I know I’ve been quoting Susie Bright a lot recently, but then, Susie always has been a woman with a lot to say. Her latest big essay grabs firmly ahold of the seeming paradox of women and their rape fantasies:

I didn’t acknowledge having perilous fantasies until I was in my twenties. In a women’s studies college course, our teacher asked us if we had experienced arousing “rape fantasies”?

One girl tearfully raised her hand and said this was true for her. My heart beat so fast it was all I could do to stay put. I was just as ashamed as she of these fantasies, but I would never have admitted them. Our professor was quite kind to her, if misinformed.

Our professor comforted the girl by saying that, as women, we had been brainwashed by the patriarchy to eroticize our subordination to men. She said these fantasies were very common, which is true, and that we could “overcome” them by exposing our fantasies to feminist analysis and by our increasing self-esteem.

She was wrong on that count. In fact, I knew she was wrong later that same night. Despite my assertive self-confidence, rock-hard feminist analysis, and weekly shift at the rape crisis hotline, I could still crawl into bed and successfully masturbate to the same disturbing fantasies that had aroused me since I was a child.

Feminism and self-esteem had no more effect on my erotic hot spots than the communion wafers I used to take every Sunday, hoping they would wash away the devil’s seed inside of me. Clearly, religion and linear politics were useless in explaining the unconscious and subversive quality of eroticism.

It’s normal, it’s common, to fantasize about the bizarre— the things that in real-life circumstances would trouble us, frighten us, or maybe just make us laugh. Erotic fantasies take the unbearable issues in life and turn them into orgasmic gunpowder.

In our fantasies, no matter how much we struggle to deny it, we control every frame. Whether we stand tall in thigh-high boots or kneel breathless on the ground, it’s a matter of our well-lubricated chosen position. We run the fuck in our minds, the exact amount of ambivalence, the perfect timing of climax. When did that ever happen in a real sexual assault?

These are just the tiniest of highlights; there’s much much more. Complete with bonus analysis of Nancy Friday’s “My Secret Garden”!