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I'm disgusted by what turns me on. Please help.
January 30, 2009 8:25 AM   Subscribe

It seems like the only thing that can get me off is extremely unpleasant written erotica (details inside, to keep the front page clean). Do I have a problem? Should I see a therapist?

Background info that might be relevant: I'm female, North American, raised Catholic but not at all religious, 20, and I've never had a sexual or romantic relationship of any kind. Hell, I've never even been kissed. I'm pretty sure I'm straight, but the jury is out on whether I'm asexual (I've never really felt sexually attracted to someone else, but I figure I haven't had enough experience to be sure).

I discovered masturbation a few years ago. Porn does nothing for me; I only seem to orgasm from written erotica, of the sort that can be found at the alt.sex.stories text repository and other places on the net. The problem is, the vanilla stuff is no good either. What turns me on is really horrifying and taboo content - we're talking rape, torture, pedophilia, sometimes all three at once. If I try to keep reading afterwards, or by the light of day, I'm disgusted with myself because of how vile it is, and sometimes I tell myself "never again!" but I usually manage to convince myself to rescind that in a few days or weeks. So - is this something I need to get help for? If so, is it because I shouldn't feel so guilty about things, or because I'm a despicable human being to be having this fetish in the first place?

On the one hand, I tell myself that it is only written erotica. There is definitely no one getting hurt (if I watched porn, I might be less fully convinced, but I don't so it's moot). On the other hand, if things like this and this are happening - and I read more than enough "people who like this stuff make me sick" comments on those threads - then surely people are seeing some sort of inherent wrong in material of this sort. I know that I would never rape or hurt someone - the idea of even, say, slapping someone in anger turns my stomach - but even disregarding my personal qualms, I only read male-on-female stuff and being female makes it kind of impossible to act out that scenario as an aggressor.

If this is something only confined to the dark hours of the night in my bedroom, is it still wrong? If it is wrong, can I really do anything about it aside from hate myself? I think it's been around forever (though I didn't think of it as a sexual thing until recently), since I remember reading a rape scene in a (crappy sequel to) Dune book when I was pretty young and it caught my attention in a way other sex scenes hadn't. Can something that hardwired really be ripped out, and will I have anything left after? Would I accomplish as much by just giving up ever masturbating at all?

Anyways, I'm sorry for being a bit disjointed and rambly, and very sorry if I've offended or disturbed anyone reading this. I'm confused and ashamed and would rather not see a therapist, since I'm far from wealthy, but if there's nothing else to be done I suppose I will have to take the plunge. If you're uncomfortable answering here, I have a throwaway account at : sickorjustsick@gmail.com. Thank you very much, anyone who answers; I really, really appreciate any counsel your wiser heads have to offer.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (47 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Substantive issues aside, you're worried about it and disgusted with yourself. That's a sufficient condition to indicate that you should see a therapist. Perhaps you can work out a sliding scale or payment plan.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:36 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is something only confined to the dark hours of the night in my bedroom, is it still wrong?

Hell no. Fantasy is only as powerful as it is because we know that we'd never be able to really do it, is my belief.

Exhibit A: I cannot begin to tell you about all of the wild and scandalous and deliciously ribald things I have done to, for, and with John Cusack -- in my imagination. However, if John Cusack were to actually walk into the room I'm sitting in now with a rose clenched between his teeth and then drop to his knees and proposition me, I wouldn't be able to do anything more than make a few panicked squeaky noises and then run in fright because "OMG JOHN CUSACK ACTUALLY WANTS ME TO TALK TO HIM AND DO STUFF WITH HIM AND MAKE SENSE WHILE DOING IT OMG". Fantasy works precisely BECAUSE reality wouldn't.

I'll grant you that that's a fairly benign example compared to what you're talking about -- but as for that, the human brain is a very murky place when it comes to sex. Wiring can get weird, and I honestly believe that there are as many individual quirks and kinks as there are people. Truth be told, there are probably ways to SAFELY indulge what you're reading about in actual practice -- not ACTUAL pedophilia and rape, but if you find a partner who's interested in a "let's pretend" kind of game, that could work. Frankly, as long as every person involved in the particular sex act you're talking about is a willing participant and is above the legal age, whatever it is you want to get up to and however many people you want to get up to doing it with is your own business.

So reading what you're reading doesn't strike me as anything to be alarmed about -- so long as you just read about it, and so long as actual experimentation is confined to you have a hot boyfriend and you pretend to play "hot teacher and naughty student" one night or something.

Go forth, enjoy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:37 AM on January 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


You haven't offended me, that's for sure. There's nothing wrong with having any type of fantasy, provided you understand that it's only a fantasy. It's when you lose that observing distance, and it starts intruding on your life, that it becomes a problem.

