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A recent diary discussed the well-known theory that rape is not about sex.  I started to make a comment to that diary, but its length became unwieldy, and thus I have decided to address the issue here.

I remember first becoming informed that rape was not about sex around 1970.  This was back in the days when the typical bookstore would carry numerous books written by Freud, of which I had read about a dozen.  As we all know, Freud argued that owing to the role of the unconscious in determining behavior, our motives are often hidden from us.  We think we know why we did something, but it turns out the real reason was something else, something we never suspected.  And, owing to the large role that sex played in Freud’s theories, the motive hidden in the unconscious often turned out to be a repressed sexual desire.  The theory that rape is not about sex certainly followed Freud, in that an unconscious motive is attributed to the rapist.  But it was a complete reversal of the usual Freudian formula:  instead of sex being the unconscious motive for something else, something else was asserted to be the unconscious motive for sex.

In general, I was a little skeptical of all the claims being bandied about in those days regarding the unconscious, whether by Freud or any other psychoanalyst, and so I merely noted this peculiar notion that rape was not about sex with indifference.  A couple of years later, I saw Frenzy, a film by Alfred Hitchcock.  It is about a “necktie strangler” who rapes and murders women.  At some point during the movie, the detective tells a sergeant that most men like him are impotent.  The sergeant expresses surprise at this remark, and rightly so, I thought to myself.  That was carrying the rape-is-not-about-sex theory to an extreme.  After all, impotence is the failure to be able to perform sexually, owing to the inability to get an erection. In any event, the detective goes on to say that it is not the sex that gratifies the rapist.

The detective speaks with an authoritative voice in the movie, and so we know we are supposed to believe him.  But aside from squaring impotence with rape, there is the incongruity between his words and the rape that took place in the movie thirty minutes before.  In the history of mainstream cinema, no movie, made before or since, has depicted sex, consensual or coerced, in which anyone, male or female, experiences greater heights of sexual ecstasy than the necktie strangler in Frenzy.

What is remarkable about this movie is that, in discussing it with others, I have noticed that most people accept the pronouncements of the detective, notwithstanding their apparent inconsistency with the rape scene.  This is in part due to the authoritative voice of the detective, and in part due to the widespread acceptance of the rape-is-not-about-sex theory at that time.  I have seen people twist themselves into a pretzel trying to argue that the rapist never really got it up, let alone gratified himself sexually.  I suspect that this was Hitchcock’s idea of a joke.  He purposely put this contradiction into the movie between the words of the pompous detective and the scene of sexual passion, as his way of making fun of that theory.

This movie aside, I have heard this rape-is-not-about-sex theory discussed many times.  I have never known one woman to disagree with it.  And while a lot of men will also agree with it, I have noticed that a lot of men grow silent, particularly in mixed company.  Though a man may disagree with this theory, yet he will quickly realize how inadvisable it would be for him to say so. Imagine a man, upon hearing it declared that rape is not about sex, saying, “Oh no!  Rape is all about sex.  I mean, sometimes you want it so bad, you feel like holding them down to get what you want.”  Any man that would say something like that, especially with women present, is a fool.  By the time that story got around, no woman would ever go out with him again.  And so, the theory largely goes unchallenged.

People often use force to get what they want.  Wars are fought for territory or natural resources, revolutions are fought to wrest power away from others, and criminals rob and steal to get money.  Given how much men want sex, why they should not use force to get that too is a mystery.  Alternatively, if we are willing to say rape is not about sex, why not say that robbery is not about money?  Granted, there are cases where robbery does have an additional motive.  A gangster may be angry at society, or maybe he enjoys dominating his victims.  But mostly, robbery is about money; and mostly, rape is about sex.

In the diary that precipitated this one, the author argues that there are two primary types of rapists, anger rapists and power rapists.  The former are motivated by “resentment and a general hostility towards women.”  But how do we make sense of this resentment and hostility unless it has a sexual origin?  It has only been recently that women have had anything other than sex about which men would be resentful.  For millennia women have been denied status, property, power, rights, or anything else that might inspire resentment, and yet rape has been going on since caveman days.  Is it not more likely that the hostility toward women arises out of sexual frustration or rejection?

The power rapist is “motivated by his need to control and dominate his victim, and inversely, to avoid being controlled by her.”  But if a man had no sexual desire for women, he would not likely bother with them at all.  How do we make sense out of this threat of “being controlled by her,” unless that threat be sexual?  In any event, the main reason a man would want to control and dominate a woman is for sexual purposes.  Sex is the end; dominance and control are but the means.  Without the former, there is no point to the latter.

The intensity with which some people defend this theory that rape is not about sex naturally makes one suspicious.  One cannot help but wonder if the purpose of the theory is to demean the rapist. We deny him the sexual motive, which he may regard as manly, something he can be proud of, and assert that he has anger issues and a need to dominate.  In other words, this thesis is an act of revenge against the rapist, undermining his masculinity by insisting that he acts out of insecurity and weakness.

In the end, the claim that rape is not about sex is speculative, almost metaphysical.  It is not the sort of thing that one can verify simply through observation.  Even if we could observe rapes, as we do in movies like Frenzy, all we would see is the use of force and violence in combination with sex.  We cannot observe the motive.  The best that can be done is to interview the rapist.  But the whole rape-is-not-about-sex theory is premised on the idea that things are not what they seem, not even to the rapist himself; so his own assessment of his motives is not to be trusted, even granted that he is being sincere, which is a big assumption right there.  Such interviews may reveal the anger and power motives referred to above, but that gets us right back to the whole question of which is cause and which is effect.  The prima facie case is that sex is the cause of rape.  The theory that it is just the effect, an insignificant epiphenomenon of anger and power, is counterintuitive and unverifiable.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's never manly to attack those weaker than you (22+ / 0-)

    You seem to be confused by Hollywood's glamorization of rape. Most sexual assaults sordid, mean, unpleasant little acts of domination over those who are physically less able to defend themselves. That's the opposite of manly.

    I seriously question your motive in writing this diary.

  •  In the other diary (51+ / 0-)

    the diarist presented empirical data and studies as a foundation for her diary.

    What exactly do you have besides a movie quote and a vague feeling that it's gotta be about sex?

    For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

    by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:19:47 PM PDT

    •  It used to be called philosophy (11+ / 0-)

      I believe the diarist here is trying to question the underlying assumptions behind studies like the one cited at length by the previous diarist. If you can't discuss methodological and theoretical frameworks in which research is done, you cannot do science - doubly so with social science.

      •  And for this he (13+ / 0-)

        trots out a movie quote and a vague sense of dis-ease.

        Making excuses for rape-it's an irresistable biological urge don't you know?- in the face of studies actually undertaken of rapists is actually a little disingenous rather than philosophical.

        Rape isn't acceptable. There are no excuses. No justifications.

        No "but I just had this irresistable urge to get my rocks off" pass.

        If the diarist, or yourself, can find some studies or basis for arguing that what we REALLY need to deal with is the underlying sexual urges of out of control men, I look forward to reading it.  That will be a basis for a fruitful discussion.

        For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

        by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:06:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Making excuses for rape" ???!!! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RainDog2, psychothumbs, rb608

          Fuck, that's offensive.  Is that the depth of analysis you think appropriate?  Great for creating that sense of dis-ease though, and for getting people to pile on.

          •  Yep, it is offensive. (0+ / 0-)

            Oh, you mean actually calling it out offends you...

            My bad.

            As I said, if you, or the other commenters who think it's all about the sex or the diarist here do have any studies or evidence that really, it's sex that is the issue, I'll be glad to see that incorporated into the discussion.

            For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

            by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:49:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Are you kidding? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608, Be Skeptical, codairem, RainDog2

          No one is saying rape is acceptable. By accusing people of doing so you're hurting the discussion.

          •  This is the discussion (0+ / 0-)

            This diary is offered, with no foundation, in counterpoint to a diary that did indeed to go some lengths to present what is currently known.

            And when what is said is basically, "yeah, still about sex, men are dogs, whatcha gonna do?"  then this is the discussion, and it's relevant.

            For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

            by boadicea on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:36:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So.... (2+ / 0-)

              Is what you're saying that you didn't read the diary above? Because your 'summary' misses the mark by a few miles. You can't just jump from "someone disagrees with me about the causes and motivations of rape" to "so that person must be making excuses for rape, or saying it's an impossible problem"

              •  No, I read it. (0+ / 0-)

                In all its weedy glory, and I've read the supporters on here who are taking the position that really it's GOTTA be about sex. Cuz, what else would it be about?  

                Feeling it must be about sex, because of two brilliant, but let's face it, sex obsessed men, no matter if the victim is a man, woman, or child is not an adequately underpinned argument against the other diary, in which angelajean did go to some lengths to find supporting data for she presented.

                There are fruitful discussions to be had, and criticisms of the methodology or countering data is certainly valid.

                This diary ain't that.

                I've gotten more worked up, I agree, with every interation that this rabbithole has taken me down, so I am going to stop here, after repeating one more time.

                There is no pass for wanting to get your rocks off, even really, really badly.

                For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

                by boadicea on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:42:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are insufferable (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Be Skeptical

                  Regardless of what you think of the quality of someone's arguments, accusing them of being pro-rape is not okay. You're acting as if "There is no pass for wanting to get your rocks off, even really, really badly" is some bold statement. It doesn't bear repeating because no one is disagreeing with it. You're just taking discussion off on a tangent via insults.

      •  Except that he DOESN'T discuss... (3+ / 0-)

        ...methodological and theoretical frameworks. He gives us a sermon instead.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:05:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As far as I can tell... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          You guys are attacking the diarist for not using the technical jargon of the social science literature and for just basing his arguments in part on personal experience.

