Real (Strange) Sex Laws
They're surprising. They're baffling. And, often, they're downright
stupid. These laws about sex and sexuality defy explanation.
In Florida, having sexual relations with a porcupine
In Tibet, many years ago, the law required all women
prostitute themselves. This was seen as a way to gain sexual experience
prior to marriage.
"Female breasts," according to the Arizona
Supreme Court, don't constitute "private parts" under
The Asiatic Huns punished convicted male rapists
and adulterers with castration. Female adulterers were merely
cut in two.
The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia is decapitation.
The T'ang Dynasty Empress Wu Hu passed a special
law concerning oral sex. She felt that a woman pleasuring a man
represented the supremacy of the male over the female. Therefore,
she insisted all visiting male dignitaries show their respect
by pleasuring her orally when meeting. The empress would throw
open her robe and her guest would kneel before her and kiss her
In London, it's illegal to have sex on a parked
There is, in fact, an Illinois law that prohibits
a number of things—one of which is a public erection, another
is nude dancing. The prohibition against the public erection has
never been challenged in the Supreme Court, but the prohibition
against nude dancing has.
In 100 A.D., the Teutons, an Germanic tribe, would
punish anyone caught as a prostitute by suffocating them in excrement.
The vow of a Roman vestal virgin lasted 30 years.
If she engaged in sex before then, she was punished by being buried
In 17th century Spain, it was illegal for anyone
other than a woman's husband to see her bare feet. A woman could
freely expose her breasts, but feet were considered sexual and
had to be covered in the presence of men other than her husband.
The Romans would crush a first-time rapist's gonads
between two stones.
In China, women are prohibited from walking around
a hotel room in the nude. A woman may be naked only while in the
The early Christian church forbade couples from
having sex on Wednesdays, Fridays and of course, Sundays.
In Pompeii, a special law was directed at prostitutes.
They had to dye their hair either blue, red or yellow in order
to be able to work.
In Indiana, mustaches are illegal if the bearer
has a "tendency to habitually kiss other humans."
Six thousand years ago, Egyptians, the first to
punish sex crimes with castration, would completely castrate a
male convicted of rape. A women found guilty of adultery would
find herself without a nose, the thinking being that without a
nose, it would be harder to find someone to share in her adulterous
In Krakow, Poland it's not only a crime to have
sex with animals, but three-time offenders are shot in the head.
Up until 1884, a woman could be sent to prison for
denying a husband sex.
In Maryland, it is illegal to sell condoms from
vending machines with one exception—prophylactics may be
dispensed from a vending machine only "in places where alcoholic
beverages are sold for consumption on the premises."
While not as extreme as the ancient Israelite punishment
for adultery (stoning), Greek men still had their fair share of
discomfort when their pubic hair was removed and a large radish
was shoved up their rectum.
In Alabama, it's against the law for a man to seduce
"a chaste woman by means of temptation, deception, arts,
flattery or a promise of marriage."
In Nepal, Bangladesh and Macao it is against the
law to view movies containing simulated lovemaking or the pubic
area of men and women. The law also does not allow kisses to be
shown in any film that includes actors from these three countries.
It's illegal to have sex with a corpse anywhere
in the United States.
There are men in Guam whose full-time job it is
to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay
them for the privilege of having sex for the first time. Why?
Under the law in Guam, it is forbidden for virgins to marry.
In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed
to kill her adulterous husband, but may only do so with her bare
hands. The husband's lover may be killed in any manner desired.
An 18th century French prostitute could be spared
punishment if she were willing to join the opera.
In Mississippi, S & M is against the law. Specifically,
"The depiction or description of flagellation or torture
by or upon a person who is nude or in undergarments or in a bizarre
or revealing costume for the purpose of sexual gratification."
During the Middle Ages, if you were guilty of bestiality
you'd be burned at the stake, along with the other party to your
As recently as 1990, these states had laws against
heterosexual fellatio, cunnilingus, anal sex and the use of dildos:
Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington D.C.
In Minnesota, it is illegal for any man to have
sexual intercourse with a live fish.
In Detroit, couples are not allowed to make love
in an automobile unless the act takes place while the vehicle
is parked on the couple's own property.
In Oxford, Ohio, it's illegal for a woman to strip
off her clothing while standing in front of a man's picture.
An excerpt from Kentucky state legislation: "No
female shall appear in a bathing suit on any highway within this
state unless she be escorted by at least two officers or unless
she be armed with a club."
The only acceptable sexual position in Washington,
D.C. is the missionary position. Any other sexual position is
In Michigan a woman isn't allowed to cut her own
hair without her husband's permission.
It is illegal for any member of the Nevada legislature
to conduct official business wearing a penis costume while the
legislature is in session.
In Ventura County, California cats and dogs are
not allowed to have sex without a permit.
Under Lebanese law, men are legally allowed to have
sex with animals, but the animals must be female. Having sexual
relations with a male animal is expressly forbidden.
A law in Fairbanks, Alaska does not allow moose
to have sex on city streets.
In Kingsville, Texas there is a law against two
pigs having sex on the city's airport property.
Women can sell items and be topless in Liverpool,
England—but only in tropical fish stores.
In the state of Texas it is a misdemeanor if two
men engage in oral and or anal sex and is considered sodomy. The
same law does not apply to men and women engaging in the same
activity with each other.
In Romboch, Virginia, it is illegal to engage in
sexual activity with the lights on.
In the state of Utah, sex with an animal—unless
performed for profit—is not considered sodomy and therefore
Anywhere in the U.S., it's illegal to use any live
endangered species (except for insects) in public or private sexual
displays, shows or exhibits depicting cross-species sex.
In the quiet town of Connorsville, Wisconsin, it's
illegal for a man to shoot off a gun when his female partner has
It is illegal for a man and woman to have sex "on
the steps of any church after the sun goes down" in Birmingham,
In the state of Washington there is a law against
having sex with a virgin under any circumstances (including the
A Tremonton, Utah law states that no woman is allowed
to have sex with a man while riding in an ambulance. In addition
to normal charges, the woman's name will be published in the local
newspaper. The man does not receive any punishment.
It's against the law in Willowdale, Oregon, for
a husband to curse during sex.
Sodomy laws have been repealed—or are ignored—in
most states, but not Georgia, where a man was sentenced not long
ago to five years in prison for engaging in oral sex. With his
wife. With her consent. In their home. His predicament has apparently
been a source of considerable amusement to other inmates.
An Oklahoma state representative once proposed a
bill requiring that a man explain the dangers of pregnancy and
obtain a woman's written consent before the two could legally
engage in sexual intercourse.
In Oblong, Illinois, it's punishable by law to make
love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day.
No man is allowed to make love to his wife with
the smell of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath in Alexandria,
Minnesota. If his wife so requests, law mandates that he must
brush his teeth.
Warn your hubby that after lovemaking in Ames, Iowa,
he isn't allowed to take more than three gulps of beer while lying
in bed with you—or holding you in his arms.
Bozeman, Montana, has a law that bans all sexual
activity between members of the opposite sex in the front yard
of a home after sundown—if they're nude.
In hotels in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, every room
is required to have twin beds. And the beds must always be a minimum
of two feet apart when a couple rents a room for only one night.
And it's illegal to make love on the floor between the beds.
The owner of every hotel in Hastings, Nebraska,
is required to provide each guest with a clean and pressed nightshirt.
No couple, even if they are married, may sleep together in the
nude. Nor may they have sex unless they are wearing one of these
clean, white cotton nightshirts.
An ordinance in Newcastle, Wyoming, specifically
bans couples from having sex while standing inside a store's walk-in
A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors
should be called master, not mister, when addressed by their female
In Norfolk, Virginia, a woman can't go out without
wearing a corset. (There was a civil-service job—for men
only—called a corset inspector.)
However, in Merryville, Missouri, women are prohibited
from wearing corsets because "the privilege of admiring the
curvaceous, unencumbered body of a young woman should not be denied
to the normal, red-blooded American male."
It's safe to make love while parked in Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho. Police officers aren't allowed to walk up and knock on
the window. Any suspicious officer who thinks that sex is taking
place must drive up from behind, honk his horn three times and
wait approximately two minutes before getting out of his car to
Another law in Helena, Montana, mandates that a
woman can't dance on a table in a saloon or bar unless she has
on at least three pounds, two ounces of clothing.
Lovers in Liberty Comer, New Jersey, should avoid
satisfying their lustful urges in a parked car. If the horn accidentally
sounds while they are frolicking behind the wheel, the couple
can face a jail term.
A Florida sex law: If you're a single, divorced,
or widowed woman, you can't parachute on Sunday afternoons.
Women aren't allowed to wear patent-leather shoes
in Cleveland, Ohio—a man might see the reflection of something
Liquor and sex always seem to go together, even
in the writing of laws. Maryland prohibits the selling of condoms
through vending machines in gas stations and stores—with
one major exception. Prophylactics may be dispensed by a vending
machine only "in places where alcoholic beverages are sold
for consumption on the premises."
