According to the Torah, the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were allied with the cities of Admah, Zeboim, and Bela. These five cities, also known as the "cities of the plain" (from Genesis in the Authorized Version), were situated on the Jordan River plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. The plain, which corresponds to the area just north of the modern-day Dead Sea, was compared to the garden of Eden[Gen.13:10] as being well-watered and green, suitable for grazing livestock.
The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages. These include the English word sodomy, which is used in sodomy laws to describe sexual "crimes against nature", namely anal or oral sex (particularly homosexual), or bestiality. Some Islamic societies incorporate punishments associated with Sodom and Gomorrah into sharia.