If you are confused and ashamed, and you don't want to feel like this, then by all means go see a therapist. But don't go to see the therapist solely because you read wacky things and think it's wrong, because I'll tell you loud and clear that there's nothing wrong with having any type of thoughts so long as they don't harm anyone.
posted by Meagan at 8:41 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with sentiments above. I don't think you need to see a psychologist. Perhaps my views on therapy are unpopular, but I think seeing a trained professional should be reserved for seriously disruptive behavior. This feeling may come from my history with psychologists (my mother is one) but I just don't think your fantasies are really all that harmful. I've had disturbing sexual fantasies before, it's not a big deal. If you find yourself acting on your desires (i.e. actually raping someone) then that's a big deal. Otherwise, you're fine! Don't be so hard on yourself. It's your brain, it's okay for it to think about whatever it wants to think about. The key is to make sure it doesn't slip out of your brain accidentally into conversation.

Seriously, not a big deal. Plenty of people have violent sexual desires, and quite a few people actually act on them (see S&M fans).

Good luck to you, keep on masturbatin'!

(Also, sorry if my answer was a little graphic, hope I didn't offend anyone.)
posted by big open mouth at 8:53 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is something only confined to the dark hours of the night in my bedroom, is it still wrong?

No, but I'm not sure 20 people on MetaFilter telling you that it's OK is really going to soothe your conscience. If you get to the end of this thread and you feel fine, then good, I was wrong, but if you don't, you should consider therapy so that you feel OK with yourself. It really doesn't matter what I think about your private fantasies.

Can something that hardwired really be ripped out, and will I have anything left after?

You're giving it a bit too much credence. Almost nothing in humans is hardwired save for the survival instinct. The more you think "OMG this is the only way I can ever orgasm and it's OMG so horrible," the more it will be true for you.

Would I accomplish as much by just giving up ever masturbating at all?

Fighting the urges will cause you just as much suffering as giving into them. You're inventing a problem here. I would encourage you, especially as you're so young, to expand your repertoire of erotica. Maybe lay off on the extreme stuff, stop masturbating until you're turned on enough to orgasm to ANYTHING, even underwear ads. Redirect your attention to something that doesn't cause you discomfort. It's going to be easier to find a partner if you can get off to more than one thing, and especially if you can get off to things that are in the mainstream. Think of it as adding to your menu. You can still leave rape fantasies on there, but add some new items so that you and your future partner can find something you both enjoy. Nothing wrong with being kinky (I am), but true fetishes are very limiting.
posted by desjardins at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Instead of fighting it, give in. Go wild, in your imagination. Learn how to erase your Internet browsing history, cache & cookies, so you don't have to worry about anybody knowing more about you than you want. Over time, I think you'll get more comfortable with your body, learn what works physically for you, and how to refine your fantasies so that you enjoy them, but there's nothing wrong or even unusual about your situation.
posted by theora55 at 8:58 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think Inspector.Gadget may be on to something that therapy might be good not because of your fantasies, but if how you feel about them is hindering you to a disruptive degree, that might help. If you do seek therapy, make sure you find a sex or kink positive one.

As for your fears of getting into trouble, I don't pooh-pooh that because I am a World Class Black Belt Worrier although practically I don't think the FBI is going to show up. I would worry more if a roommate or family member discovered it and made you miserable about it. But you are hardly alone on this either. I recall reading on a blog (maybe even here on MeFi) about a hullabaloo online about a lot of regular people who enjoyed writing explicit, sometimes very edgy/violent fiction about kids' book characters (Harry Potter etc). I will try to track it down, but other folks here may know better.
posted by pointystick at 9:05 AM on January 30, 2009


Give in? Go wild? With fantasies of sexual sadism combined with pedophilia? ookay.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if a guy had posted "I can only get off by masturbating to pedophilic images, sometimes involving rape and torture!" the responses would not be along the lines of "that's just fine, go wild with it!". In fact I pretty much guarantee it.

OP: Without knowing the details of the type of thing that turns you on it is hard to say exactly where on the spectrum of kink--->reallyscarystuff this falls. But I think talking to a therapist is certainly a reasonable thing to do. I'd actually encourage it; if this is the only way you can get off that suggests a problem of some sort.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think this is wrong at all. Or unusual. I wonder if the lack of attraction to real people has something to do with the shame you're feeling about this--people are in to all sorts of kinky things, and coming to terms with what you like might be the first step towards finding a safe, consensual way of exploring these feelings. With other people! Who also like this stuff!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on January 30, 2009


Give in? Go wild? With fantasies of sexual sadism combined with pedophilia? ookay.

I have an inkling that people above aren't encouraging her to explore sex with children, but rather BDSM in a legal, safe, and consensual environment. Just an inkling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2009


I have an inkling that someone clearly guiltridden and feeling shameful who can only orgasm with the help of violent images often involving children isn't currently in a position to explore BDSM in a legal, safe, and consensual environment.
posted by Justinian at 9:15 AM on January 30, 2009


Justinian, It seemed to me, perhaps wrongly, that the OP more identified with the (damn what's the word I want that isn't "victim") than the sadist. Does this make a difference? I think you are right about if a guy had posted, particularly if he identified with wanting to perform these actions.
posted by pointystick at 9:21 AM on January 30, 2009


Geez, you are only 20. When I was 20 I discovered that the thing that turned me on was lesbian cow-women lady/lady or giant bull rape action! No, I'm serious. But female sexuality is weird. Almost all women respond to animal sex! And rape!

