Do Women Want To Be Ravished?
As a psychologist and couples counselor, I’ve been asked this question by men, women and couples for the last twenty plus years. Especially since the publication of “50 Shades of Grey” and the upcoming movie version, it’s an even more pressing question for many. Now Anne Rice’s B&D “Sleeping Beauty” trilogy is rumored to become a movie or mini-series as well.
My specialty is helping couples bring back the passion in their relationship and using fantasy is one way of achieving this. The fantasy of being ravished, being lovingly, yet forcefully taken by her man is consistently in the top five female fantasies, often the number one fantasy. This is different than the “rape fantasy” which has often been misrepresented.
Of course, women don’t want to be raped, this is an act of violence and power, not one of love. However, as revealed in the always popular romance novels, the fantasy of a strong, powerful man initiating sex with a woman, not accepting her initial reluctance, and then loving her passionately, is a popular fantasy. This is not about abuse and power; in most of these novels (and fantasies), the couple ends up married and living “happily ever after.”
So what’s the truth here, at least from a psychological perspective? When we first meet someone we’re attracted to we experience that initial chemistry and go into that “honeymoon” period, where our bodies are flooded with chemicals and we are “walking hormones.” To read more about this, you can see my article, “Three Stages of Relationship”.
However, this initial chemistry fades over time and we need to take steps to reignite it! To create sexual passion, there needs to be sexual tension and for this there needs to be strong sexual POLARITY. We need to CONSCIOUSLY create this in our relationship.
Polarity comes from strong masculine energy meeting strong feminine energy. Just like the positive and negative terminals of a battery create electricity, so will the masculine and feminine interact to create PASSION! Now each of us, male and female have an inner masculine and an inner feminine and either sex can express either aspect.
For the heterosexual female “ravish me” fantasy though, we’re talking about the man embodying the masculine and taking charge with those masculine qualities to be focused, direct, relentless in pursuing his goal, in this case, loving his woman into “submission”. This can range from simply initiating sex, to be a little more assertive than usual, to being more aggressive, to being a little “rough”, all the way to role play and using restraints and sex toys.
To use a simple example, I’m 6’3″ and around 200 pounds and have found that many woman have simply enjoyed the weight of my body pressing into them and found that arousing. Perhaps that is enough to begin your journey. I also happen to have large hands (no euphemism here). I’m usually able to hold both of a woman’s wrists in one of my hands and even that small step can often be assertive enough to feed into the submission fantasy. Just consider what YOU can do to orient yourself in that direction, it doesn’t have to be “whips and chains.”
From an evolutionary psychology perspective, women want to know that their man can take care of them, can “hold” them, both emotionally AND physically. I have a female friend who is close to six feet tall and she LOVES that her husband can physically hold her, pick her up, engulf her and make her feel like she’s a little girl sometimes.
If we believe that “form follows function”, than if a man can open a woman sexually with his dominance, than perhaps he can also metaphorically open her heart with his dominance. Perhaps there is part of each woman who wants to have her heart ravaged open, even more than her body? Don’t we all want our partner to help open our heart and experience more love?
Now on the flip side, there are times when a man enjoys his partner initiating sex in a more dominant and aggressive way as well. Being stuck in ANY role will ultimately diminish passion. We need to mix it up. Do men want to be ravished? That’s a topic for another day 😉
These are my thoughts about this question, “Do Women Want To Be Ravished?” I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this and any other ideas for bringing back the passion in relationships.
Dr. Adam Sheck
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except you are trying to romanticize a word that is not romantic in origin or context at all (unless you are describing it as your response to art or music). It was generally used either as a term to describe females who were so attractive or had such strong feminine wiles/aspects/ features that men fell enraptured before them, unable to stop their own physical carnal lusts in the presence of such a ravishing lady, which would lead them to believe she was willing to accept whatever was going to happen to her unchaperoned body, going out of the house looking that delectable.
it meant the men were powerless to stop their own urges in her presence IE victim blaming for the rape. It would also be used to “delicately” describe a woman or girl that had been acting of her own unchaperoned accord… without the consent of her guardians, to enter into an illicit affair without regard to her future potential as a brokering pawn for her family… again implying guilt on the girl for not controlling her passions, which women were considered to be in no control over, which is why they were never allowed anywhere without chaperones and guardians.
it was also common to refer to women nabbed by vikings and native Americans as having been ravished by the savage ways they were exposed to… and when they did not wish to return home with their families upon offers of rescue. Many a woman reluctant to return to white societies was murdered at by her own family’s hand, because they were afraid of the taint of them having had savage desires to compete with cloistering.
if you want to say consumed by passion for each other, you can say they looked into each others eyes and confirmed they both felt the flames in their burning bodies rising, that she submitted to his consuming of her mouth, her flesh, nibbling away at her determination not to give into her desires at his hands again, the washing tide of his kisses eating away at her resolve…. there are a great many better words that can be used than trotting out poor old rape denoting ravish… which does not imply choice in the matter for the person taken.
