Some Thoughts to Consider About Adultery in Jordan

I love getting little notes and questions from my readers because it lets me know the types of topics that people are searching for on the internet about Amman, or Jordan in general. The other day I received a slightly different question and I decided it was worth sharing and an investigation!

The question:

“…After my studies (I am getting a masters in accounting), I really want to work in another country, and a lot of me has my heart set on Jordan, but I need to know if it is a good idea for my family. So here is the thing: my husband and I practice ethical non-monogamy, meaning we have an open marriage. I have a long-term boyfriend beside my husband. They don’t date each other though, just to be clear. If I were to get a job abroad, we would prefer to all move to the new country together. I have heard there are Middle Eastern countries with strict adultery laws. Is this something that is upheld in Jordan, or not really? Is this something that could get us in trouble if we lived in Jordan? Would people in general be against us because of our relationship style? Is it safe to date internationals outside marriage in Amman?”

To answer this question, let’s look at two sides of the coin: what the law says and what is most likely to happen in Jordan.

The Law on Adultery in Jordan

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Adultery illegal, but polygamy is ok?!?

Adultery is defined globally as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person’s current spouse or partner”. According to Jordanian law, sleeping with any unmarried member of the opposite sex is considered adultery. Homosexual relations can also be charged with adultery, but that’s a different topic you can read more about here.

Legally speaking, in Jordan, adultery is punishable by up to three years in prison. Don’t let that scare you too much though, as it’s not all black and white in Jordan, especially when it comes to West Amman and more liberal areas of the capital.

In short, if you decide adultery is you and your partners’ thing, you probably don’t have to worry about going to prison, but here are some things to consider.

Adultery in Practice in Jordan

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image source: threadless.com

Adultery, in general, is not an accepted practice no matter where you are in the world and Jordan is no exception. However, there are some scenarios that could increase the chance of being sent to jail for adultery in the Hashemite Kingdom:

  • if it’s prostitution
  • if it’s rape or underage
  • if your husband, father or relatives file a complaint

Also, even though it’s probably true that it’s more likely that a Jordanian national’s family would file a complaint, know that the law against adultery doesn’t only apply to citizens of the country. As an expat you could get nabbed too, but again, play it smart and don’t be too blatant about sexual relations with your numerous lovers, especially if you have nosy neighbors or don’t live in an open-minded community.

*Please note, this is an opinion piece. If you get sent to jail for adultery, I’m not responsible 😛


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