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Why Do People Have Sex in Public?

Reasons Why People Have Sex in Public

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Updated August 22, 2009

Sex in public may be a common sexual fantasy but it arouses more than sexual excitement in both the public and the criminal justice system. In fact when you begin to research sex in public you’ll find that most of what is written is about stopping certain people from having certain kinds of sex in public. And yet when we talk about it in public we often talk about it as if everyone does it for the same reason.

I think particularly if you’re someone who has a problem with others having sex in public (a completely legitimate position) it behooves you to acknowledge that people have sex in public for different reasons. I can think of at least five.

First, there are people who are turned on by the idea of having sex in a public place where they could be observed. For some people being seen isn’t the important part, it’s just the possibility of being seen. For others it may specifically be the knowledge that a stranger is watching them have sex that turns them on.

Next, there are those who are specifically aroused by the idea of getting caught doing something “wrong”. There may be some who are turned on by getting caught, but for most it’s the danger or again the possibility that’s fuels the arousal. For these folks sex in public is clearly seen as something naughty or wrong, and that’s what makes it so much fun.

A third reason people like having sex in public is simply because they like sex outdoors. Other people seeing them may have nothing to do with it. If these people have private outdoor space they’ll use that, but particularly if you live in a city, you may not have any outdoor space that is your own private property. This leaves you with no choice but to have sex in public if you want to have sex outdoors.

There are also people who may have private property of their own, but aren’t able to have the kind of sex they want to have at home. Whether this is a different kind of sex, or sex with a different person than the one at home, some people have no space but a public one to meet the people they want to have sex with and have the sex they want. These people, along with the next group, are arguably at the greatest risk of harm from having sex in public.

Finally, there are people who have no home or private space at all. If you’re living on the street, using shelters, or in an institutional setting where you don’t have a room of your own, the reality is that you’re only option is to have sex in public. When you consider that they have no other options you can see how ludicrous it is to penalize someone from having sex “in public” when they are expected to live their entire lives in public. This is another group most penalized for sex in public and also the group of people with the fewest options.

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