Orgasm and Arousal During Rape or Sexual Assault: IamA Psychotherapist Requested to Revisit this Topic for Reddit. AMA! (self.IAmA)

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

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -19 Points
  • 18:25:31, 25 January

>I've had cases where the child strongly defended the abusers actions and advocated for them even while going through horrible trauma themselves.

Why do you think it's a good thing to ignore and pathologize the emotions of children, and coercively reconstruct their experience as negative when from their own perspective it wasn't? People like you are disgusting and through your incompetence and lack of education traumatize the same children you want to help:

Henry, J. (1997). "System intervention trauma to child sexual abuse victims following disclosure," Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(4), 499-512.

>"Results indicated that higher trauma scores, as measured by the Trauma Symptom Checklist, were related to an increased number of interviews, even when other aspects of the abuse such as seriousness were controlled for." (As cited in Investigation & Prosecution in Child Sexual Abuse)

Berliner, L., & Conte, J. R. (1995). "The effects of disclosure and intervention on sexually abused children," Child Abuse and Neglect, 19(3), 371-384.

>"Having contact with a greater number of professionals following disclosure was related to greater negative impact of the abuse." (As cited in Investigation & Prosecution in Child Sexual Abuse)

Very strange. It's almost as if being told over and over again that you are a victim when you don't consider yourself to be one is bad for your mental state. Who would've thought?

  • [-]
  • MilkManEX
  • 14 Points
  • 18:39:41, 25 January

> Why do you think it's a good thing to ignore and pathologize the emotions of children, and coercively reconstruct their experience as negative when from their own perspective it wasn't?

Well, someone has to explain to them why their parents are going to prison.

  • [-]
  • unicornbomb
  • 8 Points
  • 19:33:20, 25 January

If you check out this person's posting history, they spend a really disturbing amount of their time on reddit trying to make excuses for child abusers and pedophiles. Don't waste your time.

  • [-]
  • SuperFLEB
  • 0 Points
  • 07:14:35, 26 January

Nonetheless, it seems to be stimulating some conversation.

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -12 Points
  • 19:10:32, 25 January

Explaining why something is the case is very different from what I'm referring to, which is really a sophisticated form of child abuse.

Okami, Paul (1990). "Sociopolitical Biases in the Contemporary Scientific Literature on Adult Human Sexual Behavior with Children and Adolescents," in J. Feierman (ed.), Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions, pp. 91-121. As summarized on MHAMic.

>"All researchers, including victimologists, have noted the harm to children that can result from social and institutional responses to sexual abuse; that is, iatrogenic harm. Parental overreaction or lack of support, insensitive police interrogations or judicial proceedings, and social alienation can cause harm equal to or exceeding that caused by the abuse itself.

>[...] , if a minor who had a sexual relationship with an adult does not arrive at the therapist’s office feeling he was harmed, he will surely leave feeling so, because the system requires it. Patients either have positive or neutral experiences "redefined" by the therapist as negative, or they simply don’t share these experiences at all, as in the case of one patient who wrote: “My therapist is so opinionated against child molesters that she wouldn’t be able to understand if I told her I enjoyed it. I’m sure she’d kill me.”

Germaine Greer in "Seduction is a four-letter word" 1980-88

>"From the child´s point of view and from the commonsense point of view, there is an enormous difference between intercourse with a willing little girl and the forcible penetration of the small vagina of a terrified child. One woman I know enjoyed sex with an uncle all through her childhood, and never realized that anything was unusual until she went away to school. What disturbed her then was not what her uncle had done but the attitude of her teachers and the school psychiatrist. They assumed that she must have been traumatized and disgusted and therefore in need of very special help. In order to capitulate their expectations, she began to fake symptoms that she did not feel, until at length she began to feel truly guilty about not having been guilty. She ended up judging herself very harshly for this innate lechery."

  • [-]
  • 5_times84
  • 6 Points
  • 19:27:18, 25 January

come on man, don't argue for child abuse. The dude in that AMA where he boned his mom seemed to feel like his experience was positive, does that mean you'd wish that scenario on any other human?

  • [-]
  • audreyshake
  • 0 Points
  • 08:28:06, 26 January

The man in that AMA (/u/VerifiedSon) was pretty clear that while his experience was positive (and something he had control over), he understood the rarity of his experience, was in no way advocating for tolerance of parent-child sexual interactions, and would never do the same with his children (even if they wanted to). I can’t see any reason to invalidate his view that his experience was positive or to try to dislodge his or his mother’s pleasant memories of it.

