Desire and Coercion: An Analysis of Rape Fantasy in the Erotica of Anaїs Nin

Wheatley, Caitlin
In the 1940s, Anaїs Nin wrote short erotic stories that she composed for a private collector who paid her by the page. Nin often depicted sex graphically as painful that at times even included disfiguring mutilation. Her signature erotic situation is one in which a woman must be convinced against her will to discover the sexual fulfillment she resists; the woman must come to appreciate sex through force, this is the essence of the rape fantasy. This paper provides excerpts from Little Birds to illustrate Nin's usage and description of female rape fantasy as erotic. Rape fantasies are psychological enigmas that pose conceptual challenges; they are difficult for psychologists to understand because it seems deeply contradictory for women to fantasize about an experience that in reality would be traumatizing. There are three kinds of rape fantasies, erotic, aversive, and erotic-aversive. These three types of rape fantasies are defined by five characteristics that determine which category a given fantasy fits into, type of consent, physical attractiveness of the perpetrator, relation to the perpetrator, motivation of the perpetrator, and level of physical/verbal violence. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the psychological basis and reward of rape fantasies through current research and theory and to investigate why these types of fantasies make Nin's erotica successful.
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