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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 ?
Most of those who identified as religious (five of whom were female and three who were male), regardless of gender, believed premarital sex is a sin and dating relationships should not occur because they can lead to such "sinful" behaviour.
Overall Greater Acceptance of Premarital Sex Result of Older Americans Acceptance
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?
After her confession, the police arrested her lover, and referred the pair to the Public Prosecution, which charged both of them with having premarital sex and the woman with infanticide.
This is important because permissive parental values about premarital sex are related to earlier sexual activity for individuals of all genders (Kotchick et al.
Men may not have physical proof of virginity but premarital sex and adultery carry the same punitive damages in the eyes of God, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator.
However, sexually experienced teenagers reported a more liberal attitude toward premarital sex and less confidence in their ability to resist peer pressure to have sex.
Many blame economic circumstances for their failure to marry, but the trend may also be due to the availability of premarital sex and feminism among educated women, who no longer want to accept masculine domination through marriage.
was accused of being an accomplice to Abdul Jawad who provoked a furor because he boasted on TV about having premarital sex and also provided explicit sexual descriptions and told how to pick up girls and women.
In the past, several religious authorities and the state government in Malaysia have tried to recruit spies to catch couples engaged in "immoral" activities, such as premarital sex, in hotels, parks and public places.
Unmarried women practice re-circumcision after doing premarital sex as camouflage for virginity before getting married.