Vending-machine condom sales, on the other hand,
are banned in such states as Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Yes, you may purchase a pack of gum,
a candy bar, some potato chips, or a soft drink from a vending
machine—but, alas, absolutely no condoms!
And in Texas, no one other than a "registered
pharmacist" may sell condoms or other kinds of contraceptives
"on the streets or other public places." No, not even
physicians! Anyone who tries to make a few extra bucks doing this
will be severely prosecuted for the dire act of "unlawfully
No one may purchase a package of condoms at a corner
drugstore anywhere in Nebraska. Only physicians can sell them
while practicing medicine. In Arkansas, condoms can be sold only
by physicians and other medical practitioners. Delaware allows
the sale of condoms only by doctors and wholesale druggists.
Kentucky and Idaho limit condom sales to medical
practitioners and licensed pharmacists, but their license to sell
the items may not be hung on a wall where it can be seen by customers.
Maine, on the other hand, licenses condom sellers, and the license
must always be on public display.
Nevada, with 35 legal bordellos, has no condom problem;
the law there requires that condoms be made readily available
at each brothel. The use of condoms in Nevada brothels is compulsory.
Both Indiana and Ohio have laws that prohibit male
skating instructors from having sexual relations with their female
students. This misdeed, called "the seduction of female students"
in the ludicrous legislation, is prosecuted as a felony. This
statute apparently applies only to male teachers. It seems female
skating instructors may have sex with male students.
Authorities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, passed
a special piece of legislation governing sexual activities in
the toll-collection booths on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The law,
which pertains only to female toll collectors, prohibits them
from engaging in sex with a truck driver in the confines of a
booth. Any woman violating this law will be fired for "behavior
unbecoming an employee." (If for any reason the transgressor
is later reinstated, she won't be allowed back pay.)
Clinton, Oklahoma, is apparently a community with
unusually high moral standards. The city fathers have banned local
men from masturbating while observing a couple making love in
the back seat of a parked car in a drive-in theater. Such a peeper
can be fined and jailed for "molesting a vehicle."
North Carolina has a law on the books against "Peeping
Toms," but the legislation is somewhat biased! It's illegal
in that state for a man to peep through a window at a woman—yet
it's not against the law for a woman to peep into a room occupied
by a man. (Nor is it a violation of the law if a man peeps at
Until the law was repealed in 1975, California husbands
and wives could both get a 15-year penitentiary term for engaging
in certain sexual practices. They were specifically prohibited
from engaging in any oral activities, even in the privacy of their
Try to avoid going through Skullbone, Tennessee,
if you desire a little sex while driving. The law there bans a
woman from "pleasuring a man" while he is sitting behind
the wheel of any moving vehicle. Any man stopped and found with
the front of his pants undone can be fined a minimum of $50 and
serve thirty days in jail.
Married, yet want to mess around a little on the
side? If so, be careful where you decide to play. In California,
adultery is punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or one year in prison.
But adultery in Arkansas is much cheaper—offenders are fined
a mere $20 to $100.
If you live in Michigan and feel an uncontrollable
desire to have a fulfilling physical encounter with someone of
the opposite sex, please restrain yourself! Take a trip to Texas
or Virginia before succumbing to your sensual desires. Why? Because
single guys and gals who are caught in the act in Michigan can
be fined as much as $5,000, and they could be sentenced to as
many as five years in prison. Single adults in Texas who are apprehended
while having sex are charged with a misdemeanor and given a $500
fine. On the other hand, singles in Virginia who get caught spend
no time in jail, and the fine is a paltry $20 to $100, according
to the court's judgment.
Branchville, South Carolina, retains a wonderful
old piece of loony legalese covering those who "lewdly and
lasciviously associate, bed, and cohabit together, in a public
or non-public place." The amorous couple can be punished
with a $500 fine and as much as a six-month prison term.
Single folks have it relatively easy in Rhode Island.
This state still prohibits unmarried people from partaking of
bedroom activities under any circumstances. However, if caught,
the lovers are both fined $10.
Unmarried adults in Arizona who decide to fool around
a little are committing a serious felony. Anyone single, man or
woman, caught having sex can be sent to the penitentiary for three
Many variations of sexual fun and games have apparently
been a popular pastime in societies throughout history. Ancient
Roman art regularly depicts quite a number of these activities.
So does the art of bygone Greece. Drawings by the ancient Egyptians
include the same things. It's found even in paintings done by
prehistoric cave dwellers. Despite such artistic license, many
of the United States still punish certain bedroom antics rather
severely. For example, South Dakota (Compiled Laws 22-22-21) threatens
a ten-year prison term for "copulation by means of mouth."
Utah (Code 76-53-22) has made this same act a misdemeanor; there,
oral sex brings a six-month jail term and a $299 fine. Rhode Island
(General Laws 11-10-1) labels it an "'abominable, detestable
crime against nature," and such activity brings a seven-to-ten-year
stretch in the penitentiary. It is outlawed in New Mexico (Statutes
40-A-9-6), where participation is punishable by a $5,000 fine
and a two-to-ten-year sentence. Florida (Statutes 800.01) chastises
with a twenty-year prison sentence those who take part in this
Men can still be arrested and punished for the crime
of "patronizing a prostitute." This is the law in such
places as New York, Kansas, Illinois, and Connecticut—which
gives a "john" three years in prison. Go to Kansas if
you really must do business with a hooker. It's only one month
in jail and a $500 fine for anyone who gets caught. Better yet,
visit Nevada, where prostitution is legal. (The state actually
has had within its borders an organization called the Nevada Brothel
A gentleman can be incarcerated for from one to
ten years in an Arizona or Washington, D.C., prison for causing
his wife to be a prostitute." A man can also get ten years
in Arkansas and twenty years in Maine and Michigan for placing"
his spouse in a brothel. And in Missouri it's a "high misdemeanor"
for a fellow to "force" his wife to sell sexual services
on the streets.
Don't import an Asian woman and make her a prostitute
in California. If you're caught, you could get a year in prison
and a $500 fine.
Buckfield, Maine, has a rather unusual law regarding
cab drivers and sex. The legislation declares that no taxi driver
"will be allowed" to charge a fare to any passenger
who gives him sexual favors" in return for a ride home from
a nightclub or other "establishment which serves alcoholic
beverages," or any "place of business" selling
Carlsbad, New Mexico, retains a law making it illegal
under certain conditions for couples to have sex in a parked vehicle
during their lunch break from work. The car or van must have tightly
drawn curtains to stop strangers from peeking inside while the
activity is taking place.
It's against the law in Beanville, Vermont, for
a road map to be printed and sold or given away if it contains
advertising of a "lewd or lascivious nature." The ban
specifically includes ads for massage parlors and hot tubs, as
both are believed to be of a "sensual bent."
An old law in Cattle Creek, Colorado bans a man
or his wife from making love while bathing "in any lake,
river or stream." In other words, anyone who wants to fool
around while bathing must do so in a tub, or not at all.
It's against the law to make love to a virgin, whatever
the circumstances, anywhere in the state of Washington. According
to the wording of the legislation, it's a major crime even to
marry and then spend the night with a virgin bride in this enlightened
area of the nation. Washington's unique legislation reads: "Every
person who shall seduce and have sexual intercourse with any female
of previously chaste character shall be punished by imprisonment
in the state penitentiary for not more than five (5) years or
in the county jail for not more than one (1) year or by a fine
of $1000 or by both fine and imprisonment."
Anniston, Alabama, certainly isn't paradise for
a liberated woman who might enjoy making love in a pool hall.
An old ordinance bans women from using promises of certain physical
activities to pay off a bet on a match they are playing. Nor may
they initiate sex while hanging around a pool hall.
Women who go out on the streets alone at night in
Kansas City, Kansas, can be arrested under an obscure 1901 city
ordinance. Any unattended females can be picked up by the police
if they are "in the streets or any public place without lawful
business and without giving a good accounting of themselves."
The law in Cottonwood, Arizona, says nothing about
a couple making love in a car with a flat tire. But lawmakers
there did ban people from doing this while inside an automobile
with "flat wheels." If the vehicle with flat wheels
is parked, and you're caught making love in the front seat, it's
a $25 fine. But if you're caught playing around while in the back
seat, the fine is doubled if your offense is making love while
driving such a flat-wheeled vehicle, the fine jumps to $100 for
the first offense and $150 for all offenses thereafter. (No one
has yet been able to define "flat wheels" correctly.)
There's an odd law governing beds in all Sioux Falls,
South Dakota, hotels. Every room is required to have twin beds.
And these twin beds must always be a minimum of two feet apart
when a couple rents a room for only one night. And it's illegal
to make love on the floor between the beds.
Connecticut still retains an old law forbidding
any kind of "private sexual behavior between consenting adults."
