Originally published November 27, 2008:
I am a 28-year-old woman who has been with my boyfriend for two years. I would call it a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship. I consider myself GGG, and every time my boyfriend has brought up a kink or variation, I've been willing to try it. Some things became a permanent part in our play, others have gone into the "tried that, didn't like it" pile without any problems.
Recently, though, there has been a problem.
Eight years ago, I was raped. I have had counseling, but I am still sometimes troubled by nightmares and flashbacks. My boyfriend knows this. Lately, though, he has expressed a desire to explore rape scenarios. His ideal setup would be to obtain my consent in advance, then, sometime when the mood struck him, he would "attack" and take me, and I couldn't say no or use a safe word. Once the "rape" started, he could do whatever he wanted, and I would not be able to stop it.
I don't think I can do this, not without sending me into flashbacks. I told him that and, as this is the only time I have flat-out refused to even try one of his ideas, I hoped that would be the end of it. It hasn't been. He has been pressing it more and more, and there have been times when I've had to leave the apartment, I've felt so threatened. I've told him that if he keeps pressuring me like this, I will end the relationship. He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, and that I have no regard for his needs. But I just can't let him rape me, even in play. Am I really being out of line for not giving in to him on this issue and telling him that continued pressure for this would end our relationship?
Needs Her Boundaries
Dump the motherfucker already.
Someone who has experienced a shattering sexual trauma—rape, abuse, a world-class betrayal—has to make a good-faith effort to put the pieces back together again before entering into a new sexual and/or romantic relationship. We all have a right to expect emotional support from our partners, but our partners have a right to expect that we will be able to meet their reasonable sexual needs.
You did all the right things after you were raped, NHB. You got counseling, you got yourself together, and you entered this new relationship ready to be sexual and more than capable of meeting your partner's reasonable sexual needs. You are, however, suffering from some common aftereffects of sexual trauma—nightmares, flashbacks—that you do not have to apologize for and that he has to be considerate of.
And considering your history—and considering that your boyfriend knew about your history going into this relationship—ruling out rape play is perfectly reasonable on your part and should have been expected on his. Had this conflict ended with your refusal—even if it elicited a little sulking and douchebaggery on your boyfriend's part—I wouldn't be telling you to DTMFA. This rises to the level of DTMFA for two reasons.
First, no safe word? Unreasonable. No way for you to call a stop to it? What if he decides to rape you when you have the flu? Or when your parents are in the next room? What if your fucking appendix bursts in the middle of this "scene"? While some rape victims—excuse me: survivors—develop rape fantasies, those fantasies are paradoxically about control; the "victim" in a fantasy rape scenario gets to pick her "rapist," decides the hour and circumstances, and can call a halt to it at any time. A rape role-play scenario you can't stop when you decide you're done isn't just a rape role-play scenario. It's potentially rape. Just say no.
Second, the pressure. Stitch together all the red flags in China and you won't have one as large the one your boyfriend has raised. He's pressuring you to consent to sex that he knows is highly likely to leave you feeling traumatized. His unwillingness to drop this, NHB, suggests a desire on his part to traumatize you for real, not for pretend. And if you're already leaving the house because you feel unsafe, I would suggest that he's already succeeded in traumatizing you.
You thought this was "a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship," NHB. You were mistaken. DTMFA.