April 3rd, 2003

mini me + poo

The first of several...

The Sexual Offences Bill is currently going through Parliament (the committee stage in the Lords, to be precise). There are several controversial points within it.

Starting with clause one... Rape has traditionally meant penetration of the vagina by a penis without the woman's consent. Adding male rape in the 90s meant that anal intercourse without consent is currently also 'rape'.

It is proposed that putting a penis in someone's mouth without their consent should also be 'rape'.

It is currently 'indecent assault', a rather wide ranging offence covering everything from an unwanted sexual proposition to penetration using objects without consent. The alternative in the bill would be to include it in the new offence of 'sexual assault'.

What do you think?

Poll #119958 Forced fellatio = rape?

Should forced fellatio be included in the definition of rape?

Yes
20(74.1%)
No
2(7.4%)
Other (see comment)
5(18.5%)

Other comment....

mini me + poo

Sexual Offences Bill poll 2

Although they're no longer going to call it bestiality, the law on 'intercourse with an animal' is going to be confirmed.

What is covered includes penis in animal's vagina or anus and animal's penis in human's vagina or anus. Oral sex with an animal will remain as legal as it is now (ie covered, where appropriate, by the cruelty against animals legislation).

Poll #119968 Oral sex with an animal

Should oral sex with an animal always be illegal?

Yes, both giving and receiving
4(19.0%)
Only when it licks a penis
0(0.0%)
Only when it licks a penis or a vulva
0(0.0%)
Only when you lick its penis
0(0.0%)
Only when you lick its penis or vulva
1(4.8%)
No
11(52.4%)
Other (see comment)
5(23.8%)

Other comment....



Trivia note - in the 1980s, someone called unsuccessfully for one of the better sex education books to be banned because it pointed out in its section on the law that oral sex with an animal wasn't covered by the bestiality legislation. The comment was withdrawn from later editions of the book though.
mini me + poo

Sexual Offences Bill poll 3

The 'age of consent' will remain at 16 (17 in Northern Ireland for no very good reason), with the existing - and expanded - restriction that someone in a position of care over a 16 or 17 year old cannot be sexual with them. (This was introduced as a sop to the opponents of the equalisation of the gay age of consent.)

An additional clause will make it illegal to pay for sex with any 16 or 17 year old. It is not otherwise illegal to pay for legal sexual activity.

Poll #119972 U-18 Prostitution

Should paying for sex with a 16 or 17 year old be illegal?

Yes
11(36.7%)
No
18(60.0%)
Other (see comment)
1(3.3%)

Other comment....



Update: Sandy - any 16 or 17 year old, ie paying for sex with someone who's 16 or 17 will make otherwise legal sex illegal. (It will also be an offence to pay for illegal sex, eg U-16, or with someone U-18 who you have a duty of care for, but that's already illegal..)
mini me + poo

Sexual Offences Bill poll 4

The biggest row will be about clause 74, 'Sexual activity in public'.

It will be illegal to be sexual - that is have vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or manual sex - in a public place when someone other than a person reasonably believed to be a willing observer could see it. So sex in certain clubs etc may well be confirmed as legal - it'll be a reasonable belief that someone in a such a space is a willing observer.

It will also be illegal to be sexual 'not in a dwelling' and blah blah blah.

So... sex in your garden = illegal if you know or are reckless whether someone other than a willing observer can see you.

But sex in your house, even with the curtains open and lights on = legal. Provided that you don't intend to cause alarm or distress - that'd probably be exposure, clause 70. (There are other laws - outraging public decency sort of stuff - that could apply, but the approach here is that they shouldn't be looking into your house!)

And, most controversial, sex in a closed toliet cubicle = legal.

Poll #119977 Public sex

Should you have to be sure that non-willing observers cannot see into your house etc?

Yes
2(6.9%)
No
25(86.2%)
Other (see comment)
2(6.9%)

Other comment....

Should sex in toilets be legal?

Yes
25(86.2%)
No
2(6.9%)
Other (see comment)
2(6.9%)

Other comment....



Oh, one side effect is that this will update statute law to confirm that male-male sex in the presence of other consenting adults is legal.
mini me + poo

(no subject)

A fascinating split on the U-18 prostitution question. I can see arguments both ways. Any comments as to why people hold the views they do?

At one point, it was going to be an absolute offence - if the person being paid was 17, you were guilty full stop. Now, it will be a defence if you have a reasonable belief they were 18 or over.