This odd law makes absolutely no distinction between married and
single couples. Is such a law an indication that Connecticut citizens
should "do their thing" in public?
The Louisiana House of Representatives believes
in keeping up with the times. It hurriedly approved a unique anti-streaking
law; under it, streakers can be sentenced to five years in the
state penitentiary and given a $2,000 fine for streaking "while
intending to arouse the desires of minors." Streaking with
only the "intent of arousing sexual desire" brings a
violator a $100 fine and one year in prison. If it can be proven
beyond doubt to the court that the streaker had "no lascivious
intent," no fine or jail term is imposed.
Buggery in Nebraska (Revised Statutes 28-919) is
never to be treated lightly! So-called buggery, or anal copulation,
can bring a whopping twenty years in the penitentiary. And buggery
in Pennsylvania (Statute 4501) is deadly serious as well. It can
bring transgressors a $5,000 fine and ten years at hard labor.
South Carolina's Code of Laws 16-412 includes "the
abominable crime of buggery." A $500 fine and five years
in prison are the punishment. Buggery in Maryland (Code Sections
553 and 554) brings a one- to ten-year prison term. Kansas (Statute
21-3505) treats buggery more lightly. Anyone in Kansas caught
engaging in this activity draws a maximum sentence of six months
Indiana and Wyoming both have laws against anyone's
enticing, alluring, instigating, or helping a person under twenty-one
to masturbate. This activity is known in legal circles as an act
of "self pollution."
Five years in prison for masturbation? Yes! Michigan
law prescribes such a stringent sentence for a man who engages
"in acts of gross indecency, either in public or private."
This includes mutual masturbation by two men or the simple act
of solitary masturbation.
New Jersey law threatens men with a three-year sentence
for "mutual masturbation." The law covers anyone "who,
in private, is a party to an act of lewdness or sexual indecency
No one may have sex while riding in the sidecar
of a motorcycle in Norfolk, Virginia, where an old ordinance outlaws
anyone from doing so while cruising down a city street. Such activity
is considered to be a "licentious sexual act."
When traveling, if you decide to stop overnight
in Hastings, Nebraska, be aware of this loony sex law: The owner
of every hotel is required to provide each guest with a clean
and pressed nightshirt. No male and female—even if they
are married—may sleep together in the nude. Nor may any
sexual activity be undertaken except while the couple is attired
in one of these plain white cotton nightshirts.
Procuring or employing an Alabama girl from 10 to
18 years old for prostitution brings a relatively mild $300 to
$500 fine and six months in jail. What about a little girl in
Alabama under 10 years of age?
And finally, South Dakota takes a back seat to no
one when it comes to retaining interesting old laws. Prostitutes
there are still prohibited from plying their trade out of a covered
It's "an excusable act of passion" in
Colombia, South America, for a man to murder his wayward wife
when he finds the woman in bed with her lover. If the husband
"personally witnesses the corrupt sexual activity,"
he's allowed to shoot his unfaithful spouse. Such adultery-related
homicides aren't even prosecuted.
Censorship laws in Brazil are strict. Explicit guidelines
govern pornography. No newspaper, magazine, or book is allowed
to discuss any aspect of homosexuality. Pictures of nude couples
can't be included in any publication. No photographs even "suggesting"
sexual activity are allowed. Pictures of babies being delivered
are also taboo. Banned, too, are photos of women attired in bikinis
or short-shorts. And no more than one bare female breast may legally
be shown on any given page of a newspaper, magazine, book, or
The use of chili sauce and similar hot spices on
jail and prison food is outlawed in Peru. An edict was handed
down by the Interior Minister because these items were claimed
to "have aphrodisiac qualities" and would "arouse
sexual desires." This bureaucrat deemed chili sauce and other
spices to be "not appropriate for men who are forced to live
a limited life style."
Don't try to fool around while skinny-dipping anywhere
near Georgetown, Guyana. Getting caught while bathing in the nude
is punishable with a coat of fresh paint! The bathers are then
taken to the outskirts of Georgetown and left to fend for themselves.
The law is even tougher in its effort to discourage people from
having sex while skinny-dipping. The lovers are first given a
coat of paint; then, both parties "will be attached to an
ass and taken on a tour of the village." Finally, they'll
be dropped at the edge of town and told in no uncertain terms
to not bother coming back.
Sodomy has long been a serious offense in Peru.
A person who has engaged in it is first dragged through the streets
on a rope. Hanging comes next! Finally, the corpse is burned while
fully clothed. This symbolizes the sodomite's total destruction.
Cautin Province in Chile has an edict banning the
hanging on the walls of Playboy centerfolds and other sexy pinups
in any home or public building. The reason according to this decree?
"It's more worthwhile to admire a good landscape than a photograph
of a naked woman."
In Paramaribo, Suriname, a man who rapes a single
woman won't be punished—if the rape victim agrees to marry
Featherbeds were long ago outlawed in Buenos Aires,
Argentina because "such an indulgence induces and encourages
The alpaca (a variety of llama) appears to be the
most popular four-legged bedmate for many single Peruvian guys.
So prevalent, apparently, is this sexual deviance that an old
law still outlaws the activity. Unmarried young men are prohibited
from even having a female alpaca live in their homes or apartments.
The law in Guatemala pulls no punches in dealing
with single women who have been accused of illicit lovemaking.
Supposed female "fornicators," when seen in the streets,
are to be stopped, spat upon, and beaten by the citizens of the
community! Single men aren't punished at all when they've been
caught in the act.
It's against the law in Belize for any man to have
sex with or marry his own aunt. Masked vigilantes are allowed
to take the law into their own hands and severely punish the lawbreaker,
who is tied to a tree and then flogged.
Passionate kissing in public places has been outlawed
in Sorocaba, Brazil. The specific kind of kiss that was banned
was "the cinematographic kiss, in which salivas mix to swell
Panama doesn't mess around when it comes to homosexuals
and homosexuality. The law declares: "If any one of these
males who commit this vile practice against nature with other
males, he shall be degraded, and shall remain in perpetual exile."
The penalty meted out for homosexual behavior is castration. The
law also covers people who aren't homosexual themselves but associate
with homosexuals. "Guilt by association" brings a penalty
of a shaven head, one hundred lashes, and banishment.
The law in Honduras doesn't prohibit homosexuality,
yet neither does it condone the practice. Sodomy, however, is
strictly banned regardless of whether it's homosexual or heterosexual.
A man in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, is required by law
to divorce his wife as soon as he discovers that she's committed
adultery. He's in serious trouble should he fail to do so; the
hapless husband may then be prosecuted for his unwillingness to
take the proper and necessary course of action. A wife, on the
other hand, is not permitted to divorce her husband when he's
caught in bed with another woman. Such things are simply to be
expected when it comes to men, says the law.
Peru still keeps on the books an old piece of legislation
that dates all the way back to 1583. Passed by the Third Provisional
Council of Lima, it states, "If there is anyone among you
who commits sodomy, sinning with another man, or with a boy, or
with a beast ... Let it be known that it carries the death penalty."
In Uruguay, a husband who catches his spouse in
bed with another man is given an option under the current law.
He has the right to kill both the wayward wife and her lover—or
he can choose to slice off his wife's nose and castrate her lover!
It's a violation of the law in Valparaiso, Chile,
for any man to marry a certain kind of woman—he must never
take for his bride a woman who has committed adultery. Such a
woman is to be condemned forever.
A married woman in La Paz, Bolivia, is not allowed
to drink more than a tiny bit of wine. One who does is considered
by law to be morally and sexually lax, and her husband may divorce
her for one sip too many.
A married woman in Venezuela may be accused of committing
adultery, but a simple unsubstantiated accusation isn't enough
to merit her punishment. All the woman has to do is "swear"
her innocence and she's cleared of all charges.
Masturbation is outlawed in French Guiana because
of the "danger it presents to the masturbator." The
law notes that such a physical act "is recognized as a common
cause of insanity." Ridiculous? Well, it wasn't but a few
years ago that young people in the United States were taught that
masturbation would make them go blind!
El Salvador certainly isn't the best place for a
married woman to have a fling. Any "married woman who lies
with the male who is not her husband" can get a six-year
prison term and a $30 fine. The amount of the fine is awarded
to the woman's husband as his indemnity!
A husband in Honduras is guilty of adultery only
when he has a mistress and when he "keeps her in a notorious
A person can be arrested in San Jose, Costa Rica,
for "keeping a common bawdy house." Or he or she may
be charged with "keeping a place...for the practice of indecency."
A woman can legally be a prostitute in Santa Cruz,
Bolivia. But it's against the law for a prostitute to solicit
customers on the streets or in other public places.
Having sex with a relative is a serious infraction
in Santa Ana, El Salvador. Anyone who violates this law is punished
either by exile or by hanging. (The choice isn't left up to the
In Limon, Costa Rica, both parties in an adulterous
relationship are in for real trouble: Each person is subject to
being beaten and drowned in punishment for their deed.
