Bernie Sanders Essay: How Many Women Have Rape Fantasies?

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Last week, “Mother Jones” found an essay that presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wrote in 1972 for alternative newspaper “Vermont Freeman.” Sanders’ two-page essay observed sexual dynamics between men and women.

Here’s the part that got everyone talking:

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

Sanders was positing this as a general observation that held true about all women. But is he correct in this assumption?

There’s been some research done on this fantasy.

Last year, researchers at the University of Canada, Quebec asked territory residents about their sexual fantasies and published results in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” Though the researchers didn’t directly ask about rape fantasies, they did ask respondents if they agreed with the statement “I have fantasized about being forced to have sex,” which can be construed as such. Over 28% of women agreed with that statement, but it wasn’t enough to hit the “normal fantasy” cutoff (which started at 50% agreement from respondents). The study didn’t examine how often the women had these fantasies.

A 2010 “Psychology Today” article on women’s rape fantasies stated that nine surveys on the topic had been published between 1973 and 2008. Here’s what that collective body of data showed:

They show that about four in 10 women admit having them (31-57%) with a median frequency of about once a month. Actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them.

A 2009 study done by North Texas University found that answers depended on what terminology was used. Fifty-two percent of college women said they’d fantasized about being “overpowered by a man,” but only 32% of women agreed when it was labeled “rape.” It’s interesting to note that this range nestles right in the range quoted above.

There also appeared to be an inverse correlation between the number of women who reported having rape fantasies and the frequency with which they had them: 25% of women reported having the fantasy less than once a year, and 13% had the fantasy a few times a year. So while it might be a part of some women’s sexual fantasy playlist, it doesn’t pop up in the rotation with much frequency for those women.

Though Sanders was certainly on to something with his claim, the fantasy isn’t nearly as pervasive (or self-reported) as he made it seem. But Sanders did recognize the desires that that specific fantasy taps into: a woman being overpowered by a man who can’t stop himself from ravishing her. No wonder he recently compared it to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

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How Many People Fantasize About Having Sex With Identical Twins?

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

I read an NPR article on twins recently, calling millennials “Generation Twin.” This name applied due to the fact that one million more twins were born between 1980 and 2012. (This checks out with my personal anecdotal evidence: I graduated high school in 2004, and my class of 106 students boasted three sets of twins.)

“The Atlantic” goes a bit deeper into why this is: The rise in twins is due to the rise in fertility drugs, most notably IVF. Older women are the ones mostly using fertility drugs, and producing most of the babies. Also, older women are statistically more likely to have twins than younger women.

Here’s a handy table to visualize the rise in twins over the past decades:

Twins' birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

Twins’ birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

That got me wondering if sexual fantasies about twins (both identical and fraternal) have also increased.

After doing some digging, I really couldn’t find anything. I didn’t find any studies about sexual fantasies, or fantasies coming true, involving twins.

The closest I got was the recent study on sexual fantasies by researchers at Canada’s University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, published in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” “Business Insider” helpfully took all the data for male fantasies and put it together. The closest question the researchers asked the 717 men used about twins was about having sex with two women. Over 84% of men reported this fantasy, but we cannot extrapolate that this necessarily means twins.

The identical-twin fantasy didn’t show up for the women either, but that’s perhaps more understandable: Women aren’t generally depicted as having that particular fantasy (though I’m sure there are some outliers).

I find it strange that a fantasy that looms so large in popular culture (for men, at least) has basically no data to back it up.

What Are The Most Common Sexual Fantasies?

Sexual fantasy (E-News 365)

Sexual fantasy (E-News 365)

Happy Friday! Earlier this fall, researchers at the University of Montreal undertook a study of sexual fantasies to determine what constituted “common” and “unusual”sexual fantasies for men and women, later published in “The Journal of Sexual Medicine.” Over 1.5K adults participated in the survey, splitting nearly evenly along gender lines. Participants filled out an Internet survey and responded to given statements about sexual fantasies, and also submitted their own.

Once the data was amassed, fantasies were categorized as rare, unusual, common or typical, depending on volume of responses. Responses characterized as typical comprised 84%+ of the sample.

For women, the three most typical sexual fantasies are feeling romantic emotions during sex (92%+), having an appealing atmosphere and location (86%+), and having sex in a romantic location (84%+).

For men, the three most typical sexual fantasies are feeling romantic emotions during sex (88%+), participating in fellatio/cunnilingus (87%+), and having sex in an unusual place (82%+).

It’s interesting that men and women are primarily fantasizing about the same thing, but then women are more fantasizing about romance during the act, while men are fantasizing more about different and adventurous sex acts. Or at least that’s what the respondents admit to.

So for anyone concerned that their tastes might be out of the box (or maybe too much within it), “Business Insider” has the whole breakdown. Enjoy!