          But this isn't some academic journal, this is Daily Kos.  Personal experiences, etc. are very much a valid thing to present in this kind of forum.

          His long discussion of his personal experience, references to movies, etc. may be obscuring the underlying point.  The underlying point is philosophical, even metaphysical, and not easily dismissed.  

          In the research presented by previous diarist, the psychologist used interviews to determine why people committed rape and concluded that most did it out of either anger or need for control over other people and only a very few did it out of sadistic sexual desire.

          The leap from that conclusion to "rape is not about sex only about power and control" is entirely metaphysical and not empirical.  Metaphysical in the sense that you are discussing the essential essence of something.  The previous diarist essentially says: "because the underlying motivation for rape is not sexual, rape is not about sex."  This diarist says: "because rape is a sex act, we cannot deny that is essentially sexual."

          Both these views are, in my opinion, valid ways of looking at things.  And I don't believe there is can be an empirical determination of which is more valid.  I think this goes back ultimately to some very old debates in Western Philosophy over the primacy of metal life over sense experience.  (The view this diarist takes being, of course, empiricism - ironic in light of your accusations against him.)

          However, this debate is not at all esoteric.  In very practically informs how we act as a society to prevent rape - or, as it is often put, destroy rape culture.  In rape is not about sex, then we need only to focus on changing the way our society deals with power, anger, and privilege, etc. Dismantling rape culture becomes synonymous with the who anti-patriarchy project. If rape is about sex, then we need to focus changing the way our society views sex.  Dismantling rape culture, becomes a sex education problem.

          If you look at practical efforts on the ground, I believe most of it focuses on the latter.  I.e. educating boys and men about what constitutes consent, etc. This all assumes that rape is fundamentally about sex.  And if you teach men healthy attitudes about sex, they will be unlikely to rape.  If you believe that rape is not about sex, then you need to teach healthy attitudes about power, anger, and control.  This is much harder, and as far as I can tell, seldom is done in any concrete way.

          I would therefore posit that while many people seeking to combat, dismantle, or destroy rape culture will say that rape is not about sex, there actions on the ground show that they in fact at least somewhat subscribe to the empiricist view.  I.e. because rape is a sex act, they combat it through sex education.  "Rape is not sex" then becomes a creed and not a practical philosophy.  And I think the diarist may be on to something when he suggests this creed serves You guys are attacking the diarist for not using the technical jargon of the social science literature and for basing his arguments in part on personal experience.

          But this isn't some academic journal, this is Daily Kos.  Personal experiences, etc. are very much a valid thing to present in this kind of forum.

          His long discussion of his personal experience, references to movies, etc. may be obscuring the underlying point.  The underlying point is philosophical, even metaphysical, and not easily dismissed.  

          In the research presented by previous diarist, the psychologist used interviews to determine why people committed rape and concluded that most did it out of either anger or need for control over other people and only a very few did it out of sadistic sexual desire.

          The leap from that conclusion to "rape is not about sex only about power and control" is entirely metaphysical and not empirical.  Metaphysical in the sense that you are discussing the essential nature of something.  The previous diarist approximately says: "because the underlying motivation for rape is not sexual, rape is not about sex."  This diarist says: "because rape is a sex act, we cannot deny that it is essentially sexual."

          Both these views are, in my opinion, valid ways of looking at things.  And I don't believe there is or can be an empirical determination of which is more valid.  I think this goes back ultimately to some very old debates in Western Philosophy over the primacy of metal life over sense experience.  (The view this diarist takes is called empiricism - ironic in light of your accusations against him.)

          However, this debate is not at all esoteric.  It very practically informs how we act as a society to prevent rape - or, as it is often put, destroy rape culture.  If rape is not about sex, then we need only to focus on changing the way our society deals with power, anger, privilege, etc. Dismantling rape culture becomes synonymous with the larger anti-patriarchy project. If rape is about sex, then we need to focus changing the way our society views sex.  Dismantling rape culture, becomes a sex education problem.

          If you look at practical efforts on the ground, I believe most of them focus on the latter.  I.e. educating boys and men about what constitutes consent, etc. This all assumes that rape is fundamentally about sex.  And if you teach men healthy attitudes about sex, they will be unlikely to rape.  If you believe that rape is not about sex, then you need to teach healthy attitudes about power, anger, and control.  This is much harder, and as far as I can tell, seldom is done in any concrete way.

          I would therefore posit that while many people seeking to combat, dismantle, or destroy rape culture will say that rape is not about sex, their actions on the ground show that they in fact at least somewhat subscribe to the empiricist view.  I.e. because rape is a sex act, they combat it through sex education.  "Rape is not sex" then becomes a creed and not a practical philosophy.  And I think the diarist may be on to something when he suggests this creed serves primarily to diminish the social status of the rapist.  And as I think we all agree that rapists should be viewed in the lowest possibly light, this may be a good thing.

          However, if we want to work to change the culture around rape, we need to have a broader and more honest discussion.  Jumping on people and accusing them of being anti-scientific rape apologists does not help that end.
          primarily to diminish the social status of the rapist.  And as I think we all agree, the rapists should be viewed in the lowest possibly light, this may be a good thing.

          However, if we want to work to change the culture around rape, we need to have a broader and more honest discussion.  So jumping on people and accusing them of being anti-scientific rape apologists does not help that end.

          •  Sorry misposted that: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            disinterested spectator

            I meant to write:

            As far as I can tell, You guys are attacking the diarist for not using the technical jargon of the social science literature and for basing his arguments in part on personal experience.

            But this isn't some academic journal, this is Daily Kos.  Personal experiences, etc. are very much a valid thing to present in this kind of forum.

            His long discussion of his personal experience, references to movies, etc. may be obscuring the underlying point.  The underlying point is philosophical, even metaphysical, and not easily dismissed.  

            In the research presented by previous diarist, the psychologist used interviews to determine why people committed rape and concluded that most did it out of either anger or need for control over other people and only a very few did it out of sadistic sexual desire.

            The leap from that conclusion to "rape is not about sex only about power and control" is entirely metaphysical and not empirical.  Metaphysical in the sense that you are discussing the essential nature of something.  The previous diarist approximately says: "because the underlying motivation for rape is not sexual, rape is not about sex."  This diarist says: "because rape is a sex act, we cannot deny that it is essentially sexual."

            Both these views are, in my opinion, valid ways of looking at things.  And I don't believe there is or can be an empirical determination of which is more valid.  I think this goes back ultimately to some very old debates in Western Philosophy over the primacy of metal life over sense experience.  (The view this diarist takes is called empiricism - ironic in light of your accusations against him.)

            However, this debate is not at all esoteric.  It very practically informs how we act as a society to prevent rape - or, as it is often put, destroy rape culture.  If rape is not about sex, then we need only to focus on changing the way our society deals with power, anger, privilege, etc. Dismantling rape culture becomes synonymous with the larger anti-patriarchy project. If rape is about sex, then we need to focus changing the way our society views sex.  Dismantling rape culture, becomes a sex education problem.

            If you look at practical efforts on the ground, I believe most of them focus on the latter.  I.e. educating boys and men about what constitutes consent, etc. This all assumes that rape is fundamentally about sex.  And if you teach men healthy attitudes about sex, they will be unlikely to rape.  If you believe that rape is not about sex, then you need to teach healthy attitudes about power, anger, and control.  This is much harder, and as far as I can tell, seldom is done in any concrete way.

            I would therefore posit that while many people seeking to combat, dismantle, or destroy rape culture will say that rape is not about sex, their actions on the ground show that they in fact at least somewhat subscribe to the empiricist view.  I.e. because rape is a sex act, they combat it through sex education.  "Rape is not sex" then becomes a creed and not a practical philosophy.  And I think the diarist may be on to something when he suggests this creed serves primarily to diminish the social status of the rapist.  And as I think we all agree that rapists should be viewed in the lowest possibly light, this may be a good thing.

            However, if we want to work to change the culture around rape, we need to have a broader and more honest discussion.  Jumping on people and accusing them of being anti-scientific rape apologists does not help that end.

            •  Looks like you should post this as a diary so that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Meteor Blades

              a larger audience can respond. It's far too long to be just a comment.

            •  I don't disagree with this: (0+ / 0-)
              Personal experiences, etc. are very much a valid thing to present in this kind of forum.
              I use my OWN personal experiences with rape to explain why I think he's wrong. And I certainly don't think one has to use social science jargon to talk about data.

              But beyond his having seen some films, I am not actually seeing any personal experience expressed by the diarist, merely speculation, albeit well-argued speculation. I happen to disagree with that speculation and I base that disagreement on what actual, though limited, data we have on this subject.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:12:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, RainDog2

      The other diarist cited a decades old psychology textbook on the subject that got what data it had from interviews with incarcerated rapists. Not exactly hard evidence.

    •  I'm a skeptic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical, RainDog2, angelajean

      because I'm a skeptic in general about anyone who says human behavior is "about" anything. People don't even know themselves why they do the things they do. The reasons they give may not be the reasons at all. The reasons can't be neatly tied up with a bow.

      Why People Die by Suicide
      Why People Believe Weird Things
      Why People Don't Heal
      Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore
      Why We Love People Who Hurt Us
      Why Good People Do Bad Things
      Why Some People Are Stronger, Smarter and More Skillful at Handling Life's Difficulties
      A sampling of the sorts of books clinical psychologists write.
      There are no one-sentence answers to these questions and never will be. There is light that can be shed on them and insights that can be developed, but there is no Truth.

      Research into how people behave may be science. Research into the reasons people give when asked why they behave the way they do may be science. At this point in our history with our primitive understanding of the human mind, concluding what the real reasons are for their behavior is storytelling.

