The Sexual Offences Act (2003) states that exposure (and hence public nudity) is only a crime if a person's genitals are exposed and they intend for someone to see them and to be caused alarm and distress.

This means that nudists, skinny dippers or nude sunbathers etc. are not breaking the law, as someone has to intend to cause alarm and distress for it to be a crime (and so someone being alarmed or distressed without intent is not a crime).  This is good.

However, someone can still be arrested for public nudity under the common law of breaching the peace.  In order to clarify the situation and futher protect nudists I think that this law should be ammended so that it specifically states that

1) Nudity, by itself, cannot be considered a breach of the peace

2) A person can be arrested for nudity only if there is a serious reason to believe that they intend to cause alarm and distress.

Why is this idea important?

The legislative law is very clear that nudity and nudism are not crimes.  However, common law contradicts this by allowing the arrest of nudists for breaching the peace – even if there is no intent to cause alarm and distress, or even if there is no harm, alarm and distress caused in the first place.

It is essential in modern Britain that the rights of minorities are protected.  Nudists are still in an unclear legal position.  A nude walker or skinny dipper (even in a remote area) still has to be aware of the possibility of being arrested, even if they are causing no harm at all.  This is clearly wrong, and it should be recognised that nudity, by itself, should never be considered a crime.

17 Replies to “Public Nudity”

  1. While I realise that being naked in the wrong place at the wrong time could be offensive to some, in the recent hot spell my clothes were wet through, I was uncomfortable and overheating.
    I would have loved to strip off and sit in my porch unhindered to cool off but had to suffer for fear of being reported by neighbours.
    So I had to stew for hours for fear of prosecution.
    I feel that being lumped in with “flashers” for wanting to cool off is just another example of how restrictive and confusing British law can be.
    We need the law changing to clarify precisely what is legal (e.g., nudity on own residential land) and not (e.g., parks, public beaches, common land etc)
    Unfortunately, like so much of British law, it’s too open to interpretation with the result that one bobby might knock on my door and another might not.

  2. I would like to be able to go nude in secluded public places without the fear of ending up in court.Since the law clearly states that this is legal I feel that all that is needed is for central government to issue some basic guidelines to the police to avoid this situation arising.For example on a persons own property,on public beaches and adjacent areas and maybe public footpaths.

  3. Face it, nusists ARE pervets. A large majority of them are also paedophiles using the cover of nudism/naturism to see naked kids. Before you come back with all the crap about this is not true and I should research the subject. I have researched it. And you both know deep down what I say is true even though you will never admit and come back with some other bull crap. The FACT is you two are dirty pervets whether you like it or not. To say otherwise would be a lie.

    1. Okay, although ‘some’ people may use the term nudist to be able to see others naked (which I agree is wrong and not the purpose of nudism) I find it highly offensive that you would come onto the internet and call all nudists perverts! I am not going to tell you that it isn’t true and that you need to research it as I’m sure there are statistics somewhere to argue your case! But don’t come on here calling all nudists perverts as there are many that aren’t and enjoy the freedom that nudism provides!

    2. People who “prey” on kids obviously do it for sexual gratification, and will therefore be unable to hide their excitement as they also will be unclothed. It’s not hard to spot an erection, and also I’m sure not easy for a pedo to stop one in that situation.

    3. Bull crap? How ingenious.

      Here in Britain the libel laws are rather more restrictive than they are in America and calling two people dirty perve[r]ts in the context you have outlined could get you into way more trouble than you would ever like to imagine. Speak to a lawyer soon if you can.

      So saying, as a naturist of three decades standing I can safely say that the chance of seeing naked kids on a British naturist beach is practically zero, yet still the beaches are full of people sunbathing and relaxing and enjoying the sea. Why do they keep going, I wonder? Is it just possibly because you are completely wrong? Oh yes, it is.

      My favourite naturist experiences are when I’m totally alone on a wild beach, miles from anyone, able to feel like I’m part of the landscape, part of nature. The sexual content of that is precisely nothing.

      You are right in identifying there are some issues to deal with and think through, but they belong to you and your rather active imagination alone.

      1. What a beautifully worded and erudite response to this narrow-minded and risible comment. Being part of the landscape….lovely. I can recommend Studland beach in Poole…

    4. Just like the majority of gay people are pedophiles? Oh wait, they AREN’T.
      The majority of pedophiles are straight and evidence has proven pedophilia is not linked to sexuality or lifestyle choice.
      You’re just a hateful prude who can’t get over the fact they were naturally born naked and that the human body is not an innately sexual thing.
      Time to get over the fact that not everybody fits your ideals and nobody owes it to you either.

      1. Currently there are some well known, so called celebrities serving quite lengthy prison sentences for indecent assaults against children and teenagers. The interesting thing is that during their trial none of them were described as being naturist.

    5. What’s your Name ? :


      What YOU really want to say is :


      My grandfather was totured in a german KONZENTRATIONSLAGER (SACHSENHAUSEN)

      I/We know what happens , when we trust/beleive in persons of your kind


  4. Let’s not be distracted by one rotten speller who can suggest going naked might be a ‘cover’ for something. People, including children, are very safe in a naturist setting. I say the world suffers under enough real troubles; it would be good to remove one imaginary one. We can be grateful and appreciative that we are given such beautiful and miraculous bodies. We no more need shame around our body than a cat does.

  5. Anyone who has ever been to any naturist events will be aware that they are considerably more innocent and healthy than most clothed functions. My experience is that children are actually safer in such an open society.

  6. The crown prosecution services guidance makes it pretty clear that naked people should only be prosecuted if they actually cause alarm and distress, and even then gives some reasons why they should not be prosecuted. (right to freedom of expression, lack of “public interest”, minor nature of alarm)

  7. I,ve been to many naturism functions and both my partner and me love them they are a very warm and caring group. My partner is female just for those weird people looking on this site. As for the above mentioned weird ones who say we are all perverts I think that you will find these are people who would love to do the same but cannot get up the courage to try it. You can do it I say to them. Most are men that react bad and its because they are a bit shy about everyone seeing what they have.i say who cares about shape or size do it and enjoy it. Its not sexual its freedom and its natural.

  8. I went to a naturist camp years ago as a dare to my self as I have a condition
    I was born with an inverted tiny micro penis an tiny testicles an being in depression at the time I mentioned my condition to my councillor she said so what so I went . An it was great people accepted me there was a few giggles but I thought so what my confidence in myself improved a lot . I think they should have nude day one day in the year were you can go down town for a few hrs an if you don’t like it you could stop at home for a few hrs

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