Encyclopedia > Adultery

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Adultery is generally defined as sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their lawful spouse. There is often an implicit or explicit agreement between spouses not to do this, and it may even be illegal. If there is such an agreement it is also called infidelity or unfaithfulness. By extension these concepts may apply for other sexual activities.

Historically adultery has been subject to severe sanctions including the death penalty and has been grounds for divorce under fault-based divorce laws. Enforcement of laws against adultery is often uneven--in many places, women are punished more harshly than men, in some cases being considered guilty of adultery even when they did not consent to sex. The method for punishing adultery is traditionally stoning to death.

See also Adultery in literature

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