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Dogging Sex Laws

Many people have questions about whether the practice of dogging — performing sex acts for voyeurs in a public or semi-public place — is legal. We can't offer you legal advice on what's OK in your locality, but, we can give you some general idea of what current laws exist governing public sex and nudity, how they are commonly enforced, and how authorities are responding to the dogging phenomenon.

Staying Out of Trouble

 If you are going to go dogging and want to stay out of trouble with the law, we would suggest that you choose your locations carefully. Pick spots where it is unlikely that an unsuspecting passerby will spot you. Don't engage in dogging anywhere remotely near children or families. Steer clear of seedy areas, as they may be under patrol for other criminal activities such as prostitution or drug traffic; this is a good idea for your own safety as well.

Also, if you are dogging, make sure that you aren't committing any other offenses, such as littering, damaging property, or committing traffic violations. Keep your fun clean and safe, and keep your eyes open.

Sex Laws

In the UK, public sex laws and their enforcement has thus far been aimed mainly at "cottagers" or gay males having sex in public lavatories, etc. This soon may be changing. The House of Lords is currently debating a new Sexual Offences Bill that would make a sweeping reform of many sex laws in England, including those applying to public sex, exhibitionism, and voyeurism. It would remove language from public sex laws that specifies homosexual activity, so the laws would apply equally to gays and heterosexuals.

The reformed sex laws would outlaw sex in public lavatories altogether. However, it appears that in the case of other public sex, exposing oneself, and voyeurism, the definition of a crime depends on persons being viewed without knowledge or consent, or being forced to view an activity without giving consent. It is not clear how these laws would affect doggers if everyone involved is a willing participant. Of course, because children cannot be considered consenting under the law, if any child witnesses the activity, then it would be considered criminal. It would also be criminal if an unwary person happened by, caught sight of you, and took offense.

In the U.S., individual states have their own laws governing public sex and indecency, but in general enforcement still focuses mostly on gay males having sex in parks, public lavatories and highway rest stops.

Sex laws in other countries vary greatly. In Northern Australia, for example, sex involving more than two people is automatically considered public sex and is prohibited. In Italy, a couple having sex in their car were prosecuted for public indecency, then slapped with a greater charge of obscenity when they appealed the fine. In Germany, on the other hand, you can have sex in a moving car as long as you don't hit anything.

Dogging Crackdowns

With dogging activity becoming more widespread and visible, many local councils are becoming aware of the phenomenon and cracking down on the behaviour. Access to known dogging locations has been restricted in some places by installing fences and locking gates. Police and Forestry patrols have been stepped up in areas.

At other popular sites, agencies have installed bright lighting and CCTV cameras to discourage dogging. These measures may backfire, though. Many doggers are not deterred by cameras, as the electronic eye is just another voyeur to them. And according to Dr. Richard Byrne, who did a study on dogging with the National Forestry service, "You can't simply increase the amount of lighting - that just makes it easier to make videos or take pictures."

Part of the objection to dogging also stems from activities that people fear may be associated with it, or that may also go on at dogging spots, such as littering, property damage, public nuisance and disturbance, prostitution, public intoxication, and robbery. Whether or not this is accurate, the perception is enough to spur councils into action.


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