I talked with a friend the other day and we had a conversation about fantasies. Not specific ones but fantasizing in general terms, which got me thinking about how writing is very much a fantasy process. Every writer uses his or her imagination and empathy to craft the story.
I wondered if men and women fantasize differently. My friend always fantasizes about someone he knows in scenarios that he would like to happen. Another thing that men tell me is common is to relive a scenario that actually took place.
For me my fantasies are darker and I wouldn’t want them to happen in real life. They rarely star someone I know or have seen. So I was left wondering if the difference was simply the difference between the sexes but after speaking with a few women it seemed that they themselves were varied in style. One said that the men in her imagination rarely have a face and that it was more about the scenario. I can relate to that. Another said that it depended on her mood. Sometimes it’s about someone she knows and other times not.
I did some research and consistently it is said that men are more visual and therefore focus far more on the anatomy of their desire where women focus more on emotion and affection. Neither really describes me. Evidently rape and forced sex is common for women because on a list of top ten fantasies for women it ranked number one.
It may come down to desire because a man driven to rape, in fantasyland anyway, is so overcome by lust, he can’t help himself.
I read an interesting article called Rape, Fantasies, and Female arousal by William Saletan. He addresses research done measuring a woman’s intellectual response as opposed to her vaginal blood flow. According to the article, men’s minds and genitals are in agreement when it comes to sexuality and fantasy but for women it is different. They are speculating that arousal in women can be stimulated by the need for protection which is a biological response to avoid vaginal damage. They called it, “reflective sexual readiness” which is very different from desire. However they believe it is wired into our arousal system to keep us safe from abuse.
In my writings, I’m very fascinated by the body/mind conflict in sexuality. Maybe my character, Jane, experiences reflective sexual readiness. If that is the case, she doesn’t know it.