The law among the Tupies of Brazil stipulates that
once a woman is married, she's required to be faithful. The same
standard doesn't apply to the husband. He's allowed to have as
many mistresses as he can afford to keep.
Adultery isn't always a crime in Caracas, Venezuela.
It depends on how long a couple has been married. Anyone, male
or female, can play around and not be prosecuted, so long as they've
been married for fewer than twelve months. After one full year
of marital bliss, the same sexual activities become serious criminal
Young women in Bogoti, Colombia, are not permitted
to be out alone on the streets after the sun goes down. Why? Because
other people might think that they are prostitutes. The law allows
the police to arrest such suspects.
A widow in Paramaribo, Suriname, who plans to remarry
is required by law to first make love with a man. The statute
even specifies who should be her bed partner: a member of her
deceased husband's immediate family.
The law in Montevideo, Uruguay, bans a man from
making love to his wife during her menstrual period. Nor is he
allowed even to touch her between the waist and the knees. Anyone
who violates this law is fined and publicly administered 200 lashes.
Personal revenge is allowed by law in Paraguari,
Paraguay, when a man catches his wife in bed with someone else.
He's permitted to kill his wife's lover, and his adulterous spouse,
on the spot. But the wronged husband must take immediate action
to be considered guiltless under this law—he isn't allowed
to wait and do it later. On the other hand, a wife who catches
her mate in bed with a lover is not entitled to any of these privileges.
The law in Durango, Mexico, governs when a couple
may have sex after the woman's period begins. Five days must be
allowed from the start of the menstrual flow. Seven more days
must pass for "purification." A husband must not touch
his wife in any manner with his hands. Then, after these twelve
days have passed, the woman must bathe. Only then can the couple
make love. Anyone caught violating this old law could receive
the death penalty!
A bride in Ecuador had better be prepared for her
wedding night. According to the law, the girl can be returned
to her parents if her new husband determines that she is not a
When a bride is deflowered in Cali, Colombia, the
law says, it must be done by the husband while making love. And
this initial lovemaking must take place while the bride's mother
sits close by and witnesses the activity.
Promiscuity isn't illegal in Valencia, Venezuela,
so long as it's kept within certain specified boundaries. The
single man or woman, says the law, shouldn't ever have sex with
anyone who's deformed or who is known to be an "idiot."
Single women in Costa Rica are banned from all forms
of sex. Activities specifically prohibited by the law include
prostitution, fornication, and "any kind of lewd activities
or behavior" with a man.
A law found in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, won't allow
a man of any age to engage in sex with certain relatives and other
people. Specific taboo relatives include the man's mother and
his mother's sister. Nor may he have a sexual relationship with
an unrelated woman and her daughter at the same time.
The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was apparently a
man much obsessed with unique sexual legislation especially the
more loony kind. He dreamed up quite a number of oddball laws
with which he could further subjugate his fellow Iranians. According
to one of the great Ayatollah's decrees, lovemaking during times
of fasting was illegal in Iran. His edict read: "Coitus invalidates
the fast, even if the penis has penetrated the vagina only as
far as the circumcision scar, and even if ejaculation does not
occur. If the penis does not penetrate up to the circumcision
scar, and no ejaculation takes place, the fast is valid. If a
man cannot determine with certainty to what length his penis has
penetrated the vagina, even if he has gone past the circumcision
scar, the fast is nonetheless valid.
Lawmakers in Jordan have legislated what they consider
to be the most desirable amount of sexual activity between married
couples. A husband, they order, is to make love "with the
wife at least once every four months."
In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the police can
arrest a person for "committing an action that would be harmful
to the general public." This might be the official charge
for something as harmless as kissing a woman on her cheek in a
public place. The penalty is ten days in jail for both the kisser
and the kissee. The action could even be adultery! And adultery
in Abu Dhabi is punishable by death. It's all according to who
makes the arrest and what the arresting officer happens to write
down at the time.
Conviction of adultery in an Islamic court depends
entirely on the testimony of four male witnesses or eight female
witnesses. Or an accused woman can condemn herself. All she must
do is stand and admit three times that she actually committed
the criminal act!
Saudi Arabia treats adulterers with firmness. Both
of the guilty parties are quickly picked up by the authorities.
They are securely tied in a cloth sack and stoned to death. Or
the penalty for adultery might be somewhat more humane, according
to the way the Saudis look at things. The guilty woman may be
shot in front of her illicit lover, who is then publicly beheaded.
"Sperm is always impure," decreed the
Ayatollah Khomeini, "whether it comes from coitus or from
involuntary emissions while asleep." Therefore, Iranians
are forced by law to go through ablution—or the ritualistic
washing away of impurities as in a religious rite—after
being involved in certain kinds of sexual activities. (Ablution
isn't necessary, however, if the sperm stays inside the woman's
vagina after lovemaking is completed.)
According to Iranian law, a man is required to perform
his ablutions if he ejaculates while having sexual relations with
Citizens of most Middle Eastern countries are forbidden
to eat lamb under certain circumstances covered by Islamic law.
The law reads, "After having sexual relations with a lamb,
it is a mortal sin to eat its flesh." In Oman, if a man has
sex with a camel, a cow, or a ewe, the law says that the animal's
milk becomes impure and is no longer suitable for human consumption.
Oman law requires that the animal must immediately be killed and
then burned! The person who sodomized the beast is required to
pay its owner the dead animal's full market value.
In Lebanon, only men are legally allowed to have
sex with animals. But the gender of the animal is important—it
must always be female. A man's having sexual relations with a
male animal is considered a mortal sin and brings a death penalty
for those who get caught.
Also according to Lebanese law, a woman must be
executed for fornicating with any animal—wild or domesticated.
And to end this treatise on animals and sex, the
law in Iran actually suggests that sex play by their male population
"with wild animals is not recommended, especially with a
lioness." What is recommended instead is coitus with domesticated
animals such as dogs, cats, donkeys, lambs and, yes, of all things—pigeons.
Sodomy is also commonplace in parts of the Middle
East. Again, special legislation can be found in Iran to cover
this form of sexual activity. The law declares that if a man's
penis fully penetrates another man's anus, ablution is also a
necessity, but this time for both parties to the sex act.
Kuwait covers all the bases when it comes to sexual
feelings. It's illegal there for a married man to glance at another
woman "in a sensual manner." Nor can any male, married
or single, lustfully look at a statue of a female or at a female
In Syria, a man is forbidden to "look at the
body of a woman who is not his wife under any circumstances. It
is also forbidden for a woman to look at the body of a man who
is not her husband. It is forbidden to look at the genitals of
others, even in the mirror or in a pool's reflection."
According to Iranian law, Islamic religious laws
"must be obeyed and carried out by all—without exception
and without argument. There is no other right, no other duty but
obedience." This Middle Eastern country's Retribution Bill
details the punishments for sex-related crimes such as fornication,
homosexual activity, prostitution, and being a pimp. Each of these
is punishable by death. Public morality is strictly enforced.
Any man or woman even accused of adultery is shot.
Prostitution is a serious criminal offense in Yemen.
Transgressors are simply rounded up and publicly beheaded.
No type of contraceptive may be brought into Saudi
Arabia under any circumstances. The passage of legislation banning
contraceptives quickly followed a World Moslem League ruling that
"birth control was invented by the enemies of Islam."
Anyone caught smuggling condoms, other contraceptive devices,
or birth-control pills into the country is punished with a term
of six months in prison.
Even physicians are thoroughly covered by Middle
Eastern law when it comes to checking a woman's pubic area. Lawmakers
in Bahrain have decreed that a male doctor can legally examine
a woman's genitals. But any examination must be done indirectly.
Says the law, "If a doctor must touch a woman's genitalia
for medical reasons, he must not look directly at her genitals.
He may do this only by seeing their reflection in a mirror."
Egypt has an unusual piece of legislation that prohibits
a woman from belly dancing unless her navel is covered with gauze.
Technically, according to this law, a female in Egypt may dance
in public while wearing absolutely nothing more than a piece of
gauze on her belly button.
Colonel Muammar el Qaddafi's Libya has a scale of
prices to be paid for prospective wives by eligible single men.
They must be willing to pay the equivalent of as much as $35,000,
a handful of gold coins, one healthy camel, and a number of sheep.
All of these things go to the bride-to-be's father. Many Libyan
males who can't afford these prices travel to Egypt and Tunisia,
where a wife can be had for around $200.
The law in Doha, Qatar, requires that if a naked
Muslim woman is surprised by a man while bathing or dressing,
she must first cover her face, not her body.
In King Ibn Saud's Saudi Arabia, rapists are held
in jail until Friday of each week (Friday in Saudi Arabia is the
Sabbath). They are then taken from the jail and dragged to the
town square. Each rapist is unceremoniously beheaded right after
the midday prayers are concluded.