But here I am, a normal straight woman in a relationship with a nice man who I love and can orgasm with...without him dressing up as a bull and pretending to rape me. I recognized that me being turned on by that stuff was quirk and something I probably wouldn't enjoy IRL even if cow ladies did exist. The rape thing is a little stickier and admittedly I had my boyfriend dress up as a viking once and pretend to ravage me, which we both enjoyed and which led to no harm. There are plenty of sexual subcultures involving your fantasies, but acted out as fantasies between consenting adults.

Orgasm is notoriously difficult for young women. Lie down alone with a bottle of good lubricant and an excellent vibrator and you'll be on your way to a life of orgasming to many things.
posted by idle at 9:28 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


- and I read more than enough "people who like this stuff make me sick" comments on those threads -

I think the people who make those comments, are in a tiny minority, at least on metafilter.

I have an inkling that someone clearly guiltridden and feeling shameful who can only orgasm with the help of violent images often involving children isn't currently in a position to explore BDSM in a legal, safe, and consensual environment.

First of all, what they (specifically, theora55) were actually refering to was simply that the poster should enjoy her fantasies and stop worrying about them, not that she should actually do anything at all.

Second of all are you illiterate? She didn't say she was looking at images, she said she was reading text.

Thirdly, what you said makes no sense. I'm sure that people who engage in BDSM have all kinds of crazy fantasies that go way beyond what they actually do, there's no reason to think that those fantasies prevent them from doing it in a safe way. That's like saying because you fantasies about driving a bugatti veryon around the Nürburgring at 200 miles an hour it's not safe for you to drive down the street. In other words, total nonsense.

And besides, what exactly are you basing this 'inkling' on? How do you know who is and isn't 'in a position' to do BSDM in a safe way? Who the hell are you? There is a huge diffrence between saying
"I think, based on what they wrote, what the other poster meant was..."
and saying
"I think, based on what they wrote, that the OP is probably a dangerious pedophile who isn't even capable doing BDSM in a safe way"
Of course this is a total side track, because I doubt the OP is intrested in actually doing BDSM at all, and probably just wants to feel OK reading those stories, and furthermore that isn't even what theora55 was talking about.
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:31 AM on January 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


I have an inkling that someone clearly guiltridden and feeling shameful who can only orgasm with the help of violent images often involving children isn't currently in a position to explore BDSM in a legal, safe, and consensual environment.

It sounds to me like OP has only just started to explore her sexuality, which can be an extremely confusing time. I don't disagree with you that she should probably talk to a therapist, because I wouldn't be surprised if this was tied up in all sorts of shameful feelings about sex, but I also don't think that suggesting, even obliquely, that she's a pedophile based on her choice of written erotica is very helpful either. And I would say the same thing to a guy of the same age and who had had the same very limited sexual experiences.

OP: I was into pretty much the same sort of erotica when I was first exploring my own sexuality in middle school. I mean, for some reason, I spent months reading catheter erotica. While YMMV, for me it was much more about inequal power dynamics than anything else and my sexual tastes are pretty diverse today (and actually relatively vanilla). It couldn't hurt to talk to a therapist considering how ashamed you feel about all of this, but I think the presence of an undercurrent (or current) of violence attracts many women to written erotica--think about all of the borderline rape scenes in bodice-ripping romance novels.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:34 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recall reading on a blog (maybe even here on MeFi) about a hullabaloo online about a lot of regular people who enjoyed writing explicit, sometimes very edgy/violent fiction about kids' book characters (Harry Potter etc). I will try to track it down, but other folks here may know better.

(raises hand) Livejournal, a community named "Pornish Pixies". A basic description of the furor is here.

I have an inkling that someone clearly guiltridden and feeling shameful who can only orgasm with the help of violent images often involving children isn't currently in a position to explore BDSM in a legal, safe, and consensual environment.

And I have an inkling that a large source of the guilt is coming from online comments passing judgement.

Look. If you're only 20, you're still saddled with a lot of ideas about what sex is "supposed" to be like, and woe betide you if you actually lean a little bit different. You're terrified to summon the guts to gently ask someone, "um...I sometimes like to be spanked/sometimes read kinky stuff, is something wrong with me?" And if you do, and someone then completely freaks out and says something's wrong with you, that just sends you scurrying back home in shame, which magnifies the issue into a big huge thing and you start getting obsessive about it...and you end up thinking that you're a full-bore freak just because you sometimes kinda dig a little swat on the tushy now and then while your boyfriend's having sex with you.

That's what we're dealing with here, is my instinct, and that is why all of us who have given counsel have been careful to state that there is a difference between acts and thoughts, and as long as the acts stay on the right side of the law, you're in the clear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and incidentally, I think one way to explore BDSM in a safe, legal, consensual way is through reading erotica that includes it, the creation of which, and the enjoyment of which, doesn't preclude anyone being forced to do anything they don't want to do. It is, of course, fine for OP to continue to explore these things solo--I just don't think that she should feel like her tastes are even so bizarre that she should assume she'll never find a partner into the same sorts of stuff, too.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:39 AM on January 30, 2009


Speaking as one who reads rape and torture porn (bye-bye political career), but not kiddy porn, you shouldn't worry about your orientation. The fact that you're trying to expunge your orientation is tragic, as it's like mourning your eye colour. You are not weird or unusual, except in the sense of having green eyes is exotic.

