Sex survey 2018

Analysis: The “5 Ls” and sex in public

Did you know that almost half of the British public have admitted to having sex in public? That’s according to a 2015 survey reported in the Mirror which found that, out of 2,000 people, 43 percent had admitted to having sex outdoors – making it the second most broken law behind speeding.

To the surprise of 24 percent of the survey group, it turns out having sex in public is illegal, although those informed said this wouldn’t stop them anyway! But, figures in Concrete’s Sex Survey this year show that at UEA, we’re much less afraid of breaking the law and getting a little bit dirty – pun intended.

52.3 percent of students who responded to our survey have admitted to having sex in a public space, an act which has been an official offence since 2003, when the Sexual Offences Act made it illegal to have sex in a public toilet. 46.6 percent of students said they have not had sex in public, and a further 1.1 percent said they were unsure.

However, the way public sex offences are dealt with today is much different to what it was decades ago, when UK police officers made it a priority to stop gay men from having sex in public toilets and at outdoor ‘cruising grounds’. These men were often arrested, prosecuted, and jailed under Public Order Acts for doing so.

It was not until the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967 that police officers began to be less violent and treat gay men more fairly – though homophobia obviously still continued.

Today, the police will take advice on “sensitivity and fairness” when dealing with those who have had sex in public, and, will often only get involved if there has been a complaint made by another member of the public.

This means that Public Sex Environments (PSEs is the official police term) which are out of the way of the public (think secluded forests at night, not public beaches during the day) are often left alone. However, the police do say they still monitor these areas to keep them safe from drug use, sexual assault, or any other crime.

So, when you try to get your next ‘L’ at the lake, please double check that no-one is around having a barbecue.

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