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Sexual Offences Bill poll 4
mini me + poo
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?

Other (see comment)

Other comment....

Should sex in toilets be legal?

Other (see comment)

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.

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I voted "no" to the first, but I should qualify that. I think any legislation that made sex behind a bush in the park at 2am illegal would be wrongheaded, but there should be a legal way to say "no, you can't open the curtains wide, turn up the lights, and do a live sex show in the front window of your suburban house"...

It is indeed an odd law that would criminalise sex on Hampstead Heath at 2am (although I can see the 'reasonable belief' defence being used) but allow group sex in the toilets at Hamleys at 3pm on a Saturday. But...

Peers are queuing up to put ammendments to this clause. One lot want to specifically ban sex in toilets, and make being able to hear sex in a public place illegal.

Others want to insist you know you're being watched (as opposed to being reckless as to whether you are). Or delete the section on non-public out of doors spaces (eg gardens etc) entirely.

Oh and two peers want to confirm that prison cells are private spaces.

You've got time to lobby your favourite peers, as the next time they consider the bill will be the 10th - and I don't think they'll get around to this clause until the 28th.

you can't open the curtains wide, turn up the lights, and do a live sex show in the front window of your suburban house

In practice, I suspect they'd go back to a 1751 law and do you for keeping a disorderly house: "not regulated by the restraints of morality, and which is so conducted as to violate law and good order".

Oh yes, I missed the etc - what Paul said.


Oh, I got that toilet question wrong, I'm all for sex in toilets.

I'm not, but I'm all for the right of people to have sex in toilets, if they so wish.

*Unless*, and this is important, it's the only toilet in the club and they've been there for 20 minutes and nobody else can go to the loo.

This is particularly annoying when it's a sex club anyway and they have loads of other places they could be doing it...

I like public sex!

Excellent! We'll be able to have public sex shows put up by either eager amateurs or by professionals, hopefully ones who like to do this. Great! I say "great" not as much out of voyeurism (it's easy enough to get porn) but because I think it's a wonderfully liberating and power-enhancing feeling to either watch or participate in public sex. Even if it's a "professional" show (many shows put up by professional actors are already powerful and liberating even if they don't include sex).

While I agree that the suburban extremism described by Paul could be classed as obnoxious, I find it hard to see myself genuinely harmed by it. I'd class it as vaguely annoying behaviour, like playing loud music in the middle of the night, or cooking stinking barbecues. Remember that, if public sex were quite common, children would get used to it quite quickly and overall that would be a good thing. Also, on balance, I'd much rather permit all sexual activity in public in the interets of free speech than try to sort out what is acceptable. A case from the 80's springs to mind, where a white Dutch woman and her black boyfriend protested by having sex in the middle of the street, in Amsterdam, outside the South African embassy.

Personally, I think it would be reasonable (and really nice) to have sex on beaches, parks, and other such places when others can plainly see you, so long as both lovers and observers are being considerate and not invading each other's space. It would be impolite to start screwing right next to people having a picnic, as it would be for them to set up a picnic next to you. But say having sex 20 metres away from other groups in the park on a sunny day? Yes, why not! I think politeness, not legislation, is the appropriate guide. If some people are just too horny and doing it everywhere, I guess the park wardens can come and fine them £20, or something of that magnitude.


Frightening the horses

I can thoroughly enjoy watching and being watched too. But there are lots of places where it's inappropriate.

I remember when the toilets at Heaven, the London gay club, had strobe lights and the Ode to Joy playing loudly. They were a sex space, one of the first on the London gay scene, and hooray for it.

But some toilets are for, well, people to go to the toilet. Not to fuck in.

Re: Frightening the horses

Sure! Same goes for sex in, say, department stores. I just think that these are rude activities, not crimes. Appropriate responses would be for the people who run the place to throw you out and/or give you a small fine.


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