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The act by which a man entices a woman to have unlawful sexual relations with him by means of persuasions, solicitations, promises, or bribes without the use of physical force or violence.

At Common Law, a woman did not ordinarily have the right to sue on her own behalf; the right to sue for seduction belonged to a father who could bring an action against a man who had sexual relations with his daughter. A woman who was seduced by a marriage promise could sue for breach of promise, and if she became sexually involved with a man due to force or duress, she might be able to sue for rape or assault. Regardless of whether the woman was a legal adult or an infant, seduction was considered to be an injury to her father.

Seduction suits are rarely brought in modern times and have been eliminated by some states, primarily because they publicize the victim's humiliation.


Breach of Marriage Promise.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. the use of charm, salesmanship, promises, gifts and flattery to induce another person to have sexual intercourse outside marriage, without any use of force or intimidation. At one time seduction was a crime in many states, but if the seducee (usually female) is of the age of consent and is not drugged, intoxicated or otherwise unable to consent, seduction is no longer criminal. However, just as adultery lingers in the criminal codes of some states, so does seduction. (See: adultery, rape, date rape, breach of promise)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

SEDUCTION. The offence of a man who abuses the simplicity and confidence of a woman to obtain by false promises what she ought not to grant.
     2. The woman being particeps criminis, has no remedy for the mere seduction, nor is there, to the discredit of the law, a direct remedy in her parents. The seducer may be sued, though not. directly or ostensibly for the seduction; but for the consequent inability to perform those services for which she was accountable to her master, or to her parent, who, for this purpose, is obliged to assume that less endearing relation; and if it cannot be proved that she filled that office, the action cannot be sustained. 7 Mann. & Gr. 1033. It follows, therefore, that when the daughter is of full age, and the father is not entitled to her services, and actually, she is not in his service, the father can maintain no action for the seduction. 5 Harr. & J. 27; 1 Wend. 447; 3 Pennsyl. 49; 10 John. 115. Vide 2 Watts 474; 9 John. 387; 2 Wend. 459; 5 Cowen 106; 2 Penn. 583; 6 Munf. 587; 2 A. K. Marsh. 128; 2 Overt. 93; 9 John. R. 387; 2 New Reports, 476; 6 East, 887; Peake's Rep. 253; 11 East, 24; 5 East, 45; 2 T. R. 4; 2 Selw. N. P. 1001; 2 Phil. Ev. 156; 3 Chitt. Bl. Com. 140, n.; 7 Com. Dig. 318; 6 M. & W. 55.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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