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Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other.

Under the Common Law, the crime of fornication consisted of unlawful sexual intercourse between an unmarried woman and a man, regardless of his marital status. If the woman was married, the crime was Adultery.

Today, statutes in a number of states declare that fornication is an offense, but such statutes are rarely enforced. On the theory that fornication is a victimless crime, many states do not prosecute persons accused of the offense.

Under modern-day legislation, if one of the two persons who engage in sexual intercourse is married to another person, he (or she) is guilty of adultery. Statutes in some states declare that if the woman is married, the sexual act constitutes adultery on the part of both persons, regardless of the man's marital status.

Fornication is an element of a number of Sex Offenses such as rape, Incest, and seduction.

Although penalties are seldom enforced, they usually consist of a fine, imprisonment, or both. In November of 1996 an Idaho prosecutor brought fornication charges against a teenage couple in an effort to curb teen pregnancy.


n. sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are not married to each other. This usage comes from Latin fornicari, meaning vaulted, which became the nickname for brothel, because prostitutes operated in a vaulted underground cavern in Rome. Fornication is still a misdemeanor in some states, as is adultery (sexual intercourse by a married person with someone not his/her spouse), but is virtually never prosecuted. If such anachronistic laws were enforced, the jails of America would have no room for robbers, murderers and drug dealers.

References in periodicals archive ?
When asked if she agrees with her heritage culture's norms and expectations surrounding premarital sex and dating relationships, she responded: "I would agree to a certain extent with those cultures about sexual relationships that Pakistani people have.
However, premarital sex is more tolerated among male than female youths.
97% of the total variance, and labeled as autoeroticism/masturbation ("Parents should prevent their children from masturbating"), abortion ("Abortion is murder"), pornography ("All kinds of pornography are degrading to women"), homosexuality ("Homosexuals should be allowed to marry each other"), premarital sex ("Women should wait until they are married before having sex"), and sexual coercion ("It is okay to force a woman to have sex even when she has said she does not want to have sex").
Question 4: Are adolescents' sexual behaviors correlated with whether or not they know what each of their parents think about premarital sex and each parent's approval of premarital sex?
Similarly a study conducted by Nidhi Singh et al [12] (2008) suggests that condom usage in premarital sex to be as low as 13%.
1997) and Miller, Forehand, and Kotchick (1999), results revealed that maternal orientation about premarital sex was predictive of African American adolescents' sexual behavior, and that the orientation had an even greater effect if the mother and adolescent had engaged in extensive communication about sex.
But households where sons can come home at any hour, alcohol and drug use is no issue, premarital sex is considered grooming but daughters are monitored and cloistered, the expectation to marry a virgin half the man's age is beyond reprehensible.
6); or had a liberal attitude toward premarital sex (6.
Premarital sex on rise as Iranians delay marriage, survey finds.
On the other hand, unmarried women who practice premarital sex do it just before marriage fearing the expected social complications when getting married.
This war on premarital sex is of a piece with the religious Right's war on gay and lesbian sex: an ongoing attempt to police human sexual behavior while demonizing those who act outside their narrow definition of what is acceptable--indeed joyfully eroticized--sexual expression.
In yet another blow to the abstinence-only education movement, a recent study in the January 2009 issue of Pediatrics found that virginity pledgers (teens who vow not to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage) were just as likely to have premarital sex as those who did not take such a pledge.