Weirdest Sex Laws in America

The weirdest sex laws in America will have you wondering what century we're in.

Weirdest Sex Laws in America

Reading these, you have to wonder what lawmakers were thinking when they put some of the weirdest sex laws on the books. From laws deciding what times you can have sex to laws about your marriage, there is no question that, when it comes to sex, politicians should have kept their “hands out of the cookie jar.” Here, you can find five of the sexual subjects that these laws fit under, as well as the laws themselves, according to state. What state thought they could actually ban cats and dogs from having sex without having a permit? That, and other mind-blowing questions will come to mind when you read the weirdest sex laws in our great country.

 Sodomy, Oral Sex, and Buggery Laws

Photo by Terry Richardson

It’s hard to imagine that laws relating to the type of sex that we choose to have with our partners everyday ever existed, and even harder to believe that, in many states, some of these archaic laws remain on the books. Sodomy is defined as copulation in any way between two people who have sex for “non-creational reasons,” or just for fun. Depending on the state, sodomy can include both oral sex and buggery. Though the Supreme Court finally ruled against these laws on June 26, 2003, in a 6-3 decision, many states still have the law showing as “on the books.” In fact, rarely was this ever actually prosecuted as a crime because, obviously, consenting adults aren’t going to the police to admit that they have broken a law! The following states have some of the weirdest sex laws that fall under this category:

  • In Arkansas, oral sex is considered sodomy, and is illegal.
  • Believe it or not, San Francisco, CA has a law stating that the giving or receiving of oral sex is unlawful. Who would have thought that they’d be so strict?
  • Atlanta, GA has a rather oddly worded law stating that a man cannot be on another man’s back. I wonder if they have a task force for that one... If this doesn’t qualify as one of the weirdest sex laws you’ve ever heard, then you need to tell your story!
  • Florida law prohibits oral sex. For some reason, more states have laws about oral sex than buggery, or sodomy. Wasn’t the government made up mainly of males until the fairly recent history? Seems hard to believe that laws like this one exist in 19 of our 50 US states.
  • Kansas has a specific, yet still very strange law pertaining to anal sex. Apparently, anal sex itself is illegal, however, you are allowed to penetrate using a finger. Anyone caught engaging in anal sex is subject to receive a maximum sentence of six months in jail. It is also illegal to have oral sex, and if you are caught you could be fined and jailed.
  • Until the Supreme Court overruled this law in 2003, it was a misdemeanor for two men to engage in either oral or anal sex. The same law did not apply to women engaging in the same activity with each other.
  • Other states deeming oral sex illegal include: Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.
  • Buggery and sodomy are also prohibited in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Ohio.

 Adultery and Premarital Sex Laws

It’s probably a good thing that more people aren’t aware of adultery laws that exist in some states, otherwise, cheating spouses would be hauled off to jail in at least 10 states in the US. Then again, with the threat of jail as a consequence, maybe the rate of infidelity would drop. Of course, the fact that premarital sex remains illegal in 14 states, which is five more than those that have buggery & sodomy laws, would probably not deter people from engaging in it. Here are states that have laws against adultery, premarital sex, and laws specifically meant for married couples. Some of these easily fall under the weirdest sex laws!

  • Adultery is illegal in Arkansas, California, Owensboro, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Utah, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia. Some states, like AK, impose only a small fine of between $20 and $100 for the offense, while in VA, it is a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.
  • People in today’s society don’t really think about premarital sex in a negative light, and certainly wouldn’t expect for it to be a crime in so many states! In Virginia, it is illegal to have sex if you are unwed, and should you decide to move in together before you say “I do,” it becomes a felony charge. Talk about harsh punishments!
  • Unmarried couples having sex can face legal consequences in Arizona, where even fooling around with one another is a serious felony. Any person, male or female, caught having sex without being married can be sent to the penitentiary for three years.
  • In Colorado, you can get criminal charges just for keeping a house where unmarried couples are allowed to have sex. This means that if you allow an unwed couple into your home, even for a night, and have them sleep in the same bed, and they choose to have sex, you can be charged with the crime. What a way to end up on the sex registry for the rest of your life! The weirdest sex laws sometimes punish the people who aren’t even having the sex! It’s like being charged as an accessory to a crime in which you did nothing and didn't even realize was committed.
  • Adultery and premarital sex laws also exist in states like Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah. Connecticut doesn’t distinguish between married and unmarried couples, so sex in general seems to be illegal. In Mississippi classifies adultery and fornication in the same law, either of which can result in a fine of up to $500 and/or a six month vacation at the local county jail. South Carolina is another state that hands out $500 fines alongside potentially 6 months in jail. West Virginia boasts a weird sex lawwhere it’s perfectly legal for a man to have sex with an animal as long as it doesn’t weigh over 40 lbs, but illegal to have sex with a female until he’s married to her. Wisconsin could consider the act rape, despite if it were consensual or not. In Florida you can’t even kiss your wife’s breasts, so imagine how strict they’d be on sex before marriage! And in Rhode Island unmarried people are strictly forbidden from “partaking in bedroom activities” and punishes violators with a $10 fine each. Most people would be ecstatic to receive a ticket and find the payment was only ten bucks! Not to mention the actual ticket documenting that you participated in breaking one of the weirdest sex laws in America.