Because you choose to think of it as a pretty term you can create the social change by writing about it in books for feeding the ego’s fetishes. I also think it gives a person a misrepresented ideal of a perfect man to hope for, that is in itself a fantasy, a mind reading man who is perfectly able, suited and willing to dictate to a woman’s own desires, far better than her own self, because he is mr perfect right… something that many women enter into physical encounters hoping for only to have time tell them, this fantasy is another illusion to be shattered by reality.
for the record:
tr.v. rav·ished, rav·ish·ing, rav·ish·es
1. To seize and carry away by force.
2. To force (another) to have sexual intercourse; rape.
3. To overwhelm with emotion; enrapture. See Synonyms at enrapture.
[Middle English ravisshen, from Old French ravir, raviss-, from Vulgar Latin *rapre, from Latin rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots.]
50 shades of grey/gray is nothing like BDSM relationships, which are not based on control and overpowering without consideration and consent for partners. a dom does not own a slave, they take charge of their slave. which means they concern themselves to the wellbeing and needs of their slave before they worry about their own concerns for themselves. doms put aside their desires, and work with expanding the horizons and fetish barriers and boundaries of the person that trusts and entrusts themselves to the dom. 50 Shades of Gray depicts a horror story of a stalking codependent dysfunctional wreck of a human, and his “affect” upon his victim.
Thanks for your well-considered thoughts. Words have power, no doubt. Exploring words has the potential for liberating us from their power and even possibly creating empowerment. The dictionary also has more updated definitions for ravish which may reflect this. Regardless, the phantasy/desire seems to be somewhere in the collective unconscious and surfacing more and more. When not explored, a phantasy can take on more of the shadow energy, which results in much of what you have described. And, yes, thanks for clarifying your take on the BDSM community, that education is way beyond the scope of this small article.
Absolutely! I want to be taken care of! I’m little, 5’2, 110. I appreciate a very masculine man!!!! Rugged, someone who WILL take control, I am very shy and feel uncomfortable in a dominant role.
Thanks so much for sharing. And, it might be interesting to reverse the role and push through your discomfort every once in a while. Grab the bull by the horn!
I am a fan of fantasy novels, and yes, your analysis is quite true for me. I find ravishing a turn-on. In fact, I “act” some reluctance in initial sex with my ex, because I find it hot when he lovingly force me to have sex (he doesn’t know that it was my fantasy).
Anyway, I now have an “net” boyfriend for 8 months now, who I haven’t met personally (but will eventually next year). But he said his taste is rough sex (although I don’t know exactly what he means by that) and he wants to spank the bottom to feel ownership on a girl. Although I find it hot, is it normal?
Not sure what you’re asking. “Normal” for him to want “ownership” or that you find it hot? I’d bypass the judgments and enjoy whatever dynamic there is between you, as long as it feels healthy and good to YOU.
Wow! so true passion can be found on so many levels I loved your essay it puts words and perspective into a topic that is hard to discuss . I want to be ravished. I enjoy being submissive to give my hubby the feeling of dominance since I generally wear the pants in our relationship . I control so much and for him to “take me” I feel I’m empowering him . thank you for a lovely essay and thank Ann Rice for sharing on facebook.
Thanks so much for sharing your truth in this. I’ve also written a post on this blog about sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner, you night want to check out. Agreed, I’m grateful to Ms. Rice as well.
Wish you the best,
I enjoyed reading this on “ravishing” just the word alone brings imagination alive!
So you state: If we believe that “form follows function”, than if a man can open a woman sexually with his dominance, than perhaps he can also metaphorically open her heart with his dominance. Perhaps there is part of each woman who wants to have her heart ravaged open, even more than her body? Don’t we all want our partner to help open our heart and experience more love?
I agree totally with your statement and opening up the heart is all part of LOVE and L.O.V.E. stands for Letting Others Voluntarily Evolve. So to evolve into more love why not?!
It goes both ways – one to ravish and one to receive the ravishing – either being the woman or the man – the important thing is that passion is involved in the ravishing of each other….
Great post Adam and here’s to more ravishing!
Thanks Nancy, it’s all in the balance.
As usual, I appreciate your articles and insight. As a female, absolutely yes, I love the idea of being ravished. You are correct that this is different from a rape fantasy, but even in those, because they are misconstrued, there is still the element of the potential of a happy ending (the man wants me So much he must have me – hence the misunderstanding).
Now your ravish fantasy used to keep a relationship spark alive is something that “Nilla” people use.
When you reference it in relation to BDSM or 50 Shades, it becomes something entirely different. One would need a very involved and deep understanding of the community that is BDSM, and also understand the varied and differing elements and beliefs of what each means, also understanding that while definitions are very individual they are still accepted by the rest of the community even when their own definition differs.
