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Adultery (from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''adulterium'') is
extramarital sex Extramarital sex occurs when a married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between the ...
that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social, religious, and legal consequences, the concept exists in many cultures and is similar in
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...

Christianity
,
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
. A single act of sexual intercourse is generally sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship is sometimes referred to as an
affair An affair is a , , or between two people where at least one of the two has such a connection with a third person, either in a formal setting like marriage or informally, without the third person's knowledge or agreement. Romantic affair A roma ...

affair
. Historically, many cultures considered adultery a very serious
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defi ...

crime
, some subject to severe punishment, usually for the woman and sometimes for the man, with penalties including
capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone is punished with the death penalty is called a de ...

capital punishment
,
mutilation Mutilation or maiming (from the Latin: ''mutilus'') is cutting off or causing injury to a body part of a person so that the part of the body is permanently damaged, detached or disfigured. Terminology In 2019, Dr. Michael H. Stone, Dr. Gary Br ...
, or
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering i ...

torture
. Such punishments have gradually fallen into disfavor, especially in
Western countries The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabita ...
from the 19th century. In countries where adultery is still a criminal offense, punishments range from
fine Fine may refer to: Characters * Sylvia Fine (''The Nanny''), Fran's mother on ''The Nanny'' * Fine/Officer Fine, character in Tales from the Crypt, played by Vincent Spano Vincent M. Spano (born October 18, 1962) is an American film, stage and ...
s to
caning Caning is a form of corporal punishment Corporal punishment or physical punishment is a punishment , England Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted ...

caning
and even capital punishment. Since the 20th century, criminal laws against adultery have become controversial, with most Western countries decriminalising adultery. However, even in jurisdictions that have decriminalised adultery, it may still have legal consequences, particularly in jurisdictions with fault-based
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminating a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people calle ...

divorce
laws, where adultery almost always constitutes a
ground for divorce Grounds for divorce are regulations specifying the circumstances under which a person will be granted a divorce. Adultery is the most common grounds for divorce. However, there are countries that view male adultery differently than female adultery ...
and may be a factor in
property settlement Division of property, also known as equitable distribution, is a judicial division of property rights and obligations between spouses during divorce Divorce also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage ...
, the custody of children, the denial of
alimony Alimony (also called aliment Aliment, in Scots law and in other civil systems, is the sum of money paid, or allowance given in respect of the reciprocal Obligation (law), obligation of parents and children, husband and wife, grandparents and g ...

alimony
, etc. Adultery is not a ground for divorce in jurisdictions which have adopted a
no-fault divorceNo-fault may refer to: * No-fault divorce * No-fault insurance *No-fault liability also known as strict liability {{disambig ">INFIDELITY IN COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS II: A SUBSTANTIVE REVIEW , Journal of Marital and Family Therapy , Find Articles at BNET
at www.findarticles.com {{DEFAULTSORT:Adultery Adultery, Family law Human sexuality Love Extramarital relationships Sexual fidelity, * Sexual misconduct Sex and the law