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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 ?
Cohabitation is simply an attempt to make fornication more palatable.
And then my Granma would talk to me about some fornication.
Southland calls fornication a moral issue," Shegerian asks, "What do they call pregnancy discrimination?
The prosecution had earlier charged the suspects with adultery, luring young girls and women to fornication, and forging official documents.
Personally, I'm doubtful how big a role these sites genuinely play in all this illicit fornication because I'm sure that, as always, most people who engage in casual sex meet in bars and clubs after having had too much to drink.
God may very well have given us the means to procreate but to say we are all here by divine intervention is a bit ridiculous as children are often conceived through adultery, rape, and more and more these days by fornication - all acts regarded as sins by God.
Dabiq magazine added that migrating to Christian lands exposed children or grandchildren to "the constant threat of fornication, sodomy, drugs, and alcohol".
The world's largest Baptist school, in its 2007 policy, said certain actions--including sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts--could prompt disciplinary action.
And these men will emerge publicly as dedicated husbands doing the right thing, granting forgiveness for fornication and showing magnanimity amid the mayhem.
The answer to this question was found in these chilling words of ISIS: "It was an attack upon the nests of fornication, vice and disbelief in God.
I admit I look forward to these as it's a change from all the fornication and adultery.
More controversy erupted in February over pamphlets Illo distributed to second through sixth graders with questions about masturbation, adultery, fornication and sodomy.