Unbelievable Marriage and Sex Laws Across the United States

Author: PeopleFinders on June 7th, 2019
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When you start looking into old laws, you’ll find plenty of weird ordinances that were enacted at some point. Even weirder, however, are the laws that nobody bothered to repeal.

When you start looking into sex laws, you’ll find that lawmakers have tried to regulate what you do in the bedroom for hundreds of years. And some of them have aged a bit more poorly than others. Here are the strangest sex and marriage laws that were passed at some point, and are somehow still on the books.

Alabama

People tend to poke fun at Alabama for its strange culture. But some of that lighthearted ribbing does come through in very real ways. Alabama incest laws don’t define marriage between first cousins as incest, meaning that Alabama residents can feel free to marry their first cousins.

California

Are you looking for certain novelty items in California? If so, then make sure you’re not within sight of the freeway. It’s specifically illegal to sell pillows that look like breasts within 1,000 feet of a highway. Anywhere else, it’s fair game.

Colorado

Colorado residents beware: At home, you can be as rowdy with your spouse as you want. But don’t make it part of your entrepreneur future. “Bawdy houses,” defined as hotels that cater to rowdy sexual activity, are illegal in Alamosa, Colorado.

Delaware

In Delaware, you should think twice about taking that risky dare from your best friend. One of the valid reasons Delaware residents can apply for a divorce is if the marriage was based on “jest or dare” by one or both parties.

Florida

If you’re going to live with your partner in Florida, don’t flaunt it to your neighbors. It’s legal to live with each other without getting married. But if you’re doing it “lewdly and lasciviously,” you’re on the wrong side of the law.

Georgia

Roswell, Georgia, licenses establishments for erotic dancing, making it legal to open a business that caters to a specific clientele. However, even erotic dancing establishments have to respect religious tradition; they can’t open on Sundays.

What weird sex laws exist across the United States?

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Hawaii

You’d think that bestiality would be illegal in every state, right? Apparently not. Although bestiality is technically illegal in some roundabout ways in Hawaii, there’s no law on the books that  specifies its illegality.

Idaho

Schools in Idaho should make sure they’re teaching their kids how important life is in all classes, even sex ed. The law states that sex education classes must enforce the relation of sex to “the miracle of life.”

Illinois

While Hawaii has laws that aren’t specific enough, Illinois has laws that may be a bit too specific. It’s one of the only states that have a law on the books specifically banning necrophilia.

Kansas

When you think of “promoting” prostitution, you probably think of advertising it to others, right? Well, in Kansas, even driving a sex worker to a client is considered promotion. And you can end up behind bars for it.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, streaking isn’t entirely illegal. It’s just a problem if you’re doing it lewdly. Technically, the act of streaking is only illegal if it’s done with the “intent to arouse others.”

Maryland

In the last few decades, restrictions on condoms have decreased drastically. But there are still some strange requirements in some states. In Maryland, it has to do with the type of condom. Vending machines can be stocked with condoms, but only if they’re made of latex.

Michigan

If you like the concept of having sex in your car, navigate back home first. For it to be legal, your car has to be parked on your own property before you get saucy with your partner.

Minnesota

Massage parlors have a reputation for housing sex workers. And Minnesota has taken extreme precautions to avoid that. Customers are only allowed to be inside massage parlors from 10am to 6pm.

Mississippi

Polygamy itself is illegal across the nation. But Mississippi doesn’t want you to know how to violate that law. It’s illegal to even explain what polygamy is.

Montana

Proxy marriages, which take place with one person present and the other on the phone, are legal in a number of states. However, double proxy marriages, where both parties phone in, are only legal in Montana.

Nebraska

It’s generally considered good form to tell a partner about any STDs you may have. But Nebraska has written it into the books. It’s illegal to get married if you have any kind of STD and don’t tell your partner before you tie the knot.

Nevada

Nevada is the only state that allows the legal licensing of brothels; however, to license an establishment, it must be at least 400 yards from the nearest religious building.

