Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another reason to love Iowa...

Public Sex Not Illegal in Parts of Iowa

via Carnal Nation

What would you do if while hiking in the woods, you came across two naked men having sex? Would you be offended? Would you report the incident to the police? This happened to Tony Brewer in the Johnson County wildlife preserve in Iowa. He was offended by the sight of the two men engaging in oral sex and dutifully reported it to the Johnson County Sheriff. In the past, other concerned citizens have also reported incidents of indecent exposure in the park, ranging from nude sunbathing to full-on sexual encounters. But it seems that law enforcement isn't doing anything about it—or can't.

According to Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, being nude or even having sex in the public park doesn't necessarily break any state laws on obscenity. Like so much else in the legal world, the crime (if any) comes down to intent. Iowa law is quite clear that in order for an incident to be considered a misdemeanor, not only does the witness need to be offended but the 'offender' must also derive some kind of sexual satisfaction from causing the offense. "It's a difficult thing to investigate," said Pulkrabek. "You have to find that specific intent."

News crews have recently gone into the woods to investigate. They encountered some naked men who claimed to be sunbathing. They also found condom wrappers, used condoms, tissues, and even some underwear discarded in the brush. It's clear that the Johnson County wildlife preserve is a popular cruising area, but what should be done about it? Although Sheriff Pulkrabek says that all complaints are investigated, he does note, "The fact of the matter is, people have been going to remote areas and having sex since the beginning of time." Sex in nature is the tradition of the Garden of Eden as well as the scary, transgressive setting of most fairy tales. It's not for public consumption or spectacle; that's why it happens in the wild. In this light, Iowa's law seems eminently reasonable. However, all that litter is utterly criminal. Come on, boys, clean up after yourselves.

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