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -8 Points
  • 20:10:50, 25 January

Yes, I would definitely wish positive experiences on other humans. You don't? You don't want people having positive experiences? Why not?

  • [-]
  • 5_times84
  • 5 Points
  • 20:41:33, 25 January

Because it will fuck with their perceptions of what is and isn't okay, and will most likely result in an overall NEGATIVE result later down the line. Would you be fine if he started having a bunch of daughters and fucking all of them ( if he convinced them it was a positive experience for them of course)?

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -7 Points
  • 00:04:54, 26 January

>Because it will fuck with their perceptions of what is and isn't okay, and will most likely result in an overall NEGATIVE result later down the line.

On what basis do you make this claim? Would you mind linking to some peer-reviewed scientific studies that support your assertion?

  • [-]
  • 5_times84
  • 2 Points
  • 00:39:08, 26 January

Why don't you read my next sentence? Why wouldn't a kid who had sex with his mom think its perfectly normal to then have a sexual relationship with his kids? THAT ISN'T OKAY MAN, YOU CAN'T DO THAT. And YES its because of society and how horrible he would function in it. You aren't doing a kid favors by having a sexual relationship, you're screwing his perception of normal healthy relationship.

Like keep fucking your daughter or whatever, but it's an awful thing to do buddy.

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -7 Points
  • 01:02:15, 26 January

Would you mind linking to some peer-reviewed scientific studies that support your claims? Thanks.

  • [-]
  • 5_times84
  • 0 Points
  • 01:12:55, 26 January

You should just stay inside man, you probably don't fit in well with anyone you try to interact with. Like holy fuck how did you get so retarded?

What about child indoctrination, you cool with that? Kids don't have the decision making skills and cognitive abilities to completely understand what's happening. If you take advantage of that naivety for your own benefit (especially if that benefit is FUCKING SEXUAL PLEASURE), you're fucked up person.

I don't care how manipulated the person is, they were abused. Just like old women would defend female genital mutilation of young girls, just because the survivors said it was positive and that they wanted their clitoris' cut off, DOESN'T MEAN THEY WEREN'T MANIPULATED INTO BELIEVING SO.

  • [-]
  • MilkManEX
  • 6 Points
  • 19:27:30, 25 January

I can appreciate the point in the first article, specifically that children will base their reactions on the reactions of adults around them. You see that in children who've injured themselves; if the adults act with fear and panic, the children will cry. If the adults are understanding or crack a smile, the children are suddenly fine. I wouldn't suggest, however, that we should immediately consider that a child acting in defense of a parent accused of having sexual relations with them should be considered a willing participant in the act. They lack a social context for the event. You can argue that the necessity of context suggests that the act is not inherently damaging, but because unless they intend to live their lives in a vacuum, eventually the shame of what happened will crop up when they realize how society views such acts.

The second article is an anecdotal excerpt from a Playboy.

  • [-]
  • SuperFLEB
  • 1 Points
  • 07:13:55, 26 January

I think the best point this brings up is that it may be wise to take measures-- perhaps even seemingly counterintuitive ones-- that steer the child around unnecessary damage or discomfort stemming from mistaken expectations or individual mishandling.

That said, the abuser has offended society, and probably has given the child future complications, even if they haven't caused discomfort to the child in the present time. The determination of right and wrong need not be dependent upon the victim's current state, and while pains should be taken to minimize the victim's trauma, justice should still be done.

  • [-]
  • Lister42069
  • -7 Points
  • 20:17:56, 25 January

>They lack a social context for the event. You can argue that the necessity of context suggests that the act is not inherently damaging, but because unless they intend to live their lives in a vacuum, eventually the shame of what happened will crop up when they realize how society views such acts.

I agree 100%. The problem is that by perpetuating these bogus and empirically groundless myths, people like "ChildTherapist" frequently traumatize children far more profoundly than their sexual experience ever could.

>"Social workers should educate the community and the courts about the myths surrounding the problem of child sexual abuse. This includes laying to rest the myth that because a sexual activity violates a moral and/or a legal code that it is thereby necessarily or even usually psychologically harmful. In other words, it is time to stop equating wrongfulness with harrnfulness in sexual matters as suggested by Rind and Tromovitch (1997).

>Perpetuating the myth that sexual abuse is necessarily or usually harmful is unethical and creates possible iatrogenic effects, as noted sometime ago by Schultz (1980)

Oellerich, Thomas D. (2001). "Child Sexual Abuse: Is the Routine Provision of Psychotherapy Warranted?," IPT Journal, 11(1).