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Understanding Adultery

Imagination
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1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hi! I've read the Bible a few times, but it's just not enough to internalize all its messages, especially since I disagree with a few of them. And it's a big book; I can't always remember all the details.

I wanted to turn to a community that understands the messages of the Old and New Testaments and might explain some questions I have about adultery. Don't worry, it's for a work of fiction ;) Which is why some of the questions are downright bizarre :L

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?


1.
What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?

T
hanks anyone with the patience to answer a few of these :D
"And if reality doesn't fit the discrete labels we invent to describe it?" --drafterman
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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1/5/2013 2:07:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:
Hi! I've read the Bible a few times, but it's just not enough to internalize all its messages, especially since I disagree with a few of them. And it's a big book; I can't always remember all the details.

I wanted to turn to a community that understands the messages of the Old and New Testaments and might explain some questions I have about adultery. Don't worry, it's for a work of fiction ;) Which is why some of the questions are downright bizarre :L

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?




1.
What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?




T
hanks anyone with the patience to answer a few of these :D

Most of these questions can be answered by the fact that any sex between unmarried couples is supposed to be a sin.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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1/5/2013 4:05:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The Bible doesn't deal directly with every conceivable situation or every possible moral dilemma. What it does, instead, is gives general principles and advocates using wisdom to apply those general principles. So, to a certain extent, you just have to think things through for yourself, and there is room for disagreement (see, Romans 14, for example). I'll tell you what I think.

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?

Maybe not. For example, if you were forced to either commit adultery or allow you family to be tortured and killed, it might be better to commit adultery. The Bible does make room for moral dilemmas in which case you have to choose the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils. For example, although in generally, Jews were supposed to keep the Sabbath holy by not working that day, Jesus said that if your donkey falls in a well on the Sabbath day, you'd still be justified in rescuing it, and likewise it's permissible to heal on the Sabbath.

1. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

There are a couple of passages that seems to say that you can't be blamed for doing wrong when you didn't know it was wrong (e.g. John 9:41, John 15:22, and James 4:17). On the other hand, there are other passages that seem to place at least some blame on people even if they didn't know better (e.g. Luke 12:47-48). The law proscribed sacrifices for sins committed on accident, too (Leviticus 5:15).

There is a Biblical story that is directly relevant to this question. In Genesis 12, Abraham took Sarai to Egypt and told them she was his sister. So Pharaoh took Sarai into his house, and even though Pharaoh didn't know she was married, God struck Pharaoh's house with plagues. There is another story involving Abraham's wife where it says God prevented the person from sinning with Sarai, which shows that (1) God would've held him responsible if he had sinned with Sarai, but that (2) God showed him mercy because of his ignorance. I can't remember exactly where that one was, but it's somewhere in the Abraham stories in Genesis.

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

Isn't that the same question as 1?

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

Although there's no word directly from God on that issue, the Jewish people did seem to treat engagement as if it were just as binding as marriage. For example, Joseph was going to "divorce" Mary even though he hadn't married her yet.

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

I've never heard of a culture that didn't recognize marriage at all, and if there were such a culture, I don't know how God would judge them in regard to sex. But among cultures that have marriage, I would think God would hold them to faithfulness whether the couples agreed to it or not. I mean even in our culture, there are swingers. You don't have to agree with a moral law before you can be held to it.

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

Jesus said that if you divorce somebody and marry somebody else, you commit adultery, unless the divorce was the result of adultery in the first place. So your mutual agreement doesn't let you off the hook.

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

Although Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 7 that it's a sin to commit lust in your heart, he doesn't say that it's just as bad as the actual act, and I think common sense dictates that it's not. The Bible doesn't get specific about the evils of each particular act (kissing, fondling, penetration, etc.), but I suspect penetration is worse than fondling, and fondling is worse than kissing. These are judgment calls.

Jesus did say that "if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off," and I take that to mean that you should avoid putting yourself in a situation where you'll be greatly tempted to sin. So smooching on somebody else's wife is just stupid, even if it isn't as bad as having sex with her.

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

I suspect God would cut the person some slack, but see my answer to question 1.

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

I would think at the very least, they would be judged for their intentions. There are lots of scriptures that say God judges the heart (e.g. Hebrews 4:12, 1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:10, etc.)

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

I guess that depends on the particulars of the situation. Earlier, I suggested that in the case of a moral dilemma, you have to choose the lesser of two evils. If you were being blackmailed by threatening your family if you don't have sex with a strange woman, then I don't think you can be blamed for having sex with her in that case.

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?