If you want to explore your fantasies with other humans, you should explore the idea of BDS&M, where you will find a large quantity of people from all backgrounds, myself included, who have a fascination with playing fake violent games. You say you are asexual, but could you enjoy another human sharing kinky stories with you or playing make believe abduction? For the most part, bland hetrosex doesn't make my bells ring (it's like cuddling), but I know I'm an extremely sexual person with a libido that won't quit. Of course you may be disinterested in sex with humans, but someone is writing those stories you like, probably as a labour of love, who shares your orientation.

You should stay away from kiddy porn stories, because they are illegal and could get you into a boat load of trouble, but feel free to have an elaborate fantasy life in your head, where as yet the cops can't come in. If you feel you have poor impulse control over your desire to recreate your fantasies, you should avoid positions of authority, but if you know that you'd never harm anyone outside of the inside of your skull, go lead a happy life with nothing more than the usual restrictions.

And as for 'people think I'm sick and wrong!', well, in many countries through much of history, normal hetrosex between consenting adults has been illegal. Once upon a time, oral sex was oral sodomy and sent you straight to hell by way of the gaol. A little adultery and the tribes bounced rocks off your head/ Heck, we're still working on accepting vanilla homosex.
posted by Phalene at 9:51 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh honey, I think I was born to answer this question. My sexual awakening, my first orgasms, came when I read The Story of O at around 13. For years, I thought my frigidity in bed, my difficulty having orgasms when I was with someone else was because there wasn't enough pain or weirdness or something. Then I met a man who paid attention to my reactions and specifically to my clit instead of just banging away and getting mad I hadn't come already and I discovered...hey, neato, I'm actually multi-orgasmic.

Years past. I found myself in a very dark place and suddenly my fantasies got very dark. Very, very dark-- so horrible you don't want to know. I got myself out of that situation and today I am a very happily wed woman. I have so much excellent sex that I never feel any need to make up fantasies and I when I try (it has been a life long habit to fall asleep by telling myself stories both sexual and otherwise) those dark stories hold no appeal. I consider myself a normal, healthy woman and I don't think my private fantasies are in anyway wrong or harmful. More importantly to you, I have never felt the need to act any of them out. Even the most common sexual fantasy for women-- that of being raped-- is not one I want to act out because the best sex for me is a loving act of union with my husband.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:58 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should stay away from kiddy porn stories, because they are illegal and could get you into a boat load of trouble

Stories themselves are not illegal, only real child porn is definetly illegal and some of the cartoon stuff is of questionable legality, but text by itself isn't illegal at all.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:05 AM on January 30, 2009


Therapy seems premature. Maybe, for a start, start reading through 10 years of sex advice columns from a recovering catholic & unapologetic pervert, the fabulous, Dan Savage.
posted by Good Brain at 10:07 AM on January 30, 2009


This is, I think, a great answer to some of those doubts that we all have at one time or another along the lines of - if I really like X, how can I say I believe in Y or am Y, when they're opposed?

It says, but in a way worth reading, what most folks above have said. Many people are turned on by things they would be appalled by in real life- fantasies can sometimes be the most compelling when they're forbidding. It doesn't make you a bad person to fantasize about something you'd never in a million years want to engage in - it doesn't make you a pedophile, a rapist, or any of the other things that might be involved. It just makes you human. Whether it's the lure of the forbidden, or a way to act out the desire for submission or control or the like - being attracted to and interested in certain things doesn't make you bad or sick. Your actions are the deciding factor there - and if you're not acting on these fantasies (at least not consensually with another adult) - then no harm, no foul.

One of the things that drew me away from Catholicism is this idea that we are bad people because of what we think. I call bulls-t on that. Being angry doesn't make me a bad person. Using that as justification to lie to my mother in law, steal from my parents, assault someone - those would make me a bad person.
posted by mccn at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2009


If it makes you feel better, you have a lot of company in liking to read about things that, in the light of day, often look pretty unpleasant. Everyone's favorite Story of O "has sold millions of copies, and hasn't been out of print in more than 40 years." I haven't read it in a long time, but memory suggests that forced ass-fucking is one of the lighter moments in it. Or perhaps a bit further back in time, to our wacky friend the Marquis de Sade? His books have occasionally been censored, but have otherwise been in fairly constant readership for a couple of centuries.

Or hey, what about some of the naughty bits in the Greek and Roman classics (not to mention their erotic art)? So whatever might be wrong with you, it's something you share with a startlingly large percent of the world's population.

That said, though, I think that it can sometimes be a mistake to delve too deeply into fantasy without the corrective mitigation of social contact. Meaning, that in isolation it can be really easy to get a bit too deep into a particular fetish (think of those guys with their sex dolls, say), whereas those same fantasies can, in moderation, fuel some incredibly hot sex with real, live, actual people.