Masturbation and Fetish Laws

Photo by Jody Pachniuk

Yes, you read it right. Many states have sex laws about masturbation, the use of “aids” for masturbation (even how many you can own), and some popular fetishes are not allowed in some states. It seems hard to believe that anyone would ever know what you did, or owned, in the privacy of your home, especially if you are alone. The embarrassment of someone catching you in the middle of achieving your bliss would probably be enough punishment by itself! Having to explain to responding officers, the magistrate at the jail after you are arrested, your lawyer before court, and then the judge at court (not to mention the entire courtroom full of people you’ve probably never met). Jail would probably be a welcomed way to hide away from the community for a while after something like that happened!

  • Arizona law has decided that no one household needs to own more than two dildos. Any more than that in one house is against the law, regardless of the reason that you have them. Hard not to shake your head at this crazy law. Why limit the number? Why only two? I assume there is a story behind this one…I would love to find out what it is! I’m sure it has to do with a personal experience of the lawmaker who proposed the law.
  • Dallas, TX doesn’t care how many dildos you own, as long as they are not made to look realistic. If you own a dildo, it has to be a simple, phallic dildo. Maybe the guy who came up with this had a complex about his own “equipment” and felt intimidated by the array of realistic looking and feeling dildos that had become available, and thought that if women could buy one they liked, that he, nor any other man, would be able to satisfy her any longer. Who knows? There has to be something to this one, though!
  • Nevada seems like the place to be when you see commercials, or hear anyone talk about going to Las Vegas. They have legalized prostitution, so you would assume they’d have pretty relaxed laws about sexual conduct, but you’d be wrong! Nevada does not allow the sale of sex toys. They don’t mention it being illegal to own them, just to sell them. Maybe this law was made to encourage those in the state to purchase the time of a prostitute instead of staying home alone and “mastering their own domains.” Maybe it’s better for the economy. Then again, Georgia prohibits the sale of dildos, vibrators, or any other such “marital aids” (their choice of words), and the state also forbids anyone from owning them. At least in NV, you can still own them. There’s always Amazon. The weirdest sex laws just keep getting weirder.
  • Utah considers masturbation a form of sodomy, and anyone caught in the act can be sentenced to prison.
  • Wyoming law states that it is illegal for anyone to help, encourage, or otherwise instigate masturbation in any person under the age of 21 years of age. This is known as an act of “self pollution” in legal circles.
  • Any man in Michigan that engages in acts of “gross indecency,” including mutual masturbation by two men, or the act of solitary masturbation, whether in public or in private will be prescribed five years in prison. Yikes!
  • In New Jersey, the law threatens a three year sentence to men who choose to mutually masturbate, considering it an act of lewdness or sexual indecency. The law applies only to men. No mention is made of women.
  • There is a law in Mississippi that prohibits S&M; which means depicting, or describing whipping, acts of torture either upon or by a person who is wearing only undergarments, or is nude, or wearing a bizarre or revealing costume for the purpose of gratification sexually. One of the most popular and widespread fetishes is illegal in good Ol’ Miss! Where will all the "shades of grey" in the state go now? The weirdest sex laws are sometimes just the ones that seem to pick on the most popular trends.
  • New York only allows tongue-splitting (a popular body modification in which the tongue is split down the middle, like a lizard, is often said to have very pleasing effects on certain sexual activities after it has healed) by a medical professional who is licensed. Other states allow piercers to perform this simple procedure.
  • “Sadomasochistic abuse” is defined in such broad terms by Georgia law that it could apply to a person in a clown costume being bound at the wrists by another person. Scary to think that the law isn’t any better specified than that.

Marriage Laws

As if it isn’t bad enough that the government placed laws forbidding you from having the kind of sex that you desire, and put their foot down on premarital sex by imposing fines, they also felt the need to place other laws regarding to your marriage, and your sex life inside that marriage. Listed below are various laws states have had on the record regarding things that are allowed, and not allowed for married persons to do. (This should be interesting, huh?)

