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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 ?
In a world where sex before marriage is becoming a phenomenon, Sunday believes this book should be of great help.
The current study expands on this literature by examining levels of acceptance of sex before marriage, and factors associated with acceptance, among a sample of high school freshman who had not experienced sexual intercourse.
But a more problematic lesson Free Teens teaches is that having sex before marriage endangers a person's entire lineage.
It's just easier to have sex a lot if it's OK to have sex before marriage, if you're living with the person, than if you have to take them out to dinner first," he said.
Included in the survey were questions about smoking, sex before marriage, suicide, drugs, abortion, the environment, diet, and diversity.
They are also much less likely to feel guilty about committing adultery, having sex before marriage or using pornography than people from many other religious groups, the study said.
Asked if he and his wife had practised safe sex before they wed, Howell explained that they had never used contraception because they had never expected to break the Christian vow of no sex before marriage.
net, the complaint came after the actor had said publically that he encourages young people to have sex before marriage in order to gain experience, a matter that is completely against the teachings of Islam.
And that means there's now almost as many women as men who are happy with the idea of sex before marriage.
In the Mormon church, we aren't allowed to smoke or drink or have sex before marriage.
MIDRIFF-baring Muslim tennis ace Sania Mirza has insisted she is against sex before marriage - after angry crowds burned effigies of the 19 year-old Indian player.
A WOMAN yesterday told how she was raped by a man she met in church, despite telling him sex before marriage was against her religious beliefs.