My suggestions:

a) The free stuff on the alt.sex stories are mostly terrible. Go back to the classics, and start (re)reading the best of the last three hundred or so years of written erotica. There's a lot, and much of it has exactly the sort of depraved content you want. Bonus: you can have it on your bookshelf and people will think you are a modern, openly sexual person, rather than looking at your browser history and thinking you are a weirdo internet pervert.

b) Lay off digging too deep into the fantasy side, though, and see about learning how your fantasy life should fit with your sexuality. Do you need reenactments and role playing of the naughty stuff? Or do you want to have ultra-vanilla sex while picturing the swan/Zeus raping Leda inside your head?

and most importantly, c) If you aren't feeling happy with yourself and your life, that's totally sufficient justification to talk with a therapist about how you feel. You will want to do your homework and make sure you go to a sex-positive therapist who has a clue about sexuality (which is definitely not all therapists), but you can be sure you are not going to be the weirdest person who walked in the door that week.

Finally, I think you might want to check out the new book by Daniel Bergner (who was also the subject of a recent FPP -- see here).
posted by Forktine at 10:40 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


One other thing: Just because you use these stories to get off while masturbating, it does not mean you will need them to get off with a partner. As a matter of fact, you can have the most extreme fantasies when alone and be completely vanilla in 'real life'.

And, yes, they are fine. And you are o.k. And you are probably way more normal than you think.
posted by Vaike at 10:41 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Most people here are on the right track, I think. But have you tried masturbation without any "assistance" from erotica or porn? Purposefully, I mean. Because the way you've written this, I see all your shame stemming from the subject matter you're thinking about while masturbating, and not the act itself, and your fear coming from the idea that perhaps, unless you're thinking these "twisted" thoughts, you will never feel pleasure.
I'm relatively young and inexperienced and have similar compulsions towards reading some very messed up erotica. I don't feel any shame in it, and I am not worried that I need therapy to mitigate my sexual desires (the rest of life is another matter.) But part of my confidence comes from knowing that, given a comfortable space and a good mood, I can have it off with myself quite happily with no crazy erotica to help me along whatsoever.
You say you've never been kissed, and I wonder how comfortable you are with your own physicality. I figured out, for myself, that one of the reasons I like the truly horrific, mostly impossible erotica, was that it distracted the part of my mind that's always running on about crap like hair in my face or lump in the bed or what was that noise? enough to let me pay attention to the physical enjoyment of masturbation. Once I had a little experience with another person under my belt, I began to feel a lot more comfortable with myself while I was alone, too.
This is a little long, sorry. But basically- I'm coming from a similar place, you should try masturbating without any porn whatsoever and get to know what you like on a purely physical level, and probably, once you have a little experience with someone else (yes, even just kissing helps) your tastes in erotica will begin to include more vanilla things as well.
posted by Mizu at 10:52 AM on January 30, 2009


There's a fundamental difference between what you think
about doing and what you actually do.

One is the Word, and the other is Flesh.
And while sometimes one leads to the other,
they're different for a reason.

Furthermore, asking a trusted friend to "rape" you
in a scene that you might script and orchestrate,
is a world apart from the experience of actually being raped.

I agree that you should probably masturbate
to a lot of different things. It is supremely helpful to
be able to get off with "mainstream" stimulation.
That is, rubbing the clit with lubrication and no erotica.
But as long as everything you want to actually enact
in real life is between consenting adults, even
if those scenes involve taboo things, I think you'll be fine.
It's your anxiety about this that will likely cause
you more problems.

The other day I was watching some dumb videos online
and there was this one clip from this porn movie where
the actress started having an epileptic seizure in the
middle of the shoot. Of course the shoot stopped at
that point. The guy having sex with her was like, what
the hell? And he got off. I mean, he withdrew his penis
from her body. Anyway, I was watching this and thinking,
wow, I bet that might have felt pretty good. To be inside
someone and them having a seizure. And if I wanted a
partner to enact that, would I be a bad person?

I know this gay couple. One is white and the other black.
They confessed to me one time that they sometimes
enacted some 'slave-play' in the bedroom, with play
whips and bondage and some language that is decidedly
not very politically correct. What's more, it's the black
partner who initiated it. It got him off. And I know this
couple and they are completely devoted to each other
and full of respect for each other, and that's probably
why they can go so wild in the bedroom and be completely
confident and charming people in the rest of their lives.

Years ago a girlfriend wanted me to 'play-rape' her and
as I was doing it, it was quite disturbing for me. Partly because
I consider myself a lovely man who would never do such a thing
in real life, but also because it was very hot. For a long time
I didn't know how to deal with the discrepancy between
how turned on it made me to be forceful with her, and the
fact that I consider myself a feminist. I brought this up with
her and she laughed and asked me how I thought SHE felt,
her also being a feminist, but also asking me to do this.

