The New Politics of Adultery

12 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2013

See all articles by Brenda Cossman

Brenda Cossman

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2006


This article examines how social and cultural attitudes towards adultery have changed in recent years. First, this article examines the evolution of adultery, and outlines the way that the law has evolved to increasingly deregulate the act. Next, the article outlines some of the ways society’s perception of adultery has changed; including a look at the role of both partners, adultery in same sex relationships, and both emotional and sexual intimacy outside marriage. Finally, the social and cultural response is examined, and this article finds a tendency to speak about adultery in terms of contagion, and of avoiding adultery in the language of prevention and treatment. Ultimately, this article argues that although the law has not completely forfeited its role in the regulation of adultery, in recent years, cultural representations of adultery have largely displaced the role of law.

Suggested Citation

Cossman, Brenda, The New Politics of Adultery (2006). Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 15, 2006. Available at SSRN:

Brenda Cossman (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
416-978-6658 (Phone)

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