sexual desirability, and sexual blame avoidance. Women who were higher in erotophilia and self-esteem and who had more frequent consensual sexual fantasies and more frequent desirability fantasies, particularly of performing as a stripper, had more frequent rape fantasies. Women who were higher in erotophilia, openness to fantasy, desirability fantasies, and self-esteem reported greater sexual arousal to rape fantasies. Sexual blame avoidance theory was not supported; sexual desirability theory was moderately supported; openness to sexual experience theory received the strongest support.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Descriptions in parentheses are shortened forms of the items that have been used for brevity in text and tables.

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Correspondence to Joseph W. Critelli.

Appendix: Rape Fantasy Items

Appendix: Rape Fantasy Items

How often do you fantasize about each of the following?

  1. 1.

    Being overpowered or forced by a man to surrender sexually against my will (forced sex by a man)Footnote 1

  2. 2.

    Being overpowered or forced by a woman to surrender sexually against my will (forced sex by a woman)

  3. 3.

    Being overpowered or forced into a sexual act against my will because I was incapacitated due to drugs, alcohol or sleep (incapacitated)

  4. 4.

    Being overpowered or forced by a man to give him oral sex (forced oral sex by a man)

  5. 5.

    Being overpowered or forced by a woman to give her oral sex (forced oral sex by a woman)

  6. 6.

    Being overpowered or forced to have anal sex (forced anal sex)

  7. 7.

    Being raped by a man (raped by a man)

  8. 8.

    Being raped by a woman (raped by a woman)

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Bivona, J.M., Critelli, J.W. & Clark, M.J. Women’s Rape Fantasies: An Empirical Evaluation of the Major Explanations. Arch Sex Behav 41, 1107–1119 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-012-9934-6

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Keywords

  • Rape
  • Rape fantasy
  • Sexual fantasy
  • Personality
  • Forced sex
  • Submission