I think it is worse to be the seducer. As Jesus said, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble" (Luke 17:1-2).
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

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wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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1/9/2013 11:44:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:
1. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

I heard that a Jew once told this story: I guy with priapism (medical condition of permanent erection) fell off a scaffold, landing on a lady wearing no panties. A bolt on the scaffolding tore away his pants, and he landed on her in such a way that his penis penetrated her vagina. According to the guy telling the story, this action-without-intent would be a sin according to Christians, but not according to Jews.

I'm not agreeing with him. I think Christians can be found on all sides of all issues. But it's fair to say that some Christians would regard that as a sin.

My first exposure to the idea of sin-without-intention was in Oedipus Rex. He didn't know that was his father he was killing, and he did the killing in self defense. But it was his father, so he was condemned. He didn't know that was his mother he was marrying; but she was, so he was condemned. Sin without intent.

Now consider the story of Adam and Eve. They did not have knowledge of good and evil until they ate the apple. So they couldn't know not to eat the apple until after they did. But they are still condemned. Sin without intent.

Then there are the stories about the guy who hid his talent, and the women who didn't burn their lamps when the master was not expected, and the tree which didn't bear fruit out of season.

Conclusion: The bible gives plenty of grounds for believing that sin can be accidental, without intent. Thus, being lied to about whether someone was married would not be a defense.

Of course, whatever the bible says in one place, it contradicts in others. So I'm sure counter-arguments could be found.
malcolmxy
Posts: 2,855
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1/10/2013 5:27:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Those are a lot of very ambiguous questions. In order to answer them correctly for you, I'm going to need to see some pictures, and if you have video, that would be preferred.

Realizing that I needed visual aids after the 4th question you asked, I stopped reading in favor of posting this request.

I really hope one of your queries after the ones I read involves 3 or more people. I'm crossing my fingers as I await your visual package which should provide what's necessary to answer these burning (don't wait...go see a doctor) questions.

(**I wish I wasn't the only person who knew what this song was about, because it's pretty funny for the situation here**)
War is over, if you want it.

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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/10/2013 10:13:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:
Hi! I've read the Bible a few times, but it's just not enough to internalize all its messages, especially since I disagree with a few of them. And it's a big book; I can't always remember all the details.

I wanted to turn to a community that understands the messages of the Old and New Testaments and might explain some questions I have about adultery. Don't worry, it's for a work of fiction ;) Which is why some of the questions are downright bizarre :L

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?




1.
What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

Clear case of adultery by the married person. Not the single person.

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

Same as #1.

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

Engaged people don't commit adultery - they engage in premarital sex (which I believe is also a sin, just not adultery). Only married people commit adultery.

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

I'm not Christian, and it is exactly for this reason. If Christ is the One True God, and there are people around the world who did not know of Christ after Christ, these people would be going to hell according to many denominations. Apparently Jehovah's Witnesses make an exception and believe in a "second chance" where people are reborn and given an opportunity to know Christ. Yet another reason for me to not believe in Christianity...you have to figure out which denomination got it right.

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

Adultery.

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

There are verses in the bible that go into the thought being a sin, but I don't think the thought itself is adultery. Sex is sex, I would think it requires vaginal penetration.

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

I don't think this is adultery. However, I do believe that widows in the Bible were not allowed to remarry. Therefore, if they had sex with someone, it would be premarital sex, and thus a sin. Not adultery, but a sin nonetheless.

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

That's not adultery, but lusting for someone other than your spouse is a sin.

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

Adultery is adultery. What if the blackmail was "give me $20 or else!!"

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?

Adultery is adultery.

In the end, there are passages in the Bible that speak out against the concept of marriage in general, and consider marriage as an institution to be a necessary evil. It's better to not even have any sort of sexual longings than to marry.

Of course, then you get into the concept of "what is better" which SHOULDN'T be relevant to begin with. After all, if you believe in Christ, your sins are forgiven, even if you committed mass genocide willingly and in the name of God (Joshua).
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
1Devilsadvocate
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1/10/2013 1:21:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
May I ask why you have all these questions, about Adultery, of all things.

Is Adultery really so hard to accept.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
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1Devilsadvocate
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1/10/2013 1:23:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/5/2013 2:07:39 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:
Hi! I've read the Bible a few times, but it's just not enough to internalize all its messages, especially since I disagree with a few of them. And it's a big book; I can't always remember all the details.

I wanted to turn to a community that understands the messages of the Old and New Testaments and might explain some questions I have about adultery. Don't worry, it's for a work of fiction ;) Which is why some of the questions are downright bizarre :L

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?




1.
What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?




T
hanks anyone with the patience to answer a few of these :D

Most of these questions can be answered by the fact that any sex between unmarried couples is supposed to be a sin.

Of varying degrees.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
1Devilsadvocate
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1/10/2013 1:32:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/9/2013 11:44:46 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:

Now consider the story of Adam and Eve. They did not have knowledge of good and evil until they ate the apple. So they couldn't know not to eat the apple until after they did. But they are still condemned. Sin without intent.

