Adultery (anglicised from Latin adulterium) is extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral or legal grounds. Though what sexual activities constitute adultery varies, as well as the social, religious and legal consequences, the concept exists in many cultures and is similar in Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Historically, many cultures have considered adultery a very serious matter. Adultery often incurred severe punishment, usually for the woman and sometimes for the man, with penalties including the death penalty,mutilation or torture. Such punishments have gradually fallen into disfavor, especially in Western countries from the 19th century. In most Western countries, adultery itself is no longer a criminal offense, but may still have legal consequences, particularly in divorce cases. For example, in fault-based family law jurisdictions, adultery almost always constitutes a ground for divorce and may be a factor in property settlement, the custody of children, the denial of alimony, etc. Adultery is not a ground for divorce in jurisdictions which have adopted a no-fault divorce model. Moreover, adultery can affect the social status of those involved, and result in social ostracism in some parts of the world.
In countries where adultery is a criminal offense, punishments range from fines to caning and even the death penalty. Since the 20th century, criminal laws against adultery have become controversial, with international organizations calling for their abolition, especially in the light of several high profile stoning cases that have occurred in some countries. The head of the United Nations expert body charged with identifying ways to eliminate laws that discriminate against women or are discriminatory to them in terms of implementation or impact, Kamala Chandrakiran, has stated that: "Adultery must not be classified as a criminal offence at all". A joint statement by the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice states that: "Adultery as a criminal offence violates women’s human rights".
In Muslim countries that follow sharia law, the punishment for adultery may be stoning. Most countries that criminalize adultery are those where the dominant religion is Islam, and several Sub-Saharan African Christian-majority countries, but there are some notable exceptions to this rule, namely Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and 21 States in the United States.
In some jurisdictions, having sexual relations with a sovereign's consort or an heir to the throne constitutes treason. By analogy, in cultures which value and normally practice exclusive interpersonal relationships, sexual relations with a person outside the relationship may also be described as infidelity or cheating, and is subject to sanction.
Adultery is when a married person has illicit sexual relations with someone who is not that person's spouse. It is a breaking of the marriage covenant and is a great sin. Adultery is forbidden in the 10 Commandments (Exo. 20:14; Deut. 5:18; Lev. 18:20). In the Old Testament it was punishable by death (Deut. 22:22-24) and was intended to be carried out in the case of the adulterous woman in John 7:53-8:11.
In the New Testament it is mentioned in numerous verses such as Matt. 5:27-28, 32; 19:18; Luke 16:18; Rom. 2:22; 1 Cor. 6:9; Heb. 13:4, etc.
Adultery is engaging in sex with a married man or woman. Lust is not specifically sexual in nature. It's a strong desire to have that which you should not have.