    •  Arrow. Zing. Bullseye. The diarist's only link... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean

      ...to empirical sources is the one that links the diary he disagrees with.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:03:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since rape includes both sex and violence, (17+ / 0-)

    Can it really not be about both?

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:20:24 PM PDT

  •  I was hoping someone would address this. (9+ / 0-)

    I haven't had time to read this thoroughly enough to say that I agree with everything you write here, but I have always been mystified by the claim you critique.  The claim that rape isn't about sex should have as high a standard of proof as the claim (which, to my knowledge, isn't widespread) that bank robbery isn't about money.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:21:33 PM PDT

    •  False analogy (16+ / 0-)

      a woman or man, or child, who is raped isn't losing something fungible like money.

      And I repeat, the other diarist went to some pains to use available studies and data as a foundation.

      What do you got?

      For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

      by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:28:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think your first sentence shows the problem. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psychothumbs, rb608

        Many people, I suspect, are confusing the impact on the victim with the motivations of the perpetrator.  The idea that rape exists divorced from sexual desire is absurd for reasons to obvious to get into.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 02:49:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes the impact on the victim IS the motive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psychothumbs

          Or, looking at it from the perp's perspective, what he feels he will gain by inflicting his crime on the victim.  

          In those instances it isn't analogous to a bank robbery.  But I am not convinced that abuse of the victim explains all rapes.

          I suppose that will make me a "rape apologist."

        •  Any time I hear "for reasons too obvious to (7+ / 0-)

          get into", or bother with, or whatever, I get really, really suspicious. What it usually means is "I believe this, and I'm not going to think about it".

          If sexual desire is about getting your rocks off, and you have no particular need for dominance, masturbation is a great way to go. No need for a sexual partner at all.

          If rape were about sexual desire, and not dominance, then looking for someone who is willing to be a sexual partner would seem, just offhand, to be the most likely direction to go. That kind of lets rape out of the question - if you're looking for someone who wants to be that sort of partner.

          If rape is about dominance, and not sexual desire, then yeah, look for someone to take the place of your hand (over which you have full control). The sexual experience isn't going to be anywhere near as good, but the added pleasure from controlling someone else makes up for it.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:24:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're trying to apply logic where it won't work. (3+ / 0-)

            Regardless of whether rape is about sex or about violence, there's tons of evidence to show that people are illogical about either one. Assuming that men would do something rational when it comes to sex -- or violence -- considerably weakens the rest of your argument.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:22:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But I'm not assuming rationality. I'm assuming (0+ / 0-)

              self-interest, which oddly enough I have found to be a pretty good predictor, totally aside from the reasons that people say they do things.

              At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

              by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:32:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you're assuming rational self-interest. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                UntimelyRippd

                Seriously. Because if a guy wants sex (the self-interest part), then he'd only act the way you describe if he's being rational. If he's irrational, all bets are off, other than that he's going to try to coax or, perhaps, coerce someone to have sex with him.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:29:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We actually have evidence (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch

                  Proffered in the diary to which this one is a response.

                  So, check that assumption.  

                  I repeat, there is no 'had to get my rocks off' pass for rape.

                  For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

                  by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:44:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Since I've seen no link to that diary (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Be Skeptical, angelajean, boadicea

                    and it doesn't seem to be on the Community or Rec lists, I have no way to check those links.

                    I wonder if that earlier diary mentioned this study, in which 73% of men reported "sexual entitlement" as one of the reasons for raping (they could choose more than one reason). You can't really have sexual entitlement without sex, so...

                    But I don't believe any one study, or even a number of studies, will provide an open-and-shut explanation for the motivations behind rape; human motivations are never all that obvious even to the person involved.

                    However: You commented elsewhere that it's important to show that sex is not a part of rape, because otherwise that shifts the focus to victim-blaming. I can see the concern, but I don't accept that that's a good reason to believe that sex has nothing to do with rape. Nor do I believe that anything justifies blaming the victim for rape. Regardless of motivation, the blame for rape is always on the rapist, not the victim.

                    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                    by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:58:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Think a little (2+ / 0-)

            You seem to be regressing to a pretty primitive understanding of sex, which I assume you would never use in other contexts.

            Think about people who are into BDSM. That's about sex isn't it? Sex isn't limited to just 'getting your rocks off,' there are plenty of things that people find sexy that aren't directly related to the physical act. Some of these sexual oddities are totally acceptable, like furries or somebody with a foot fetish. Others are not, like rape or pedophilia. That doesn't change that they're all about sex and the different ways that people desire it.

            •  To continue on the "primitive" level, I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              The variety of behaviors, and I agree that you have barely scratched the surface of the potential variants, are about sex and the things that people have conflated with sex, for one reason or another.

              It would be reasonable to suggest (and it has been suggested), that everything is in some way or another about sex, and sexual desire. It might even be reasonable to suggest that everything, to some extent, is about dominance, considering the game playing that goes on at almost every level of society, both below and at the level of violence.

              But the point that angelajean makes in her previous diary, which is pretty well backed up by the studies she quotes, is that there are some solid distinctions between men who rape and men who don't, and anger/dominance seems to be one of the main areas of difference.

              Check out the diary - I don't think anyone brought up the BDSM case there in the comments I read, and you might want to post that as a potential gray area, for further discussion.

              At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

              by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:38:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's a stretch to say psychology is science (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                serendipityisabitch

                Sorry for 'primitive,' I meant it in a literal, not disparaging way, but the internet is not a friend to subtlety.

                Of course there are differences between men that rape and men that don't, and given that sexual desire is fairly universal (our asexual friends excepted) those differences would have to be in other areas of people's lives. However, the fact that rapists are angry and get off on violence, dominance, and control doesn't mean that what they do isn't about sex.

                Everything may be about sex in a grand Freudian sense, but I think we can agree that rape is more about sex than your average activity.

                •  I cannot stretch far enough to find a way to (0+ / 0-)

                  call psychology a science. Nor sociology, nor economics. Semantics -almost- makes the cut, but only in the hands of a very few people.

                  That doesn't mean that a well posed study can't make solid points. Getting most psychologists to adhere to the "well posed" part is worse than trying to herd cats. Getting them to agree that it is critical is even harder. So I have to agree that almost anything from the psychological and sociological literature has to be taken with great skepticism.

                  Still, I thought the Lisak study results were unexpected enough to be worth thinking carefully about. Most researchers don't allow results that contradict generic biases to surface unless they're pretty strong.

                  I don't know that I can agree with your last statement. I agree pretty strongly that a lot of men, possibly most, tend to think of rape as being about sex. Whether they are correct is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Perhaps it isn't, and perhaps the lessening of rape in this culture correlates with this change in perspective that is being argued. Given that correlation isn't causation, I'm leery about making a blanket statement, but it feels as though splitting sex and rape into separate categories may be contributing to the decline.

                  At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                  by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:37:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Titles are hard (0+ / 0-)

                    You're not sure if you can agree that rape is more about sex than your average activity?

                    So for example, drinking coffee and raping someone: basically the same sexual content?

                    As for Lisak's study, it seems his main finding is:

                    "When compared to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial."

                    None of this seems at all surprising or counter-intuitive. I just don't see how this information implies that rape isn't about sex. Assuming that there is some portion of men who are interested in sex regardless of whether consent is offered, and are indeed turned on by overcoming that lack of consent (a safe assumption unfortunately) then I would expect those in this group who act on those impulses to be pretty much exactly as described by Lisak. Someone with a lot of empathy and inhibitions who rather likes women as people is unlikely to force himself on them, even if it would be sexually enjoyable.

                    •  No, not that piece of it - the simple idea that (0+ / 0-)

                      these men did not think of what they were doing as rape. I don't know whether that's a cultural problem, or a psychological one, or both, or "merely" a problem in semantics.

                      There's this "rape is what bad people do" meme underlying a lot of the problem - well, it's not exclusive to men, either, judging from some of the comments. 'Since I'm not a bad person, what I do isn't rape' seems to be the  response from this group. It's a perspective that simply hadn't occurred to me before, but it seems as though it could be the key to a whole bunch of stuff. The correlary would seem to be 'since I'm not bad, then somebody else has to be to blame, if it was a bad thing to do'. Lots of other stuff probably correlates with that.

                      I'm ignoring the first bit, btw - virtual snort as a response. But I think perhaps we need to make the distinction between sex and rape, whether it's a clear one or not, simply as a teaching tool. Nuance and overlap would need to follow the initial distinction, once it's been made, the same way any other simple explanation becomes more complex with additional learning.

                      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                      by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 11:05:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good Points (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        serendipityisabitch

                        I think the "I'm good, rape is bad, so I must not rape" is an interesting point. I see that perspective a lot in discussions of racism, where people think that because they're not some epithet spewing, lynch mob participating monster that they must not be racist at all.

                        I'd describe rape as the subset of sex in which at least one party doesn't give consent. So the boundary isn't between rape and sex, but between rape and consensual sex, and thus we do have a pretty easy hard and fast line.

            •  The difference between rape (0+ / 0-)

              and consensual BDSM should be obvious, but in case it isn't, I recommend "Learning the Ropes" by Race Bannon as an introduction.

              For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

              by boadicea on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:56:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Rich, there are scientific studies that say it (7+ / 0-)

          isn't absurd.

          Men who rape are not raping in order to ejaculate or in order to get a woman pregnant or in order to get sexual gratification. Those things might happen but they aren't the reason the man rapes. He rapes to exert their dominance over another human being.

          Did you read my diary today or just this one that is the response?

        •  Money is an object. People are not objects (0+ / 0-)

          Money can be replaced, while people's lives and well-being cannot.  

