Marital Rape


Marital rape is any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse, committed without consent and/or against a person's will, obtained by force, or threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent.

"Rape is Rape. Marital Rape is Rape. Intimate Rape is Rape. Stranger Rape is Rape. Force-only Rape is still rape! Rape is rape regardless of the relationship between the rapist and the victim."
Source: "Marital Rape."

These non-consensual sexual acts include intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual behavior with other individuals, and other sexual activities that are considered by the victim as degrading, humiliating, painful, and unwanted.

If You Need Help -- Call or Go Online:

Also Known As: Spousal rape, wife rape, intimate rape

Common Misspellings: martial rape


"On July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. Laura X, of the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, provides a State Law Chart on her website ( which indicates the status of each state with regard to their marital rape exemptions. As of May, 2005, in 20 states, the District of Columbia, and on federal lands, there are no exemptions from rape prosecution granted to husbands. However, in 30 states, there are still some exemptions given to husbands from rape prosecution.

In most of these 30 states, a husband is exempt when he does not have to use force because his wife is most vulnerable (e.g., she is mentally or physically impaired, unconscious, asleep, etc.) and is legally unable to consent (Bergen, 1996; Russell, 1990; NCMDR, 2005). Because of the marital contract, a wife's consent is assumed."
Source: Raquel Kennedy Bergen.

"Marital Rape: New Research and Directions."