Carnal Knowledge Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Carnal Knowledge, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Carnal Knowledge?

(phr) Carnal knowledge is the sexual intercourse between a man and women by penetrating vagina with penis with mutual consent outside a marriage relationship. As against this “rape” implies lack of consent, or where consent is considered irrelevant that is when minors are involved.

History and Meaning of Carnal Knowledge

The term Carnal Knowledge has a long history, going back to the Middle Ages, when it was used in English law to describe sexual intercourse between a man and a woman outside of wedlock. The term has since evolved to refer specifically to sexual intercourse between a man and woman, with mutual consent, outside of a marriage relationship.

Examples of Carnal Knowledge

  • The statute criminalizes carnal knowledge between a man and woman who are not married.
  • The defendant was charged with statutory rape, as the victim was under the age of consent and therefore not capable of giving legal consent to carnal knowledge.
  • The law distinguishes between carnal knowledge and sexual assault, where consent is considered irrelevant.
  • The jury found that the accused had engaged in carnal knowledge with the victim, despite her protests.
  • According to the evidence presented in court, the accused and the victim had engaged in carnal knowledge on several occasions.

Legal Terms Similar to Carnal Knowledge

  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse between an adult and a person under the legal age of consent, without consent.
  • Rape: Forced sexual intercourse without consent, or where consent is deemed irrelevant, such as in cases involving minors or mental incapacity.
  • Sexual Assault: Any unwanted sexual contact, including but not limited to touching, groping, or penetration, without consent.