        •  What you mean is (0+ / 0-)

          you want to make an assertion without being willing to back it up with an actual argument.

          For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

          by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:41:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ever been incarcerated? I have. I was... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boadicea, angelajean, a gilas girl

          ...raped while an inmate. The rapes totally divorced from sexual desire. They were about control. They were proof that if I didn't do other things the rapist wanted from me I would suffer for it.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:22:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I try my best to show support for the claim in (18+ / 0-)

      diary:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I searched for scientific data to support the claim that rape is about sex and couldn't find any. I would love to read any links you have to support of that claim. Seriously.

    •  This is just raw ignorance. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lina, Corvinus, Eyesbright

      There are decades of studies on this topic.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:49:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are decades of studies, not one of which (0+ / 0-)

        has ever been shown to me that demonstrated that many, nevermind most, nevermind ALL, rapists are primarily motivated by something other than sexual desire.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:57:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please share the studies with me! (4+ / 0-)

          Are any online? Did they conclude that the main motivation was sex? If so, how did they come to that conclusion?

          It's like pulling teeth trying to get folks to share actual facts with me and not just tell me that they've read something and then not share what they've actually read!

          •  I really DO have to leave, but my (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean

            point is not that there are studies establishing that sexual desire is the motivation, my point is that none of the studies I've read establish anything conclusive about motivation for any real fraction of rapes -- but we are typically told otherwise, and in ludicrously absolute terms.

            As I said, i will try to review the Lisak motivation paper you cited in another comment.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:26:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What difference does it make? (4+ / 0-)

    This is what puzzles me about the rape is/is not sex discussion. Rape is rape. Perhaps the driver is a sexual urge or perhaps not. What difference does it make?

    I do want to point out that there are many clearly sexual behaviors that do not have any appeal for me. This doesn't mean the behavior isn't sexual. Just that it isn't sexual for me.

    •  The difference is in how (15+ / 0-)

      others perceive it.

      The whole slut shaming phenomena relies on it being all about the sex.  

      And, as the other diary discussion developed, the real issue to me is the surrounding culture that excuses rapes as just being oversexed or deprived of sex or some irresistible urge that's completely natural.

      Rape is not excusable as a natural urge.

      For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

      by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:32:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  natural urge (4+ / 0-)

        Some quarters of society may indeed forgive or condone or at least mitigate the 'wrongness' of rape because they perceive sexual urges to be difficult to control. But that problem isn't solved by pretending that certain predatory individuals, usually male, elect to express their sexual urges through forced sexual behaviors.

        If some fantasy and the fulfillment of that fantasy results in a penile erection, I believe that demonstrates that the behavior, for that particular individual, is indeed sexual.

        •  A belief is not a fact (7+ / 0-)

          as the studies the other diarist found appear to suggest otherwise.

          The penis is the delivery system for the underlying rage or desire to control.

          There are no excuses for rape.

          For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

          by boadicea on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:09:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nobody is making an excuse for anything. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            psychothumbs, Be Skeptical

            And no, the studies do not suggest otherwise. The studies suggest only that men who rape are statistically more likely to be unpleasant individuals who don't particularly like or respect women. They say nothing about All Rapists, and they say very little, if anything, about the actual motivation of Any Rapists.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:02:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know you don't like Lisak much but... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, boadicea

              but maybe other people would like to know that a study on motivation factors actually exists:

              ^ Lisak, D.; Roth, S. (1988). "Motivational factors in nonincarcerated sexually aggressive men". J Pers Soc Psychol 55 (5): 795–802. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.55.5.795. PMID 3210146.

              Do you think you could offer an alternate study that I could read?

              •  It's not that I dislike Lisak. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                angelajean

                I'm glad he's working on the problem.

                I'll try to find time to read that particular study. I'm likely to take issue with its methods and conclusions, mind you -- but that's true of about half the scientific studies I read.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:22:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  How do you account for the studies that show (12+ / 0-)

          rapists have opportunities to have sex without raping but chose to rape anyway?

          The best source I can find for this, though it is mentioned repeatedly on college websites, is from the University of Michigan. They provide many facts and figures with studies attached. At the end of their page they summarize and include this statement:

          Sex offenders are overwhelmingly male, typically have access to consensual sex, and were not sexually or physically abused as children.
          •  Exactly . . . nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            "Get in the way. Create chaos. Cause trouble. " "On global warming there is no more time to change the Overton Window. We have to break it."

            by sturunner on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 02:46:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps to the rapist - rape is good sex (4+ / 0-)

            How can you be so lacking in perspective. Perhaps the rapist gets little pleasure out of socially acceptable normative sex. For the rapist, perhaps the best sex is forced sex. I'm not suggesting its healthy or in any way acceptable, but there are many unhealthy individuals that to reprehensible things for their personal gratification.

            I happen to be heterosexual. If I am without a female sexual partner, the desire for sex cannot be met by homosexual encounters even if they were available to me. To the rapist, perhaps, consensual sex doesn't satisfy their craving. Why is that so hard to grasp?

            What I don't understand is why so many are threatened by the concept that the rapist could be motivated by sex, their own version of sex.

            •  I'm curious what you think of the material that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              boadicea

              I shared in the diary published earlier today. I built a case using studies of both incarcerated rapists and undetected rapists to show the falsity of the statement: Most rapists commit rape for sex.

              Did you read that diary in its entirety? I honestly tried to have a full explanation of the statement (not my fact but a fact presented by scientific studies) and a discussion of the other side for which I could not find supporting evidence. I would love to see some scientific studies supporting your view. But everyone arguing the same point just thinks I should get it without giving me anything more than the theory of evolutionary biology as proof.

              If sex was the main motivating factor for rape and rapists can have sex in legitimate ways with legitimate partners, then why rape? Evolution says that sex is for procreation and if you have partners with whom to procreate, you don't need to rape. Rape has to have some other essential component for these men.

              •  Many types of sexual experience (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Be Skeptical

                If someone self defined as bisexual has sexual access to someone of the opposite sex, does that mean their homosexual encounters are not sex?

                Another poster mentioned Ted Bundy. That he evidently had consenting sexual partners. That somehow supports the notion that his rape/murder encounters were not sex or sexual. I don't get it. Many of us are capable of having many varieties of sexual encounters, and enjoying them. Why discount that a rapist is having sex? They should still be imprisoned. The motivation of their conduct is not relevant.

                I am not going to research the issue. I'm not even sure why I have bothered to engage in this discussion. Honestly I don't understand why the issue is thought to be of any particular consequence. Its as meaningless as asking whether OCD driven compulsive hand washing is driven by the need to have clean hands. How does the answer change anything?

                •  It's important to understand the motivations for (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eyesbright, boadicea, Ahianne

                  rape so that we can prevent more rapes in the future.

                  I think the biggest confusion here is that my diary of this morning said that most rapes are not about sex. The statement doesn't say that sex isn't a part of rape. It's that sex is not the motivating factor for a rapist. The motivating factors are anger, control, etc.

                  Did you readthe other diary? Seriously, I worked very hard to present the facts as I could find them. I wish this conversation had taken place there to tell you the truth.

                  I'll be publishing a diary on sexual assault every Thursday and I always include a poll. I know you think this conversation is a waste of time, but I hope you'll consider chiming in anyway.

                •  And you never answered. Did you read the diary (0+ / 0-)

                  from this morning?

              •  explanation? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Be Skeptical

                The only aspect of the original diary that goes into whether rape is motivated by sex or not is as follows:

                "Back in 1979, Nicholas Groth published a book titled Men Who Rape. He identified three different types of rapists:
                [3 types of rapists described, none involving sexual desire]
                Groth based his findings on interviews with incarcerated rapists."

                Maybe Groth's book contains a more in depth explanation of how he came up with these categories, but so far all I've got from the diary is that he talked to some prisoners and came up with these categories, excluding sexual desire from his list of possible motives for rape.

                As for explaining the existence of rape despite the availability of legitimate sexual partners, what makes you think that rapists don't prefer rape to other forms of sex? This is likely because of the urge to dominate and control, or the anger towards women, discussed in the original diary, but that certainly doesn't preclude it from being a variety of sexual desire. It's just a far less healthy variety of the same sexual urges that make people enjoy BDSM. Sex and dominance and submission are all scrambled up in the human mind, and just because one motivation is there doesn't preclude the others from being around.

          •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

            Here is what you assert:

            studies that show rapists have opportunities to have sex without raping but chose to rape anyway?
            Here is what you can correctly assert:
            studies show that some rapists have opportunities to have sex without raping but chose to rape anyway
            Without investigating the specific studies in question, we can't even discuss the size of the statistical observation, nevermind the specifics of the sample population, which would be only the first step towards a critical understanding of the studies in question. Later steps would include asking such obvious questions as, "Is all sex the same? How satisified were the rapists with the accessible consensual sex? How accessible was that consensual sex, really (i.e., what price would the rapist have to pay to obtain that sex, in whatever terms might apply?)?" The phrase "access to consensual sex" is so hopelessly naive about the complexity of human sexuality, that it is distressing that anybody purporting to be a social scientist would ever use it.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:12:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Because they get sexual gratification... (0+ / 0-)

            ...from rape that they don't get otherwise.  This gets us to the heart of the problem, perhaps: we're creating an ideal-typical "sex" that's defined the way we want it to be, and defining the rest as non-sex rather than as pathological sex.  I suspect this comes from a broader progressive agenda, which I endorse of course, of de-pathologizing alternative sexualities, and then of course there's the agenda (not even progressive, just common-decency) of destigmatizing rape for victims by assimilating it to the litany of crimes of violence and control.  Which would all be great, except that in this case the claim (i.e. that rape isn't about sex) is so counterintuitive that it risks alienating sensible people.

