Q: My husband and I have been married 13 years. It’s not necessarily a happy marriage. Sometimes things are fun and easy, other times we can’t stand the sight of each other. On occasion during sex, I have to fantasize that some unknown man is raping me in order to feel aroused. This may or may not be unrelated: I sometimes have a creepy feeling come over me when I have been swimming in a pool or showering in a locker room at the gym. I wonder if there is some unremembered sexually abusive incident that I experienced in my early childhood. Mostly, I’m wondering if my rape fantasy is sexually deviant. What do you think?


A: First, if I may: a minor correction to the verbiage. What I think you’re describing is more of a “ravage fantasy” because rape, by definition, is nonconsensual. It’s not an unusual sexual fantasy, and you shouldn’t feel weird about wanting to be taken and overcome by a sex partner.

Though I found fewer than a dozen documented scientific surveys of women who wanted to be ravaged, that doesn’t mean that it’s odd. In each of these surveys at least four out of 10 women expressed a desire to submit completely to a man. Also, any research on the subject is relatively recent. Female pleasure only became a subject of interest during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Right around this time, the Pill became FDA-approved and a new dawn for feminism was born. Women were more empowered than ever to be free, sexually. Finally they had more control over their reproductive rights, and subsequently men were no longer free to screw, impregnate and lay claim to a body that wasn’t theirs to own.

But, because the human brain is an impossibly complex machine, and its sexual desires seem to know no bounds, all genders still have ravage fantasies. Plenty of straight men have them, from your regular ol’ dominatrix scenarios to being hunted and corporally used by a band of lady bandits in a post-apocalyptic society. For many, it’s a relief from the perceived pressure of being a “real man”; an escape from being assertive in day-to-day life and the freedom to surrender control. In a time when gender equality is finally a thing, it’s no different for the rest of us. If you’re a mom, a schoolteacher, a CFO or the executive chef at the busiest restaurant this side of the river, what could feel better than hanging up your proverbial bullwhip at the end of the day and just submitting to the power of someone else’s will? Perhaps a nap, but after that: Game on.

It’s kind of a disgusting reality, but you also have to remember that the human brain is one of the only brains on our planet that has evolved to comprehend that sexual violence isn’t necessary for reproduction. In fact, we do it for leisure: One recent post on my Facebook page is about KinkBNB.com; a bed-and-breakfast-type website for those travelers who might prefer being strapped to a wheel of pain over a continental spread of bagels and berries.

Your thoughts are completely normal and healthy. Whether you choose to act upon them is between you and your husband, but keep in mind that it’s not only a stranger who can make your dirtiest dreams come true. After 13 years, you should be feel comfortable confiding in him about wanting to explore your ravage fantasies. Describe to your husband which scenarios turn you on. Be specific and not vague. Use phrases like “I want you to wrap this red belt around my wrists” versus “Tie me up.” Define boundaries, including establishing a stopping point or safe word. This is someone whom you love and trust, and that he might welcome a new twist in the bedroom as much as you would.