Skip to main content

Consent, wantedness, and pleasure: Three dimensions affecting the perceived distress of and judgements of rape in sexual encounters

Hills, Peter (2019) Consent, wantedness, and pleasure: Three dimensions affecting the perceived distress of and judgements of rape in sexual encounters.
Data for a study accepted in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied Abstract Participants conflate consent and wantedness when judging situations as rape (Peterson & Muehlenhard, 2007). Pleasure might also affect how such situations might be appraised by victims, perpetrators, and jurors. In four experiments, participants read vignettes describing sexual encounters that were consensual or not, wanted or unwanted, and pleasurable or not pleasurable. Participants judged whether they thought each situation described rape and how distressing they thought the encounter would be. Wantedness affected perceived distress when consent was given. Wantedness and pleasure also influenced whether participants considered the situation rape in non-consensual scenarios. In additional experiments, we analysed the results by gender, manipulated perspective (being the subject or initiator of the encounter), levels of aggression, and compared the results to a group of participants who had viewed an anti-abuse campaign. Male participants and those higher in benevolent sexism were more likely than women to utilise pleasure and wantedness in judging whether situations described rape. Perspective and viewing the media campaign did not significantly affect judgements of rape. Our results have implications for models of the consequences of consent, wantedness, and pleasure of sex, and important implications for educational programmes aimed at reducing sexual assault and training for those involved in criminal justice.
Available Files
Full Archive
Administer Item Administer Item