            You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

            by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:27:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Aha! You've put it very well, I think. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psychothumbs, RainDog2

        We don't want it to be about sex because that risks feeding various misogynistic narratives.  Point taken.  But real social science isn't instrumentalist like that; it doesn't work backwards from what we want.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:29:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Natural urge != excusable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical, RainDog2

        Just because something is a natural urge does not mean that it's excusable. Violence is a perfectly natural aspect of human life and psychology. Our ancestors have been inflicting violence on each other and on other species for longer than they've been human. That doesn't mean that it's a good thing.

        Similarly, you can't really argue that rape isn't natural. We see it in essentially every human society, and in a huge variety of animal species. And so what? Being natural doesn't make something good, and it's not an excuse. What it is, is an explanation; and it's tough to fight something if you can't explain it.

    •  So a big ugly spirted person who you would (15+ / 0-)

      rather have nothing whatsoever to do with ,
      grabs you and forces you to do things you want no part of ,
      who every touch feels like a violation ,
      grabs parts of you that they should not ,
      and uses those parts for their own pleasure ...

      Do you tell people that you just had sex with this person ?

      What difference does it make?
      Sex is a wonderful thing , rape is a horrible thing .
      Making a clear message that they are not one and the same makes good sense to me .

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

      by indycam on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:46:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Personally, I think it makes a difference, because (0+ / 0-)

      it affects:

      a. our general understanding of What Rape Is,

      and

      b. our society's approach to putting a stop to it.

      I believe that by distorting our general understanding of What Rape Is, we make rape more likely to happen, and we also misdirect our efforts to reduce its occurrence.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:00:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you define sex as an act between two (4+ / 0-)

    willing , legal , consenting adults ?
    When one person forces something on another
    maybe its not sex ?
    Maybe what could have been sex if ,
    is now not sex because its one sided .

    Can a person have sex alone ?

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

    by indycam on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:24:24 PM PDT

  •  I like your analogy to robbery and money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, serendipityisabitch

    However, it is has been demonstrated that nobody commits robbery for the money.  The lifetime take of people who commit armed robbery is pitifully small - in the hundreds of dollars, if I remember correctly.  Similarly, if you want a steady outlet for your sexual urges, rape is probably just about the least efficient way of going about it.  

    I say this as somebody who agrees mostly, if not entirely, with your diary.

    •  NO such thing has ever been demonstrated. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flying Goat

      Jesus.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is a good observation. (0+ / 0-)

      It's irrational to rob banks because it's a high-risk, low-take crime.  Even for a criminal, there are betters ways to get by.  But people do it anyway because lots of people are stupid and criminals are probably stupider than people generally!  So it goes for rape as well: it's a very high-risk and inefficient route to sexual gratification but that's a little too rational for would-be rapists.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:22:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure there is one answer (8+ / 0-)

    Bank robbery obviously only has one motive so it is kind of a silly example to use as an analogy. But some other crimes, like homicide, could have a lot of motives. Anger, jealousy, money, compassion (i.e. assisted suicide), etc. I would imagine rape is more like murder in that way. There might be a variety of reasons somebody does it, whether sexual, power / domination, anger, some combination, etc.

  •  You're right (12+ / 0-)
    It is not the sort of thing that one can verify simply through observation.
    It was verified through data analysis, through offender interviews, through science.

    Whadda you got?

    A vague feeling in your gut?

  •  More than that, slavery was about sex, not just (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RainDog2, amyzex

    the rape of slaves but reproduction. Imperialism is about sex, Bush's rape of Iraq for the fun of it. Also, unfettered technology raping the earth, petroleum a ritual sacrament in NASCAR, barbarian US culture unable to transcend the baser animal impulses.

  •  May I offer this countercriticism? (17+ / 0-)

    It doesn't really matter what it's "about" in the eyes of the offender.

    I'm pretty certain that there are a variety of motives for rape - to want to hurt someone, to want to feel in control, to want to sate one's lusts, to want to feel dominance over another - but in the end it. just. doesn't. matter.

    What matters is that for whatever reason, for whatever motive, that the perpetrator of rape feels that his own desire (whatever that desire may be) is more important than the question of whether or not the victim consents (or is even able to consent).

    That's it. Full stop. The rest is academic at best.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:34:15 PM PDT

    •  If It Doesn't Matter What It's About (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RainDog2, kyril, amyzex, psychothumbs

      Then we can do nothing to prevent it.

      The two claims that (a) the motivations of the attacker are irrelevant and (b) we need to stop encouraging women to protect themselves because in doing so we are supporting 'the rape culture' are 100% at odds.

      If you want to stop potential rapists from becoming actual rapists, you have to get inside their heads.  Full stop.

      The rest--as you say--is academic at best.

      •  ... (8+ / 0-)

        One -- Your connection of the two statements is both false, facile, and a mischaracterization of the pushback against putting the onus of rape prevention on women.

        Two -- What do these things have in common?

        "I want to have sex with her so much that her consent doesn't matter."

        "I want to dominate her so much that her consent doesn't matter."

        "I want to hurt her so much that her consent doesn't matter."

        Hint -- It's the last four words.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:29:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is a way, and it's very simple. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raptavio

        Teaching men not to rape from the time they are children.   Stop making excuses for rapist behaviors and hold them accountable when they do rape.

      •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical, TooFolkGR

        Isn't the constant (and absolutely correct) refrain that when we're thinking about stopping rape we should focus on the rapists not the victims? To do the reverse is generally seen as slut-shaming, victim-blaming etc.

        But if we want to do that we have to understand why people rape. Otherwise we're just whipping ourselves up into a frenzy of anger and hatred that will result in satisfyingly harsh punishments for rapists, but doesn't do much to tell us how to stop more people from becoming rapists in the first place.

        •  Riddle me this, Batman: (0+ / 0-)

          How does knowing someone rapes because he wants to get off or someone rapes because he wants to feel dominant over his victim help prevent rape?

          The constant is the same: The rapist feels his desires trump the wishes of his victim. What benefit does the rest offer?

          "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

          by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:54:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You'll never get away with this Riddler! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Be Skeptical, TooFolkGR

            No knowledge about a problem should be discounted when trying to find a solution. Off the top of my head, it seems that knowing more exactly what motivates someone to commit a crime makes it easier to detect those sorts of urges before they express themselves through a rape, and hopefully channel them into less horrible outlets.

            If it's true that rape is about sex, then helping people to have healthier more fulfilling sex lives should reduce rape. If it's unconnected those programs wouldn't help (though they might be a good idea for other reasons).

            •  Well, I'm no psychologist, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              psychothumbs

              though I was raised by two of them, but it seems to me the issue is not the specific nature of the desire, but the willingness to ignore the wishes of the victim -- namely, the wish to not have sex.

              A man may want to see a woman naked, feel what it's like to be inside her, or want to control and dominate her. But if he reasons that her refusal, or lack of consent, has primacy over his desires, there is no issue.

              "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

              by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:39:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I mostly agree (0+ / 0-)

                You're right that the most important thing is that binary: is it okay for me to use force to override someone else's wishes for my own enjoyment, yes or no?

                However, just because that's the most important question doesn't mean that there aren't other aspects of the issue that are worthwhile to explore.

                •  Which in and of itself (0+ / 0-)

                  doesn't mean that delving into the minutiae of the nature of the desires of the rapist is a worthwhile endeavor.

                  Somewhere, somehow, the rapist either chooses to stop seeing his victim as a human being, or rationalizes her refusal or incapacity to consent as something other than what it is (which is the same thing with a layer of self-deception on top). That's the bright red line, the one step that is both necessary and sufficient for the rape to happen, in 100% of cases. Why not focus one's efforts there?

                  "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                  by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:53:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's not how science works though (0+ / 0-)

                    I wouldn't call the motives of the rapist 'minutiae.' Sure we should try to ingrain in people that you need to respect the desires and autonomy of others, but it's not like we're only allowed to do one thing. If there are more factors at work why not study them as well and hopefully use what we learn as an additional tool? Willful ignorance doesn't help anything.

                    •  Willful ignorance (0+ / 0-)

                      and allocation of finite resources to where they have the greatest impact are not the same thing.

                      "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                      by raptavio on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:02:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Now we've gotten into hypothetical budgeting (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't think either of us is in a position to talk intelligently about what the budgets of whoever's allocating resources to research this stuff look like, or what the rate of return in terms of reduced rape from different policies look like.

                        I'm just saying that there is something to be gained from understanding rapist's motivations. Regardless of how best to allocate resources, would you agree that all else being equal we'd be better off if we knew more about what motivates rape? Because I don't see how it could do any harm, and I can see how it could do some good.

                        •  Hypothetical budgeting (0+ / 0-)

                          is not my point.

                          My point is that we know resources are not unlimited, and diving down those rabbit holes to the degree you advocate would require, effectively, unlimited resources.

                          My point is that if we can attack and defeat the sole necessary and sufficient criterion for a rapist to commit rape -- that being the disregard for consent of the victim -- we win, and the underlying motive becomes moot for that purpose.

                          "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                          by raptavio on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:19:21 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes or No (0+ / 0-)

                            But human nature usually doesn't lend itself to a problem being 'defeated' in the way you describe. We can make progress and reduce how often something happens, but I can't think of many crimes that have been successfully reduced to zero, except of course when they just stop being crimes.

                            All I really want out of this anymore is an answer to the yes  or no question: would we be better off if we knew more about what motivates rapists?

                            I'd say it's a clear yes, and leave it to others to decide how to allocate resources towards researching that or focusing on other things.

                          •  We'd be better off (0+ / 0-)

                            if we knew more about lots of things. That doesn't mean that those things are attainable goals.

