Orgasm and Arousal During Rape or Sexual Assault: IamA Psychotherapist Requested to Revisit this Topic for Reddit. AMA! (self.IAmA)
20415 ups - 18066 downs = 2349 votes
The idea of having an orgasm or feeling arousal during rape or molestation is a confusing and difficult one for many people, both survivors and secondary-survivors (friends/family). Many do not believe it's possible for a woman or man to achieve orgasm during rape or other kinds of sexual assault. Some believe having an orgasm under these circumstances means that it wasn't a "real" rape or the woman/man "wanted" it.
I’ve assisted many children and young women with this very issue. It is typically embarrassing and shameful to talk about. However, once it's out in the open, the survivor can look at her/his reaction honestly and begin to heal. The shame and guilt around this is a part of why rapes go unreported and why there is a need for better understanding in society for how and why this occurs. The studies and reports on physical response to molestation and rape shows numbers ranging from 5% to over 50% of survivors having this experience. That this is not an exact figure shows the need there is for more and better research.
This is not a topic often open for discussion even within the mental health community and there is concern that raising it outside the professional community will lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding (e.g., the idea of victims "enjoying rape.") It's also sadly one reason why there isn't more research done on this and similar topics. My belief is that if we can address it directly and remove the shame and stigma, then a lot more healing can happen.
I’d like to take this opportunity to Thank You, Reddit, for making this a Front Page topic last time! I’ve been informed it was one of the top Reddit discussions of all time and likely reached tens of thousands of people. I’ve since received many requests to revisit it, and that original discussion led to a number of positive outcomes, including being referenced in several articles on the subject, assisting a university in developing a campus sexual-assault seminar and involvement in a California state court trial opinion on consent! More importantly, this information reached many people in need of it and was useful to the Reddit community and beyond. I had the opportunity to respond to dozens (hundreds maybe?) of private messages requesting help with related issues from survivors, friends and caring family members.
This is an open discussion and I'm happy to answer any questions. I will answer first-order (main thread) questions as it is really too difficult to attempt tracking threads that deviate. Depending on the number of responses, I may go back later and try to respond to side-threads that arise. Don't be afraid to think your question may be offensive, as long as it isn’t deliberately so. I'd rather have a frank talk than leave people with false ideas. So, here I am again…AMA away!
Edit: (11:45 a.m. PST) Wow, Front Page again! Thank you, Redditors, for addressing this topic in such a huge and understanding way! I have to leave in about 1/2 hr and I'm moving as quickly as I can, but you are far outpacing my ability to answer your questions/comments. I will check in later on and do my best to answer every question here. I have not checked my messages yet, but imagine some of you have contacted me there. I will respond to everyone, but please give me time and know I am not ignoring you! Huge Reddit hugs to you all for making this successful yet again! I am truly and genuinely moved.
Edit2:(12:50 pm. PST) Stayed longer than I meant to and tried to answer as many as I could for now. I will be back, so please be patient.
Edit3:(6:15pm PST) Back for about an hour, then will have to pick this up later. I'll start with the top-rated questions in my absence. And side-note: YES, I KNOW THAT THERAPIST CAN LOOK LIKE "THE RAPIST." YEP, I SURE KNOW IT, AS DOES EVERY PSYCHOTHERAPIST OUT THERE. IT'S NOT A NEW JOKE! (thank you for letting me rant)
And Reddit Gold too?? Thank you so much, MorinTedronai! I've never gotten that before. Just have to figure out if I want to spend it on mortgage or clothes! Does my cat get a vote? Hope not.
3928 comments submitted at 16:06:40 on Jan 25, 2014 by ChildTherapist