Public sex is sexual activity that takes place not in an entirely private context. It refers to a person or more than one person performing a sex act in a public place or 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. It also includes such acts in a semi-public place, where the general public is free to enter, such as a shopping mall. Public places where sex acts can be performed include a car (commonly called parking), on a beach, in the woods, as well as in a theatre, bus, street, toilet, cubicle or cemetery.
In September 2003, the BBC reported on a 'new' dogging craze, fueled by the Internet. Dogging is a British English slang term for engaging in public sex (usually in a car park or country park) while others watch them doing so. Dogging has aspects of exhibitionism and voyeurism. There is some evidence on the Internet that the 'dogging craze' has begun to spread to other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden.
A high frequency of public, outdoor sex is rumored to exist in parks and beaches in Vancouver and San Francisco. According to the New York magazine, public sex occurs relatively frequently in New York City, and is a fantasy common to a wide number of people.
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 Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence to engage in sexual activity in a public lavatory. In the United Kingdom, public sex comes under laws related to voyeurism, exhibitionism or public displays of sexual behaviour, but public sex laws are ambiguous. Prosecution is possible for a number of offences such as section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, exposure under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or under the common law offence of outraging public decency. The policy of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is that arrests are a last resort and a more gradual approach should be taken in such circumstances.
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.
^"Here’s the Pub, Church and Field for Public Sex". New York Times. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. "Unhappily for many people here, it is also famous for being featured on lists of good places to go “dogging” — that is, to have sex in public, sometimes with partners you have just met online, so that others can watch. So popular is the woodsy field below the ridge as a spot for gay sex (mostly during the day) and heterosexual sex (mostly at night) that the police have designated it a “public sex environment.” … Public sex is a popular — and quasi-legal — activity in Britain, according to the authorities and to the large number of Web sites that promote it. (It is treated as a crime only if someone witnesses it, is offended and is willing to make a formal complaint.) And the police tend to tread lightly in public sex environments, in part because of the bitter legacy of the time when gay sex was illegal and closeted men having anonymous sex in places like public bathrooms were routinely arrested and humiliated."
^Gray, Martin (4 February 2007). "Tenner på risikosex". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 August 2007. "Fenomenet "dogging" brer om seg og er i ferd med å få fotfeste i Norge."
^"Uprawiają seks w centrum Warszawy". onet.pl. 9 October 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2007. "Łazienki, park Szczęśliwicki i Skaryszewski to ulubione miejsca doggersów. Umawiają się przez internet, by na oczach przypadkowych przechodniów uprawiać niezobowiązujący seks."
^"The Wellingtonista After Dark: Spot the Dog". wellingtonista.com. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010. "(On the topic of dogging) What is it? Who does it? And where oh where does it happen? We'll let people out themselves on the second question but we can definitely help y'all with the third one."
^Sides, Josh (2009). Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco. Oxford University Press US. ISBN978-0-19-537781-1.
^Finlayson, Iain (21 June 1998). "The Human Condition: Johnny be good". The Independent. "The debate was largely irrelevant in the UK,where at the time there were very few public sex venues (or PSVs). In the Nineties, however, there has been a significant increase in commercial gay venues, particularly in London where there are now at least 15 saunas and 10 bar/clubs that provide facilities for gay sex on their premises."
Pat Califia; Patrick Califia-Rice (1994). Public sex: the culture of radical sex (sex outside). Cleis Press. ISBN0-939416-89-1.