Where Is Public Sex Legal?

Depending on your state’s laws, you could get fined or arrested for having sex in public. A criminal defense lawyer can help you find ways to avoid these penalties.

What makes sex in public illegal is that someone else could witness the act. This could be a person in the street, in a car or even in a private back yard with foliage.

1. Public Parks

Whether you’re an exhibitionist who gets a thrill from being watched by strangers or a voyeur who likes watching others get it on, the legality of public sex can be murky. It’s generally illegal to show private parts in a public place, but it can depend on what that part is (genitals, breasts, or buttocks), who sees it, and how it’s presented.

For example, in the wooded corner of Fort Tryon Park in New York City, secluded areas with sweeping Hudson River views once became popular spots for men looking to cruise for casual sex. The area was so popular, in fact, that some residents in a towering condominium across the street on Fifth Avenue moved out rather than endure the lustful displays. But in recent years, police in the precinct that patrols the park haven’t issued a single public-sex summons for what they once handed out about a dozen per week.

And in Amsterdam’s famous Vondelpark, where ten million people visit annually, nudity is permitted for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. The policy was implemented as a way to reduce the nuisance for visitors, but city councilors said it was also about addressing the historic homophobia and closeted desires of gay men that often make them reluctant to come out publicly. A similar law in Guadalajara, Mexico passed last summer allows for public sex, as long as you’re covered (like with a blanket or towel). But it can still be an offense to expose yourself in front of witnesses.

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2. Public Places in Cars

Studies have found that having sex in unusual places or romantic locations top people’s list of fantasies. Doesn’t sex in the back of your partner’s car fit both of those bills? In some cases, it could also be legal. However, it’s important to be aware of the law when you get frisky in your ride. Depending on your state’s laws, getting it on in public places like cars can lead to serious sex crimes charges.

In many states, having sex in a vehicle that is parked in a public place can be considered public lewdness or indecent exposure. You could face misdemeanor charges or, in some cases, be required to register as a sex offender. In order to avoid this, you and your lover should make sure that the vehicle is parked in a private location with an impenetrable fence or other barriers.

Having sex in your own home may also be illegal. If you have a gate around your backyard, some foliage, and spots where neighbors can’t see, it’s probably safe to have sex in your driveway or in your garage. However, if you have a large yard or open access to it from your street, you might be violating the law. If you’re worried about your privacy, consider hiring a private security company to guard your property.

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3. Public Places in Hotels

While hotels might not be the most sexy places for public sex, they do offer the ability to romp with your partner without being seen. If your hotel windows are tinted or the curtains are open, a flagrant display of nudity might pass without consequence. Otherwise, if your neighbors are catching glimpses of your orgy through their open apartments or rooms, you might want to try to get it on up against the wall in missionary position or doggy-style.

The hotel balcony is also a great place for the romp because it’s likely far enough away from the street that you won’t be bothered by passersby or law enforcement. If you aren’t comfortable with the potential for voyeurs, consider staying at a resort that is known for being comfortable with their guests’ nudity.

Some states have specific laws against having sex in public, and most of these are considered misdemeanor crimes. Those who are found guilty of public lewdness, indecent exposure or other sexual acts in public can face jail time and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Despite this, people have still been caught getting their kink on in public, including airplane bathrooms (the mile high club), trains and cemeteries. Some couples even romp on the sands of beaches and parks, but this may be more difficult as people are typically watched by other visitors or police officers.

4. Public Places in Apartments

In some states, such as Georgia, having sex in public places like parks and streets can be criminalized under public indecency laws. If convicted, an individual may face jail time and a fine for the offense. In order to be convicted of this crime, a court must find that the accused engaged in public sex or exposed their body parts in a public place. Georgia courts define public places rather extensively, which could include not just self-evident areas such as parks and streets but also more concealed spaces such as private garages, shopping center parking lots and other areas of apartment complexes.

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Some cities, such as the District of Columbia, allow couples to have sex in their homes and other places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, other cities and counties have banned outdoor sex, due to fears of human trafficking and prostitution rings that prey on women and girls, often immigrants seeking to escape from their country of origin and work illegally in the United States.

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a local lawmaker recently introduced legislation that would punish landlords who lease apartments to people involved in these crimes. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly rent out space to individuals engaging in sex trafficking or who use their homes for this activity.

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