No unmarried woman in Qatar is allowed to give birth.
Such a woman is banned from using any hospital in the region.
Nor can she receive any kind of medical assistance. A pregnant
female who happens to be single must either flee the country or
do the best she can by going it alone.
A rigorous code of Muslim sexual behavior was passed
down by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. His followers in Iran and throughout
the Middle East uphold these as holy laws to be applied sternly.
They are to be obeyed and are not subject to change. Here are
a number of Khomeini's most unusual sex-related laws.
What does a person who isn't able to hide his or
her genitals with "anything in particular when undressed"
do? The hand is a suitable covering, according to the law.
Eating the meat of donkeys, horses, or mules is
against the law if the animal when alive was sodomized by a Muslim
man. If this transpired, the animal must immediately "be
taken outside the city and sold."
A man who perspires when he ejaculates doesn't have
to worry according to Muslim law. His sweat isn't impure, but
he's not allowed to pray so long as his clothing or body are still
What must a Muslim man do who makes love to his
wife when he should be abstaining? The fellow is required to avoid
praying so long as he feels or looks as if he is still sweating
from the illicit activity.
The law clearly states that a Muslim man can't marry
a woman who was breast-fed as a baby by his grandmother or his
Muslims are banned from looking at the genitals
of a corpse. The person undertaking the cleansing ritual commits
a serious violation of the law if he or she sneaks a peek. The
sex organs of a dead person must always be covered with a brick
or a piece of wood during the ritual.
A Muslim man who makes love to his aunt isn't allowed
to marry her daughters, his first cousins. But a man who marries
his first cousin and then commits adultery with her mother can't
get an annulment.
A Muslim man who gets married and then makes love
to his wife is somewhat restrained insofar as his future sex life.
He is strictly prohibited from making love to his wife's daughter
or granddaughter, even if they are hers by a previous marriage.
Muslim males are also banned from marrying their
own mother, sister, stepmother, or mother-in-law. Nor may they
make love to their wife's paternal or maternal grandmothers or
When a Muslim woman begins to menstruate while having
sex, the man must immediately withdraw. If he can't and ejaculates
instead, the fellow must, per the law, donate money to the poor.
If he can’t afford this, then something, however little,
must be given to a beggar on the streets. Should this not be possible,
the man then must, as a last resort, beg for God's forgiveness.
Marriage contracts commonly guarantee a wife's virginity
in the Middle East. If the woman turns out not to be a virgin
as promised, the husband may have their marriage annulled.
A Muslim husband is in serious trouble if he's incapable
of making love to his wife. Under these circumstances, she's allowed
by law to have the marriage annulled, and the husband is required
to pay her damages (one-half of the dowry as spelled out in the
A married Muslim woman who is caught committing
adultery must be sternly repudiated by her husband. After the
husband finally divorces the unfaithful woman, however, he must
pay her the full amount of her dowry.
No Muslim wife may refuse or even ignore her husband's
sexual advances. Any woman who does is to be judged guilty and
can't get food, clothing, and a place to live from him. Nor can
such a woman ask her husband to have sex with her in the future.
However, should they divorce, he must pay her damages that constitute
part or all of her dowry.
In recent decades, China has indoctrinated its citizens
to ignore their sexual interests. Transgressors are severely chastised.
Is prostitution punished? Yes! And with heavy penalties. Nevertheless,
officially speaking, there are no laws against prostitution anywhere
in Red China. Why? Because, according to a member of the Communist
Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, "There is no prostitution
in China. However, we do have some women who make love for money."
Bestiality laws in Bangkok, Thailand? There are
none. Any man who "forcibly subdues and has sexual intercourse"
with a female dog is merely charged with Cruelty to animals."
The culprit is fined a small amount of money. If the female dog
happens to be in heat, the fine is slightly higher.
In Maine, it's illegal to catch lobsters with your
In Louisiana, it's against the law to gargle in
In Quitman, Georgia, it is illegal for a chicken
to cross the road.
It is illegal to a wake a bear for the purpose of
photography in Alaska.
In Hawaii, one is legally prohibited from putting
coins in one's ears.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, fire trucks are legally
required to stop at all red lights.
A local ordinance in Atwoodville, Connecticut prohibits
people from playing Scrabble while waiting for a politician to
In Alabama, it is illegal to wear a fake moustache
that causes laughter in a church.
In North Carolina, it is illegal to sing off key.
In California, it's illegal to eat oranges in a
In Oregon, it is against the law to use canned corn
as bait for fishing.
In Logan County, Colorado, it is illegal for a man
to kiss a woman while she sleeps.
Monkeys are forbidden from smoke cigarettes in South
In the state of Indiana, liquor stores may not sell
In North Carolina, elephants may not be used to
plow cotton fields.
A Virginia law requires all bathtubs to be kept
out in the yards, not inside the houses.
It is illegal to ride a streetcar on Sunday if have
been eating garlic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In Cleveland, Ohio, it's illegal to catch mice without
a hunting license.
In the country of Turkey, in the 16th and 17th centuries,
anyone caught drinking coffee was put to death.
Before the enactment of the 1978 law that made it
mandatory for dog owners in New York City to clean up after their
pets, approximately 40 million pounds of dog excrement were deposited
on the streets every year.
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is illegal to have
sex with a truck driver inside a tollbooth.
Louisiana law prohibits couples who are shopping
for a new bed from putting it to the "ultimate test"--
in other words, from trying it out by making love on it, or even
simulating this activity.
In Kentucky, by law, anyone who has been drinking
is "sober" until he or she "cannot hold onto the
In Kentucky, it is illegal to transport an ice cream
cone in your pocket.
In Louisiana, it is illegal to rob a bank and then
shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol.
In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth
is "simple assault," while biting someone with your
false teeth is "aggravated assault."
In Massachusetts, mourners at a wake may not eat
more than three sandwiches.
In Massachusetts, snoring is prohibited unless all
bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.
In Massachusetts, an old ordinance declares goatees
illegal unless you first pay a special license fee for the privilege
of wearing one in public.
In Willowdale, Oregon, no man may curse while having
sex with his wife.
In Texas, sixteen-year old divorced girls are prohibited
from talking about sex during high school extracurricular activities.
In Florida, a special law prohibits unmarried women
from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or
In Florida, if an elephant is left tied to a parking
meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
In Florida, it is illegal to sing in a public place
while attired in a swimsuit.
In Florida, men may not be seen publicly in any
kind of strapless gown.
In Illinois, it is illegal for anyone to give lighted
cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animal kept as pets.
In Indiana, bathing is prohibited during the winter.
In Indiana citizens are not allowed to attend a
movie house or theater nor ride in a public streetcar within at
least four hours after eating garlic.
In Massachusetts, taxi drivers are prohibited from
making love in the front seat of their taxi during their shifts.
During lunch breaks in Carlsbad, New Mexico, no
couple should engage in a sexual act while parked in their vehicle,
unless their car has curtains.
Any couple making out inside a vehicle, and accidentally
sounding the horn during their lustful act, may be taken to jail
according to a Liberty Corner, New Jersey law.
Hotel owners in Hastings, Nebraska are required
by law to provide a clean, white cotton nightshirt to each guest.
According to the law, no couple may have sex unless they are wearing
In Bozeman, Montana, you can't perform any sexual
acts in the front yard of any home, after sundown, and if you
A law in Alexandria, Minnesota makes it illegal
for a husband to make love to his wife if his breath smells like
garlic, onions or sardines.
In Ames, Iowa, a husband may not take more than
three gulps of beer while lying in bed with his wife.
A law in Oblong, Illinois makes it a crime to make
love while fishing or hunting on your wedding day.
If a police officer in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, suspects
a couple is having sex inside a vehicle they must honk their horn
three times, and wait two minutes before being allowed to approach
In Ventura County, California, cats and dogs are
not allowed to have sex without a permit.
A law in Fairbanks, Alaska, does not allow moose
to have sex on city streets.
A Helena, Montana, law states that a woman cannot
dance on a saloon table unless her clothing weights more than
three pounds, two ounces.
Bikini car washes (where women wash cars topless)
are prohibited in most states, but the fine is only $50 per incident,
so places charge an extra $50 to recoup their legal costs.
Florida prohibits topless walking or running within
a 150 foot zone between the beach and the street.
In Connorsville, Wisconsin no man shall shoot of
a gun while his female partner is having a sexual orgasm.
In Kingsville, Texas, there is a law against two
pigs having sex on the city's airport property.
Hotels in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are required
by law to furnish their rooms with twin beds only. There should
be a minimum of two feet between the beds, and it is illegal for
a couple to make love on the floor between the beds.
North Carolina forbids sex outside of marriage,
or "fornication," but the girlfriend as well as the
man would have to be prosecuted.
Florida deals with its prostitution problem by giving
prostitutes spending money, a five-year banishment, and a bus
ticket out of town.
