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What are the Laws Regarding Sex in Public?

Laws Regulating Sex in Public

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Updated August 23, 2009

Many countries have laws that prohibit or otherwise try to regulate sex in public. In the U.S. laws and legislation related to sex in public vary from state to state. On the surface if all you do is read the laws regarding sex in public you may think that they don't single out a particular group of people or kind of sex, but in practice most laws regarding sex in public are enforced in a way that is considered discriminatory by some, because they seem to focus on both specific populations (for example gay men) and particular kinds of sex.

Some laws about having sex in public focus on the people having sex being seen by others. So you could be arrested if someone sees you having sex, or sees you naked in a sexual situation, and you can even be arrested if no one saw you, but you're in a place where someone might. Other sex in public laws focus on a physical location, stating that sexual behavior in public washrooms or parks is prohibited. Some laws aren’t just about having sex, they’re about talking about having sex, or more to the point, talking for the purpose of getting sex, in public places.

If you want to learn more about laws regarding sex in public it helps to know that many of these laws use terms like “indecent exposure” or “public lewdness” depending on the country. Most of these laws can be easily accessed online through government websites and here are a few resources for researching laws about sex in public:

USA.gov: Federal and State Laws and Regulations
This site gives you easy online access to laws and regulations that you can search.

Sexlaws.org
Currently this site, which is run by volunteers, focuses on other sex laws, including sexual assault, age of consent and statutory rape. But they offer a service where you can email questions and get them answered and could be a good source of information on laws about sex in public. Note, they do not provide legal counsel or advice, just information.

Sex Laws
This webpage was put together by an individual and includes links to relevant sex laws in the U.S., Canada, and Australia

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