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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.
If Clinton eventually goes, Blair will look to some as though he backed a liar, a fool and a fornicator.
Mr Wright, who was a bishop until a week ago, is a liar as well as a fornicator.
Now he is exposed as a liar, a hypocrite, a fornicator.
So disastrously received was the Ford Fornicator, sorry Probe, that they stopped building it in '97 and replaced it a year or so on with the Cougar.
Grand Khadi Aminu Ibrahim Katsina is still pronouncing: "The best deterrent is the death sentence for people to see what happens to a fornicator.
She reveals her marriage was a sham and her dead husband a fornicator who put one of the servants in the family way.
He's a favourite with the Doge (Tim McInnerny), who stands up for him against the disapproval of the Catholic Church - which is itching to execute fornicators.
Unrepentant fornicators, together with cowards, murderers, and liars, do not inherit the kingdom (Apoc 21:8).
As a Montanist, Tertullian, a major figure in the early penitential controversies, accuses the Church of being "soft" on sin (mollissima et humanissima disciplina),(28) when it admits repentant adulterers and fornicators to communion.
Some Reconstructionists advocate executing gays, adulterers, fornicators, blasphemers.
MARTHA Seymore is a relationship guru - a glossy magazine columnist who gives directions on the global search for the G-spot while spouting advice to the forlorn, the fed-up and the fornicators.