Ask a Sex Therapist: Do Normal People Watch Rape Porn?

by Cay L. Crow

female wrists in handcuffs black and white photo


What Kind Of Person Watches Rape Porn?

Dear Cay,

My husband watches porn. I am not really thrilled about that but I don’t give him a hard time. What concerns me is that he watches rape porn. Should I be worried? Does this mean he wants to rape me or another woman?

Worried wife

Trust Issues In A Relationship

Dear Mrs. W,

I am curious how you know the type of porn your husband watches since most people use erotica in private. If you have been looking at your husband’s search history online or his downloads, I have to wonder if there are trust issues in the relationship. Or is his interest in rape porn something that your husband shared with you? If so, that is a bid for intimacy. He is sharing the content of is fantasies even though he might fear your response. Sharing fantasies with a partner can be risky because of the meaning people attribute to them.

Is Porn A Depiction of Real Sex

Porn is to sex what movies are to life. Movies take life and blow it out of proportion. Everyone is beautiful and everything that happens is exciting and dramatic. But most people understand that movies are not real and serve the purpose of entertainment and escape. Porn is the same. Porn takes sex and blows it out of proportion. Everyone is beautiful and sex happens smoothly and just the way you want it. Yet many people make the mistake of assuming that porn is a depiction of real sex. Porn is produced just like movies, there is a lot that takes place behind the scenes, including discussions of consent, that creates this unrealistic depiction of sexual activity.

Fantasy and Reality Are Not The Same Thing

Most porn is made and marketing primarily to straight men. Thus, porn tends to depict male fantasies of which rape is one. But fantasy and reality are not the same thing.

It is quite common for people to get an erotic charge from activities that are taboo in society. But fantasies are the musings of the primitive erotic mind. For the majority of people, fantasizing about something does not mean they want to actually engage in the behavior. In fact, acting out a fantasy can lessen its erotic charge.

Rape fantasies are common across genders. Rape fantasies do not mean that the person wants to be raped or rape someone else. It may mean that the fantasizer is interested in playing with power and control. It may mean that the fantasizer gets an erotic charge from fear. It may mean nothing. Nonetheless, it is important that you express your concerns to your husband and have a conversation about this. It could very well deepen your relationship.

I would recommend that you and your husband read Dr. Marty Klein’s book entitled, His Porn, Her Pain: Confronting American’s Porn Panic with Honest Talk About Sex and another book, Ethical Porn for Dicks: A Man’s Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure. You said that you are not “thrilled” about his porn use. A sex-positive therapist can help facilitate a more constructive conversation between you and your husband about the role that porn plays in your relationship. In a world where porn is free and easily accessible, couples need to have a straightforward conversation about porn. Often, this issue is not about porn itself but about the secrecy and deception around its use which can impede transparency and trust.

CAY L. CROW, LPC, AASECT-CERTIFIED SEX THERAPIST

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