There's lots of ways to live healthy and strange desires.
You're young yet. You'll figure it out.
posted by Sully at 11:03 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm going to approach this from a slightly different perspective and it might seem pretty out-there at first, so bear with me:

Most people who have suicidal thoughts never carry them out. It's often because the idea of suicide is really just a romanticized stand-in for "make the pain go away." What they really want is to stop their emotional pain; they don't actually want to die. In cases like this, thinking about the messy painful reality of death and suicide's complications (see How Not to Commit Suicide, linked in AskMe before) can almost always dissuade someone from coming up with a plan.

It's possible you're using these violent stories in a similar way. If you fantasize about being violently raped, maybe you're thinking about that as a metaphor for, perhaps, someone being so turned on by you that they have an uncontrollable urge to have sex with you right this moment. Or maybe you don't feel very attractive or worthy of a fulfilling sexual relationship, so your fantasies are of others reinforcing your perceived lack of worth. We here can't diagnose what that means, but maybe you can interpret that yourself.

Before you get yourself to a therapist or a BDSM meetup, you might want to try a twofold approach to thinking yourself out of these fantasies. One step is to figure out what your fantasies are trying to tell you about yourself and what you actually want out of your future sexual relationships.

The word "actual" above is the key to step two - when you find yourself getting turned on by the ultraviolence, take a step back and try to imagine how it would actually feel. If the scenario were applied to you in real life, would you still be turned on, or would you be in too much pain (not the sexy masochistic kind of pain, but the I-just-broke-my-leg pain) to even be thinking about sex? This will help you to differentiate fantasy and reality; it may at first make masturbation less satisfying when you suddenly start thinking about it, but after a while you may be able to start steering your mind to a less extreme fantasy that you still find hot.

Don't think of this as "hardwired," think of it as "conditioned," because it almost certainly is. And don't think of this as "wrong" or shameful; think of it as something you've been doing that you don't completely like and therefore want to change. You don't have to cut the scary sex stories out completely if you don't want to, but you can certainly rein them in a little so that they're an interesting optional part of masturbation rather than an absolute requirement.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:09 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


A few more thoughts:

If I try to keep reading afterwards [I assume this means post-orgasm] or by the light of day, I'm disgusted with myself because of how vile it is, and sometimes I tell myself "never again!" but I usually manage to convince myself to rescind that in a few days or weeks.

It's a completely normal reaction to be disgusted or disinterested in porn/erotica after orgasm, regardless of the content. There was a question on AskMe about that - by a female - but I'm too lazy to go searching.

You're basically binging and purging, a sort of masturbatory bulimia, which will not work. It doesn't work with bad eating habits, it doesn't work with alcoholism, and it won't work here. Moderation in all things. When you swear off something, you're setting yourself up to fail. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. I would highly recommend the book "Women, Sex and Addiction" by Charlotte Kasl (?). I'm not diagnosing you as a sex addict, but some of the behaviors (can't stop even though you wish you could) point in that direction. There is hope, and I'll put my gmail in my profile if you want to contact me further about this.

Incidentally, if you do pursue therapy, I encourage finding a kink-friendly therapist. There are three ways to go about this: 1. Google "kink aware professionals" - I believe there's a list hosted on the National Council for Sexual Freedom site. 2. Call your local LGBT center and ask for gay-friendly therapists (you can do this anonymously). Doesn't matter if you're straight, if the therapist is gay-friendly they're likely to be kink-friendly too. 3. Call up a therapist and interview them. It's easier to admit things on the phone, and it'll then be easier in person if you already know they're not judgmental about such things.
posted by desjardins at 11:19 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll weigh in on the side of the "this is only a problem because it bothers you" responders. While I don't share it, I don't find your kink (as described) disgusting or think you are disgusting for getting off on it. Reading your description, it seems that you respond to the power imbalance of the scenes you read. Lots and lots of people have kinks related to power and sex, from mild to nasty. As long as all actual living beings involved are consenting and of legal age, I don't think anyone else is in a position to pass judgment. Or more accurately, I don't think you should be too concerned what others think.

If you do want to rid yourself of this kink, I think desjardins' advice is best. To paraphrase, your best approach is to reprogram your sexual response through positive experiences with other stimuli. Otherwise, wishing you didn't react to these stories is like someone praying to Jesus to make their gayness go away - great in theory, not effective in reality. You may have to accept that (descriptions of) "nasty" sex will always turn you on.

Also, Dan Savage is a good resource for honest discussion of sex.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2009


And besides, what exactly are you basing this 'inkling' on? How do you know who is and isn't 'in a position' to do BSDM in a safe way? Who the hell are you?

I'm the guy suggesting that if someone is feeling guilt-ridden and shameful about only being able to orgasm when reading torture porn sometimes involving kids that it's probably a good idea to talk to a therapist. I'm the guy suggesting that only being able to get turned on by what may be a very out-there kink goes beyond "kink" to something it may indeed be time to talk to a professional about. (note: the only. Lots of people have kinks; for the great majority it is a preference and not something they can't get off without in any way, shape, or form.)

I'm not the guy suggesting that, oh, just go wild with it and I'm sure you'll just get right over your guilt and shame, dearie. No reason at all to talk to a therapist even though you're worrying yourself sick over these fantasies and wondering where they come from.