                            It's odd to me that you would attack my statement (which was obviously simplified) on nuance (of course we can't outright "defeat" the problem!) but then make your argument based on a gross oversimplification that nuance would tear to shreds.

                            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                            by raptavio on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:28:23 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Switching it up (0+ / 0-)

                            So now you've transitioned from "knowing more about motivation is useless" to "it's not an attainable goal"?

                            I think your statement only makes sense in it's simplified and impossible form. If it was possible to completely do away with rape by focusing on consent issues, then there's no reason to get into anything else. However, given the reality that no matter how much we emphasize the importance of consent there will still be people who don't accept that message, it's important to look at the other avenues through which people can be prevented from becoming rapists.

                          •  Foul. (0+ / 0-)

                            It is very poor form to put into quotes things I did not say and attribute them to me.

                            I didn't say it was useless; I said it doesn't matter, because the more important, salient point, the sole necessary and sufficient condition for a rapist to rape, is the willingness to ignore the wishes of the victim and that is where we can get the most return on our efforts.

                            Please don't do that again. You've been engaging in a very cordial debate; don't sully that by using that tactic.

                            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                            by raptavio on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:13:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry to offend, but relax (0+ / 0-)

                            We seem to be going in circles somewhat. I'm not sure what distinction you're making between "useless" vs "doesn't matter." If something is useful then how can it not matter?

                          •  Because something (0+ / 0-)

                            can be in and of itself useful but in a greater context be rendered moot.

                            In this case, if we can get would-be rapists to recognize and respect consent, then it doesn't matter what they'd hope to accomplish by violating the same.

                            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                            by raptavio on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 07:00:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  I think my wife would strongly disagree with (14+ / 0-)

    the title of your diary.  When she fought off the guy that tried to rape her, I don't think she ever thought of the attack as anything sexual, but then, that was attempted rape.  I still don't think she would feel any different if his attempt had been successful.  Thank god it wasn't.

    "Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself; to become what he potentially is." -Erich Fromm

    by nspguy on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:35:13 PM PDT

    •  And I would agree with your wife (4+ / 0-)

      I suppose I should have made it clear that when I said that rape was about sex, I was speaking of the man’s motive only.  The woman clearly does not have sex as a motive, or else force would not be necessary.

      •  I guess this is the main thing I have a problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sturunner

        with regards to your diary

        Sex is the end; dominance and control are but the means.  Without the former, there is no point to the latter.
         I really think if you substitute the word violence for sex it makes more sense.

        "Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself; to become what he potentially is." -Erich Fromm

        by nspguy on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:12:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's the exact opposite! (5+ / 0-)

          "Sex is the end; dominance and control are but the means.  Without the former, there is no point to the latter."

          Sex is about pleasure - where's the pleasure without a willing and enthusiastic partner? If you need to force someone, then violence, dominance and control are the ends you're reaching for, and the act of sex is only the vehicle used to acheive your goal.

          •  Isn't that what I was saying? (0+ / 0-)

            Substituting violence for sex now would read.

            Violence is the end; dominance and control are but the means.  Without the former, there is no point to the latter.

            "Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself; to become what he potentially is." -Erich Fromm

            by nspguy on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:31:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Again, we're confusing two different things. (2+ / 0-)

      The question of whether rape is or isn't about sex, as it was posed in the first diary and now this one, is about the perpetrator, not about the victim.  I am starting to crystallize my view that the otherwise completely counterintuitive notion that rape isn't about sex comes from an impulse to re-center the discussion from the perpetrator to the victim, an essentially ethical and political impulse but one that leads nowhere in terms of understanding, or even describing, the motivations behind the crime.  

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 05:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's a lot in here I wish I could spit at. (15+ / 0-)

    Get some fucking education instead of just pulling shit out of your ass.  Stop making excuses for rapists.  A large significant proportion of rapists actually ARE impotent, or at least do not complete the act to the point of ejaculating.  Including the shit-turd who raped me.  Said shit-turd also had a girlfriend (I saw her at his sentencing) who he presumably could have fucked whenever he wanted instead of, I guess, following phermones or some such shit to my window and breaking in because he couldn't help himself I was so fucking sexy (because he sure as shit couldn't see me in the pitch black).

    And all the research suggests that the date rapists you want to say are so very different from shit-turds like the one who raped me -- well the research suggest they're exactly the same.  Sucks for those who'd rather believe women can stop it by just not being so sexy in the wrong place and with the wrong person.

    Fuck this makes me mad.

    Now go ahead and dismiss everythign I have to say because I'm too emotionally involved or some such shit, just like you dismissed the other diary, which unlike your blather up there, had actual science in it.

    •  You Don't Appear To Be Responding (4+ / 0-)

      To anything in this actual diary, which includes zero excuses for rapists.  I will not spectulate as to the role your "emotional involvement" may play in that.

      •  Actually, she is responding precisely to the (5+ / 0-)

        main point of the diary.  And your snide remark about 'emotional involvement' is insulting and potentially triggering to rape and abuse survivors.

        The diary offers nothing but vague feelings in response to years of carefully documented studies of actual rapists and what motivates them.  It is entirely reasonable to respond with actual experience of rape that contradicts the diarist's poorly-founded conjectures.

        •  Nope (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical, Flying Goat, TooFolkGR

          I'd hope that people with serious risk of being triggered would not have made it this far into the comments section of a diary about rape.

          While it's perfectly reasonable to use personal experience when criticizing someone's argument, the issue is that NancyK wasn't really saying anything relevant to the argument in the diary. Nancy's main concerns seem to be a) excuses are being made for rapists, which they're not, and b) that the diary claims there's a big difference between 'lesser' forms of rape and the traditional 'black ski mask' situation, which it doesn't.

          •  I'm sorry that I'm so late coming back to this, (0+ / 0-)

            unfortunately work intervened.  But, are you seriously suggesting that rape survivors should not go into diaries discussing a topic that has affected them so much, and that you therefore should not have to consider your language?!! Because that's what you appear to be suggesting, that some of the people most affected should be basically shut out of the discussion.

            •  No worries, I'm still interested (0+ / 0-)

              The language that caused you to warn about people being triggered was

              "You Don't Appear To Be Responding To anything in this actual diary, which includes zero excuses for rapists.  I will not spectulate as to the role your "emotional involvement" may play in that."

              There isn't really any trigger in the above quote beyond the fact that it mentions rapists at all. There certainly are people who through no fault of their own could be triggered just by that, but those are people who are on a hair-trigger (so to speak) and who I would indeed recommend to not peruse a discussion on a subject that could trigger them so easily.

              Obviously the more people able to access a discussion the better, particularly people with first-hand experience, but I'd say that if there's someone who can't discuss rape in any form without being triggered, it's that person's responsibility to not seek out those discussions.

              Make sense?

        •  You Didn't Respond to Anything I Said Either (0+ / 0-)

          I'm detecting a theme here.

  •  From what I can figure, (26+ / 0-)

    If it's about sex, it's because the rapist is turned on by fear, control and violence.

    It's basically sexual psychopathy.


    I'm not an atheist. How can you not believe in something that doesn't exist? That's way too convoluted for me. - A. Whitney Brown

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:38:49 PM PDT

  •  Crap. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Corvinus

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:52:44 PM PDT

  •  I just want to point out that as the other diarist (24+ / 0-)

    you are referring to that I did my best to present facts via studies. I could not find any scientific studies that support your point of view. If you have them, I would love to read them.

    The studies that have been done include interviews with actual rapists. The data that was gathered shows that rape isn't about sex. Many rapists actually have access to a sexual partner. Rape is about power/control.

    I hope that in the future as we discuss rape on this website, folks will refer back to today's diary, which is part of a new series to discuss rape here at DKos. It makes a huge difference to be able to provide more than anecdotal evidence.

    •  It doesn't matter if there is another available (0+ / 0-)

      Partner.  We know when the male and fake are the same size and color they are more monogamous.  If the is a size difference then they are more polygamous.  Human male are definitely larger than the female.  Women have multiple partners when the resources are very scarce and no single man can support the family. There examples of the various forms of polygamy, polyandry, serial polygamy.

      Often without consent of the female.

      •  Fascinating typo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WakeUpNeo

        I keep staring at that typo and wondering about it:

        We know when the male and fake are the same size
        On top of that, I also noticed that you stooped to what is considered one of the worst, most dishonest tactics in debating:  the use of "We know."

        You seriously need to come up with some proof of
        - who this "We" is
        - how that "We" "Knows" what you say they know
        - what it is that "We" actually "Knows"

        Your haughty disdain for victims of rape (especially women) is shining through the gaping holes in your argument.  

        I nominate this particular comment of yours as Most Supercilious Comment of The Year (so far).

        It's not a question of whether our founding fathers are rolling in their graves but rather of how many RPM they're clocking.

        by Eyesbright on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not so much (2+ / 0-)

      The idea that rapists having access to sexual partners as evidence that rape isn't about sex doesn't really hold water. Is adultery not about sex because the perpetrator has access to another sexual partner

  •  this may be more of a semantical argument... (12+ / 0-)

    ...than anything useful.  All anyone's going to do is try to define "sex," "violence," and "rape," when words are just agreed-upon and thus-open-to-interpretation things with no inherent meaning.   You will never define any of those words so that everyone will agree on them, so you'll never get a satisfactory conclusion.

    Suffice it to say that rape is abberant behavior, while sex is not.  Rape creates a victim, while sex does not.  The motions may be similar, the motivations are not.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:06:03 PM PDT

    •  Sure, but... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think it's useful to redefine sex in a way that excludes rape. Indeed, I don't think we really have a definition for rape if it doesn't involve sex. Try to describe what rape is without using the word sex or synonyms.

