Authored By: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid - Austin
Definition of Marital Rape
Marital rape is the term used to describe nonconsensual sexual acts between a woman/man and her husband/wife, ex-husband/wife, or intimate long-term partner. These sexual acts can include: intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual behavior with other individuals, and other unwanted, painful, and humiliating sexual activities. It is rape if one partner uses force, threats, or intimidation to get the other to submit to sexual acts.
Types of Marital Rape:
- This involves forced sex combined with beatings. This type of sexual assault is primarily motivated by anger towards the victim. The sexual abuse is either part of the entire physical abuse incident or is a result of the husband later asking his wife to prove she forgives him for the beating by having sex with him.
- The husband uses only as much force as necessary to coerce his wife into sexual activity. This type of sexual assault is primarily motivated by the need for power over the victim. In his mind, he is merely asserting his right to have sex with "his" wife on demand. This is the most common type of marital rape.
- The husband's sexual interests run toward the strange and perverse, and he is willing (or even has a preference) to use force to carry these activities out. This is the least common, yet arguably the most physically damaging, type of marital rape.
It is illegal in all 50 states for a husband to rape his wife. Some states, including Texas, have gender-neutral laws which apply to both husbands and wives.