In the 1990s there was more focus on war-time sexual violence than ever before. Within academia, among policy-makers and in the media emerged a consensus that sexual violence can be used as a weapon of war. This article attempts to understand the complex relationship between sexual violence and war by presenting three different conceptualizations based on a literature study of 140 scholarly texts published mainly during the 1990s. The crux of this article is the argument that the relationship between sexual violence and war is best conceptualized within a social constructionist paradigm. My analysis shows that it is the social constructionist conceptualization which is best equipped to explain the complex empirical reality at hand.