(redirected from Sex before marriage)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
?Note: This page may contain content that is offensive or inappropriate for some readers.


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 ?
* identify aspects of participants' acceptance of people having sex before marriage using a scale designed for that purpose;
Attitudes towards sex before marriage have also become substantially more liberal.
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.
THE lads down the pub were watching a religious discussion programme on the topic of Catholics having sex before marriage the other night.
Though I can't pinpoint a date on a calendar, it was the day that women en masse began to have sex before marriage. Which is precisely the day they began to lose their men.
Sex before marriage is an abomination, she declares.
A very religious friend of mine (who condemns gays but who says that I "wasn't like the other gays") was highly critical of her two daughters who had sex before marriage. However, when her son did the same thing, she said,"Well, he has a strong sex drive."Then she giggled and added, "He's just like his father." She admitted then that they'd had sex before marriage as well, though she'd eventually gone to her bishop and confessed.
Washington, May 23 ( ANI ): Olympic athlete Lori 'Lolo' Jones has revealed that she is still a virgin, and insisted that keeping her vow of not having sex before marriage has been harder than even training for the games.
According to the internet website, 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.
She doesn't approve of sex before marriage and makes it as awkward as possible for us to sleep together.
She said: "I never saw a naked man until I got married - no sex before marriage.