Having an orgasm while being raped does not equal consent.

Orgasms during rape. It’s a thought that makes your whole body flinch.

Not because it’s impossible, but because it’s just one more way the survivors of sexual assault are misunderstood and violated on a level that is deeply, deeply personal.

Already, the dialogue around rape is filled with questions about alcohol intake and ‘were you kissing him?’ and ‘what were you wearing at the time?’

Watch: “The bit I can’t accept is that rape has anything to do with clothing.” Post continues below.

For the victim, these questions pile on feelings of guilt and shame and uncertainty atop the hurt and the trauma.

If she orgasms, the doubt is compounded. Something we know because of the fact nobody talks about it.

“Of the 500–600 clients I ever saw, only a couple of dozen disclosed [it] to me,” Matthew Atkinson, author and domestic and sexual violence–response professional told Popular Science.

“However, when the topic is brought up on internet discussion forums, there seems to be a great deal of interest in it. That suggests to me that it’s more common than we may be aware.”

Maybe this is why the tweets from user _clvrarose in North London went viral. In them, she talks about something no rape victim wants to address.

The assumption, of course, is that orgasm equals enjoyment and enjoyment equals consent.


How awfully inaccurate. How inherently sexist.

It's inaccurate because physical and emotional responses to sex can be entirely unrelated.

Lubrication is a physiological response. Orgasm is a physiological response. Both can occur like pupil dilation - in a way that is completely beyond mental control. Indeed, orgasm and pupil dilation are made possible through the same pathway in the body - the sympathetic nervous system. The same nervous system responsible for breathing and the heart beat.

This is why women can have orgasms during their sleep. Or show signs of physical arousal - in blood flow and heart rate - without being mentally aware of any feelings of excitement.

There is also evidence the body's 'fight or flight' response can increase other physiological reactions.

There are reports of women who've been raped while unconscious and waking up mid-climax. Or women who typically find it difficult to reach orgasm, experiencing an extreme orgasm while being raped.

This has nothing to do with 'enjoyment'. It's because the adrenaline and increased heart rate and heightened sensory awareness that come with fear and trauma, can mean any physical sensation - including orgasm - is more intense.

The assumption is sexist in the way it shows how little we care to understand women and their orgasms.


It's widely accepted men can experience erections at times that are inappropriate. At work. In the presence of, or even in response to, parents or siblings or grandparents. At the dentist. At funerals. While giving a presentation in front of a crowd.

The blurry lines of consent. Post continues below.

Our assumption of these men is not that they are incestuous or sadists or have a fetish about dental work and funeral caskets. No, their body is simply experiencing a reaction their minds cannot control.

But with women, we find it so difficult to separate the two. It's a myth that a woman's orgasm is directly related to her emotions, but the myth is pervasive... and convenient.

It makes it easier for men to ignore a woman's pleasure in having sex or watching porn.

It makes it easier for men to excuse their rape as something enjoyed, even consented to. Most terrifyingly, there are reports some serial rapists know the best ways to bring their victims to climax. It adds to their sense of power.

Bringing a woman to orgasm during rape has nothing to do with enjoyment or consent. It's one more violation within a string of many.

It strikes a woman in a place that is deep and personal and private - somewhere that should be out of bounds. It is also entirely natural.