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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Those who we identified as not religious (two of whom were female and three who were male) were generally more flexible regarding both dating and premarital sex. For instance, Arzoo actually encouraged dating although she did not say the same for premarital sex.
How then should we look at the 2013 YAFS statistics with 28.7 percent of females and 35.5 percent of males having had premarital sex? At first blush, it could indicate greater gender equality.
Ruth (26 years, unmarried social worker, Christian) explained what she tells her female students about premarital sex: 'So sometimes if you are students, especially if you are in the senior high school, I will counsel you against it.
Parental attitudes about premarital sex. Adolescents' perceptions of their parents' attitudes about premarital sex were assessed.
Both the study groups (migrants and non-migrants) had various rationales for indulging in premarital sex. The two most reported reasons among migrants were for casual sex (26.2%) and sexual pleasure or tension & heat in body (17.5% each) while that among non-migrants was peer pressure (27.8%) and sexual pleasure (24.1%) (p=0.038).
(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.
Males' likelihood of being sexually experienced also was positively associated with drinking and smoking (1.8-1.9), and with living in low-cost housing, reporting involvement in gang activities, approving of premarital sex, perceiving that a majority of their friends had had sex and lacking confidence in their ability to resist peer pressure to have sex (3.33.8); it was negatively associated having seen or read media portrayals of individuals with STDs (0.3).
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 toe-curling dip into the sickly-sweet musical world of the Jonas brothers (evangelical Christians, against premarital sex) is innocuous and dull, though at least in 3D we get guitar picks thrown into the audience (hurrah).
Pledgers and nonpledgers had the same incidence of premarital sex and sexually transmitted infections.