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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 ?
A scortator can be a prostitute, a pimp, a client, or a fornicator.
The truth is that there is much controversy among biblical scholars as to the meanings of Hebrew and especially Greek terms used in both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament, terms often translated as homosexual or fornicator.
A chubby, middle-aged male protester, perhaps recalling better times, told White, "I'm a fornicator.
Amicus gives his wife to an admitted fornicator, and invites him to take advantage of her.
With Leora, Haze is more concerned with establishing what he is not and seeks to avoid becoming - a preacher - than with what he is about to become - a fornicator.
I'm not separating from Gaynor," yelps the little fornicator.
Whether you're gay or straight, an adulterer or a fornicator, sexual sin is sexual sin.
The simultaneous attack on Mary's unnaturalness in her betrayal of her father and his "Ground" to such a fornicator is strengthened by the echo here of the passage in Annus Mirabilis where the devastating fire of 1666 is compared to Cromwell:
JFK also had his father traduced, with former ambassador Joseph Kennedy being described as, among other things, a serial fornicator, bootlegger, and Nazi sympathiser.
He regretted the re-make of the classic Alfie, with him in the Michael Caine role of feckless fornicator, on the grounds that nobody does that better than Maurice Micklewhite.
Among the risque selection of 25 songs, included Nine Inch Will Please A Lady, The Fornicator and O Gin I Had Her.
Illingworth's book also says that Duncalf was a liar, a fornicator and a drunk as well, but this might be an embellishment to make the tale more interesting.