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24 Naturism: Nudity And The Law

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This article is from the Naturism FAQ, by Dennis Kirkpatrick recnudefaq@sunclad.com with numerous contributions by others.

24 Naturism: Nudity And The Law

Nudity in private clubs, homes, and the like is legal in most areas.
You generally need not concern yourself with the law if your nudity is
confined to a private place. Laws prohibiting private nudity are
uncommon and generally unenforceable. (Note, though, that there could
be problems in private places that are easily viewable from public
places, such as through an open window of your home. If the offended
person has to go to some trouble to be offended, it is more likely
that they could be in trouble for being "peeping Toms".)

Public nudity is a different story. Depending on your locality, simple
public nudity may or may not be legal. There are some jurisdictions
which explicitly prohibit simple, non-sexual nudity, and some which do
not prohibit public nudity, but in many areas public nudity is
prosecuted under the codes for indecent exposure. Cases in various
jurisdictions have begun to establish a precedent that simple public
nudity, absent any malicious or sexual intent, cannot be construed as
indecent. However, we are far from achieving the goal of total
decriminalization of public nudity. Check with authorities and be

There is no prohibition against simple nudity on federal lands.
However, depending on where you are, the federal authorities may
enforce any local or state prohibitions. This is called "concurrent
jurisdiction." The rec.nude Legal FAQ (under revision) will be helpful in
finding out just what the law says in your area, or see a composite by
the Naturist Action Committee at <http://www.naturistaction.org>

In many areas, the tide is turning in our favor. Government is
realizing that there are more important things to worry about than
harmless nudity. And as naturism grows worldwide, people are realizing
that naturism is good business, too. However, many governments choose
to ignore the current progressive trend and keep their heads buried in
the sand.

Naturists should not live in fear of the law; they should know the law
and make it work for them. Naturists are being cited for simple nudity
under ordinances that, in many cases, do not ban public nudity unless
lewdness or malice is present. This must change. Believe it or not,
the law is often on our side; it takes an informed naturist to know
when it is. Here are some things you can do to avoid arrest:


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