  • Illinois law is one that many women will be offended by, and many others (Fifty Shades of Grey fans) will secretly love. Bachelors in this state are to be called Master by their female companions (girlfriends, fiancé, girl he takes out for a date), not mister. Wow. As if that isn’t strange enough by itself, there is also a law that making love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day is illegal. Don’t ask why this had to be mentioned. I wouldn’t think there would be a huge problem with this.
  • Be careful what you say to a girl in Alabama when you’re attempting to seduce her! Any man who seduces a woman who has previously abstained from sex with deceptions, flattery, arts, temptation, or promise of marriage can be charged with a crime.
  • Several states actually allow for husbands to beat their wives, as long as they follow certain stipulations. In Los Angeles, CA, the law says a man is legally entitled to beat his wife as long as he uses a leather belt or strap that is less than 2” wide. This is where that oh so lovely saying "rule of thumb" comes from. He can beat his wife as long as the weapon is no wider than that of his thumb, more or less. If the wife consents to her husband using a wider strap before the beating, then he can use a wider one. Good thing that law was repealed in 1975!
  • Arkansas, Virginia, and South Carolina all allow for husbands to beat their wives, as long as they stick to the guidelines. AR only allows a beating once a month, while in SC it can only happen on the steps of the courthouse and on Sundays. Virginia allows men to beat their wives on the steps of the courthouse any day before 8:00 PM. You can’t help but to wonder why it was illegal on the courthouse steps. Was it so that there were officials to bear witness? Or to keep the man from going too far with the beating? Could it be to give the husband time to calm down as they both made their way to the courthouse? We may never know!
  • Utah has more than one law in regards to marriage. In Utah, it is illegal to commit adultery, but Polygamy is legal, providing that the partners have sex only in the missionary position.
  • In the states of Florida, Montana, Utah, and Virginia, it is unlawful to have sex in any position other than missionary, and VA adds to the law, stating that the lights must also be off. Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. all have laws that prohibit women from being “on top.”

Animal Sex Laws

Who would have ever believed that lawmakers actually passed laws that were intended for animals to obey? Laws requiring animals to be responsible about where they decide to mate seem pretty outrageous, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing them into law. These are definitely some of the weirdest sex laws ever passed.

  • Alaska does not allow a moose to copulate on city streets.
  • Cats and dogs must have a required permit to mate in Ventura Co, CA.
  • Utah threw us all for a loop by allowing sex with an animal unless it is performed for profit, in which case, it is considered sodomy.
  • Texas residents had better keep their pigs on the farm, because an ordinance in Kingsville deemed that pigs are not to have sex with one another on the city’s airport property. I guess the “piggies” won’t be accruing many frequent flier miles from Kingsville.
  • Sexual relations with a porcupine are illegal in Florida. Shouldn’t that go without saying? Anyone attempting to have sex with a porcupine isn’t too sharp. Then again, Florida is like it’s own little planet, and visitors must be leery of natives.
  • Minnesota and Illinois both have laws about physical contact with a very different type of pet (though, you can also find them in the wild). Leave it to the list of weirdest sex laws to really make you stop and think about our past lawmakers in this country. I do hope the next ones are more prepared. No man is allowed to have sexual intercourse with a live fish. No mention of the legality of a dead fish, but we can assume that it’s probably frowned upon. Nuzzling or kissing a reptile in IL is prohibited as well. That is almost a little saddening, because lizards need love too.
  • A rodeo in Massachusetts is no place to have sex with the rodeo clown. You’d best get a room, otherwise, should a horse meander across the two of you making wicked clown love, you can be fined or jailed.
  • Los Angeles, CA has a law stating that animals are not allowed to fornicate within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship. Animals are not allowed to have sex in public anymore, either.
  • Down on the farms in Clawson, MI, a farmer can sleep with his pigs, his cows, his horses and goats, and even his chickens! I guess out there in Clawson, Old MacDonald really had a farm. Farmers in West Virginia don’t get quite as many choices in farm animals. It’s only legal for a male to have sex with an animal if it does not weight more than 40lbs.

The weirdest sex laws are out there lurking around in law books, hiding amongst the laws made for our protection and well being. It’s funny to find them, and read them, but you have to wonder who came up with some of these laws, and why? Some laws are just plain weird, and there doesn’t seem to be any good reasoning behind them. That’s okay, though, because, if nothing else, they’re certainly entertaining.

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Swordelia Corningstone

Freelance writer based in NYC. Let's talk about our feelings.

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