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Premarital sex is sexual intercourse engaged in by persons who are unmarried. It is generally used in reference to children and adolescents who are presumed not yet of marriageable age, or between adults who will presumably marry eventually, but who are engaging in sexual activity prior to their marriage.

Different cultures have various views on the morality of sexual intercourse between unmarried persons. Some view marriage before sex as completely optional, while others strongly disapprove of sex outside marriage.

In the United States

In recent years the morality of premarital sex has become a politically divisive issue in the United Statesmarker, since counselling against premarital sex is the cornerstone of abstinence-only sex education, a program advocated by former president George W. Bush and many conservative members of the United States Congress. The policy is opposed by groups such as Planned Parenthood and many liberal and progressive members of Congress, and the debate over abstinence-only education has brought the issue of premarital sex to the forefront of the Culture Wars. As such, “premarital sex” is a politically loaded term which some take as "prima facie" evidence that it can not be used neutrally, using Extra-marital sex or Sex without marriage as alternatives. It should be noted, however, that premarital sex as it is used in the United States carries with it the connotations about adolescents or unmarried couples planning long term relationships listed above.

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