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Is adultery legal in Korea?


Adultery is a controversial topic that has been debated for years worldwide. In Korea, adultery has been a controversial topic for decades. Is it legal, or is it illegal? This article will delve into the legal status of adultery in Korea.

History of Adultery in Korea

Adultery has been illegal in Korea since 1953 under Article 241 of the Criminal Code. The law was enacted during the Korean War as a measure to prevent soldiers from engaging in extramarital affairs.

Current Status of Adultery in Korea

In 2015, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled that Article 241 was unconstitutional because it violated the right to privacy. As a result, adultery is no longer a criminal offense in Korea.

Impact of Decriminalization

The decriminalization of adultery in Korea has led to mixed reactions from the public. While some believe that it is a step forward towards human rights, others believe that it undermines traditional family values.

Divorce and Adultery

Even though adultery is no longer illegal, it can still have consequences in divorce proceedings. Adultery can be used as grounds for divorce and can also affect the distribution of assets and child custody.

Adultery and Employment

Adultery can also impact employment in Korea. Some companies have policies that prohibit employees from engaging in extramarital affairs, and violating these policies can lead to termination.

Cultural Attitudes Towards Adultery

In Korean culture, adultery is generally viewed as unacceptable behavior. The social stigma associated with adultery can be severe, and individuals who engage in extramarital affairs may face ostracism from their community.

Adultery and Gender Roles

There is a gender disparity when it comes to adultery in Korea. While men are more likely to engage in extramarital affairs, women are often blamed for the breakdown of the family unit if their spouse commits adultery.

Adultery and Politics

Adultery has also played a significant role in Korean politics. Several high-profile politicians have been involved in extramarital affairs, leading to public outrage and calls for their resignation.

Adultery in Popular Culture

Adultery has been a recurring theme in Korean popular culture, with many films, TV dramas, and novels exploring the topic. These works often reflect the changing attitudes towards adultery in Korean society.

Alternative Forms of Punishment

Since the decriminalization of adultery, there have been suggestions for alternative forms of punishment. These include fines, community service, or mandatory counseling for couples experiencing marital problems.


In conclusion, while adultery is no longer a criminal offense in Korea, it can still have significant consequences on individuals’ personal and professional lives. The issue of adultery is complex and reflects the changing attitudes towards traditional family values in Korean society.

When did adultery become legal in Korea?

Furthermore, an increasing number of complainants are withdrawing their charges after reaching financial settlements with their partners. The law on adultery was introduced in 1953, with the aim of safeguarding women who had limited options when faced with unfaithful husbands in a society dominated by men.

When did adultery stop being a crime in Korea?

Until the year 1947, adultery was considered a criminal offense in Japan, while in South Korea it remained a crime till 2015 and in Taiwan, it was criminalized until 2020. However, in 2015, the Constitutional Court of South Korea reversed the country’s anti-adultery law.

Are affairs common in Korea?

According to the research, over 50% of men and around 9% of women surveyed admitted to having extramarital affairs at least once. Furthermore, Korean men in their 50s who participated in the survey had an average of 12.5 partners outside of their marriage.

Is cheating a crime in Korea?

In certain nations, extramarital affairs are a contentious topic and even considered against the law. However, South Korea recently abolished a long-standing prohibition on such relationships, acknowledging the controversial and complex nature of these situations. This change was implemented on February 26th, 2015.

Why is adultery legal in Korea?

According to some justices, the primary reason for introducing the law against adultery was to safeguard women from exploitation by more affluent and socially influential men. They believed that if men could be charged with a criminal offense, women would be better equipped to negotiate during divorce proceedings.

What is the illegal age gap in Korea?

The law on statutory rape in South Korea states that it is illegal to have sexual relations with someone under the age of 20 in Korean age, even if the act is consensual.

It is important to note that the decriminalization of adultery in Korea does not mean that it is widely accepted or encouraged. Many people still view it as a moral issue and believe that it can be damaging to families and relationships. However, there is also a growing movement towards accepting different types of relationships and breaking away from traditional gender roles.

Furthermore, the issue of adultery is not unique to Korea and is present in many cultures worldwide. However, each culture has its own set of values and beliefs surrounding the topic. It is important to understand and respect these differences while also recognizing the impact that adultery can have on individuals and society as a whole.

In conclusion, the legal status of adultery in Korea has evolved over time, with the recent decriminalization marking a significant shift in attitudes towards personal privacy and individual rights. However, the issue remains complex and multifaceted, with social, cultural, and personal implications. Understanding these complexities and seeking solutions that balance individual rights and societal expectations is crucial for addressing the issue of adultery in Korea and beyond.

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