A Natural History of Rape

Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion

In this controversial book, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer use evolutionary biology to explain the causes of rape and to recommend new approaches to its prevention. According to Thornhill and Palmer, evolved adaptation of some sort gives rise to rape; the main evolutionary question is whether rape is an adaptation itself or a by-product of other adaptations. Thornhill and Palmer address, and claim to demolish scientifically, many myths about rape bred by social science theory over the past 25 years. The popular contention that rapists are not motivated by sexual desire is, they argue, scientifically inaccurate. The book also includes a useful summary of evolutionary theory and a comparison of evolutionary biology's and social science's explanations of human behavior.

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. 1. Rape and Evolutionary Theory
  5. 2. The Evolution of Sex Differences
  6. 3. Why Do Men Rape?
  7. 4. The Pain and Anguish of Rape
  8. 5. Why Have Social Scientists Failed to Darwinize?
  9. 6. The Social Science Explanation of Rape
  10. 7. Law and Punishment
  11. 8. Social Influences on Male Sexuality
  12. 9. Educational Programs
  13. 10. Barriers
  14. 11. Treatment and Recovery
  15. 12. Conclusion
  16. Notes
  17. Glossary
  18. References
  19. Index