Wise Counsel From Susan Quilliam: I keep dreaming about being raped

Dear Susan
OK, so I’m my own woman. I don’t take any rubbish from men, I like equal relationships, and my current partner – a lovely man – treats me like a princess. So why do I keep dreaming about being raped, sometimes violently, sometimes by more than one guy. It shook me when it happened once – but now the same dream keeps coming back and back. I’m sure I really don’t want to be abused. So what’s going on?
Hi Lianne
I don’t think for a moment that you want to be abused, or to have done to you in reality any of the things that you describe. And I don’t think that having these dreams – as many women do – means that you are inviting abuse, or that anyone has the right to abuse you.
But I do wonder whether your dreams are there for a reason. Perhaps – even though you are such a strong woman, or perhaps because you are such a strong woman – you are deep down terrified of the rape you dream of. Of course you are – sexual violence is a terrible thing and there is no guarantee that you might not one day find yourself in a vulnerable situation.
So perhaps your dream is there to show you that you are vulnerable, and to make you more aware of what you need to do to protect yourself. In some mysterious way it could be that dreaming about what you fear makes you safer when you’re awake.
I wish I could suggest what to do to make your dreams stop. Perhaps it’s down to realising all the ways in which you steer clear of danger – and all the ways that you need to  steer clear of danger even more than you do. Or perhaps you need to talk through your anxieties with a counsellor – in which case log on to www.bacp.org.uk and find one local to you.
Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here.


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  • Peter L Hartley commented on May 12, 2013 at 01:22


    Susan’s response is but one interpretation, and certainly NOT the conclusion that most professional Psychiatrists would let you find you way towards.

    As a gross generalisation, people of either sex who have positions of power (or consider themselves to be in such situations) frequently dream of ‘losing that power, for a period of time’. This is predominately the reason for the success of (principally soft-core) BDSM organisations such as “Informed Consent”.

    It is also the principal reason why many men cross-dress, to feel a sense of ‘freedom’ from the demands that are, or are perceived to be, placed upon them.

    For women, cross-dressing generally offers little in the form of emotional ‘release’, but the idea of being raped or placed in bondage and made vulnerable, as a fantasy, offers women the ‘excuse’ to lose control (mentally) in a safe manner. For some women, it is insufficient to simply imagine or fantasise about such arrangements, and so they might seek a Dominant man to help them realise their fantasies.

    Your Partner is someone you describe as a “lovely man” who teats you “like a princess”. Perhaps you have an inner wish that sometimes, you wish that he would be ‘less considerate’ so that you can explore sex yet further.

    Let me be clear about this; the fantasy itself is ‘normal’ and nothing to be ashamed about. If you have a firm relationship with your Partner or Spouse, you could introduce the subject in a humorous manner (“A friend told me that she had always fantasised about being raped, but was too frightened to try it out, until she came across a magazine that her Partner had, with a story about the same thing. She’s fascinated, but worried in case anything went wrong. I didn’t know what to suggest to her”) and see how your Partner responds.

    The importance of being able to discuss sexual matters with one’s Partner cannot be overlooked – I frequently advise people to use my mantra “Don’t Assume – Communicate”. You might find that your Partner has held a similar fantasy, in a reverse position.

    What I would stress is NOT to let it dominate (my apologies for the pun) your sex lives, so that you feel that you want to go further and further. That quite often, in my experience, leads to breakdowns in Relationships and Marriages, if Partners start to lose Respect for each other.

    Better to keep the fantasy in your mind whilst having sex with your Partner, rather than risk a breakdown in what I hope is a lovely and loving Relationship.

    Good Luck – and talk to your Partner.

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