Who the hell are you?
posted by Justinian at 11:54 AM on January 30, 2009


but I also don't think that suggesting, even obliquely, that she's a pedophile based on her choice of written erotica is very helpful either.

PhoBWanKenobi: I don't think anyone, including me, made the suggestion that the OP is a pedophile. But the OP herself says she gets off on a bunch of extreme porn including pedophilia. It's right there in the question. Obviously the OP is no more a pedophile than someone who gets off on rape fantasies is a rapist but saying the OP can only get off on extreme porn which includes pedophilia porn is simply a factual recounting of the OP's question, not an implication of some sort.
posted by Justinian at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2009


Rape, torture, pedophilia. The three scenarios you list involve a loss of control. Rape fantasies are incredibly common among women, and the dominant theory is that we are socialized to repress our sexual urges and see them as wrong, dirty, or sinful, which leads us to prefer scenarios where we are not responsible for having sex. If a hot man forces you to sleep with him, you're not a whore, right? So just consider whether part of the reason that you're drawn to these disturbing fantasies is that you are not comfortable taking responsibility for your own sexual desires.

If that's what's going on, then time is your friend. Once you become sexually active and get used to expressing your sexual desires without your genitals exploding into STD confetti and without the letter A being branded into your forehead, you will likely find that more "vanilla" erotica turns you on, and you don't need the rape stuff any more.

You do not need to feel shame about this.
posted by prefpara at 12:05 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm the guy suggesting that only being able to get turned on by what may be a very out-there kink goes beyond "kink" to something it may indeed be time to talk to a professional about.

Justinian, anon is pretty young and, from the content of the post, only discovered masturbating at all a few years ago. I'd try to keep in mind that, first of all, rape and torture fantasies are actually incredibly common for many women, not extreme, and also that at twenty, many women often haven't even had orgasms at all yet, much less discovered the full gamut of what turns them on sexually. I don't think it's at all weird to be idiosyncratic about what you can get off on when you first discover you're capable of getting off at all. Especially if you haven't had sexual contact with others yet. (Anon., trust me on this one, kissing opens all sorts of yummy sexual doors that you likely have not even imagined!)

So, OP, I just want to say again, reiterating what almost everyone on this thread has said: you're normal, you're not a freak, and you're in good company. And that trying to snuff out your desires completely is probably not going to work and going to make things a lot screwier in the long run, but finding safe ways to explore this side of sexuality is probably a good idea.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:29 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're just playing with ideas of transgression, because you're still young and sex might feel slightly transgressive. You're inexperienced, and the idea of overwhelming desire/inexperience vs experience are playing around in the background when you are sexual.

You didn't say if you find the idea of being the violator or the violated to be hot, or even if you're the same gender in your fantasies as you are in the flesh. You might flip between the possible options... who knows? Your fantasies might change once you gain more experience and confidence, or not. What I would you had no fantasies at all!
posted by Grrlscout at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2009


PhoBWanKenobi: I guess it is just me, but talking to a therapist for a bit doesn't strike me as that big a deal. Certainly nothing to feel weird or ashamed about. It just seems like a weird commentary when so many people urge the OP not to feel ashamed about her desires (which I agree with) but act like talking to a therapist is something to be ashamed about.

Is there some reason why the OP can't try not to feel ashamed and talk to a therapist about why she is feeling so guilty and ashamed while delving into why she only seems to get off on such extreme fantasies? It seems like you're stigmatizing therapy in the name of trying to destigmatize extreme fantasies.
posted by Justinian at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2009


It seems like you're stigmatizing therapy in the name of trying to destigmatize extreme fantasies.

Hey, I said several times that I thought therapy was a fine way to help deal with feelings of shame about sex--and several of the people above did, too. But regardless of what she decides to do, I think it's important to know that she's not an OMGDANGEROUSFREAK and, in fact, pretty normal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:05 PM on January 30, 2009


er... make that "would find it strange that you had no fantasies at all"

Damn you, post pub MeFi posting!
posted by Grrlscout at 2:29 PM on January 30, 2009


Justinian, I think PhoB's been pretty clear. No one here is saying pedophilia or rape is A-OK. It's just that like nonsexual dreams about being married to a giant badger do not mean that I want to tie the knot with the inhabitant of the nearest sett, sexual fantasies about raping/being raped do not mean that the person wants either to happen.

I'm all for sifting through the offerings of your subconscious for meaning and insight, but not to judge the person who's asking for help because she feels broken about what flashes in her head when she masturbates. Especially when, in the grand scheme of things, her fantasies are pretty common.
posted by Grrlscout at 3:00 PM on January 30, 2009


Grrlscout: And I think I've been pretty clear when I've made the exact point you're making, that sexual fantasies about raping do not make you a rapist.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on January 30, 2009



Rape, torture, pedophilia. The three scenarios you list involve a loss of control. Rape fantasies are incredibly common among women, and the dominant theory is that we are socialized to repress our sexual urges and see them as wrong, dirty, or sinful, which leads us to prefer scenarios where we are not responsible for having sex. If a hot man forces you to sleep with him, you're not a whore, right? So just consider whether part of the reason that you're drawn to these disturbing fantasies is that you are not comfortable taking responsibility for your own sexual desires.

