A rape fantasy or a ravishment is a sexual fantasy involving imagining or pretending being coerced or coercing another into sexual activity. In sexual roleplay, it involves acting out roles of coercive sex. Rape pornography is literature or images associated with rape as a means of sexual arousal.
Studies from the 1970s and 1980s have found rape fantasy was once a common sexual fantasy among both men and women. The fantasy may involve the fantasist as either the one being forced into sex or as the perpetrator. Some studies have found that women tend to fantasize about being forced or coerced into sexual activity more commonly than men. A 1974 study by Hariton and Singer  found that being "overpowered or forced to surrender" was the second most frequent fantasy in their survey; a 1984 study by Knafo and Jaffe ranked being overpowered as their study's most common fantasy during intercourse; and a 1988 study by Pelletier and Herold found that over half of their female respondents had fantasies of forced sex. Other studies have found the theme, but with lower frequency and popularity. However, these female fantasies do not necessarily imply that the subject desires to be forced into non-consensual sex in reality – the fantasies often contain romantic images where the woman imagines herself being seduced, and the male that she imagines is desirable. Most importantly, the woman remains in full control of her fantasy. The fantasies do not usually involve the woman getting hurt.
The most frequently cited hypothesis for why women fantasize of being forced and coerced into some sexual activity is that the fantasy avoids societally induced guilt—the woman does not have to admit responsibility for her sexual desires and behavior. A 1978 study by Moreault and Follingstad was consistent with this hypothesis, and found that women with high levels of sex guilt were more likely to report fantasy themed around being overpowered, dominated, and helpless. In contrast, Pelletier and Herold used a different measure of guilt and found no correlation. Other research suggests that women who report forced sex fantasies have a more positive attitude towards sexuality, contradicting the guilt hypothesis. A 1998 study by Strassberg and Lockerd found that women who fantasized about force were generally less guilty and more erotophilic, and as a result had more frequent and more varied fantasies. Additionally, it said that force fantasies are clearly not the most common or the most frequent.
45.8% of men in a 1980 study reported fantasizing during heterosexual intercourse about "a scene where [they had] the impression of being raped by a woman" (3.2% often and 42.6% sometimes), 44.7% of scenes where a seduced woman "pretends resisting" and 33% of raping a woman.
Where male rape fantasies center around raping rather than being raped, they may bring sexual arousal either from imagining a scene in which first a woman objects but then comes to like and eventually participate in the intercourse, or else one in which the woman does not like it and arousal is associated with the idea of hurting the woman.
One form of sexual roleplaying is the rape fantasy, also called ravishment or forced sex roleplay. Ravishment has become a more preferred term in BDSM circles, as it makes a distinction between consensual roleplay and non-consensual assault. Though consensuality is an important component of sexual roleplay, the illusion of non-consensuality (i.e., rape) is important to maintaining the fantasy. Crossing the line may constitute an assault.
Since the illusion of non-consensuality is important to the fantasy, one or more safewords are typically employed. This way, a participant can protest without stopping the scene, unless the safeword is used. Often, a variation on the "stop-light" system is used, with different colors designating different messages: "red" to stop everything, "yellow" to slow down or take it easy, and so forth. For scenes where there is an element of surprise, the top or "ravisher" may use a "startword" or other identifying signal.
In consensual ravishment scenes, all participants carefully negotiate what will transpire beforehand. Limits are respected and made very clear, to maintain safe, sane and consensual play. Such negotiation would also include discussion of emotional issues for both partners, especially if there has been a prior history of actual sexual abuse or assault.
- Strassberg & Lockerd 1998, p. 405.
- Strassberg & Lockerd 1998, p. 416.
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- Bader, Dr, Michael J. (2003). Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies. Macmillan Publishers. p. 126. ISBN 0312302428.
- Strassberg, Donald (1998). Force in Women's Sexual Fantasies. 0004-0002 (Print) 1573-2800 (Online): Springer Netherlands. pp. 403–414.
- Ravenstone, Desmond. Ravishment: The Dark Side of Erotic Fantasy (2005) ISBN 1-4116-5547-8
- Desmond Ravenstone (2005). Ravishment: The Dark Side of Erotic Fantasy. ISBN 1-4116-5547-8.
- Desmond Ravenstone, "Ravishment 101"
- Strassberg, Donald S.; Lockerd, Lisa K. (August 1998), "Force in Women's Sexual Fantasies", Archives of Sexual Behavior 27 (4): 403–415, doi:10.1023/A:1018740210472, ISSN 1573-2800