Recently I posted a blog about a mini-brouhaha surrounding writer Marata Eros, who writes in the genre of rape erotica. It basically boiled down to readers downloading the book without realizing it was rape erotica, then posting one star reviews to Amazon and other sites detailing their disgust. Eros said she had a disclaimer all along, others said she didn't. The author was a little defensive, but ultimately the true gist of the reader response was because the idea of rape as erotica was disturbing to many.
I'd mentioned this to some of my friends on Facebook and was pretty surprised to be told that rape as titillation has been around for years and used to be a fairly common plot device in romance. For example, Catherine Coulter's Devil's Embrace features a female character that is stalked, kidnapped, and repeatedly raped by her captor... who she eventually returns to because she's fallen deeply in love with him. A little more sleuthing brought up Savage Surrender by Natasha Peters, where you have a fair young maiden getting her booty forcibly and repeatedly plundered by several scallywags, one of which is- you guessed it, the guy she is obviously destined to fall in love with. There's others, such as Christine Monson's Stormfire, where the guy not only rapes her but also backhands her, starves her, and generally humiliates her in about every way possible. You could look back even farther and find the writings of the Marquis de Sade, which is considered classic erotica by some.
I could probably find more, but you get the gist of things. Rape as erotica and entertainment has always been around. I'd elaborated on some of the reasons psychologists gave for people enjoying the genre and writing fiction, most of which center around the concept of freedom. By having their choices taken away from them, the women are free to engage in encounters where they have various sex acts done to them that they might not otherwise have done, with there being the implication that since they didn't have to assume guilt or responsibility afterwards. At least, that's what was in the reports. It's pretty freaky but the studies are an interesting read and if you're like me, researching this sort of thing helps to demystify something that baffles and quite frankly, frightens me.
I just wanted to elaborate a bit more on this, as it's pretty intriguing. It almost makes me wish that I was taking a degree is psychology, because this would be an excellent senior thesis.