The early 1980s saw an explosion of research on maritally violent men and on extrafamilial sexual aggressors against women (Monson & LanghinrichsenRohling, 1998). There were, however, few studies on marital rape (Finkelhor & Yllo, 1985; Russell, 1990). This situation may be explained by the fact that marital rape was not considered a crime in any jurisdiction, and was exempt from legal prosecution (Martin, Taft, & Resick, 2007). Furthermore, marital rape was perceived as the consequence of a simple disagreement between intimate partners over the frequency or nature of sexual contacts (Finkelhor & Yllo, 1985). Although the legal status of marital rape has changed in Western countries, there are still few studies on this topic. In their review of 2949 papers on sexual aggression, Camilleri and Quinsey (2009) found only 59 on marital rape (i.e., sexual coercion by a current or former intimate partner). Finally, because the majority of the studies on marital rapists’ motivation rely on victim reports only (Bergen & Bukovec, 2006), an analysis of the actual psychological characteristics (e.g., motivation) of marital rapists is necessary. Another reason for investigating marital rapist’s characteristics is that marital rape may not be subsumed under the more common category of nonsexual marital violence. According to Russell (1990), these two types of marital violence “are closely linked in the sense that many battered wives are also raped, but there are probably many more wives who are raped by their husband but not battered” (p. 145). Such a view is supported by the results of a recent study by Basile and Hall (2011) which indicates that sexual coercion in intimate relationships is a distinct, non-redundant phenomenon, although it is correlated with forms of nonsexual coercion (physical violence, r = 0.63; stalking, r = 0.68; psychological abuse, r = 0.71). Furthermore, Monson and Langhinrichsen-Rohling (1998) reported that between 1% and 10% of women report marital rape without any other form of marital violence. Nevertheless, women who are victims of nonsexual violence from their partner are at higher risk of being victims of marital rape than are women who do not experience such abuse (Bergen & Bukovec, 2006; Dienemann et al., 2000).Thus, the results from the literature on
marital violence are relevant but insufficient to explain marital rape. Nevertheless, we will present a review of the theories and typologies of violence in intimate relationships, before proceeding to our study of marital rapists.