Sex after Marriage... but not with your wife!

I guess it’s technically illegal, but how much trouble, really, can someone get into for having consensual sex with another married person?

I know cops don’t go around looking for this sort of thing, but imagine a set of circumstances brings it to their attention - for example, if the other spouse finds out and physically assaults one of the offending parties, or takes a baseball bat to someone’s car - do you think the two lovebirds would likely be arrested, taken to court, or see any other serious consequences from messing around like that?

P.S. - This is strictly a mental exercise…


Adultry is a class E felony in Wisconsin but very rarely enforced. For one thing, gathering evidence on it is a trick, the other thing is DA’s don’t seem to want to bother with it. It’s kind of an old law still on the books.

Well in Iran or Saudi Arabia one can get in alot of trouble, not so much in the States. I don’t have a cite, but supposedly nearly half the states in the union still have laws against adultery on the books. These laws are almost never enforced and when they are it’s in conjunction with other crimes (like bigamy, rape, etc). Like gatorman said the worst-case scenario is divorce and the adultery might effect things like alimony and division of property in some states.

Is adultery really illegal most places?

ETA: Boy, am I slow…

It’s illegal in South Korea for both parties (the cheater and the person they were cheating with). I’m not sure exactly what the penalty is - I’d imagine a fine of some sorts.

Oh I’m not married, thank you. 'Tis purely a hypothetical.

Divorce as a punishment? :slight_smile: Doesn’t seem too bad, now, does it?

So you guys think that’s the worst that could happen? I’m actually kind of surprised, I figured it would be worse, I just can’t think what.

In your post, you equate trouble with legality. If that’s the question you’re asking, then you’re getting the responses you seek. But you’re also getting the practical, real answers. Marriage is supposed to be a monogomous relationship in most contexts. Consequently, with sex outside of marriage, even if it’s mutually consentual, “trouble” usually eventuates in the form of interpersonal problems.

If you’re looking at the legality of the act, you can’t stop at criminal law. Think about civil law.

The mere fact that you cheated on your spouse can more than double your divorce settlement. (I.e. if your wife wants to divorce you because of irreconcilable differences, maybe she’ll get the house. But if your wife wants to divorce you because you cheated on her, judges have a track record of giving her the house, the cars, the kids, the bank accounts, the dog, and three times the alimony she normally would have gotten.)

In the immortal words of Kanye West, if you ain’t no punk, holla ‘we want pre-nup!’

Did you mean the worst that could happen legally or just the worst? After all if you really piss her off she might just cut it off. :eek:

:eek: One more reason never to get married!

Do you have a cite? In my experience, family law judges don’t give two shits about infidelity. They have heard it all before. If there are no kids involved, then they split the marital assets 50/50 and let each party keep their pre-marital assets.

If there are kids involved, they look for the best interests of the child (and infidelity plays no part in this)

God may judge you and your kids may judge you, but the state will not…

Unfortunately, my cites are all anecdotal, so you’ve got me there. Every case I’ve heard about where one party was unfaithful has ended in the cheating party getting screwed on the divorce settlement. (But this could easily be self-selection bias; perhaps the only ones that get reported are the crazy ones.)

The only specific case I can think of is this one. It’s a comi-tragic story of a couple who were already going through a divorce [not based on infidelity], and had a number (it’s not in the linked article, but I’m thinking it was around $400k) for the settlement. But then the wife received a thank-you letter from 1-800-flowers, thanking her for “her” purchase. She did some investigation, and found out that her husband had been sending some other woman flowers with love notes attached. She brought this information to the judge, who increased her settlement by something like 75%, to the $600k-$750k range.

The reason I heard about it was because the husband then turned around and sued 1-800-flowers for the difference in the divorce settlement. I have no idea what ever became of the case.

It depends on the state. Some states still allow for fault-based divorce and it wouldn’t surprise me if they also allow fault to be taken into account when dealing with finances. Also a pre-nup can cause one spouse to forfit support or shared property if they violate it. Child custody is a different story. Pre-nups can’t settle anything regarding custody or child support.

In addition, these days an adultery prosecution could quite likely be held unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas. the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned a gay sodomy prosecution.

I disagree. It’s apples and oranges. For one thing, adultry has more to do than just the act of sex alone.

Also, the courts have allowed states like Alabama to restrict sex toys Lawrence not withstanding.

Just to clarify, by adultry I mean 2 adults having sex where at least one of them is married to someone else. This is what is illegal in Wisconsin.

2 unmarried adults having sex is not.

D-i-v-o-r-c-e, there I fixed the coding for you.


Thailand is infamous for wives slicing off the penis of a wayward husband as he sleeps. As such, Bangkok has become a hub for penile-reattachment surgery. Not to be outdone, the lovely ladies here have devised more extreme measures. One lady tied her husband’s penis to a helium balloon and released it; one fed it to the ducks out in their yard; still another popped it into the blender. These are NOT Urban Legends, but rather well-documented instances. Believe me, roaming husbands have a lot ot fear here besides the law.