The Pauline epistles contain multiple condemnations of various forms of extramarital sex.The First Epistle to the Corinthians states "Flee from sexual immorality" and lists adulterers and "those who are sexually immoral"/practicing-fornicators in a list of "wrongdoers who ... The Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem also includes a prohibition of fornication.
A more contemporary theologian, the modern day English Anglican Lee Gatiss also argues that premarital sex is immoral based on scripture.
He states that, from a Biblical perspective, "physical union should not take place outside of a "one flesh" (i.e. In [1 Corinthians] chapter 7 Paul addresses the situation of two unmarried Christians who are burning with passion (7:8–9) who should either exercise self-control or be permitted to marry (cf. The underlying assumptions are the same as those in Deuteronomy 22." Some of the debate arises from the question of which theological approach is being applied.
A deontological view of sex interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of whether the couple are married or non-married.
For many people, the term carries an overtone of moral or religious disapproval (living in sin), but the significance of sexual acts to which the term is applied varies between religions, societies and cultures. In modern usage, the term is often replaced with a more judgment-neutral term like extramarital sex.
Fornicated as an adjective is still used in botany, meaning "arched" or "bending over" (as in a leaf).
John Milton plays on the double meaning of the word in The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelaty (1642): "[She] gives up her body to a mercenary whordome under those fornicated [ar]ches which she cals Gods house." For instance, William the Conqueror's right to succeed to the throne of Normandy was never questioned on the grounds he was a bastard nor, in his conflict with Harold Godwinson over who should rule England, was this issue raised as an argument against him.
However, attitudes shifted a few generations later when bastards were no longer able to claim the English throne.
At the Restoration in 1660, this statute was not renewed, and prosecution of the mere act of fornication itself was abandoned.
However, notorious and open lewdness, when carried to the extent of exciting public scandal, continued to be an indictable offence at common law.