Public sex is sexual activity that takes place in public or a semi-public place, and does not necessarily imply that the sexual activity takes place outdoors. Public places where sex acts can be performed include a car (commonly called Dogging or Parking), on a beach, in the woods, as well as in a theatre, bus, street, toilet, cubicle or cemetery. Public sex can also refer to sexual activity which takes place in a private place but can be viewed in a public place. Such private places can include the back yard or even the bedroom with the curtains open.
Social views related to public sex and sexuality vary greatly between different cultures and different times. There are many and varied laws which apply to sex in public, which use a variety of terms such as indecent exposure, public lewdness, gross indecency beside others. In some jurisdictions an offense is committed only if the participants are seen by others, so that if a toilet cubicle is closed then no offense may have been committed. That is the situation, for example, in the United Kingdom as a result of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Section 71 of the sex offences act 2003 makes it an offence to engage in sexual activity in a public lavatory.
In the UK, there has been a rise in sex on premises venues, possibly due to a more relaxed approach to enforcement of laws relating to this act since the early 1990s.
A high frequency of public, outdoor sex is rumored to exist in parks and beaches in Vancouver and San Francisco. According to the magazine New York, public sex occurs relatively frequently in New York City, and is a fantasy common to a wide number of people.
In the United Kingdom, sex in a semi-public place is sometimes known as Dogging. Public sex was the subject of the 2009 British film Dogging: A Love Story, which was released in the U.S. under the title Public Sex, directed by Simon Ellis and written by Michael Groom and Norman Brock.
Cottaging is a term applied predominately to seeking out homosexual activity in public places, such as parks and public toilets.
Dogging is a British English slang term for engaging in sexual acts in a public or semi-public place or watching others doing so. There may be more than two participants; both group sex and gang banging can be included. As observation is encouraged, voyeurism and exhibitionism are closely associated with Dogging. The two sets of people involved often meet either randomly or (increasingly) arrange to meet up beforehand over the Internet.
Dogging started in the later part of the 20th century, in the UK, with locations mainly being public car parks and lay-bys (usually on quiet country roads) with activity normally taking place after dark. Dogging would usually leave their interior lights on in their cars so that other Dogging would know that they too were Dogging. Some flash their headlights at other cars or flick the interior light on briefly. These are the most common signs to show that one is a Dogging, and are also the signs used by gay men who use lay-bys as cruising grounds for sexual activity. Many Dogging locations are used by both straight doggers and gay men.
In September 2003 the BBC reported on the 'new' Dogging craze. They cited the Internet and text messaging as common ways of organising meetings. The original definition of Dogging – and which is still a closely related activity – is spying on couples having sex in a car or other public place.
There is some evidence on the Internet that the 'craze' has begun to spread to other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden.
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