Conceptualizing the "wantedness" of women's consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences: implications for how women label their experiences with rape

  • Peterson Z
  • Muehlenhard C
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Abstract

Sex is often conceptualized either as wanted and consensual or as unwanted and nonconsensual, reflecting an implicit model of wanting that is unidimensional and dichotomous and that conflates wanting and consenting. This study has three objectives: developing a multidimensional model for conceptualizing the wantedness of a sexual act, using this model to compare women's experiences with rape and consensual sex, and assessing whether wantedness is related to rape acknowledgment. Participants were college women who described their experiences with rape (n = 77) or consensual sexual intercourse (n = 87). Results supported a multidimensional model of sexual wanting and a wanting-consenting distinction. Compared with acknowledged rape victims, unacknowledged rape victims reported wanting the sexual intercourse more despite not having consented.

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Authors

  • Zoë D. Peterson

  • Charlene L. Muehlenhard

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