Themes of Violence in Replies So Far

What Women Really Think
Oct. 26 2009 8:00 AM

Themes of Violence in Replies So Far

Thanks to everyone for your patience as we get The Desire Lab started. We'll begin posting more replies this week. Let's spend one last week on the range of ideas that have come up around sexual fantasy, with a new subject on the way a week from today. Here's the initial question I asked last month, along with the follow-ups I've posted; I'd still love to hear your thoughts at desirelab@slate.com .

What role does sexual fantasy play in your life? Some researchers say that erotic fantasy does not play a major part in women’s lives. Little is truly known. How often-and when-do you fantasize about sex? What are the fantasies? How long do they last? I hope you will get deeply into the details. Understanding lies in such depth.

Advertisement

Several of the answers I've received note that fantasy is essential to reaching orgasm. Researchers are beginning to study the parts of the brain that are involved in sexual climax. For those of you who depend on fantasy to come, is your sense that fantasy is putting you over the edge by stoking up arousal? By shutting off the voices of inhibition? By creating a kind of distance between you and your partner? Is fantasy serving in some other way?

I've noticed that very few responders said they do not often fantasize. Probably this was a product of the way I phrased the initial question. Please don't hesitate to write in with your thoughts if you fantasize rarely or not at all.

I’m interested, too, in the fact that themes of violence and submission have emerged so strongly in the replies. When I raised the topic of rape fantasies in my New York Times Magazine article, I did so with some hesitation-and with some uneasiness from the psychologists I had spoken with about the subject. Let’s state clearly what probably goes without saying: This discussion is not an endorsement of sexual assault. But it would be enlightening to hear your analysis about the appeal of such fantasies. And it would be illuminating to know whether there are lots of women out there whose imaginings don’t include the themes of violence and submission at all.

Please do feel free to comment on each other’s contributions, but remember to be respectful. This is a space that aims not for judgment but insight.

Daniel Bergner is the author of the new book What Do Women Want? Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Politico Wonders Why Gabby Giffords Is So “Ruthless” on Gun Control

Behold
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?
War Stories
Sept. 23 2014 4:04 PMThe Right TargetWhy Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 22 2014 11:42 AMIn Defense of HRStartups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AMI Stand With Emma Watson