Sex and Pancakes

Consequences of Public Sex

The question of consequences for public sex has come up a few times lately so I decided to check with three different sources: the police, Concordia University and a movie theatre in the downtown core—who, for reasons that’ll become clear, wished to remain unnamed.

The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal came first. I decided to email the three police stations closest to Concordia and, surprisingly, they all answered within a week—but only one of them had anything useful to say—a link to a website outlining offences under “Cybersex, Nudity, Indecency, and Prostitution.”

The only section related to sex in public is about the legality of two consenting adults having sex in a municipal park, to which the SPVM answered, “It depends.”

Their definition of an indecent act is anything “that exposes people or society in general to some sort of prejudice (nuisance or harm) that is incompatible with the smooth functioning of society.”

Its conclusion was that “it is a criminal offence for a person to participate in sexual activity in a public place in the presence of one or more people,” and that you can face up to six months in prison as a consequence.

Basically, this entry gives the impression that it’s not the public sex itself that’s illegal, it’s the fact that other people may be present and subjected to you gettin’ down and dirty, or that people may be prevented from using the area you’re occupying in the way they typically would.

If you hadn’t already guessed, yes—a cop in your presence counts as “one or more people,” so you could be, well, fucked if a cop finds you fuckin’. They don’t really give any clear indication of what else can happen, aside from jail time, but I’m sure a ticket or a warning is much more likely to happen.

Now, the one we really want to know about: Concordia. The Office of Rights and Responsibilities seemed to pass my email around quite a bit before finally deciding on who should answer it.

It came pretty close to being the director of media relations for Concordia University, but since she’s out of town, the advisor from ORR, to whom I’d initially directed my email, replied instead.

Students, faculty and staff are all bound by the Code of Rights and Responsibilities at Concordia and there are several things that can happen if you’re caught getting naughty.

For starters, the code states that any illegal activity that happens within the university is considered an infraction, so a complaint can be filed, after which you would have to attend a hearing to determine the sanction placed.

A sanction can be anything from a written reprimand to something more serious like recommendation for suspension or even expulsion.

Since it’s also illegal outside of the university, Concordia security “may be summoned and/or the police called.” The advisor was also sure to mention the potential discomfort or embarrassment felt by a person who stumbles upon two people having sex.

Now imagine working in a movie theatre and being that person. What would you do?

The movie theatre employee that I spoke to has seen it happen a few times and, if it’s after the movie is done, they’ll usually turn on the lights to send a message to the couple—or kindly ask them to leave, if necessary. Police would only be notified if there was a refusal to leave or something really obscene was happening.

What does this all tell us? Basically, it’s an embarrassing situation for everyone, and no one wants to be that person who catches people having sex.

So, it seems that no one really has a strict protocol on how to approach it. It’s usually awkward for those involved, so if you’re going to have public sex—try to do it somewhere you’re less likely to get caught, for your sake and for the sake of the poor security guard who might find you!

- Melissa Fuller

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