Belgium is the only country that has never imposed
censorship for adult films.
Cattle branding in the United States did not originate
in the West. It began in Connecticut in the mid-nineteenth century,
when farmers were required by law to mark all their pigs.
Chewing gum is outlawed in Singapore because it
is a means of "tainting an environment free of dirt."
In Texas it's legal for a chicken to have sex with
you, but it's illegal to reciprocate.
An ordinance in Newcastle, Wyoming, specifically
bans couples from having sex while standing inside a store's walk-in-meat
In Winnipeg, it is against the law to go naked in
your own home if you leave the blinds up.
Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties
are registered blood donors.
The only acceptable sexual position in Washington
D.C. is the missionary position. Any other sexual position is
During the time of Peter the Great, any Russian
man who wore a beard was required to pay a special tax.
Every citizen of Kentucky is required by law to
take a bath once a year.
Federal law forbids recycling used eyeglasses in
the United States.
Hailed as a wonder drug in the late nineteenth century,
cocaine was outlawed in the United States in 1914.
Impotence is grounds for divorce in twenty-four
states in the United States.
In 1838, the city of Los Angeles passed an ordinance
requiring that a man obtain a license before serenading a woman.
In Alaska it is illegal to look at a moose from
the window of an airplane or any other flying vehicle.
In ancient times, any Japanese who tried to leave
his homeland was summarily put to death. In the 1630s, a decree
in Japan forbade the building of any large ocean-worthy ships
to deter defection.
In Atlanta, Georgia, it is illegal to tie a giraffe
to a telephone pole or street lamp.
In Canada, if a debt is higher than 25 cents, it
is illegal to pay it with pennies.
In Hazelton, Pennsylvania, there is a law on the
books that prohibits a person from sipping a carbonated drink
while lecturing students in a school auditorium.
In Idaho, a citizen is forbidden by law to give
another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than 50 pounds.
In Milan, Italy there is a law on the books that
requires a smile on the face of all citizens at all times. Exemptions
include time spent visiting patients in hospitals or attending
funerals. Otherwise the fine is $100 if they are seen in public
without a smile on their face.
In most American states a wedding ring is exempt
by law from inclusion among the assets in a bankruptcy estate.
This means that a wedding ring cannot be seized by creditors,
no matter how much the bankrupt person owes.
In New York State it is still illegal to shoot a
rabbit from a moving trolley car.
In Pakistan, it is rude to show the soles of your
feet or point a foot when you are sitting on the floor.
In Paraguay, dueling is legal provided both parties
are registered blood donors.
In Pennsylvania, ministers are forbidden from performing
marriages when either the bride or groom is drunk.
In San Salvador drunk drivers can be punished by
death before a firing squad.
In seventeenth-century Japan, no citizen was allowed
to leave the country on penalty of death. Anyone caught coming
or going without permission was executed on the spot.
In Somalia, Africa, it's been decreed illegal to
carry old chewing gum stuck on the tip of your nose.
In New Jersey, it is illegal to slurp soup.
In Eureka, Nevada men who wear moustaches are forbidden
from kissing women.
In Omaha, Nebraska, if a child burps during a church
service his/her parents may be arrested.
In Montana, it is a felony for a wife to open her
In Waterville, Maine, it is illegal to blow one's
nose in public.
In Gary, Indiana, it is illegal to attend the theatre
within four hours of eating garlic.
In Los Angeles courts it is illegal to cry on the
In Arkansas, a man can legally beat his wife, but
not more than once a month.
In Chicago, Illinois, it is illegal to fish in pajamas.
In Chicago, people who are diseased, maimed, mutilated,
or "otherwise an unsightly or disgusting object" are
banned from going out in public.
In Chicago it is also illegal to take a French poodle
to the opera, and for women over 200 pounds to ride horses in
In Miami, Florida it is illegal for a man to wear
any kind of strapless gown.
In Sarasota, Florida it is illegal to sing while
wearing a bathing suit.
In Utah, the husband is responsible for every criminal
act committed by his wife while she is in his presence.
In Vermont, women must obtain written permission
from their husbands to wear false teeth.
In Wisconsin, it is illegal to cut a woman's hair
or to kiss on a train.
In Mesquite, Texas it is illegal for kids to have
In Oklahoma, people who make "ugly faces"
at dogs may be fined and jailed.
In Cleveland, Ohio, women are forbidden from wearing
patent leather shoes, lest men see reflections of their underwear.
In Asheville, North Carolina, it is illegal to sneeze
on city streets.
Hornytown, North Carolina has banned all massage
In Alabama it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded
while operating a vehicle.
It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.
In California, community leaders passed an ordinance
that makes it illegal for anyone to try and stop a child from
playfully jumping over puddles of water.
In Connecticut you are not allowed to walk across
a street on your hands.
In Florida, women may be fined for falling asleep
under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.
Alfalfa Bill Murray was a legendary legislator in
Oklahoma around the turn of the century who became speaker of
the house and governor. He was also a tall fellow, and nothing
ticked him off more than going into a hotel and having short sheets
on the bed. In 1908 he had a law passed that required all hotels
in the Sooner state to have sheets that covered the bed and had
three extra feet of linen to cover the head and feet. The so-called
"Nine Foot Sheet" stayed on the books for several decades,
until after Alfalfa went to his last resting place.
Georgia officials were revising their state laws
in 1981, and noticed they still allowed pensions for Confederate
widows. That week the last widow died. Lawmakers bowed their heads,
and deleted the law.
In Washington state it's illegal for a candidate
to buy anyone a drink on Election Day.
An old Virginia law was titled, "An Act to
Prevent Corrupt Practices or Bribery by Any Person Other Than
In 1985, an Arizona legislator proposed that each
candidate for the legislature take a reading and an I.Q. test
three months before the election. The scores would have been posted
on the ballot, had the bill passed. But a majority of legislators,
for whatever reason, voted it down.
A Utah legislator proposed a resolution urging that
each TV weather person be required to provide an ice cream cone
to every member of the state House of Representatives whenever
the forecast was wrong. The resolution failed, perhaps on First
In California it's against regulations to let phones
ring more than nine times in state offices.
An Arkansas legislator not long ago proposed that
the state provide growth hormones to dwarfs.
In Simsbury, Conn., it's illegal for a politician
to campaign at the town dump.
If the Rushville, Ill., city council doesn't have
a quorum, those sent can have the cops go out and arrest absent
members and bring them to the meeting.
A law passed in the '50s by officials of Avignon,
France, made it illegal for any flying saucer to land in the city.
A federal law makes it illegal to "utter"
a false or counterfeit money order.
Each year, the mayor of Danville, Ky., must appoint
"three intelligent housekeepers" to the Board of Tax
An old federal law made it illegal to import tiny
sponges, smaller than four inches in diameter.
Call a Vermont court a "kangaroo court"
or some similar moniker, and you might be looking at a $200 fine.
It is illegal to defame a court.
The federal Employee Retirement Income Security
Act defines an employee as "any individual employed by an
Due to a typographical error, a routine ordinance
in Shelbyville, Ind., about charging for bad checks started out:
"Whereas, the city of Shelbyville through its various governmental
fascists receives numerous checks..." This was changed to
Redford Township, Mi., has a "Downspout Appeal
An ordinance proposed in Robbins, N.C., states,
"In the future, anyone not living within the immediate vicinity
of Robbins must have a permit from the Chief of Police and okayed
by the Mayor or one of the Commissioners." It's not clear
what the permit is for, but they may be on to something.
North Carolina just passed a law saying a political
action committee, or PAC, has to have a name that describes the
group's cause or purpose. The idea is to prohibit, say, the highway
or tobacco lobbies from calling themselves "Citizens for
Under a recent change in federal law, garment workers
can now make mittens at home.
A Minnesota tax form is quite thorough. Some would
say too thorough. It even asks for your date of death.
Under the law of the state of Washington, any restroom
with pay toilets has to have an equal number of free toilets.
This law came to pass after the speaker of the state House of
Representatives raced to an all-pay facility without a dime.
It is illegal to loiter in the city morgue in Detroit.
A regulation in San Francisco makes it unlawful
to use used underwear to wipe off cars in a car wash.
Baltimore has regulations governing the disposal
of hog's heads, pet droppings and oyster shells.
In Baltimore it's illegal to block the sidewalk
with a box. But the offense only carries a $1 fine. Another law
makes it illegal to throw bale of hay (or of anything else) out
a second-story window. That gets you a $20 fine.
To cut down on its once-horrific graffiti problem,
New York City several years ago made it illegal to carry an open
can of spray paint.
In Berkeley, Calif., you can't whistle for an escaped
bird before 7 a.m.
In San Antonio, Texas, you can't honk a horn, run
a generator, have a revival meeting or do anything else that disturbs
the neighborhood and the city has a four-member noise police squad
to enforce the law.
In North Carolina it's illegal to sell cotton lint
at night. It's also legal to sell cottonseed at night.
