As with many of my recent articles, the idea for this one came through a twitter conversation with Illimitableman about the nature of female fantasies. Specifically those involving “The Desire to Be Ravaged” and the observation that rape seems to punch above its weight in terms of media attention, with a new article appearing every day. Yet, the best-selling series of female porn in recent memory, “50 Shades of Grey” features coercion on a level that would qualify as rape by most modern standards. Despite “50 Shades of Grey” depicting what many modern journalists and activists would outline as rape, abusive and coercive, it sold 70 million copies in the U.S alone, has been translated into 50 languages, and outsold Harry Potter as the fastest selling paperback. This caused me to look into the “Bodice Ripper” genre  of “romance novels” to see if there was a pattern to them that gives insight into why such stories hold such an appeal.
You may know a man through his choices of vice and his imagination. If one were to dig into the production and distribution of male sexual fantasies in the pornographic industry, it becomes quite clear what many men fantasize about. One could by analyzing this develop a framework, to the end of determining the nature of male desire. Pornographic movies made for men, are often focused on an absence of foreplay, the women are ready to go and to engage in any act the man desires. It is often a non-emotional encounter, where one expects little would take place in the aftermath other than potential booty calls. In a funny sense, it is a safe space where the man can openly embrace his sexuality and sexual desires free of the normal psychological and social barriers.
Assuming that the female variant of pornography, romance novels follows a similar patterns, I selected to explore the seedy world of best selling romance novels in the “Bodice Ripper” genre. For those who are unfamiliar with the genre, it normally features a heroine, who despite being very beautiful is also quite naive when it comes to carnal pleasure. Often she has been betrothed by her father or male guardian, to a classic Beta male provider archetype quite a few years her senior, in what has been deemed an appropriate marriage. She then meets the alpha male, often in the form of a rogue of some variety who is the opposite archetype of the Beta provider. While highly attracted to the rogue, she faces a conflict between her ego, super ego and ID. Her super-ego is offended that such a brute would behave the way he does, yet her ID is on fire with desire. Over time her ego seeks to mediate the two, rationalizing that her Beta fiance is a safe future and would make a good husband and father by social standards, yet she cannot forget the rogue. Finally, they find themselves alone and he overpowers her and familiarizes her with a world of carnal pleasure unlike no other. Continue reading