The UK’s 10 Strangest Sex Laws

We recently uncovered a raft of unusual, arcane, outdated and just damn strange sex laws in America . But America can’t be the only place where sex is regulated by people who’ve only ever read about it in books, can it?

Today, we turn the sexual spotlight on merry ol’ England, and see if we can discover the craziest English sex laws. We promise we didn’t make them up. (Though we can’t promise someone else didn’t.) Cor blimey, guv’nor.

uks strangest sex laws

10. It’s Illegal To Have Sex On A Motorbike In London

After WW2, London’s streets were awash with ex-military motorbikes. Young men, home at last and filled with the abundance of life that only comes from surviving a war, took great pleasure in hammering around on two wheels to impress the rosy cheeked lasses of post-war London. The lasses, suitably impressed, also enjoyed the thrill of the speed and as we all know, danger is the gateway drug of sex, and soon having sex on motorbikes was outlawed. Not only is it illegal, it’s really difficult.

9. No Sex On The Steps Of A Church After Dark

…which begs the question, ‘so it’s legal to have sex on the steps of a church during the day’? That must make funerals a little awkward.

8. Anal Sex Is Technically Illegal In Britain

Actually, that’s a fib. The punishment for anal sex of any kind in England was death for more than 300 years, between 1533 and 1861. The law changed and adapted over time, and now it’s legal between consenting adults, but the legal concept of “buggery” is still retained in English law in special circumstances.

7. It Is Illegal To Hang A Bed Out Of A Window

Credit where it’s due, the English have really embraced sex in different locations , and you have to respect that they bring their own beds too. That’s commitment, that is.

6. You May Not Blemish The Peace

This wonderfully vague law can be wheeled out in England when your sex is so noisy that your neighbors complain to the police. (Sounds like a challenge to us. Peace Blemishing Achievement: Unlocked.)

5. It Is Forbidden By Law To Ask A Scotsman What’s Under His Kilt

Because, we assume, he’ll show you. Anyone for haggis?

4. It’s Illegal For 2 Men To Have Sex  If A 3rd’s In The House.

The industrial revolution brought a lot with it in Britain: finance, technology, and for the first time, highly centralized and densely populated city centers around the industrial areas. The influx of workers caused an explosion of ‘dens of inequity’ – brothels and ‘Molly houses’ (kind of like gay sex clubs, with an emphasis in feminization and cross-dressing). The authorities, in an outraged attempt to curb all this lasciviousness, enacted a law that was never repealed so still technically stands: that no two men can have sex if there is a third in the property.

3. Sexual Activity In A Public Lavatory

While it’s no surprise that sex in a public convenience is illegal, what makes it interesting is that it’s the only location prohibited by name in the English legal code. Public lavatory sex was so prevalent in and around London in the 60s and 70s that the law was introduced to stamp it out, causing George Michael to flee the country and get arrested for it in America instead.

2. Dogging Is Legal

In an unusual show of sexual liberalism in England, the activity known as ‘dogging’ is perfectly legal, but only if no one complains about it. Dogging got its name from the act of meeting strangers for sex in public under the guise of taking your dog for a walk, and it seems to have been weirdly popular in the early noughties, attracting major soccer stars and the occasional weathergirl, who would all meet in the car park of a local, reasonably private beauty spot and get it on.

1. It Is Illegal For Your Dog To Have Sex With The Queen’s Dog

Continuing the dogwalking theme, if you’re wandering around Hyde Park outside Buckingham Palace and your pooch wants to smooch the queen’s corgis, you will go to prison. So enthusiastic are the royal family to protect the pureness of their breeds that the law protects them from unwanted mongrel attention. Down boy.

Written by: Katy Thorn

Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for writing about sex, sexuality, and all things rated R. She received her degree in Women’s Studies with a focus in Intersectionality at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). She has a cat named Yoko, drinks too much black coffee, and hates writing bios.

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