Naturism and Indecent Exposure

naturism and indecent exposureWhat is the law surrounding indecent exposure and how does this relate to naturism? It can be seen that naturism and indecent exposure COULD be linked but actually are not. In this post, we explore this topic.

I was recently chatting to a fellow naturist who had just been on a walk in the New Forest. Now usually there are no issues with this except on one particular day, he was returning to the car park and happened to pass a lady walking her dog. He recited the conversation for me as follows:-

HIM: Afternoon (with reassuring smile on his face and rucksack covering his nether regions)
HER: That’s illegal. That’s indecent exposure.
HIM: Actually, being nude in public is not illegal and it certainly is not indecent exposure.

At this point, he walked off and, glancing behind his back, saw she was doing something on her phone. Now, if she was calling the police, I hope the conversation went along the guidelines of what the College of Policing now advise their call handlers and officers and they also take into account the guidance set by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

To make a case for indecent exposure, out naturist friend would have to “expose his genitals with the intention of causing distress and alarm”. Note the word “intention”? As our friend actually “hid” his genitals, there was not intention to cause distress or alarm and thus no crime committed.

Unfortunately, some people (of the Victorian era) have either not been educated or simply are too prudish and won’t change their attitudes. This makes being a naturist in the UK that little bit more difficult and especially so if you’re a man (it is almost impossible for a woman to be convicted of indecent exposure) which is why I always provide the following advice.

If you are out walking nude and you see someone coming toward you, identify the risk. Is it a lone woman? A couple? A group of people? Are there children involved? And then think about how you would feel if you were in their place. My advice is firstly, do I need to cover up? If they’re a distance away, then why not? If you have been surprised by them (as in you turned a corner and they were there) then place something in front of your genitals. Always be polite and say “hello” and when they’re a safe distance away, continue your nude walk.

NEVER jump into bushes, run away, or do something that could be seen as meaning your intentions are potentially criminal. You are doing nothing wrong, nothing illegal but you are respecting other people and they may not like seeing nude people in the countryside. Hiding could construed that you are doing something wrong.

IF, in the highly unlikely event you do get arrested, get a solicitor. DO NOT say or do anything until you have legal representation. DO NOT agree to anything (especially accepting a caution) and always remember to keep calm.

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8 Responses to Naturism and Indecent Exposure

  1. Alan says:

    If hiding is an admission of wrongdoing, then so is covering in the presence on non-nude person’s.
    At least you are saying, you are right Mr.Textile there is something wrong with my body and should be covered.

    • admin says:

      What I’m saying is that jumping into the bushes and hiding is a suspicious activity so it’s best not to do that. With regard to covering, I am simply saying do a risk assessment first. Ultimately, we all want to be safe out there (especially when nude) so if you spot a group of people of say a younger generation, would it not be advisable to dress and therefore negate any potential conflict? Apply the same risk assessment to that chap walking his dog and I’d probably not cover up at all. If it was a lone woman, then I might put on my shorts or certainly cover my genitals. Although, legally, there is no issue being nude outdoors, what I am saying is let’s not purposely antagonise or appear threatening. You would rather just have the “good morning” and move on rather than a conversation with the police.

  2. Adrian Parsons says:

    I just assess the situation and act accordingly. I never put shorts on, its just a bag over my genitals.

  3. Andrew Naylor says:

    I frequently run on the beach in just shorts until clear of the village and then when a distance away I take then of for a swim. I will normally remain on the beach until I am dry. Many people have seen me naked at a distance, but if they turn to approach me I will put my shorts on.
    How ever as I said many people have seen me and only a few complain, One was screaming into his phone because the police had told him I was doing nothing illegal. Finally on one occasion while swimming my shorts where stolen, leaving me to walk home naked. Nobody said a thing!

  4. Robert says:

    When i,m in the forest alot of lady dog walkers see me constantly and don,t say anything and just smile and walk on.

    • admin says:

      You’ll find that most people don’t care – if anything, they might find it a bit strange as you normally don’t see people hiking nude but the more we do it, the more normal it will be. Keep going!

  5. Codge says:

    As a newbie at naked in a public wooded area for example, I’ve yet to encounter the problems of hostility from others.
    I’ve only met people on two occasions when nude.
    The first was with an experienced NatRam member and we were swiftly passed by two young females in their early 20s running in our direction. We both covered as they approached and we both said a cherry hello,
    but received no reply.
    The second time I was naked with just my wife who remained clothed at Cadmans pool in the forest. We hadn’t gone 100 metres and noticed a woman approaching. This took us by surprise and highlighted my inexperience in nude walking. My wife and I diverted off to the right and the lady went off in a different direction. I think I carried out the correct procedure on that occasion.
    My wife has since made me a tartan skirt wrap with velcro for such occasions and I’m sure it will be needed.

    • admin says:

      Hi Codge. Yes, being naked in public for the first time can be daunting even so when you encounter textiles and, believe me, can still be daunting for seasoned walkers – especially if you are walking alone. I would say if you were with your wife, there is a good chance that nothing negative would happen same as if you were in a group. You just need to be mindful of your own feelings and either bring a cover up or try to stick to more out of the way routes. The fromer is my preference. After a while, you’ll soon be able to guage the best action for the scenario.

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