Adultery and Sexual Misconduct — scope, gender norms, etc

Hi, everyone,

I’ve been mulling over the definition of sexual misconduct. The Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta gives a list of types of women that men should not have sex with, including married women. But it does not explicitly forbid married men from having sex with unmarried women. So does this mean married men are allowed to take (unmarried) mistresses? What about married women….do they have to remain faithful? Does anyone know of any sources/suttas that might shed light on these questions?

Out of curiosity, I’ve decided to look back at SN 19.11 and SN 19.13, which are both part of a stock series of Suttas that contain visions of people being born as ghosts due to immorality. SN 19.11 is about man who was an “adulterer” (per @sujato 's translation), and the Pali word for adulterer here is “pāradāriko”. SN.13 is about a female “adulterer”, but the Pali here appears to be different — she is “aticārinī”, which means “unfaithful”, apparently. Can anyone shed any light about the difference between “pāradāriko” and “aticārinī”?


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Literally means “one who consorts with the wife of another”.

Literally means “one whose conduct oversteps”, i.e. “transgressor”.

So the latter term is less explicit and in principle could have a wider application. I believe, however, that in context it simply means “female adulterer”. Whether the different forms are significant or simply a linguistic variation, is not clear to me.


Thank you, bhante, for the clarification :slightly_smiling_face:

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