New Jersey

If you have an issue with people giving you crude gestures, consider moving to Haddon, New Jersey. The town has made it illegal to use “word, sign or gesture” to indicate sexual interest in another person.

New Mexico

Different states define public nudity in different ways. And New Mexico has developed a very interesting definition. If you’re trying to stay away from a public nudity charge, you just have to make sure your genitals and areolas are covered.

New York

Sometimes, you can tell a law is old just from the wording used. The ordinances of Sag Harbor, New York, were written long enough ago that they specify wagons as a place where you can’t undress.

North Carolina

Whether or not you’re interested in having kids, North Carolina wants to make sure you have the option. Any North Carolina marriage can be voided if either party was impotent when the marriage took place.

Ohio

If you’re interested in a same-sex encounter in Akron, Ohio, check to make sure that the other person is okay with your advances. It’s illegal to solicit someone of the same gender if you know he or she would be offended by the proposition.

Oklahoma

Bestiality is illegal in most states. However, knowing how rowdy some bar patrons get, Oklahoma has taken extra precautions. A bar owner is legally obligated to stop people from even pretending to have sex with any animal.

Oregon

Sometimes, weird laws exist only because the people making them didn’t quite think through what they put down. Because of a poorly worded law, Oregon banned adults from allowing minors to see any sexual material, which includes classical artwork.

Pennsylvania

The public in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, apparently used to be bearded and bare-faced. In a bizarre old city law, women who wear makeup must have “cosmetic buttons,” and men who shave must carry “shaving buttons.”

South Carolina

In all states, it’s rude to make untrue promises to coerce someone into sleeping with you. However, in South Carolina, it’s actually illegal to convince a woman to sleep with you by promising that you’ll marry her.

South Dakota

Minors beware: South Dakota doesn’t want you to send any sort of explicit content. A minor can be charged for sexting in all circumstances, even if sexting with another minor of the same age.

Tennessee

Most places teach sex education as a precaution, but Tennessee does it as damage control. Most areas in Tennessee don’t have to teach sex education. But areas with very high teen pregnancy rates do.

Texas

In most places, you can try out as many sex toys as you like. But Texas has put a cap on that. In the Texas penal code, you’ll find that it’s illegal for anyone to own six or more “obscene devices.”

Utah

Adultery laws don’t hold a lot of weight anymore. But Utah takes a cheating spouse’s actions very seriously. A judge can deny a cheating spouse alimony if adultery was the reason that the couple filed for divorce.

Virginia

Nowadays, people tend to be more okay with hook-ups than they used to. However, under Virginia law, it’s technically still a misdemeanor for anyone to have sex with someone other than his or her spouse.

Washington

The stereotype of illegal dancing is one that’s often used to ridicule old laws. But Lynden, Washington, hasn’t gotten rid of all its dancing laws yet. It’s illegal for anyone to dance in a place where alcoholic beverages are being served.

West Virginia

Different states have different birth control laws for teenagers. West Virginia generally requires parental approval. But judges may make an exception for the requirement if a teenager is seen to “demonstrate maturity.”

Wisconsin

Kenosha, Wisconsin, didn’t just stop at requiring people to be “covered up” to avoid a charge of public nudity. The city specifically notes that all coverage must be “fully opaque” to serve its purpose.

Not All Laws Are Equal

These are all pretty wild things to be arrested or convicted for, but most people with a criminal record aren’t guilty of any of these strange crimes. Instead, most of them have done something violent or bad-intentioned.

If you want to make sure you’re aware of what crimes someone’s committed, you should use PeopleFinders. When you perform a PeopleFinders criminal records search, you won’t just see if someone’s committed a crime before. You may also get important information about whether they’ve been arrested, of what type of crime they were convicted, and even if they’re a violent felon or sex offender.

In today’s world, you can never be too careful. Sure, there are wild laws still on the books from many years ago, but there are also important laws that ensure your safety. Whether you’re interested in checking a first date’s history or you want to make sure your neighbor is safe to be around, PeopleFinders may give you the inside scoop.

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