  •  It's about sex. (0+ / 0-)

    It is about stealing eggs. Of course
    Men rape men but they are treating that man as a surrogate woman.  Because theserapists don't consider themselves as gay.

  •  There's a whole lot of wrong here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Like this:

    The former are motivated by “resentment and a general hostility towards women.”  But how do we make sense of this resentment and hostility unless it has a sexual origin?  It has only been recently that women have had anything other than sex about which men would be resentful.
    In April 1776, John Adams wrote this to his wife, Abigail, who had implored him that, upon throwing off the British, the new nation ought to Remember the Ladies:
    Depend upon it, We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full Force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would compleatly subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat, I hope General Washington, and all our brave Heroes would fight.
    Emphasis added.    
  •  This is an interesting remark (0+ / 0-)

    "It has only been recently that women have had anything other than sex about which men would be resentful"

    Could this perhaps explain why rape is on the increase in recent decades?

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:43:45 PM PDT

    •  I suppose it might (0+ / 0-)

      But then, there could be so many other reasons to account for that:  differences in what society counts as rape, reluctance of women in the past to report a rape, and the disappearance of the chaperon, to name a few.

      •  All the criminal and police statistics (5+ / 0-)

        indicate that rape has actually decreased in recent years.  What has increased is the willingness to talk about it (which is actually a pretty major component of the the education strategies which have helped to decrease the incidence of rape).  Check the actual statistics, and don't mistake 'more talk about it' for 'more actual incidents'.

      •  "The disappearance of the chaperon?" Really? (0+ / 0-)

        In what upper class universe does most of your reading take place? I can't remember the last time I read the word in a non-fiction context, although it was probably in the late '50s or early '60s, when it was used primarily in the context of high school proms.

        This just makes no sense at all in the context of the diary - please enlighten me as to just why you threw it in at this point.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:04:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The word "chaperon" is a little quaint (0+ / 0-)

          I suppose the vagueness of the word "recently" in the sentence quoted by amyzex, and the word "recent" in the question posed, is the problem.  My point was that prior to, say, the twentieth century, a single woman would typically not be allowed to be alone with a man, and that would be a reason why there may have been less rape in those days.

          As for the context of the diary, the sentence quoted by amyzex pertained to the claim that men are hostile to women out of resentment.  But prior to the twentieth century, women typically had very little that would cause resentment in men, except in the case of sex.

          The incidence of rape, however, was not the subject of the diary, but rather the motive, so my answer to amyzex's question is tangential to the main point of my essay.

    •  Doubtful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      It could if that were true, but since the number of rapes in the US has been on the decline for the last 20 years, probably not.

  •  It often becomes an issue of semantics (2+ / 0-)

    I agree that rape, at least in many case, must have something to do with sex.  I cannot believe that people who say that rape is not about sex would even deny this fact if really pushed.  I think that they mean that rape is sex motivated by a desire to control or have power.  In the prior diary, the diarist included a quote about the "myth" that rape is about sex which was countered with the statement that: "While sexual attraction may be influential, power, control and anger are the primary motives. Most rapists have access to a sexual partner. Gratification comes from gaining power and control and discharging anger. This gratification is only temporary, so the rapist seeks another victim."  So sexual attraction as a partial motive is admitted in the first sentence of the quote.  But even more telling is the use of the word "gratification."  What type of gratification does anyone think the rapist is having if not, at least to a significant extent, sexual gratification.  And the point about seeking another victim is irrelevant, given that even if is only about sex, most men want more sex even after having had sex before.

    The fact that the rapist is not motivated primarily by finding the victim sexually attractive, but rather by the sexual enjoyment (or gratification) obtained by wielding power or control over a woman, in my opinion, does not make it less about sex--just less about normal sexual attraction to another person.  This form of sex is justifiably viewed as a perverse form of sex, but I find it strange to say that the motivations are not driven by a sexual desire (even if the sexual desire is one satisfied by power and control rather than normal sexual attraction).

    But again, these issues are more about semantics than substance.  I think most people actually agree on the underlying facts.  It is the desire to increase the stigma associated with a rapist by categorizing the type of sexual gratification experienced by the rapist as a desire solely for power or control.  But genuine sexual release is still present, it would seem, even if the sexual release is based solely on the satisfaction from exercising power and control over another person in a sexual manner.

  •  At root rape is the use of force against... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch

    ...another human being, thus violating their basic rights to life and liberty.

    Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

    by dov12348 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 02:16:39 PM PDT

  •  Next time, please pick a more controversial topic (0+ / 0-)

    nt

  •  I have to admit I can't get inside this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    etbnc, angelajean

    The question of what motivates rapists can only really be answered by rapists.  Is that a space we really want to get inside of, just to find out?

    Researchers who have spent a lot of time interviewing real criminals have some chance of getting a clue.  The rest of us, who aren't rapists, can only just wonder.  

    It seems strange to think that forcing someone violently against their will is sex.  Certainly not much erotic about that.

    The aim and goal of most of us is to attain a mutal pleasure that moves to its highest possible expression.  That pursuit not only occupies much of our lives and imaginations, but takes up a whole lot of shelf space in the total literary output of the human race.  

    Why people go off into areas like child molesting or rape is hard to imagine, since it goes against the grain so much for most of us.  

    I don't know that speculation such as the diarist indulged in here is helpful in achieving insight.  We all believe what we believe without much time being spent trying to really get at the truth of the reality of it.  

    I think I will go look at that prior diary.  So far, though, I have not seen any work on this that strikes me as really explaining these phenomena.  

    Are they vestiges of an ancient past in which violence was the every day reality we all had to somehow survive?  Is
    the ability to kill confused between people who can be decorated military heroes and people who are murderers?  One can speculate.  But does speculation help us progress?

    Perhaps if our ultimate aim is to figure out how to prevent criminal behavior rather than spend a lot of resources on punishing it.  But we need science, not speculation along the lines of how many angels dance on the head of a pin.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 02:36:33 PM PDT

    •  We don't have to just wonder! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WakeUpNeo

      We can read the results of the studies! And that is exactly what my diary of this morning attempted to do.

      I hope you do read it. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. And join the conversation next week as well - the series will publish every Thursday minus the holidays for the next couple of months. We have 24 statements about rape to go through and if they all result in this kind of conversation, I'll consider the series at least a partial success.

  •  I give you a rec for willingness to step into fire (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

    You took the trouble to write this in a reasonable way.  In my view it is much more complex than "rape is about sex" or "rape is about power," and some have have noted that here.  Even though many seem to grant at least some validity to your perspective, your position goes against dogma.  Hence, in the dKos environment, at this point you have 73 comments and 0 recs.  So I give you one.

  •  you're wasting your effort. (5+ / 0-)

    Look at the comments above mine. Lots of stuff along the lines that you're somehow "making excuses", rather than explaining, and so on.

    Referring to the Lisak study (actually, a survey of studies), I find the various conclusions being drawn therefrom to be nonsense. Nowhere in that report do I find one shred of evidence that the majority of rapes are not committed by someone who is primarily motivated by sexual desire.

    There are two common, discouraging, and complete epistemological FAILS involved in the "mainstream" interpretation of Lisak's research survey.

    FAIL 1:
    Lisak has identified certain statistical trends amongst men who rape: tendencies towards misogyny, violence, narcissism, etc.; but in an all-too-typical rhetorical abuse of social science statistics, what is only a trend instead becomes an absolute: "Rapists are X, Y, and Z", rather than, "50%+x of rapists exhibit a measurably higher propensity towards violence than that found in the median of the general population." The bogus absolute characterization of the rapists then leads to a similarly bogus absolute characterization of the rapes: All Rapes Are About Violence; Rape Has Nothing To Do With Sex. It would be funny, if so much weren't on the line.

    FAIL 2:
    Even in the context of a given individual rapist who has been identified as having a measurably above-average hostility towards women, the research cited does not establish motivation; and the most obvious interpretation of the data is not the one promulgated by either Lisak or those reporting on his research survey. Rather, the most obvious interpretation is that a general propensity towards violence and a particular hostility towards women enables the rapist to act on his sexual desire. Pick-pockets don't pick pockets in order to control and dominate their victims, they pick pockets to get money -- but I hypothesize that a statistical survey of pick-pockets will identify trends towards an array of antisocial personality characteristics: Lack of empathy, narcissism, and an unwarranted sense of superiority, for example. I suggest that the majority of men refrain from rape for the same reason they refrain from purse-snatching -- not because they are uninterested in sex or money, and not even because they are afraid of being caught, but rather, because they are well-socialized human beings who don't want to hurt other human beings.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:49:10 PM PDT

    •  Can you direct me to links that support what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1

      you're proposing here. I would love to share this in the series.

      I have tried to give an honest assessment of what I could find online. You have come the closest to giving an analysis rather than just a gut feeling.

      BTW - no one said that rape has nothing to do with sex. Everything I'm finding that has scientific studies behind it says that sex is not the motivating factor for rape. There is a big difference, don't you think?

      •  Sorry, I gotta go ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... but thanks for the reasonable response.

        I agree with your last sentence.

        I disagree with your second to last sentence.

        I'm not sure about your third-to-last sentence -- perhaps nobody has actually made that assertion in this thread or in your diary's thread. It is an all too common slogan in this debate.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 04:20:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again it is semantics (0+ / 0-)

        You state that the studies show that "sex is not the motivating factor for rape."  I don't read the studies that way at all.  The studies indicate that rape is not motivated by the inability to get sex any other way.  And they also show that rape is not motivated by normal sexual attraction to another person.