Beginning with the basics, and a double Venn diagram so to speak, the acronym BDSM = Bondage-Dominance/Submission/Sadism/Masochism.
Considering ravishment in relation to these terms is an entirely different subject, best addressed by those who are truly in and practice the lifestyle (i.e., not the author of a piece of fiction who is obviously clueless).
And a side note – I personally believe that the reason that 50 Shades has become so popular is directly due to women’s lib. Women wanted that equality with men, men became less “needed” and the predominance of the metro-sexual and gay community has exploded. Women now want their “man’s man” back – hence the strong pull to 50 Shades, and now Sleeping Beauty which has been around much, much longer btw…
And I also agree with Nancy about your heart comment.
Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts and feelings to this conversation, I appreciate them and you.
Thank Adam for writing this article!! Sending it to my husband right now and hoping he takes the hint 🙂
So happy you enjoyed the piece. Hope your husband gets with the program! I’m happy to support your efforts if I can.
I’ve been an avid romance novel reader since about age 15 or so I find this subject fascinating. While I am not in the BDSM scene, I still find it exotic and awesome to read and research. I know that is not precisely what the article is about but you did make some references.
As an aspiring writer myself I often draw on personal experience. I am a larger woman, and the fact that my husband can move me and get me right where he wants me is titillating. He makes me feel small, in a wonderful way, not emotionally of course. Feminism is a wonderful thing, but so is being feminine.
I also like that you examine the evolutionary processes behind these desires. Too many humans separate themselves from the animal instincts within. I have some very strong personal beliefs regarding this. If more people saw themselves as animals I think there would be less infidelity. In recognizing our animal instincts to have diverse genetics in our offspring we are more likely to be able to use our higher thought processes to “just say no”, and ignore those animalistic instincts.
But I digress, thanks for the article. I quite enjoyed it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this post as well as your experience. I’m grateful for you comments and participation here.
What a great subject to explore, Dr. Adam:)
I think you are so on the right track when you refer to being ravished not only as masculine opening sexually the feminine physical body, but more the Heart being ravished open to Love–both metaphorically and emotionally to Source/Love.
I love what David Deida has to say about the idea of a woman wanting to be ravished……….very much along those same thought waves……
……”Being ready for authentic spiritual sexuality……the next stage of sexual loving……..
Requiring bliss-forceful heart surrender despite all boundaries and fear…..feeling so widely and giving so openly that you are alive as all beings.”
Deida states that this openness of un-safe, Heart-ravishing and two-bodied divine love is
what “women wanting to be ravished” is really referring to; ravishing–as taking this sexual step as a sexual/spiritual step–one where He (masculine) recognizing who he is as source/all-pervading presence offers Himself, vulnerably, to enter/penetrate his lovers’ heart as She (feminine) relaxes her body/heart open to receive.
“She displays her deepest heart–as source love/light”
The idea of (and cultivating this practice) is so beautiful to me, and I sure hope this is the
way all intimate relationship between beings can aspire to!
Thanks again for the great post!
Blessings, gratitude and love:))
Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on this fascinating and highly charged issue. I appreciate you and your comments.
This article was interesting in the relationship of words and changing / alternate meanings. I came across this article sort of the back fly looking up the word ravish and it’s varying tenants of application as they have arisen through the centuries.
The idea that “ravish” always equated rape, hasn’t been so practically since the word’s first coming into popular use. “To snatch up and carry away.” dates back to the 1300’s and to “cause great pleasure to” came about just roughly 100 years later. I’m not sure where the notion of “rape” came in and if it’s a recent addition to this definition that’s been tacked on post 20th century? I haven’t found enough on the Internet to be able to determine where the application of “rape” came in and was that application commonly used 150+ years ago?
The question first came up from something I saw on the history channel about the American Revolution and some officer had apparently written to a friend / colleague that all these young and vigorous soldiers are “ravishing” the local women. Now the “historian” interpenetrated that as rape, but when you think about it; what officer is going to admit to his friends, superiors and ultimately king George, that the men in his regiment are running around raping the local women? That doesn’t make any sense especially when the consequence for such behavior from either the Continental or British side was execution. There are records of charges brought against men in both armies for rape, and those guilty parties were executed. Comparatively speaking though, (WWII for example) rape in the American Revolution from either Continental or British soldiers was exceedingly rare. Much of the horrendous behavior recorded in that war was a result of individual colonists seeking retribution against other colonists for personal wrongs committed (you burn down my house, I burn down yours).
So here is where I wonder what the real origin / or most popular use of this word “ravish” has been throughout history? I think, like with interpreting history, it’s not wise to apply a modern mindset to a historical event (or even the history of word usage, like is the case here) when there’s not a whole lot of evidence to support the claim.
You are certainly an erudite person and I welcome your commentary. Yes, it is good to understand both the etiology of words as well as their present meanings, as language is so critical in our lives. I look forward to hearing both your knowledge AND your perspective on these issues.