Let's be honest, you and I definitely know at least one married person who has cheated, and at least one married person who has been cheated on by their spouse.  16 states still have a law on the books making infidelity in a marriage a crime.

The majority of states with an adultery law define the act of cheating according to Woman's Day as sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse.

Surprisingly, the states where this is still a crime means you can technically land in jail for cheating on your spouse.  Can you imagine?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the last conviction of adultery was in 1983, according to Wikipedia's cited source.  It seems that cheating spouses are usually just taken to the cleaners at most, if the marriage ends in divorce because of infidelity.

So yes, Massachusetts is one of 16 states where it's illegal, and even though we clearly don't hear of jail time anymore for such criminal acts, straying from your spouse in the Bay State can still legally land you in jail as a felony IF a judge decides to do it.

According to The Week, while European countries once had anti-adultery laws on the books as well, almost all were repealed in the 1970s and '80s, with Austria ending the law in 1997, and finally Romania in 2006. They don't exist there at all anymore.

Mia Harvey
Mia Harvey

The Week adds that in 11 of the states, cheating on your spouse is only considered a misdemeanor, but in Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, it is a felony. In Massachusetts, not only will you fork over up to a $500 fine, but you can end up in prison for up to three years.

Clearly this would never really happen anymore, so removing it from the books probably isn't worth the time and effort by state politicians. However, in an interesting twist, according to The New York Times, there's another reason politicians don't want to take the time to get rid of this.  The law remains on the books largely due to inertia, and would require politicians to vocally oppose cheating, something few are willing to do.

The only other state in the Northeast where it's still illegal to cheat on your spouse is New York.  Sleeping around in the city that never sleeps, and everywhere else in the Empire State for that matter, can technically get you up to three months in jail according to Forum Daily.

If you want to see a list of all of the states that still have this law on the books, click here.

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