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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 ?
The study showed that after 10 years of implementing the Premarital Law in Bahrain we still can't see the direct impact of the law on the prevalence of SCD, β-thalassemia and other diseases among this study group," added Dr Bahram.
Pentecostals are the most conservative of these eight denominational groups: 13% of Pentecostals say abortion is morally acceptable, 15% say gay/lesbian relations are OK, and 30% say the same about premarital sex.
Under the Royal decree of 4/1/1423 H(8/3/2002 G), the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia set organizational arrangements for the Saudi Premarital Screening Program, which started on 1/1/1425 H under the second Royal decree, which made premarital screening for genetic diseases mandatory for all couples who plan to marry.
Dr Hanoosh added that there are plans to offer premarital tests throughout the Sultanate, as "people in rural areas have the same rights to know, as people here have.
Many have called for premarital tests to be made obligatory to save their children from carrying genetic disorders.
In fact, in contrary to huge social pressure on young people for premarital sex, no formal education has been designed for them.
Youths in Ghana have more premarital sexual relationships than in the past, and their marriage age has increased.
Earlier, a lower court, using Shariah law, had sentenced the teenager to receive 100 lashes for having had premarital sex, which is illegal in the Maldives.
The instances of premarital teenage pregnancy are higher in develop countries rather than developing countries.
For these reasons, the premarital screening (PMS) was introduced in Oman in 1999.
Prevention of hemoglobinopaties that are important causes of mortality and morbidity with premarital screening and prenatal diagnose is possible.
That piece, "How Do I Even Begin To Explain This," describes a young Orthodox woman's premarital dalliance with an Orthodox young man in a hotel room.