QUESTION: I've heard there are outdated laws about sexual behaviors - such as being arrested for oral sex - in certain states. Is this true?
ANSWER: Many of the old, sex-related laws remain on the books in some states, according to Robert Wayne Pelton, author of "Loony Sex Laws That You Never Knew You Were Breaking" (Walker Publishing Co., 1992, $9.95). Here are some examples listed by state, according to his book.
* Illinois. In the city of Oblong, it's against the law to make love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day.
* Ohio and Indiana. Both states have laws that ban male skating instructors from having sex with their female students. "seduction of the female students" is a felony.
* Pennsylvania. A law bans female toll collectors from engaging in sex with truck drivers inside a toll-collection booth.
* Minnesota. In the city of Alexandria, no man is allowed to make love to his wife with the smell of garlic or onions on his breath. If his wife asks him to brush his teeth, he must do so or stop lovemaking immediately.
* Kentucky. Vending-machine sales of condoms are banned. Kentucky limits the sale of condoms to medical practitioners and licensed pharmacists, but their licenses to sell condoms cannot be publicly displayed.
* Texas. Only a "registered pharmacist" can sell condoms or other contraceptives. If anyone other than a registered pharmacist engages in the sale of contraceptives, the person can be prosecuted for "unlawfully practicing medicine."
* Maryland. The state bans the sale of condoms by vending machines, with one major exception: Condoms can be dispensed by vending machines "in places where alcoholic beverages are sold."
* Oklahoma. In Clinton, Okla., men are banned from masturbating while observing a couple making love in the back seat of a parked car at a drive-in theater. Peepers can be arrested for "molesting a vehicle."
* Nevada. Condoms must be made available and used in brothels.
* Oregon. In the town of Willowdale, it's illegal for a husband to curse or swear during lovemaking. The law does not apply to wives.
* Tennessee. In Skullbone, a woman is banned from "pleasuring a man" while he is sitting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Any male driver stopped and found with the front of his pants undone faces a maximum penalty of a $50 fine or 30 days in jail.
* Washington. It's against the law to make love to a virgin, even on her wedding night. The law reads: "Every person who shall seduce and have intercourse with any female of previously chaste character shall be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not more than five years, or in the county jail for not more than a year, or by fine of $1,000 or by fine and imprisonment."
* Utah. In the town of Tremonton, it is a sexual misdemeanor for any woman to have sex with a man while riding in an ambulance. If convicted of such a crime, the woman's name must be published in the local newspaper.
* Wyoming. In the town of Newcastle, an ordinance bans couples from having sex while standing inside a store meat freezer.
* South Dakota. Prostitutes are prohibited from selling their services out of a covered wagon. In Sioux Falls, when a couple rents a room for one night, the law says the room must have twin beds with at least two feet between them. It is also illegal to make love on the floor between the beds.
* Wisconsin. Lovers are banned from shooting off a gun when the female partner has an orgasm.
* Nebraska. In Hastings, hotels are required to provide each guest with a clean, pressed nightshirt. No one, even if married, may sleep with another in the nude. No sexual activity may be undertaken unless each mate is dressed in one of the plain, white, cotton nightshirts.
Linda Humphries and Jeff Thomas are sexual therapists at the Counseling Center & Human Sexuality Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. They write a column for the Tallahassee Democrat, where this article first appeared.
Pub Date: 12/06/98