A city council member in Albuquerque, N.M., introduced
a resolution a few years ago to ban Santa Claus from the city.
The matter was defeated.
If you've got a gal in Kalamazoo, better whisper
sweet nothings to her. An old law forbade swains from serenading
their sweeties from outside the window.
It's illegal in New York to start any kind of public
performance, show, play, game or what have you, until after 1:05
In New York it's unlawful for any person to do any
thing that is against the law.
New York drivers are known to be crazy, but so are
pedestrians in the Empire State. The law may be part of the problem.
Jaywalking is legal, as long as it's not diagonal. That is, you
can cross the street out of the crosswalk, but you can't cross
a street diagonally.
A Boston mayor who disliked dancing and liked to
retire early once banned midnight dancing in the Hub City.
In Boston it's illegal to post an advertisement
on a public urinal. It's also against the law to hang a vending
machine on a utility pole.
Under an 1872 law still on the books, an alderman
in Chicago can carry a gun.
In Hartford, Conn., it's illegal to plant a tree
in the street.
In Boston, it's illegal to cut firewood in the street,
or shoot a bow and arrow in the street.
In New York City, it's illegal to throw swill into
San Francisco bans any "mechanical device that
reproduces obscene language."
San Francisco prohibits kerchoo powders and stink
Members of nine New York Indian tribes are exempt
from the city's eight percent parking tax.
In a law that predates returnable bottles and cans,
it's illegal in Boston to rummage through rubbish containers.
In Danville, Ky., it's illegal to throw slops or
soapsuds in the street.
New York City may be the theater capital of the
country, but it's illegal to have a puppet show in your window
and a violation can land you in the snoozer for 30 days.
In Forest City, N.C., it's illegal to bring a pea-shooter
to a parade. It's also illegal to shoot paper clips with rubber
Take some elocution lessons if you're going to Joliet,
Ill., where it's against the law to mispronounce the city's name.
Offenders can be fined up to $500.
In Salem, Oregon, it's illegal for patrons of establishments
that feature nude dancing to be within two feet of the dancers.
"Dwarf-tossing," the strange practice
of hurling dwarfs in padded suits, is outlawed in the bars of
Springfield, Ill., because it's dangerous and exploitative. The
practice is apparently allowed elsewhere in town, with a special
In Christiansburg, Va., it's illegal to "spit,
expectorate or deposit any sputum, saliva or any form of saliva
Oakland, Calif., makes it illegal to grow a tree
in front of your neighbor's window and block his view. However,
you're off the hook if the tree is one that town officials consider
an attractive tree, such as a redwood or box elder.
In Oxford, Miss., it's illegal to "create unnecessary
Balloons with advertising on them are illegal in
In Provincetown, Mass., it's illegal to sell suntan
oil until after noon on Sunday.
In Boston it's against the law to keep manure in
a building unless the building is being used as a stable. If it
is, you can keep up to two cords of manure. If you're overstocked,
you need a permit to move the stuff. And you can't leave it in
Perhaps anticipating telemarketing, the town fathers
of Albany, Va., have for years prohibited peddlers from using
the telephone to either sell things or raise funds.
Communism has been against the law in Haines City,
La., since 1950.
Under an 1889 law, the health officer of East Jordan,
Mich., could send any nonresident with an infectious disease back
to where he came from, as long as the person could travel. If
not, the officer could rent a house for use as a pest house.
In the hippy-dippy late '60s, Youngstown, Ohio,
briefly had a law making it illegal to walk barefoot through town.
The people in Manteno, Ill., do not want used facial
tissue, period. Hence, you cannot "throw, drop or place"
a used hankie "upon any public way or public place or upon
the floor of any convenience or upon the floor of any theater,
hall or assembly or public building or upon the surface or any
lot or parcel of ground or on the roof on any building or in any
light or air shaft, court or areaway."
In Minoola, Ill., it's illegal to take your clothes
off and "expose the naked person" during daylight or
twilight, even if all you're doing is taking a bath.
By town law the sewer service charge in Belhaven,
N.C., used to be "$2 per month, per stool." It was recently
changed to read "per toilet."
Funeral jargon seems to have crept into the wording
of a cemetery fee regulation in Norton, Ohio. There regular plots
are $33, but "creamies" are $75.
The good people of Tryon, N.C., are serious about
getting a good night's sleep. It's against the law for anyone
to keep "fowl that shall cackle," or for anyone to play
the piccolo between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.
As in many towns, you need a permit to run a barbershop
in Christiansburg, Va. But the wording of the town's law indicates
that the permit will be revoked if you're caught operating without
In Christiansburg, Va., it's illegal to imitate
a police whistle.
Gypsies should steer clear of Caroline County, Md.,
where it's a $100 fine or six months in the can for "forecasting
or pretending to foretell the future."
In Xenia, Ohio, it's illegal to spit in a salad
Strangers in Simsbury, Conn., were required, under
an ordinance enacted in 1701 and only recently repealed, to leave
town within a month unless they had at least 20 shillings to their
Under an old law in Marblehead, Mass., it was illegal
to cross the street on Sunday, unless absolutely necessary.
It sounds like the title of a rock album or something,
but "Coasting on Beaver Street" is illegal in Edgeworth,
In Robbins, N.C., anyone who refuses to black out
after hearing the blackout signal is subject to a $5 fine.
An ordinance in Murray, Ky., says the superintendent
of sanitation "shall determine whether a person is small,
medium or large." Why the superintendent should make this
determination is left unsaid.
By law, "watch stuffers" are unwelcome
in McKeesport, Pa. Now, no one is quite sure what a watch stuffer
does, but whatever he does, he better do it somewhere else.
It used to be against the law in Jonesboro, Ga.,
to utter the words, "Oh boy."
Miami Shores Village, Fla., has for years required
that all goods made in Communist countries and offered for sale
in Miami Shores Village be clearly marked as such. The ordinance
notes that such goods are often marked in a "false, misleading
or inadequate manner, to hide their Communist origins."
In Rockwell, N.C., anyone who violates the terms
of a proclamation--such as failing to appropriately celebrate
Peanut Day or Jaycees Week--is guilty of a misdemeanor.
A 1950 anti-obscenity law in Irondale, Ala., prohibited
any showing of anyone nude or "in a substantially nude state"
except a babe in arms.
In Jonesboro, Tenn., a slingshot used to be classified
by law as a deadly weapon.
A Washington state law offers the presumption that
youngsters will read comic books.
Under the Code of 1650 in the New Haven Colony (in
what is now Connecticut), a 16-year-old boy could be put to death
if he "cursed, struck or disobeyed" his parents or was
"stubborn or rebellious."
Wisconsin law provides for a fine of $2 to $20 for
anyone under age 17 caught jumping onto a railroad car while the
train is in motion.
In a case of wishful thinking, a Delaware legislator
recently proposed a law that would require every minor to inform
his or her parents before engaging in sexual intercourse.
It used to be the law in Hawaii that children had
to obey all "lawful and moral" commands of their parents.
In Olympia, Wash., minors are prohibited from frequenting
In Washington state it's illegal to sell to minors
comics that might incite them to violence or depraved or immoral
A Wisconsin legislator recently introduced a bill
making it illegal to tattoo someone under the age of 18. He was
quoted as saying, "I'm going to save the buttocks of a few
In Mesquite, Texas, it's still against regulations
for youngsters to have haircuts that are "startling or unusual."
In Washington it's illegal to pretend you're the
child of a rich person and entitled to his estate.
Wyoming required that every inmate of the state's
training school for girls be issued crinoline bloomers.
Under a 1959 ordinance, stubborn children were considered
vagrants in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Fla.
In North Carolina it's illegal to dig ginseng on
other people's property between the months of April and September,
according to an 1866 law.
If you happen to own a marl bed in North Carolina,
the law demands that you put a fence around it. A marl bed may
not be what you think. It is a kind of rock quarry.
Apparently with an exaggerated idea of the laws
of thermal dynamics, the city council of West Palm Beach, Fla.,
once decreed that the roofs of all outhouses be fireproof.
In Los Angeles, years ago it was legal to cook in
your bedroom, but not to sleep in your kitchen.
An old law in Columbus, Ga., made it illegal to
sit on your porch in an indecent position.
In San Francisco, it's illegal to beat a rug in
front of your house.
A Kennesaw, Ga. law makes it illegal for every homeowner
not to own a gun, unless you are a convicted felon, conscientious
objector or disabled.
In Ballwin, Mo., the only place you can use vulgar,
obscene or indecent language is in your home.
In Washington state it's illegal to sleep in an
outhouse without the owner's permission.
In New York City it's illegal to shake a dust mop
out a window.
In Colorado it's now legal to remove the furniture
tags that say, "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law."
In Washington state, until quite recently, you could
have been fined up to $500 for removing or defacing the label
on a pillow.
