Sex In A Public Space Is Illegal, But Only If You're 'Potentially Visible'

18/04/2016 10:50 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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There is no denying the risky nature of sex in a public space.

Suffice to say, it happens. Yep, despite the potentially mortifying experience of having a stranger stumble across your sexy time, many adventurous lovemakers continue to ditch the traditional bedroom for the great outdoors.

Call it the thrill of getting caught or maybe the enticing nature of Australia’s terrain, either way -- to some, the idea of bonking behind closed doors is simply prudish.

And as far as the law goes, public sexcapades can be blurry.

“In New South Wales, it’s not an offence per se to have sex publicly but what is potentially an offence is to engage in offensive or indecent behaviour,” Pauline Wright, Chair of Criminal Law Committee, The Law Society of New South Wales told The Huffington Post Australia.

“If you’re in a public place and nobody can see you, then that’s probably fine. But if you’re in a public place and you are visible, or even potentially visible, you might find yourself falling foul of the law,” Wright said.

It comes under the indecent exposure or offensive behaviour laws whereby if your genitals are visible, that would be an indecent exposure and therefore mean you are committing an offence.

“In New South Wales, if you’re willfully exposing your genitals in public, you can actually face jail time, but it would be unlikely to result in jail time unless you were some kind of repeat offender and it was causing extreme offense,” Wright said.

What you will cop though is a fine -- and the amount can be up to $1, 100 in New South Wales.

But even if your genitals are not exposed, it could be seen as offensive behaviour and therefore a different type of offence. For instance, a couple having sex in a public space, covered by a sheet.

“There would have to be some kind of intention to behave offensively if that was the case,” Wright said.

Truth be told, most people would consider a couple having sex at a beach or park to be against public decency and good manners, so you’d be at risk of breaking offensive behaviour laws.

Whether the unwilling witnesses could actually be bothered reporting the passionate crime is another question.

Still blurry on whether it's actually against the law? The 1882 R v Benson; Ex parte Tubby case knocks it on the head, “it’s quite unnecessary to prove that the prisoner was actually seen by anyone on the highway when he was exposing himself, it’s sufficient that he was in view and could have been seen by any person there.”

In short, having a private moment in a public place is probably not the cleverest thing to do.

Your bed on the other hand yields multiple clever (and fun) uses.

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