        But I think those definitions of sexual motivation are too narrow.  If someone gets sexually excited by the idea of having power and control over another person, I would characterize that person as motivated by sex--just sex fueled by something other than normal sexual attraction (deviant sex, perhaps).  Others might have a narrower definition of what it means to be motivated by sex.  But sexual gratification that comes from the feelings of power and control that result from most rapes are still sexual feelings--just not healthy sexual feelings.

        As noted in my post above, I don't think the two sides really disagree about the underlying facts, they just disagree on what is means to be motivated by sex.  It is an argument over semantics.

    •  I have a strong suspicion that there is a bias (3+ / 0-)

      towards self-selection in past studies.  In any study that uses identified rapists, you're already skewing towards the end of the spectrum at which it is easiest to actually legally prove rape, which often involves easily identifying the use of obvious force - the vast majority of those convicted of rape are convicted in part simply because the evidence was overwhelming.

      We hear over and over that the majority of rapes are never reported, and that the majority of those that are are either never tried, or never end in conviction.  So to select to study those that are, and then proclaim that they accurately represent the entire array of perpetrators is highly dubious.

      If I wanted to design a study that assessed the broader majority of such assaults, I would probably attempt to get as wide a cross-section of high school and college-aged males to fill out an anonymous survey with a variety of overlapping questions about sexual urges, misogynistic impulses, and so on, without ever using the word 'rape', but identifying the degree to which they feel it is acceptable to go to attempt to induce such an encounter.

      The male who cruises parties for women under the influence to have sex with, the male who thinks that providing entertainment, a meal, etc, 'entitles' him to sex and wheedles an unhappy date into finally simply giving in, and so on, are every bit as much rapists as those who drag strangers into abandoned buildings.

      I think the whole 'Don't Be That Guy' campaign is aimed at redefining the socially acceptable bounds of male sexual behaviour.  It certainly would not do anything to change the mindset of those bent upon control, violence, and hatred of women.

  •  Research shows 4 out of 5 dentists (3+ / 0-)

    This diary got me thinking off on a little bit of a tangent, and also on the subject.

    First, let me say, I do agree this diary is very speculative and doesn't add much in the way of data. In that sense, I think it's value is in provoking discussion.

    On to the subject:

    I'm always wary about the phrasing "research shows" when applied in the social sciences. There is research that shows a lot. There is research that shows we need to have 60% of Americans with college degrees. There is research that shows that financial markets are completely rational and efficient. It's just that that research is badly conducted and logically flawed.

    But while its pretty easy to identify bad research in the social sciences, identifying good research and trying to get to a clear conclusion is hard. And that is what bothers me about the claim "rape is not about sex".

    One of the hallmarks of good research quite frankly sometimes is good semantics: starting with good, clear, definitions of concepts and variables so that it is actually possible to measure and classify.

    But the existence of a body of research doesn't conclusively prove anything, and a consensus can always be challenged on many grounds. But if you are going to challenge it, you do have a responsibility to conduct your own good research. I agree, a few examples from a Hitchcock movie don't count as research.

    Let's start from a simple premise: rape is wrong. Let's add to that, rape is experienced by the victim as an assault. I hope we all agree on that. Rape is not about having sex for the victim.

    Let's also agree (I hope) that rape is not about the rapist being hypersexualized, unable to control sexual impulses, or set off by a short skirt or the sight of a naked body.

    If we all agree on that then is there not room for more critical studies that try to address some complex issues:

    1. Can people act out of multiple motives? If so, could a rapist act out of a motive for power and domination and also be experiencing sexual gratification?

    2. Are we so sure that the sexual impulse is divorced from power or other motivations? I'd be more convinced that "rape is not about sex" if rapists did not experience sexual gratification.

    3. What do we consider a rape?
    a. The stereotypical rapist: the stranger who attacks out of the blue with a knife or a gun.
    b. The acquaintance rapist who uses physical coercion or threats to rape.
    c. One person in the encounter says no,  no actual physical coercion is used but one person in the encounter for whatever reasons (fear, pressure, desire to be liked) winds up going along with the encounter.

    Just to be clear, I would consider the use of "date rape drugs" or taking advantage of a situation where a person is otherwise reasonably able to consent to be on the same level as a and b.

    But the definition of rape that is often proposed on Daily Kos goes beyond this to include:

    d. the person didn't explicitly, clearly say yes, but also didn't say no, and the encounter began as one of mutual consent, but ended with one person feeling that it was not.
    e. both people involved smoked pot and drank wine, got drunk and high, and had sex.

    Fortunately, no one has claimed that its rape (as some have in the past) that its rape even if the person says 'yes, yes, more, more".

    Given that situations such as c often begin as mutual, consensual encounters and end with one party seeing it is non-consensual while the other person believes the sex was consensual, what do we mean when we say "the rape was not about sex"?

    If we define d and e as rape, what do we mean when we say it wasn't about sex?

    Are d and e rape if the two people involve women?

    Is it rape if they are both male?

    So what are my points:

    1. I don't think the research so far is always well conducted and I don't know what we conclude from it except we need more research.

    2. There seem to be a lot of simplistic assumptions about what "sexual motivation" is all about.

    3.  I'm tired of every discussion on Daily Kos about sexual assault resulting in accusations of being pro-rape when a diarist or commentator expresses disagreement with the most extreme, simplistic, politically correct view on sexual assault.

  •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

    People still take seriously the idea that rape isn't about sex?

    If you are one of those who doesn't buy that rape is about sex, consider this: what are other examples of things that people want and never use violence to get? I can't think of any. If rape weren't about sex that would make sex unique among all human desires as something that no one uses force to accomplish.

  •  What exactly do you mean by "sex." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean

    Rape is about control and often violence and abuse.  It is about the right of one person to dominate and totally disrespect another.

    Rape does most frequently involve copulation and, for men, ejaculation, but rape may also be performed using a weapon other than a penis.

    Rape, classically, is a man raping a woman, but it is not limited to that combination.  So both "sexes" can be rapists and both can be victims of their own gender, or the other gender.

    Rape/penetration can be performed with a foreign object with no copulation and possibly no sexual arousal or climax.

    So rape is also torture, the dehumanizing of the victim.

    Rape is about dominance, the right of one person to deprive the victim of their freedom and their humanity.

  •  A web site founded on pie fights between women (0+ / 0-)

    is still scratching its male pattern baldness and wondering why it can't get laid...

  •  Well, I read through the linked Lisak paper (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    disinterested spectator

    and the abstracts available for the papers he used to back up his claim about 'motivations' in it, and I think there is a problematic usage of the phrase 'motivational factors'.  Lisak makes a claim about 'motivations', but the papers he lists as references for that claim do not, in fact, show that the factors examined are in fact, 'motivations'.

    What they do seem to show is that many of the rapists, whether caught or uncaught, share similar personality characteristics that would make them able to commit crimes of violence, including rape, more easily.  Lack of empathy, hypermasculinity, anger towards women, and similar factors correlate strongly in those who commit rapes.  But Lisak seems to make the jump from 'these correlate' to 'these are the motivation' for the rapes without explaining why exactly it is that such attacks are 'about' power or dominance over women.  Every 'factor' apart from perhaps 'hypermasculinity' could simply lead to a greater likelihood of violence against women in general, without a sexual component.

    So far, I have not come across a paper that actually demonstrates that rape is 'about' power, but rather simply ones that demonstrate that rapists have a host of negative characteristics.  I'd like to see one that actually demonstrates proof of the claim that 'rape is about power', rather than simply making it, and surrounding it with correlative, rather than causative data.

    •  Rape and robbery revisited (0+ / 0-)

      Regarding my remark that rape is to sex as robbery is to money, it would be interesting know whether lack of empathy, hypermasculinity, and anger towards people correlate with men who commit robbery.  If so, and as an armchair philosopher, it is clear to me upon careful reflection and contemplation that it is so, then the inference to the conclusion that robbery is not about money would be as valid as the one that rape is not about sex.  And as the former is absurd, so too is the latter.

      •  My suspicion in the matter is that people (0+ / 0-)

        want things to be 'simple', and to conform to what they historically believed.  And that the word 'about' can be taken in many ways.  

        Certainly Lisak uses the word 'motivation' in a way I'm not sure I would use it.  What he refers to as a 'motivational factor' I think I would refer to more as a 'facilitational factor' or a 'predispositional factor'.  People with lower empathy are predisposed to acts that are self-centered, and can victimize others.  People who are 'angry' at others, are more predisposed to do or say things to or at those with whom that they are angry that are negative or hurtful.  Men who are 'hypermasculine' are more likely to be sexually aggressive.  None of that proves that the acts performed are 'about' anger or 'about' lack of empathy, but it can logically assumed that anger and lack of empathy can make such actions more likely.

        Human interactions form a very complex spectrum, and assigning motivation to interactions is tricky.  Not only do people have a tendency to lie - especially about things they know to be viewed negatively by society - but they even lie to themselves.  Where are the largest pie-fights on site?  Where you find people asserting motivations without any real way to prove them.  Assertions that the President is motivated by a desire to do X, or not to do X.  

        You simply can't assume that people are even telling you the truth about their motivations for any act when you ask them directly.  Most people are smart enough to shade their answers in a way that is self-interested.

        Either by ascribing noble motivations to themselves, or, if the action simply can't be cast in a positive light, by providing external 'factors' that 'caused' you to commit them.  It's not simply that you're wanted X, but you were influenced by media, you had a bad childhood, you were 'angry', you didn't 'understand'...  Anything that can create the impression that you're not simply a self-centered person who simply wants to satisfy your own desires in the way you want to, but that there was something that can be separated from you, that isn't central to you.  (As you can guess, I tend to be a bit of a cynic about the human condition ;)

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