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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 ?
Whenever he want to fornicate with me, he start sanging, 'Old Irish Potato.
Something to fornicate with," he grinned toothlessly.
These books accused Welsh people of going to chapel rather than church because they were looking for an excuse to fornicate rather than gain any form of spiritual enrichment or expression via the medium of their own language.
No druids were interviewed, and no druid asked for 'somewhere to fornicate, please'.
Bisexuals are people who fornicate with both men and women.
That notorious mindset has been evident to the world during a build-up in which Tyson has threatened to kill Lewis, and refused to answer questions from women journalists because "I don't do interviews with women unless I am going to fornicate with them.
Though of course pretending to be responsible and urging the young to fornicate only 'with the right person .
I would have thought Heidi would have showed a little more class and at least waited until we separated first before deciding to fornicate with the help," the New York Daily News quoted him as telling TMZ .
I didn't expect any better from him but would've hoped for Heidi to at least show a little bit more class and at least wait until we've separated before deciding to fornicate with the help.
We find it acceptable that physically talented but barely literate football players fornicate, pick up trollops for four-in-a-bed hotel "roastings", dose themselves with the old Colombian marching powder and use foul language.
Which is a huge ego-boost to all dumpy, sweating men who believe, like WC Fields, that you should never add water to a drink because fish fornicate in it.