Advice

On self-medicating with rape porn

I got raped, and ever since I’ve been turned on by rape porn. The realer the better. Never fantasizing about it happening to me, but suddenly into watching it happen to others. WTF is up with that? It feels super fucked up- and I feel really, really guilty for liking it (especially because I know how horrible it feels).

 

Okay, here’s what’s up with the rape porn:

First, it gets you off. (After all, porn is porn.)

Second, watching rape porn normalizes your trauma and helps you process your emotions and regulate your anxiety. What you’re doing is essentially a form of self-administered exposure therapy.

Third, this pattern of behavior offers you a convenient way to blame yourself for your own rape. Everyone keeps telling you that being raped isn’t your fault, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have all sorts of complicated emotions about being raped, not the least of which are guilt and shame. You have some feelings about your rape that you don’t think you’re allowed to feel, and you’re using the porn as an outlet. In other words, watching rape porn lets you feel guilty without feeling guilty about feeling guilty. (Like I said, it’s complicated.)

Don’t worry. There will come a day when watching rape porn doesn’t do anything for you, because eventually, you’re gonna forgive yourself — not just for liking rape porn, but for all that other dark, sticky stuff you’re feeling too.

In the meantime, try not to be too hard on yourself. Healing is a fucked-up, messy process. You’re getting it done in your own way, and that’s perfectly acceptable.

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19 thoughts on “On self-medicating with rape porn

  1. J.Nolast says:

    I struggled with this same scenario. I used to get terrified at anything even close to sexual assault/rape in movies/media when I was growing up. Then when I was 14 I met up with an online predator, hated the hell out of myself for falling for it, and kept it a secret for years. I made up a story to “cover” for myself and my self-perceived stupidity – that some random guy had just grabbed me one day while I was walking home. That was the story I told my exceedingly small group of close friends until I was 21 (and I finally admitted the truth to my boyfriend). Telling that story let me sort out some of my emotions, but not all of them. After I was 14 I became really turned on by rape porn. Once I told the truth to my boyfriend about what had really happened, though, I gradually lost interest in that type of porn altogether. I didn’t realize how enormous my self-hate was until I finally told the whole truth. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t until I faced all of my lingering emotions about what had happened that rape porn stopped becoming a pull for me.

  2. JC says:

    Totally on board with the idea that this woman is normalizing rape. I am less clear why her question suggests she blames herself. This isn’t any criticism, but what am I missing in the subtlety of expression that would suggest she feels this way?

        • Kylie says:

          The victim watches the porn and derives pleasure from it. The pleasure is caused by desire for sex not rape. By watching the porn and getting off, the victim associates the pleasure with the rape, convincing their self that rape is pleasurable and good. All of that is happening subconsciously. The feeling of guilt for watching the porn is a manifestation of the guilt she feels for having been raped – a defense mechanism employed by the psyche to protect itself from the pain of acknowledging the guilt of being raped. That’s why Coquette’s advice about waiting it out is so perfect, because the victim literally needs to wait until her psyche can handle it.

    • Daffodil says:

      Feelings of guilt are a very common response to trauma, and it’s almost inevitable after rape. It’s a pretty safe assumption on Coke’s part. And the feelings of guilt have to be processed somehow, no matter how much the survivor knows that it’s not their fault. Watching porn is less destructive than some other methods I can think of.

  3. Anna says:

    As a woman who has never been raped and enjoys mostly non-consent/reluctance porn… It would be a shame if people extended this answer to all women w an interest in that dynamic in porn. There are many of us, & not all of us are trying to process trauma. Sometimes what gets you wet is what gets you wet- psychobabble be damned.

      • Kylie says:

        But what gets you off is evidence of your desires, not your ideals. When we allow our desires to be expressed through sex, we are freeing them, objectifying them, giving them life. And like with drug/alcohol use, if we control it, not a problem, if it controls us, its an addiction.

        Unless you think it’s ok to rape someone, you will feel guilt about objectifying it through sexual desire.

  4. Jess says:

    Something you said worried me – “the realer the better.” There is definitely some pretty real stuff out there, and its probably worth finding porn that you’re sure hasn’t actually hurt anyone.

    Perhaps you could focus your attention on types of porn such as hentai or erotica, or spend some time looking for scenes that you’re 100% sure are staged, albeit well staged so it doesn’t feel fake.

    All that aside, I’m sorry you were violated and I wish you well.

    • Nerdlinger says:

      Doubt there is a universal rape experience, so what feels real to her might not even entail “more visceral and brutal” as we might imagine it. As an example, look at some of the quotes by perps on Project Unbreakable: some seem weirdly cartoonish evil to me, others bizarrely understated or even whiny. But each of these folks still victimized someone, perhaps through constant badgering until she/he just went along to shut him/her up, or by using fear of retaliation all while assuring his/her victim that she/he was gonna treat her right, or a blasè remark at breakfast in the morning thereafter, yadayada, you get my point.

      Second, you can never be sure porn is 100% friendly even if it has that aura (Kink.com and James Deen come to mind). There are of course indicators, but there is always a certain risk that SW actors take consciously when choosing said job, but I might have been flooded with Tits and Sass material to read a patronizing attitude towards SWs where there isn’t one (btw, such material could perhaps also help the letter writer process some of the feelings of guilt for consuming said genre).

  5. Cuttlefish says:

    I think Coke’s insights are spot-on, but I also wanted to add something a therapist once told me on this very topic that I found helpful: when we fantasize (either by making up a scenario, watching or reading porn, etc), we control some or all aspects of the fantasy. We control when to press play or pause. We can shut it off if it doesn’t do anything for us and then go find something we like better. If it is a fantasy we are making up in our heads, we control EVERYTHING. So in the case of rape porn, though it may seem like we are getting off to the thing that traumatized us, in a way we are doing the opposite. We are re-visiting some version of the experience, but taking control of it for our own pleasure, and not for anyone else, which is entirely different from the complete degradation, objectification and violation of actually being raped.

  6. AlligatorO says:

    “Healing is a fucked-up, messy process. You’re getting it done in your own way, and that’s perfectly acceptable.” So empowering, something that I (am terrified of therapy) appreciate.

  7. WhoCares says:

    My jaw dropped as soon as I read this question. I was raped at 14 and I can’t get off unless I’m watching or reading about non-consent porn. I thought it was just me and I’ve been too ashamed to talk about it with anyone, even my therapist. Thank you for posting this, Coke.

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