Human Rights

Where Is Adultery Illegal? 7 Countries Where Cheating Is a Crime

Where Is Adultery Illegal? 7 Countries Where Cheating Is a Crime

Did you know that 17% of divorces in the US are caused because of infidelity? It’s something we all hope will never happen to us, but it’s still pretty common in the US.

But did you know that around the world, adultery is still very much illegal? While most of us would wish we could punish our spouse if they cheated, they could face criminal prosecution in some parts of the world.

It might sound crazy, but it’s true. If you’ve been wondering ‘where is adultery illegal’, let’s take a look at some countries where it is. 

Countries Where Adultery is Illegal

There are a number of countries where adultery is against the law. In some of these countries, they are simply what’s known as non-cognizable offenses and those guilty won’t receive any real punishment – and you can read more here. But in others, there may be real consequences to committing an adulterous act. 

Here are a few of them that you should know about: 


In Taiwan, adultery is punishable by up to one year in prison. This applies to both sexes. According to Taiwanese law, this only applies if ‘fornication’ took place.

This means that sexual acts that aren’t intercourse outside of the marriage don’t legally count as adultery. Providing enough evidence to prove this is tricky, though. Suspecting spouses can achieve this if they hire a private detective and get photos of the act.


In the Philippines, if a woman engages in a sexual act with a man who isn’t her husband, she can be charged with adultery.

But the standards are different for a married man. He will only receive charges if he keeps a mistress at home or has sex under ‘scandalous’ circumstances.

Saudi Arabia

While there is no written penal code for adultery in Saudi Arabia, it is a strict Islamic country that follows Sharia Law. Under Sharia Law, adultery is punishable by death.

Death sentences are often carried out through stoning of the accused if found guilty. Evidence to prove adultery includes a confession from the accused party or 4 male witnesses / 8 female witnesses.


Like Saudi Arabia, Somalia is another country that abides by strict Sharia Law. This means that again, adultery is punishable by death – usually via stoning.

In the same vein as Saudi Arabia, proof of adultery requires that the court hears four eyewitness testimonies of people of good character. Or, the accused must give a confession freely.

The United States of America

You might find it surprising that in some states across the US, adultery is illegal. In Arizona, adultery is a Class 3 misdemeanor which means that cheaters could face up to 30 days in jail!

In Florida, those who live in an ‘open state of adultery’ are guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. This means they could be charged up to $500 or even face two months in prison.

In Kansas, engaging with ‘intercourse or sodomy’ with someone who isn’t your spouse is against the law. It is also a Class C misdemeanor and can entail a $500 fine or a month in prison.

In Illinois, adultery is also illegal and it could carry with it a penalty of $2500 and up to one year in prison. This law also applies to the person they are cheating with if they know that they are married. 


In Nepal, adultery is defined as a crime that is committed against a married man by someone who has sex with his wife. Both the man who sleeps with his wife and his wife herself are punishable.

If convicted, they could face up to one or two months in jail and a fine of between Rs. 1,000 – Rs. 2,000.

Recent Decriminalization

As many parts of the world become more liberal, more and more places are overturning their adultery laws. There are a few countries who have now already taken the steps to decriminalize adultery. This means that there will no longer be any form of law against or punishment for spouses who cheat on their partners.

A couple of these countries include: 

South Korea

Back in 2015, the constitutional court in South Korea repealed laws that made adultery an illegal act. It stated that the state should not interfere or govern the private lives of citizens.

Before this, the 60-year-old adultery law carried with it a prison sentence of up to two years. While South Korea is a somewhat conservative country, it was one of the few non-Muslim countries where adultery was against the law. 


In 2018, India repealed an old colonial law that made adultery an illegal act. It was downgraded from a criminal offense to a civil offense for divorce instead.

The previous adultery law was not the same as others around the world. Adultery was a crime only if a man had sex with a married woman without her husbands’ permission. 

Lawmakers repealed it after deciding the law was arbitrary and discriminatory against women and men.

Where is Adultery Illegal: Now You Know!

If you’ve been wondering ‘where is adultery illegal’, now you know the answers! There are many other countries who still have laws against adultery, but these are just a few of the best-known ones.

Some of these laws are old laws that aren’t really enforced anymore or taken seriously, but others carry grave punishments with them. 

Adultery is one of many reasons for getting a divorce, and you can check out more by reading our blog post.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *