There’s quite a buzz in Liverpool around the curious case of a couple having had sex in full view of bystanders in the prominent Concert Square in the British city.

The mayor is quite perturbed, tweeting, “I am extremely shocked and concerned at videos circulating showing acts of indecent exposure and sexual activity in our city. This isn’t amusing – it’s disturbing, damaging and an illegal act.”

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The police is on it and the couple is set to appear before a magistrate shortly, and it seems there will be some punishment their way soon.

Begs the question, what constitutes indecency? The vibrant but still nascent sex positivity movement is not advocating that consenting adults can do what they choose to do when it comes to sex. There is—implicitly—the constraint that the freedom from this personal is only to be exercised in privacy.

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However where is the line drawn? Exhibitionism is a fetish with some recognition, but the ‘viewer’ should probably have a reasonable capacity to look away, and in having sex in a central location such as this one, perhaps that capacity is taken away. The right to not look at people having sex, as it were, has been violated!

Clearly if they had sex in a deserted public place—think a forest—away from any obvious presence, and came out talking about having done so, it seems there would not be any case for indecency.

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Nor is there a case for indecency when people have sex indoors but with clear visual access for a neighbour. Curtains drawn, or a window left open for a clear view from a neighbour’s balcony definitely does not constitute indecency.

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Well, none of this is legal opinion, of course, but that sex can—in some contexts—be indecent seems like a position worth examining more.

Also, I hope the magistrate goes easy on the couple.

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