God told them straight up not to eat from that tree.
Then there are the stories about the guy who hid his talent, and the women who didn't burn their lamps when the master was not expected, and the tree which didn't bear fruit out of season.

That's N.T. so what you said about Jews, fits.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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1/13/2013 11:46:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/5/2013 1:46:37 PM, Imagination wrote:
Hi! I've read the Bible a few times, but it's just not enough to internalize all its messages, especially since I disagree with a few of them. And it's a big book; I can't always remember all the details.

I wanted to turn to a community that understands the messages of the Old and New Testaments and might explain some questions I have about adultery. Don't worry, it's for a work of fiction ;) Which is why some of the questions are downright bizarre :L

So adultery is a sin -- that's clear. Is it a sin in every circumstance though?




1.
What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the married person lied about being married?

Sex outside of marriage is sinful, so although the person who was lied to may not be held responsible for sex with someone who was married to another person, he/she would be held responsible for having sex outside of marriage.

2. What if the sin was committed between a married and a single person, and the single person had no idea the other was married?

Same as above.

3. Is adultery between two engaged people just as bad as adultery between two married people?

From our common sense perspective, obviously cheating on your spouse and risking your family is more offensive than two single people having sex, but ultimately both situations are sins. To my knowledge, I don't think the Bible tells us that one is a more grave sin than the other.

4. What about cultures that do not recognize marriage the way it was seen in modern or Biblical times? There are cultures in which marriage does not by definition require monogamy -- even cultures in which married couples are expected to have sex with others. If the people were never told that that behavior was sinful and had existed for hundreds or even thousands of years like this considering it moral and healthy, or even a form of worship, would God still punish them?

Here we get into speculation. Sure, it's easy to say that the Bible is clear on what it says, sin is sin, etc. I personally believe in a just God, and it would seem that a just God would consider the fact that those people had no knowledge of the Bible, and it's morality. Had they known about it, would they still have commited the sin?? Can sin exist without knowledge and intent?? I would think not, but again, I'm just speculating based on my belief of God's just nature. That's not a definitive answer but is the most honest one I can give.

5. What if a couple is only officially married, but the two of them live their own lives apart from another, dislike each other, and are no longer committed to each other, nor expect monogamy from the other, and one of them has sex with someone else?

Still adultery if they were considered by God to be married, and not divorced due to adultery, as provided for in the Bible.

6. Where does adultery begin? Is simply yearning for someone lustfully a sin, or must it be carried out in action? Is penetration required, or is any form of sexual interaction adultery, from sex to fondling to kissing?

Yes lusting after someone is a sin, but I think there's a difference between lusting after someone, and being sexually attracted to, or finding someone pleasing to the eye. I think God understands that we are sexual beings and will find other people attractive. Lusting, to me, denotes acting on that attraction or allowing it to come to a point where you are pre-occupied with sexual thoughts of that person. The Bible describes it as "burning".

As for the physical act that crosses the line, I'd say anything past kissing. Kissing and hugging can be an expression of love, but need not be sexual in nature, though it can quickly lead to that point if not kept in check.

7. What if a couple was married, loved each other dearly, and made a commitment to monogamy, but one of them disappeared somehow (i.e. a plane crash, a war) and the one left behind thought the other one dead, then proceeded however many years later to have sex with someone, not knowing their spouse was still alive?

If the one left behind was not married to the person they had sex with then it's still a sin. If they did get remarried, before sex, then I think that's where God's just nature kicks in and if that person legitimately believed the other to be dead, then I think God would understand that there was no intent, or conscious choice to go ahead and commit adultery knowing they were doing the wrong thing.

8. What if both people in a marriage have sex with each other thinking that the other is not their spouse? I know it's outlandish, but like if they were disguised or something, and they are intending to commit adultery, and they think they are, when really the other person is their spouse and they aren't?

lol...Obviously intent to sin is there. How would God judge it?? I don't really know. In reality though, how would you not know that was your spouse's body and mannerisms??

9. If the married person does not consent to a sexual interaction with someone not their spouse, obviously they can't be held accountable for adultery. But what about areas in which direct consent is sketchy? For instance, if someone were blackmailed into cheating on their spouse with another person, would it still be sinful adultery?

Technically yes, but again how and why they were being blackmailed would come into play. "Have sex with me or my friend over there will kill your kids", is quite different than, "Have sex with me or I'll show your husband these pictures of you cheating with his best friend".

10. Last one I promise! Is it more sinful to adulterously seduce someone, or to adulterously be seduced? Or are the sins judged equally?

I would think that they would be judged equally. They both involve a conscious decision to commit adultery.

Thanks anyone with the patience to answer a few of these :D