Because people were using them for cheap furniture,
it's now illegal in North Carolina to take and sell labeled milk
Taxpayers of Bainbridge, Ind., used to have to swear
a solemn oath that the values they placed on their taxable property
were the fair market values.
In colonial times, Hartford, Conn., had an ordinance
that allowed any resident to rent the town chain for 2 pence.
The resident had to fix it if he broke it.
In Hawaii it's illegal for a shooting gallery to
offer liquor as a prize. The shooter might want to come back after
drinking the prize and try again.
In Baltimore it's illegal to play professional croquet
before 2 p.m. Sunday. The law also applies to professional quoits.
Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire had old laws
that penalized gamblers who lost money. You'd get fined in Massachusetts
if you had any money left. In New Hampshire you are prohibited
from pawning the clothes off your back to pay off gambling debts.
In the state of Washington it's illegal to catch
a fish by throwing a rock at it.
In recent years, several efforts have been made
to legalize camel racing and ostrich racing in New Mexico, but
to no avail. Those bills were defeated, but the legislature recently
allowed gambling on bicycle races.
Delaware prohibits horse racing of any kind on Good
Friday and Easter Sunday.
Under Delaware law, any person of good moral character
may keep and operate a bowling alley. No gambling, however, is
Riverboat gamblers in Iowa have a $5 maximum bet.
In Las Vegas you can bet on any team--except The
University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
It's illegal to clam at night in Connecticut.
Due to a typographical error in the Tempe, Ariz.,
code, a shooting range can be run by the "Amateur Crapshooting
The state of Washington doesn't allow marathon dancing--or
marathon skipping, sliding, gliding, rolling or crawling.
San Francisco has an ordinance prohibiting "cane
games." City officials have no idea what cane games are.
But when revising city laws recently, officials decided to keep
the prohibition on the books, in case someday, somehow, cane games
came back, they were deemed improper and the city needed the law.
Washington state doesn't allow fake wrestling.
In Maryland, the legislature once proposed a board
of parachute examiners to be made up of five licensed parachute
instructors who would test and license all other parachute instructors.
The plan had been abandoned when it was learned there were only
three licensed parachute instructors in the state.
In North Dakota, charitable groups can hold stud
poker games to raise money, but only twice a year.
In San Francisco it's illegal to play poker in public
or gamble in a barricaded room.
In Indiana a sports agent is supposed to give a
college 10 days notice before luring a star athlete into the professional
In Idaho, it's illegal to hunt from the back of
In Iowa, it is illegal to hunt from an aircraft.
It's against the law in Fairbanks, Alaska to give
a moose a beer.
The game of crackaloo is illegal in Fairfield, Ala.
In Mooresville, N.C., it's illegal to attach anything
to a pool table.
It's illegal to clean salmon along Maine's upper
Kennebec River. Enforcement of this law has been made easier for
many years by the fact that, because of a dam, there are no salmon
on the upper Kennebec River.
An old Washington law sent duelists to jail for
ten years, assuming they didn't lose the duel.
The New York State Senate passed a resolution to
commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers' 1955
world championship and expressed a longing that someday the Dodgers
will return to "their one and only true home."
A proposed Washington law protects sports referees
from civil suit unless their actions were "willful, wanton,
reckless, malicious or grossly negligent."
Punching an official at a youth sports program in
Nashville, N.C., incurs a three-year suspension from the program
for adult spectators as well as participants.
A minister in Pennsylvania is not supposed to perform
a marriage ceremony if either the bride or the groom is drunk.
In Kentucky, according to an old law, it's illegal
to use any kind of reptile in a religious service. It's not certain
if the law would withstand First Amendment scrutiny today.
If you went to church in Texas years back, you'd
better be recognized. An old law made it illegal to go to church
It used to be a $200 fine in Vermont to deny the
"existence or being of God."
It's illegal in Nevada to have a "house of
ill fame" within 400 yards of a church or school.
A recent proposal that ministers walk the beat with
police officers in Belmont, N.C., notes "the ministers will
carry a Bible instead of a gun."
It's against a Key West, Fla., ordinance to spit
on a church floor.
Idaho and other states allow members of the Native
American church to use the hallucinogenic plant peyote in religious
It's unlawful to attract a crowd in Forest City,
N.C., except when aching the Gospel, politicking or "serenading
on occasion of public rejoicing."
In Spokane, Wash., it used to be illegal to interrupt
a religious meeting by having a horse race.
If the honey you are eating in Seattle is a blend
of honey from or more types of flowers, it's illegal for the honey
to be labeled as having come from one type of flower.
It's not clear what this has done to the bar business,
but a law in Chicago, Ill., makes it illegal to serve liquor to
It's against the law in Vermont for vagrants to
procure food by force. Apparently if you have a good job and stable
home life, it's O.K. to procure food by force.
That the folks in Louisiana take their food seriously
is beyond question. It is against state law to steal even a single
If you've ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans,
you'll see the kings and queens on the various floats throwing
plastic money, medallions and jewels to the crowd, but not food.
It's against the law to throw food from a float in the Mardi Gras
It's legal to walk down the street with a drink
in New Orleans, even to drive with a drink. But if you fall over
and block the sidewalk, you've just broken the law.
It used to be legal in Minnesota to sell rolled
candy on Sunday, and illegal to sell flat candy. The wafer people
have gotten this one repealed.
As in most dairy states, Vermont does what it can
to discourage the use of margarine. For example, it's illegal
to use colored margarine in restaurants unless the menu indicates
you do--in letters two inches high. Colored margarine can only
be served in triangle shaped patties.
Georgia has 75 laws on how to build rice paddies,
even though the state has only one rice farm left. Rice was the
state's No. 1 crop before the Civil War. But right after the war,
a hurricane destroyed all the paddies and ponds. It was too expensive
to replace them without slaves, so the Rice State began growing
peaches, peanuts and other crops.
It used to be against the law to go to the theater
in Gary, Ind., after eating garlic.
An old law in Waterloo, Neb., discouraged barbers
from eating onions on the job.
You may deserve a break today, but you won't get
it in Bloomfield, Conn., if you can't wait to get home from your
local fast food emporium: It's against the law to eat in your
It's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your
pocket in Lexington, Kentucky.
Tomatoes are actually a fruit, but legally speaking,
they're a vegetable. Ruling in an 1893 tariff case, the U.S. Supreme
Court said that because tomatoes are normally eaten during a meal
and not afterward, they are legally vegetables.
One of the early Occupational Safety and Health
Act laws in effect prohibited the use of ice in drinking water.
It's been repealed.
The Iowa Legislature once passed a resolution ordering
the state cafeteria to start serving cornbread.
In Wisconsin you need a cheesemaker's license to
make any kind of cheese, except Limburger. To make Limburger,
you need a master cheesemaker's license.
Many states have had whacky liquor regulations.
In Nevada until the 1960s it was illegal to sell liquor at religious
camp meetings, within a half-mile of the state prison, in the
State Capitol Building or to imbeciles.
Also, saloonkeepers had to post the names of habitual
drunkards if so requested by the local sheriff or members of the
imbibers' immediate families.
California only fairly recently legalized the sale
of alcoholic beverages in nudist colonies.
Minnesota has repealed its so-called "Twinkie"
law, under which a Minneapolis City Council candidate was indicted
for dispensing $34 worth of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, cookies, Kool-Aid
and coffee to some senior citizens.
Montana just legalized the production of caviar.
In New York City you need a permit to transport
New York and a handful of other states require that
toilets be evenly divided among men and women in public theaters
The Santa Monica, Calif., City Council recently
proposed that men be allowed to use women's public restrooms when
there's a line of three or more at the mens' room, and vice versa.
It's illegal in Florida for an unmarried man and
woman to live together in "open and gross lewdness."
Connecticut once had a similar law, but only the woman was penalized.
You need a license to sell condoms in Washington
In the old days in Nevada a man caught beating his
wife was tied to a stake for eight hours a day with a sign that
read, "Wife Beater" fastened to his chest.
In South Carolina, wife beaters weren't allowed
to hold public office.
An ordinance in Linden, Ala., provided that all
women of "uncertain chastity" had to be off the streets
by 9 p.m.
Vietnam veterans may remember that a Vietnamese
lawmaker proposed the country should ban the practice of women
A Wisconsin legislator in the 1970s proposed a law
providing that no woman over 21 be required to divulge her age.
If age information were required by law, women could use an alphabetic
code: women in their ‘20s would use A, women in their ‘30s
B, and so on.
A Maryland law outlaws "female sitters, also
known as shills," women paid by owners to sit in their bars
and encourage male patrons to buy drinks.
In Missouri, male legislators once introduced a
resolution urging their female colleagues to strap snub-nosed,
38-caliber revolvers to their ankles.
In Hawaii a husband or wife who deserted a spouse
and failed to reconcile could be given a month of hard labor.
Second offense was a year of hard labor.
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