If that's what's going on, then time is your friend. Once you become sexually active and get used to expressing your sexual desires without your genitals exploding into STD confetti and without the letter A being branded into your forehead, you will likely find that more "vanilla" erotica turns you on, and you don't need the rape stuff any more.


I really think this is key -- these fantasies allow exploration of sex without having to be the driver; they let you surrender to the whole notion of sex without having to imagine what is almost impossible -- being in control of a sexual experience when you have no such experience yourself.

Anyway, you're not nuts, and you don't have to be repulsed or bothered by them. Go on your merry way. Your sexuality will unfold in time.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:16 PM on January 30, 2009


Stories themselves are not illegal, only real child porn is definetly [sic] illegal and some of the cartoon stuff is of questionable legality, but text by itself isn't illegal at all.
It is important to mention, I think, that this is reliably true in the United States, and in no other jurisdiction on the face of the earth. And even in the US there's a nonzero chance that a court will become involved before you win.
posted by genghis at 8:01 PM on January 30, 2009


genghis - are you claiming that the stories described by the OP are illegal in virtually every country on earth except the US? In Japan, the source of most manga, even lolicon is not illegal. To quote the Wikipedia entry on lolicon:
On March 11, 2008, UNICEF Japan issued a statement calling for further tightening of child pornography laws in Japan, including the ban of sexual depictions of minors in manga, anime and computer games. Such a ban, however, is not being considered by Japan officials for the time being.

The quoted article goes on to list the laws regarding child pornography in some other countries, some of which ban realistic visual depictions of virtual "children", but text stories are another thing entirely. Free speech, as it applies to the written word, is a fairly widely held principle.

There is a non-zero chance you'll be hauled into court for murder while innocently walking down the street, but that doesn't mean it should effect you daily activities.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 1:45 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am less concerned that this extreme erotic turns you on and more concerned that it is the only way you can get off. Part of the diagnostic criteria for a paraphilia (a sexual dysfunction) is that it is your exclusive means of orgasm. The other problem is the level of self-hate associated with the act. If it were not your exclusive means of orgasm, I would agree with many posters that the best course of action would be to work to reduce the self-hate and realize that fantasy is fantasy. However, since it is your excluse means of orgasm, I would have to recommend the therapist.
posted by hworth at 6:01 AM on January 31, 2009


i think you're fine. you're young, you're inexperienced, and you're exploring. as others mentioned above, there's a difference between fantasy and action. finally, don't worry that this is your only way of getting off until/unless you pass up the opportunity to be in a sexual relationship with another consenting adult and read alt.sex.stories instead. right now, since you are inexperienced and have no consenting adult to fool around with, it makes sense that only this sexual stimulus can get you off. however, if you start passing up real relationships in favor of stories, then you know something's amiss.
posted by be11e at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2009


In my experience, people get off on what they get off on. I remember reading things in books, seeing things on TV, when I was still very young, and getting "weird" feelings. There were things that I found sexually resonant before I was old enough to understand what they were. What you're talking about (discovering and reading things that turn you on, and finding out they're not "vanilla") is pretty common. Don't panic.

I would recommend seeing a therapist, because good therapists help you explore, give you things to think about, help you figure things out for yourself. If you find a good one, you'll learn more about yourself, and I think the most likely result for you would be increased confidence and self-esteem.

I would also recommend keeping an active social life, going out, meeting people, having lots of experiences, and if you can manage it, going on dates and finding someone who might become an actual sexual partner for you in the future. Make it your goal to be alone in your room at night as little as possible. The satisfaction and fulfillment of real, actual sex, while it probably won't change the intellectual concepts that turn you on, can open you up to an entirely different world of sexuality that makes the late-night reading less powerful, less appealing, and less guilt-complexy. Good luck.
posted by eleyna at 7:50 PM on February 1, 2009


I'm thinking that when you get a real live partner, you may find that the things you are worried about are not really an issue anymore--your sexual energy with be focused elsewhere. You're focusing on it now because you think it's all you've got, because it's all that's worked so far. In time I imagine that will change. Be easy on yourself.
posted by agentwills at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2009


If you want to have a different perspective on what you are fantasizing about, why not read about the real thing? "The evil that men do" by Michaud and Hazelwood was an interesting book about rapists, including some sexual sadists, that will give you some fairly deep back story on such things.

Please, please, please take care and do not get enthralled with someone who would make you a victim in this, even if you started out as a more or less willing submissive as one woman described in that book did.

But as others say, if it's just your fantasy, why be ashamed? In our minds we are free, even while it's good to stand aside and have a perspective on where our minds have roamed. Given that you're 20 with no sexual relationship experience, realize you have barely scratched the surface of knowing yourself.

Also, depending on what country you're in, verbal depictions might not be legal either.
posted by Listener at 5:00 PM on August 2, 2009


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