World Sex Laws
A globetrotter's guide to proper groping

Sex laws around the world are as diverse as indigenous spices -- an acceptable Scandinavian method of grinding gooey genitalia together might get you barbarically executed in a drier crotched climate.

Take adultery, for example.

The sophisticated French sport of extra-marital mounting hasn't quite been embraced yet in Somalia. Five wives who were convicted of humping and harrumphing the Sixth Commandment were publicly stoned to death in 1993 by cheering villagers in this East African nation. The rock-headed primitiveness was even videotaped.

Globetrotting seducers and seductresses should exercise caution when they indulge in international orifices -- flesh in one foreign harbor might be contraband in the next. Be sure to memorize local codes before you frolic with the natives.

If you're a gay pirate voyaging for boy-rear, remember: it's permissible to dig into 13-year-old Japanese and Spanish lads, 14-year-old Icelandic arses, and 15-year-old Polish, Czech, Swedish, Danish, and Slovakian rumps. But in Egypt and Argentina, the age of consent is 21, and if you're itching to meat Afghani males -- don't even fantasize about it.

Last year three men accused of "buggery" in Kabul were "sentenced to death by being partially buried in the ground and then having a wall pushed over on them by a bulldozer," claims an On The Issues: The Progressive Women's Quarterly article.

Female age-of-consent is equally random. Roman Polanski -- who fled the USA as a fugitive to avoid an "unlawful intercourse with a minor" charge after he nestled a 13-year-old nymphet -- would not have been prosecuted in a tri-racial choice of nations: Spain, Nigeria, or Japan (where obsession with schoolgirls is bigger than Sumo.) His lover-girl's vagina would be considered fully adult in these areas. If the Pole contented himself with a 14-year-old romper, his field-of-play would be enormous: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Honduras, Hungary, Russia, and Serbia.

Polanski's nastiness was in tangling with a Hollywood teen; California has an ancient age-of-consent: 18. The only nations that are more daughter-cautious than this are Egypt, Pakistan (21), and Saudi Arabia, where the law states simply that all women "must be married."

Nudity laws are also either stripped-down or grossly over-dressed. Le Cap d'Agde in France is an entirely clothing-optional city (population 40,000), thousands of bare buns bake on beaches in Europe, Australia, and Canada, and naturist joggers publicly flap and jiggle in San Francisco's annual Bay-To-Breakers footrace.

But skin is a carnal crime elsewhere: "unveiled" college girls in Algeria and Afghanistan have been shot for exposing their lascivious mouths and chins, and have had acid thrown in their tempting faces. In Iran, women are flogged by "morality patrols" if their lovely hair slips wickedly out of their veils.

Islamic locales are generally ill advised for "sex cruisers," with Afghanistan ranking dead last as the lousiest place to get laid. It's not a pretty or permissive place: a woman recently got her thumb chopped off for wearing nail polish, and women can't walk on the street with men who aren't relatives. What's the fine? Nothing scanty -- 100 public lashes if she's unmarried, a grisly rock-death if she's someone's shamed spouse.

Rape laws 'round the planet are also perplexing -- the ugliest legislation exists in Latin American Catholic countries that exempt rapists from prosecution if they marry the victim. (Many raped women are pressured to wed their attackers because they're seen as "shamed" and "unmarriageable" after they've been penetrated.) In 1997, Peru repealed this rape-escape clause, but it smarmily lingers on in the skewed court books of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Paraguay.

On a cheerier note, it's entertaining to observe the silly USA city laws. Newcastle, Wyoming bans sex inside a store's meat freezer, and Tremonton, Utah has outlawed intercourse in ambulances -- neither would I pick as a hot spot. In Connorsville, Wisconsin, it's illegal for a man to shoot off his gun when his female partner has an orgasm, and in Willowdale, Oregon, a man can't curse during sex. Both measures curb celebration, in my opinion.

Most repressive, though, is the Alexandria, Minnesota edict that says a man can't make love to his wife if he's got the stench of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath -- if his wife demands it, he is legally forced to brush his teeth first.

Seems anti-Italian, to me!

Hank Hyena is a columnist for SFgate and a frequent contributor to Salon.

See also...
... by Hank Hyena
... in the Crave section
... from September 28, 1999