I am a survivor of CSA and have rape fantasies and a rape kink.

Content Warning: Rape.

Dear Ignacio, I've started the process of healing from my molestation back when I was seven (it happened multiple times). Something I can't wrap my head around is that I have a rape kink. I've acted out scenarios with a consenting partner and I read/watch rape fantasies (I go to trusted sources of taboo scenes and make sure the videos are faked). I've never rapebaited, but I have thought about it. With so many friends who are also victims of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), I'm worried about my fantasies becoming public. Is it wrong of me to have these fantasies and to indirectly participate in rape culture?

I’m happy to hear you have begun a #healing process for yourself. Engaging with our trauma and healing from it is never easy. In our journeys, many seemingly conflicting ideas come up and sometimes they induce anxiety and doubt.

As survivors of sexual trauma, especially of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA), we struggle with intimacy, sex, self esteem, and #boundaries. Trauma shifts our relationships with safety, trust and danger. Trauma causes extra sensitivities and impacts how we perceive the world around us, how we build trust, and what we deem as safe.

Our brains work to help us deal with trauma. For some of us, it is completely forgetting the abuse, for others, it may be deeply engaging with the trauma in complicated ways to understand it, manage it, or heal from it. Remember that part of the healing process is sifting through our emotions to find reason, truth, understanding, and closure.

Now, let’s talk about fantasies. Your fantasies, much like your dreams, are a mix of you and the world around you. We do not live in a vacuum. Having rape fantasies, however disturbing they may be, are just that, #fantasies.

Aside from direct experiences with sexual violence, many of us are also deeply impacted by the trauma of living in rape culture. Many of us grow up constantly fearing rape in our daily lives and this sustained anxiety takes its toll. It is no wonder that many people— survivors and non-survivors alike — have rape fantasies.

Rapebaiting is a form of sexual violence, and if successful, it IS rape. It is never OK as you would be engaging another human being in a non-consensual sex act. On the other hand, rape play as a kink, where you negotiate a rape scene with a willing and consenting partner and mutually decide to play out your fantasy, can be a wonderful form of release.

Women, femmes, and people assigned female at birth (AFAB), are made to feel guilt and shame about desiring something that is harmful to other women and AFABs. For some men, masculine folx, and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) engaging with rape play can bring up guilt around toxic masculinity. I encourage you and those you engage with for rape play to have open and honest conversations about the role of power in your dynamic, especially around gender, race, ability, history of trauma, and similar power differences.

Fantasizing about rape may satisfy a boundary edge for you that derives excitement from fear. Some of us erotize scary scenarios as a way of coping with living in a world with scary realities. But, thinking and doing are two different things.Your fantasies cannot be morally judged. But your actions are, because they have direct consequences for others.

In negotiating a #consensual rape play scene with a trusted lover/friend/partner, you can set boundaries, have safe words, and include aftercare as part of your play. Rape play, which falls under consensual non-consent kinky play, provides a framework for releasing a common fantasy. Rape plays can be healing for some, and an emotional landmine for others.

The fact that you are questioning whether your fantasies contribute to rape culture tells me that you are being accountable and present. I suggest asking yourself how your fantasies are helping you navigate sex. Are you harming yourself or others? Are you being harmed by others because of these fantasies? How does rape play make you feel as it is happening and after it is over? How does watching rape fantasy porn make you feel (given you are not watching real rape crime scenes)?

Remember that just because you have fantasies, however disturbing these fantasies may be for you or others, it does not mean you are tolerating, excusing, or making light of rape. You are not alone in having rape fantasies or fearing them being found out.

Watching rape fantasy porn is also complicated, as on mainstream porn sites the lines between a rape play scene and a crime scene are at times blurred. Seeking trusted porn sources so you can be sure that actors are consenting to the scenes is one way to alleviate these concerns.

While your healing is your internal personal work, seeking support from trusted people on this path can be extremely powerful. I encourage you to engage with other survivors, friends, and mental health professionals to share what you are going through. This can help us feel grounded, avoid isolation, and build an accountability kinship.

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